08 August 2007

Season 6: Milagro (6X18)

Written by: Chris Carter, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
Directed by: Kim Manners

While on her way to Mulder's apartment to discuss a murder case, Scully runs into Phillip Padgett, Mulder's new next door neighbor. Padgett is an odd bird - a writer who lives in his own mind; he gives Scully a creepy feeling.

The agents discuss the case and Mulder expresses his theory that the murder is a result of psychic surgery - the victim's heart was removed without any incisions, no prints, no forensic evidence of any kind left as clues. Scully, at best, is dubious.

When a similar murder occurs out on Lover's Lane, Mulder gets a hold of Scully who happens to be in Mulder's office where she finds that a pendant has been slipped inside an envelope under Mulder's door. It's a "milagro" - a lucky charm, with an image of a burning heart engraved on it. Scully feels it may be from the murderer and sets out to do some research.

At a nearby church, Scully is studying a painting of Christ with a flaming heart in his hands when she is approached by Mulder's neighbor, Padgett. He tells Scully he sent her the milagro, that he has been studying her for a character in his novel, and that he's become enamored of her.

Scully is both intrigued and disquieted by Padgett, yet is drawn to visit him on her way to Mulder's apartment. He seems to be getting underneath her skin when Mulder barges in, gun high, and arrests Padgett. It seems that the murders which they have been investigating coincide with personal ads taken out in a local paper; Padgett used the ads to find his victims. He also wrote about each murder, in detail, in his novel.

But another murder occurs while Padgett is locked up. Mulder is even more fervent in his belief that Padgett psychically communicated with a partner in crime, Dr. Ken Naciamento - the noted Brazilian psychic surgeon, and that somehow Padgett directed Naciamento to commit the crime. Mulder feels the only way to catch Padgett is to release him.

Back in his apartment, Padgett is visited by Naciamento. However, Mulder and Scully, who have set up a surveillance on Padgett's apartment, see nothing on the screen of Naciamento. Is he only a figment of Padgett's imagination or not? Naciamento coaxes Padgett into the realization that Scully must be killed. Padgett hurriedly finishes his novel, then heads for the basement incinerator to burn the pages. Mulder follows him there and is about to arrest Padgett when he hears a scream from above. It's Scully, who is being attacked by Naciamento. Mulder races to her side, finds her covered in blood, but alive. Padgett, on the other hand, lies at the foot of the incinerator, his heart removed and beating in his own hand.

Angele Vacco, who played the murdered teenager Kevin, is a former X-Files production assistant. He also appeared in the season 2 episode "F. Emasculata".

John Hawkes (playing Phillip Padgett) worked with David Duchovny in the 1997 movie ''Playing God''.

In the cemetery, the camera seems to linger on a tombstone engraved with the names "Diana and Nicholas Salinger", which are the names of the late parents of the kids on ''Party of Five''.

The index cards that Phillip Padgett pins to his wall are covered with plot points from the T.S. Elliot poem "The Wasteland".

The scene where Mulder runs after the hooded man in the cemetary had to be filmed on a motorcycle because David Duchovny runs so fast. According to Kim Manners, in ''Tunguska'' David ran so fast that he outran two horses.

Scully: I, uh... I rode up on the elevator with someone. Someone from next door, I think.
Mulder: Hmm... Young guy?
Scully: Yeah.
Mulder: New neighbour. Why?
Scully: You met him?
Mulder: Uh, briefly, yeah. He's a writer.
Scully: What does he write?
Mulder: He didn't say.
Scully: These are, uh... these are my autopsy reports from the second victim. As you can see the heart was removed in the same manner as the previous victim. No incisions, no scope marks, no cutting of any kind.
Mulder: No indication of how the killer did it?
Scully: No. There's no prints, no DNA material, no hair and fibre.
Mulder: And yet, you still refuse to believe my theory — that what this is psychic surgery?
Scully: Mulder, psychic surgery is some man dipping his hand in a bucket of chicken guts and pretending to remove tumours from the sick and gullible.
Mulder: Or... it's a grossly misunderstood area of alternative medicine.
Scully: Well, medicine, as you're referring to it is about keeping people alive.
Mulder: Well, absent another theory how else do we account for the impossible extraction of this man's heart?
Scully: I don't know. I have no idea.
Mulder: I mean, we have no evidence — no MO to speak of. This could be the perfect crime.
Scully: Well, a crime is only as perfect as the man or the mind that commits it. Even if it were perfect — even if he made not one mistake — there's still his motive. You find his motive and you find the murderer.

