Good analysis @ctg I really enjoyed this episode despite the cheesy effects and apparent low budget quality. I seem to recall whole scenes where there wasn't even a background, but was that intentional??? Perhaps it was. Recall, the episode seemed to have the effects that Langley was talking about. How life would be like inside the Virtual Reality. backgrounds and people not exactly rendered, is this really a one-off episode or should we take away more from this episode. About how we are all living in a simulation, as goes the theories? I think this episode took some of those concepts you mentioned a bit farther but ultimately it has been done before. X-Files should stick to episodes like this though, as the next episode with the doubles killing each other has been done to death on shows like Supernatural which excels at Monster of the Week.
What could be better than having The Lone Gunmen back and unlikely in the pilot episode, Fox Mulder and Scully looks normal. And they kick ass when Three Assassin appear at their hut's front borch a couple weeks after CSM's apocalyptic revelation. It's become clear to me that Chris Carter took X-Files and really turned it to a modern series rather than going back to the monster-of-the-week routine.
I think it's a good thing as the classical X-Files should stay in the past as Mister Carter adapted to the modern format with long story arcs. Everything in that past is piled up and connected to each other. But, in regards of the characters, I'm surprised that Mulder hasn't started to collect an arsenal of weapons as he so often end up facing baddies.
It shows clearly how badly underpowered they're against the enemies, who can throw at them army solutions and veteran combat operators. They have no play with handguns only against Private Military teams. Saddest things in this is that they cannot even ask FBI's team to interfere with the case as they deal with the conspiracy that involve Authorities. Although I don't think that those Federal operators would necessarily be against the duo as they are no current orders on hunting them down.
But, that's going to happen as the Lone Gunman deals with the conspiracy that goes straight into the heart of the classified special access programs. It's what Skinner suggests, when Mulder and Scully turn up in the car park. I haven't ever really understood how and why he plays the middleman for both sides. It must be difficult to maintain the relationships with those entities, especially as the Big Brother can make you disappear, whilst all Mulder and Scully can do is a story that breaks into the mainstream news for twenty four hours.
The immortality device Langley's older lover suggests being at the centre of the case for TLG's appearance would probably get lost in the tabloid newspapers as something that came out from scifi realm. The Digital Personality Life Extension is a hyper technology that we probably won't see in the near future but, in the distant one. Rickhard Morgan's "the neural stack" from the Alterated Carbon series is a similar kind of device and it goes further than Langley's ghost in the shell at a hidden mainframe.
But if you think about it, and apply whole thing to a teleporter, you should have a device that should be able to do everything you need for a immortal life inside the slow moving time-machine. Langley's construction is simply living forever in that digital mainframe. So, if a person can upload their consiousness into the machine, then maybe at one point down the line, they might be able to exit the machine and get into new body.
The Authorities would most probably pay a lot of money from a chance to live again and see the world around them inside the virtual reality. To be honest, Langley's ghost-in-the-shell isn't far from William Gibson's Dixie Flatline - a hacker who stored his consciousness inside a digital archive. Similar to Langley's fate Flatline also felt his time in the construct miserable.
The life inside isn't fun. In fact, this similar fate outside Star Trek holorealms has always seen as a misery. People simply cannot live their life inside the Matrix. Maybe it's because our organic minds weren't meant to be living inside these virtual realities. Lady in the Red suggested that two hundred minds already living inside the simulation thrives. So, the question is did Langley murder two hundred other minds for being slightly cookie, or were they really feeling that bad at the inside the machine?