Director: Rob Bowman
When a young woman is kidnapped and her boyfriend murdered in North Michigan, passport photographs taken moments before reveal nightmarish images of the woman. Mulder is fascinated by the pictures, believing them to be evidence of psychic photograph, images created on film by the power of the mind.
After the victim is found alive but lobotomised, unable to do anything but repeat the word 'unruhe', German for unrest, and a second victim is taken, Scully makes the break though and arrests a suspect, Gerry Schnauz. A paranoid schizophrenic who spent time in an institution following an attack on his father brought on by his sister's suicide, which he blames on 'howlers', evil spirits that live in people's minds. He thinks he is saving the women he lobotomises from the howlers.
Mulder shows Gerry the photographs, he is shocked by the sight of his paranoid delusions captured on film and admits to the crimes, telling them where the second victim is, she too has been lobotomised. But the hunter becomes the hunted, as Gerry kills a prison guard and escapes taking Scully captive. Mulder's only hope of saving her is to study the photographs to get inside Gerry's mind. Meanwhile Scully uses her own knowledge of Gerry's psychosis and German to try to talk Gerry out of 'saving' her from the howlers. But Gerry seems more concerned with the camera he has, all the photographs he takes show him lying dead on the floor. Moments later Mulder arrives and shoots Gerry dead.
Although the word Unruhe is indeed German for "unrest", Writer Vince Gilligan's inspiration came from an article on mass murderer Howard Unruh and found it eerily poetic that the killers last name also meant unrest.
Don't know if this is intentional, but the story idea of a polaroid camera taking pictures of something other than the intended subject was the basis for the novella "The Sun Dog" by Stephen King, included in the "Four Past Midnight" collection.
This episode marks the first episode in ''The X-Files'' new time slot. Up to this point ''The X-Files'' had always aired on Friday night. From now on until the end of the series the show would air on Sunday night.
We get an early indication of Scully's cancer here, when Schnauz says he can see Scully's unrest, and points to the bridge of her nose. (Scully develops a nasopharyngeal carcinoma).
Scully: Oh my god.
Mulder: What is it?
Scully: She's been given what's called a trans-orbital lobotomy. It used to be called an ice pick lobotomy. It involves inserting a leukotome through the eye sockets.
Mulder: So we're looking for a doctor? Someone with training?
Doctor: Not judging by this.
Scully: Whoever did this, Mulder, did it wrong.
Scully: Let me go.
Schnauz: Shhhh ... Es ist alles in Ordnung.
Scully: It's over, Gerry. Let me go right now.
Schnauz: Ich werde dir helfen. Du wirst deine Unruhe bald vergessen.
Scully: Aufhoeren! Ich habe keine Unruhe. Ich habe keine unruhe. Ich brauche nicht gerettet zu werden.
Schnauz: Yes you do. Everybody does, but especially you.
Scully: Why? Why me, Gerry? Do I remind you of your sister? Why did your sister kill herself, Gerry? What did your father do to her?
Schnauz: He didn't do anything. It was the howlers.
Scully: OK, then let's talk about the howlers.
Schnauz: They live inside your head. They make you do things and say things that you don't mean, and all your good thoughts can't wish them away. You need help. You've got them - right there. Don't you feel them?
Scully: I don't have them, Gerry.
Schnauz: See? They made you say that, just now, because they know I'm going to kill them.
Scully: What if you're wrong, Gerry?. What if there are no such things as howlers? What if you made them up inside your head to explain the things your sister said your father did?
Schnauz: Great. Now they got you talking like Sigmund Freud. I am on to you! I know your tricks! Besides, I've seen them, in that picture that your partner showed me. Pictures don't lie. You saw them too.
Scully: If there are such things as howlers, Gerry, they live only insideyour head.
Highlights from ''Unruhe''
Episode Number: 77
Season Number: 4
First Aired: Sunday October 27, 1996
Production Code: 4X02