- Welcome to Ms. D’s Room by zephyrprince Jess and Winston: Jess is a mess trying to get things ready for her lesson and then, to top it all off, her car breaks down. At least Winston is there for her since he was coming to school anyway to talk to the class about Latvia. What he didn’t anticipate was how different it would be to see Jess in her element once they finally got to school.
- keys under the mat at your front door by aphrodite_mine Jess/Cece: Three holidays that Jess and Cece spent together, just the two of them.
- Vows by tashlae Schmidt/Gretchen: Schmidt and Gretchen’s greatest wedding hookups, 2007-2010.
- like strings and cans through halls by tashlae Nick/Jess: There’s too much sexual tension between Nick and Jess. Drastic action needs to be taken. They have a committee.
- Chemical Reactions by TheWrongKindOfPC Nick/Jess with implied Schmidt/Cece: In which Nick gets both his first heartbreak and a new lab partner, Jess really does talk like that, Scmidt prepares for rejection and Cece really just needs to focus on her career. New Girl, a high school AU.
- Pardner in Crime by crackers4jenn Jess/Schmidt: It’s Valentine’s Day, and Jess lands herself a wingman. Who is Schmidt.
- Totally Normal Roommate Activities by ozmissageJess/Schmidt: One of the guys is watching Dirty Dancing voluntarily and Jess has to know who it is. For future shaming purposes or possibly cooing reasons, she’s not sure which yet.
- all you have to do is call my name (and I’ll be there) by dollsome Schmidt and Cece: In which Schmidt and Cece bond over Stars Hollow, and the itty bitty kimono strikes back.
- Sexy Is Santa’s Middle Name Or: It’s Not Easy Being The Grumpy Elf by dollsome Ensemble: In which Jess brings home a Santa suit, Schmidt is Schmidt, and Nick lives with crazy people.
- It’s the Goofy Christmas … Err Sorry Schmidt … Holiday Episode by zephyrprince Ensemble: It’s the goofy holiday episode and Coach is back to celebrate with the apartment mates, prompting an exploration of how the boys all met each other in the first place.
- The Sun’s In My Heart by Taurenova Jess and the boys: Jess loses someone and in the end, when it counts, the guys are there for her.
- The Arts and Crafts of Moving On by LovelyPoet Jess/Nick: A sleepless night, an infomercial, the details of a skin care regime, a few small kindnesses, and an unexpectedly high percentage of talk about yarn.
“Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man” 4x7
Written by Glen Morgan
Directed by James Wong
Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.
- Salman Rushdie, “One Thousand Days in a Balloon”
People have a tendency to want to fit “Musings” within the mytharc; treating it as solid fact and trying to use it as a spring board for a show timeline - but that isn’t really how this episode works. Not only because, as is often the case with many X-Files episodes, it is left up to each of us individually to decide what is “true” or not - but because the events that happen are not really the vocal point of the episode so much as defining the function of the Cigarette Smoking Man as a character is.
Upon its initial airing some fans were distraught over learning about CSM’s past, believing the episode tarnishes his mysterious ways - but what do we actually learn about the Smoking Man? Frankly we learn nothing. Or rather we the audience are simply reinforced in how we already understand the character (up to this point in the series), that the Cigarette Smoking Man is the void of a man. But as previously stated this is a reinforcement of what we already knew, subconsciously at the very least; after all he doesn’t even have a name - and it is very telling that in this episode which is supposedly a tell-all history on the character we still do not learn it by the end.
What we do learn is that along with not having a name CSM doesn’t have a past either, he has no background. We discover that the Smoking Man grew up a orphan shuffling from one place to another before winding up in the army. From there we see him do many things, many horrible yet amazing things; the episode weaving his life in a very Forrest Gump like tale (complete with a biting “life is like a box of chocolates” monologue). CSM is present for many important turning points in recent history and like the character Forrest Gump he is present for them because he is (Forrest unknowingly, CSM knowingly) the catalyst for them. Unlike Forrest Gump though the Smoking Man’s story all builds up towards a punch line.
The joke is built around the notion that although the Smoking Man is busy writing history he much rather be writing stories. Humorously he can’t get a spy story published even with his very real experience and knowledge on the subject. This comic irony reaches its highest point when the Cigarette Smoking Man finally gets his tale printed but at the coast of getting a taste of his own medicine as his story’s ending has been re-written by the hands of some unseen all powerful editor. This is doubly amusing if we take another step back and remember we’re sitting on our sofa watching a crafted tale.
The last line of dialogue in the episode (“I can kill you whenever I please… but not today”) is uttered by the Smoking Man as he spares Frohike’s life. It is said as a reference to the original ending of his story and it is the accumulation of a rather playful notion that has been building up throughout the hour.
I think that it is safe to say that a clue into the overall intent of “Musigns of a Cigarette Man” is in the name of the magazine CSM’s story is eventually published in. Roman a’Clef is a genre were a story intertwines fact with fiction. Typically such stories are based on the authors own life and experiences with names, settings, and events altered; often times the main goal for a personal Roman a’Clef piece is for a author to attempt at recapturing accurate emotions over accurate details (if you go back and re-watch the episode it is interesting to note that JFK’s assassination lacks emotion [the history] were as CSM sitting down alone to type does not [the story]).
Of course CSM has the power to kill Frohike but, like with the majority of his life, what he does not have is the power to talk about it. Cancer Man is completely fictitious; from our perspectives as viewers of a television series and then even within the confines of the narrative space the series occupies. He has no name, he has no past, there is no record of his existence, and his one attempt at trying to express himself is foiled.
His purpose in life, as is his purpose on the show, is to appear and have some kind of affect for others to bounce off of. He has no say in the matter from either perspective, as a person or as a character. All he does is fit into a larger story - one that doesn’t ever actually concern him but which he propels along.
He isn’t just a smoking man, he is smoke.
We’re all just stories in the end.
[a lengthy response to those who insist that people who wish to change or affect or question the direction of tv shows because of canon are disrespectful, so-called “crazy,” etc.]