25 April 2007

Season 3: Hell Money (3X19)

Writer: Jeff Vlaming
Director: Tucker Gates

After a young Chinese immigrant is burned alive in a crematorium, Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate a series of murders in San Francisco's Chinatown. Aided by a Chinese-American police detective Chao, they delve in to a culture alien to their own, with its own myths and rituals and where outsiders are treated with suspicion. Mulder notices a Chinese character scrawled inside the crematorium oven which Chao translates as the word 'ghost', he also identifies a fragment of a note found in the oven as 'hell money', ceremonial currency burnt during the Chinese festival of the Hungry Ghosts as an offering to the dead.

The victim is identified as Johnny Lo and the threesome visit his apartment looking for clues. Chinese characters mark his apartment as a 'haunted house' and they find a freshly laid carpet and traces of blood underneath. The investigation deepens when Scully finds a frog living in the body of another dead Chinese man who has had all of his organs harvested. Mulder and Scully visit an organ procurement organisation and discover that a number of Chinese men have visited requesting typing and antigen work-ups for organ donation only to not be heard from again. Mulder and Scully sense that Chao is being protective of the what is going on within the Chinese community. Given a lead from a father's desperate sacrifice for his dying daughter, Mulder and Scully find a secret room, a surgeon, and a lottery game where the price of a ticket is the player's life.

This is the first of several episodes throughout the series to be completely devoid of a paranormal storyline.

Lucy Liu, who would later on become famous playing a lawyer in "Ally McBeal," was at the time dating David Duchovny in real life.

In postproduction, the producers realised that several actors spoke Chinese with a Mandarin accent although the script called for a Cantonese accent. These actors were called back and their dialogue was dubbed with the help of a vocal coach.

Mulder: You think this guy was selling his body parts.
Scully: A kidney, a portion of the liver, bone marrow, a lobe of the lung. A cornea. A person can lose these things and live to cash their social security checks.

Dr. Wu: In my belief, death is nothing to be feared. It's merely a stage of transition. But life without hope...well, now that is a living hell. So, hope was my gift to these men.
(Scully sighs angrily.)
Dr. Wu: I don't expect you to understand.
Scully: I understand this. You are going to prison for a very long time.

Episode Number: 68
Season Number: 3
First Aired: Friday March 29, 1996
Production Code: 3X19

No comments: