You might say Keanu Reeves inspired the first stand alone episode of Season Six, the action packed “Drive.” “I sort of wanted to do our version of the Speed,” says writer Vince Gilligan. “[I wanted] something to do with people who couldn’t stop moving. I guess it speaks to how fast paces society is nowadays.”
Fast paced is a good way to describe the episode, in which Mulder is taken hostage by a man who forces him at gun point to drive across the country. If the agent stops the car, the man dies.
“I had this crazy teaser [in mind] for about two-and-a-half years, where a guys on a Tilt a Whirl at an amusement park,” Gilligan explains. “He’s got somebody in the car with him, and he’s got a gun. He’s screaming at the operator, ‘Don’t shut off the Tilt-a-Whirl.’ You see the SWAT guys run up, and they pop a tear gas grenade. The guy drops the gun, and it clatters to the ground underneath the Tilt-a-Whirl. They shut it off, and they yank him out. Then we didn’t know what to do from there. I always joked, at that point his head exploded, which made it an X-File.”
Gilligan’s writing partners Frank Spotinitz and John Shiban remembered the idea when the time came to begin work on episode two. “They always laughed about the idea of the head exploding, but we talked more about it and we said, ‘Why don’t we actually do something with that?’” Gilligan says. “I was a little reluctant because i was afraid the science would be so phony. How do you explain that?”
Believe it or not, the writers, with some research help, managed to fin a relatively plausible way for the seemingly far-fetched concept to work. From that point, the episode seemed to flow naturally, Gilligan says. “Frank hit on the idea one day. ‘What if it’s just one guy and we follow him throughout [the episode]?” he says. “After that, it came together fairly quickly.”