Director: Rob Bowman
Mulder is haunted by a series of vivid dreams that leads him to the location of the buried body of a murdered girl with a heart shape cut out of her clothing. Mulder recognizes the M.O. of the crime as matching murders carried out by serial killer John Lee Roche, whom Mulder profiled in one of his first cases with the FBI. Between the years of 1979 to 1990 Roche, a vaccum cleaner salesman abducted thirteen young girls, strangled them and cut heart shaped material from their clothes which he kept as trophies.
When the body is identified as Addie Sparks, who went missing in 1975, it seems to indicate that Roche's killing spree started earlier that previously thought. Roche's heart shaped trophies were never recovered so the exact number of victims remained unknown. Mulder has another dream which leads him to Roche's paper heart tophies hidden in his old car, there are sixteen hearts indicating two more victims unaccounted for. Mulder and Scully question Roche about the remaining two victims. Roche hints that Mulder's sister Samantha was one of his victims.
Mulder goes to see his mother and finds evidence that Roche sold her a vaccum cleaner in 1973 just before Samantha disappeared. Mulder questions Roche once more and strikes him when he refuses to co-coperate further. Assistant Director Skinner orders Mulder off the case. But as Mulder begins to doubt his recollections of his sister's abduction he is driven to find the truth about what happened to his sister.
When Scully says to Mulder: "A dream is an answer to a question we haven't yet learned how to ask," she is quoting Mulder back at himself. He originally said this line in the season 2 episode "Aubrey".
Mulder finds Roche's trophy cloth hearts inside a copy of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland". Later we learn that Roche lived on Alice Street. The veiled reference here is to Carroll's alleged fascination with prepubescent girls.
Mulder comes to believe that his sister may have met a more mundane end, at the hands of a serial killer, rather than being abducted by aliens. However, he doesn't stop to think about the alien clones from "Colony/Endgame" and "Herrenvolk", which prove that his sister was, in fact, abducted and expiremented on by aliens.
"Paper Hearts" was the nickname given to the case by agents because of the cloth hearts that John Lee Roche removed from his victims clothing.
Mulder: Scully, do you belive that my sister Samantha was abducted by aliens? Have you ever believed that? No. So What do you think what happened to her?
Scully: What are you saying you believe now?
Mulder: I don't know. I don't know what happened. I don't know what to believe. I just know that I have to find out now.
Roche: It's your sister.
Mulder: If that's true, tell me where.
Roche: But you'll want to now everything, right? The big mystery revealed. The...
Scully: Drop the mind games.
Roche: I can't just tell you. You need me to show you.
Mulder: You just want to get out of here.
Roche: You're damn right I do. You know, just for a day or two. I'm being honest about that. And most of all, I can't wait to see your face.
Scully: Oh, God. You're going to see the inside of your cell and that's where you're going to rot. (Turns to Mulder defensively) Come on, Mulder. Let's get out of here!
(They quickly do. While waiting to get out of the guard area, we see Roche holding sadly his head with his hands like he's just blown it.)
Mulder: Sir? I need to know why I've been denied further access to John Lee Roche. I was told that order comes down from you.
Skinner: Could you tell me why you saw fit to strike a prisoner in federal custody? Now, Agent Scully didn't report that to me but she should have. The whole thing was videotaped as per prison policy. I saw it. You're lucky I don't have your ass in a sling!
Roche: Did you bring me back my hearts?
Mulder: Yesterday, you said something about me taking it personally. Why did you say that to me? Where were you in 1973?
Roche: When exactly? The whole year?
Mulder: November 1973. November 27th, 1973. Do you know what I'm getting at?
Roche: I was selling vacuum cleaners in 1973. I made a sales trip to Martha's Vineyard that time of year and...I uh, sold a vacuum cleaner to your dad. He bought it for your mom. I believe it was a Electrovac Duchess or the Princess model. Uh, your dad and I talked about it at great length. He, uh had a really hard time choosing.
Mulder: What do you know about my sister?
Roche: You bring me back my hearts, and maybe I'll tell you more.
Episode Number: 83
Season Number: 4
First Aired: Sunday December 15, 1996
Production Code: 4X08