Vince Gilligan wrote the X-Files Drive episode as well as Breaking Bad. In Drive, Bryan Cranston plays a man named Crump who is forced to drive west at ever higher speeds lest a vibration in his inner ear cause his head to explode. Mulder had just seen this happen to Crump’s wife, so he is inclined to believe something unusual is going on. However before he can investigate further, Crump takes Mulder hostage and forces him to drive west. It’s a morally questionable judgment that we see echoed in Breaking Bad.
As the Drive episode unfolds we see elements of typical X-Files government conspiracy. A government-based radio transmitter had recently issued a noise near Crump’s home that is likely the cause of the infection. Although Scully was getting closer to a cure, the majority of the episode focused on Mulder’s stressful drive west with Crump. Mulder is sympathetic to the Crump, but Crump starts out extremely distrustful and dangerous. Crump accuses Mulder of being part of the Jewish conspiracy as well as the evil government. Crump is a racist gun-wielding jerk, insisting on being called “Mr” Crump.
Regardless, Mulder goes all out to help this guy. Either because he knows this is Crump’s dying hour, or because he does not want Crump to be the victim of an giant goverment conspiracy, Mulder is nice to him. Mulder does not want this unpleasant man to die. He finds ways of driving west despite several obstacles.
Well, on behalf of the International Jewish Conspiracy I just need to inform you that we’re almost out of gas. Mulder says this gently, as though speaking with a friend. Unable to fill up at the pump quickly enough, Mulder steals a car and continues west with Crump in tow.
One might think there is nothing to like about Crump. However over the course of his dialogue with Mulder, Crump warms up. Crump shares a story of his morning breakfast with his wife. Crump reveals his very human fear of losing his life. We begin to empathize. Like Walter White in Breaking Bad, he’s definitely got some good and bad in him.