Scully: It's called a 'milagro'. That's the Spanish word for 'miracle'. It's worn as a lucky charm.
Mulder: It came here for me?
Scully: It was dropped off at reception by a man in his late 20s, early 30s... average looking, average build. They weren't able to get a good ID. There are no fingerprints and no DNA from his saliva.
Mulder: I don't think it's the killer, Scully.
Scully: Did you see that it's a burning heart?
Mulder: I see it has a burning heart. But we're dealing with a killer that leaves absolutely no clues. Why would he do something as heavy-handed as this?
Scully: Well, maybe it has something to do with his next victim. Maybe he's taunting you.
Mulder: Maybe it's not me at all. Maybe he sent it to you. Maybe it's a secret admirer.
Scully: I think I'll check it out.
Mulder: Actually, let me. You've got a 9:00am with the DC medical examiner. He's going to let you autopsy the latest victim.
Scully: Thank you for making my schedule but I think I'm going to have to be late for that appointment.

Phillip Padgett: (voiceover) The overture in the church had urged the beautiful agent's partner into an act of Hegelian self-justification. Expeditiously violating the fourth amendment against mail theft, he prepared to impudently infract the first.
(Mulder is listening at the heating vent)
But if she'd predictably aroused her sly partner's suspicions, Special Agent Dana Scully had herself... become simply aroused. All morning the stranger's unsolicited compliments had played on the dampened strings of her instrument until the middle 'C' of consciousness was struck square and resonant. She was flattered. His words had presented her a pretty picture of herself, quite unlike the practiced mask of uprightness that mirrored back to her from the medical examiners and the investigators and all the lawmen who dared no such utterances.
(Scully finishes the autopsy and looks at the charm)

She felt an involuntary flush and rebuked herself for the girlish indulgence.
(Phillip Padgett imagines 'the stranger' in bed with Scully)
But the images came perforce and she let them play — let them flood in like savoury — or more a sugary confection — from her adolescence when her senses were new and ungoverned by fear and self-denial. 'Ache', 'pang', 'prick', 'twinge' — how ironic the Victorian vocabulary of behavioural pathology now so perfectly described the palpations of her own desire. The stranger had looked her in the eye and knew her more completely than she knew herself. She felt wild, feral, guilty as a criminal. Had the stranger unleashed in her what was already there, or only helped her discover a landscape she by necessity blinded herself to? What would her partner think of her?

Scully: My life's not so lonely, Mister, um...
Phillip Padgett: Padgett.
Scully: It's actually anything but.
Phillip Padgett: Mmm.
Scully: How is it you think you know me so well, Mr. Padgett?
Phillip Padgett: I'm writing about you.
Scully: Right. Since when?
Phillip Padgett: Since I first noticed you. You live in my old neighbourhood.
Scully: And you moved into this building by coincidence?
Phillip Padgett: No.
Scully: You moved here because of me?
Phillip Padgett: There wasn't anything available in your building and it's not like you spent a lot of time at home. I should've said something but I just couldn't get it all down fast enough. To really write someone, I have to be in their head. I have to know them more completely than they know themselves.
Scully: This is all about me?
Phillip Padgett: Well, you're an important part.
Scully: May I read it?
Phillip Padgett: It's not finished. I can't tell you how helpful it is having you here — being able to talk with you like this. Would you sit and stay a minute?
Scully: You don't have anywhere to sit.
(Phillip Padgett leads her into the bedroom)

Highlights from "Milagro''

Episode Number: 135
Season Number: 6
First Aired: Sunday, April 18, 1999
Production Code: 6X18

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