23 August 2007

Season 7: Hungry (7X01)

Written by: Vince Gilligan
Directed by: Kim Manners

When a man's body is discovered with the brain removed from the scull in Costa Mesa, California, Mulder and Scully are assigned to assist the local police in their investigation. The only clue being a button recovered from the body which leads them to the Lucky Boy Burgers restaurant. They check that all of the employees have their badges and discover one of the staff, Derwood Spinks' badge is missing, although he claims he left it at home. When it later transpires that Derwood has a criminal record, he becomes the prime suspect for the local police department and Agent Scully.

Agent Mulder however has a different theory, that the victims brain was sucked out of his head by some kind of proboscis. Mulder's suspicions fall on another employee Rob Roberts who was working late the night the victim died. Derwood Spinks visits Rob at his home, annoyed at being fired from the Lucky Boy Burgers restaurant for lying about his criminal record. He confronts Rob with evidence that he is the murderer and attempts to blackmail him.

But Derwood does not realise what Rob is and falls victim to his hunger. Rob is contacted by Dr. Mindy Rinehart, hired by Lucky Boy Burgers to counsel the employee's following recent events. In session with her, Rob admits that he is battling an eating disorder and she sends him to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, not fully understanding what Mulder seems to know, that Rob is a really a monster with a compulsion to feed on human brains.

Notes:
The private detective who looks remarkably like Mulder is Steve Kiziak, playing himself, and is also David Duchovny's stand-in. He will appear again in 'Fight Club' as the man who looks like Mulder alongside Arlene Pileggi, who is Gillian Anderson's stand in and also AD Skinner's secretary.

In keeping with writer Vince Gilligan's habit of putting his girlfriend's name (Holly Rice) in each episode he writes, the manager of the fast-food store is named Mr. Rice. Another employee is named Lucy, which is Holly's real first name.

The original aspect of this episode is that it is told from Rob's point of view. Mulder and Scully's investigation is not the main focus and they only appear for brief periods throughout.

The air date of this episode was November twenty-first, Chris Carter's wife's birthday.

Quotes:
Mulder: Hey, Scully, check it out. You know how they say you never want to see the kitchen of any of your favourite restaurants?
Scully: Somehow, I don't think Lucky Boy would make that list.
Mulder: My point being that this is a hell of a lot cleaner than all the others. Don't you think?
Scully: I guess. So what are you saying, Mulder? This place has been scrubbed from top to bottom to cover up evidence?
Mulder: Maybe. Maybe I'm thinking this was the crime scene.
Scully: You're saying Mr Pankow had his brain very neatly removed from his skull right here in this kitchen?
Mulder: It had to happen somewhere.
Scully: But next to the shake machine, Mulder? I think that we should be checking out employee lockers and not entertaining the idea that ad hoc surgery was performed here.
Mulder: I wouldn't exactly call it surgery. What if this man's brain was eaten? It's not sociologically unheard of. There are certain tribes in New Guinea that consider human brains a delicacy.
Scully: Yeah, but Mulder, we're in Orange County.
Mulder: Yeah, what's your point? It's just that nothing about the way the body was dumped suggests a fetishistic killing. The brain wasn't removed intact. What if this man's brain was eaten right out of his skull?
Scully: Through an inch-and-a-half opening that looks like it was cut with a hole saw?
Mulder: Well, maybe it was cut. Maybe it was punched. What look like tool marks to you look to me like something more organic. Like it was made by a... a tongue or a proboscis.
Scully: The proboscis of what?
Mulder: I don't know. Oh. Hello. Look at this. Does that look like blood to you?
Scully: Yes, it looks like it.
Mulder: What is that? Next to it. Is that, uh... oh, my... ugh. Is that brain? Is that brain matter there?
Scully: No, I'd say that's ground beef.
Mulder: Ground beef.
Scully: Yeah.

Scully: Derwood Spinks has disappeared.
Mulder: His car is gone along with some personal belongings.
Scully: My partner saw Spinks in your neighbourhood yesterday morning. At that time, you told Agent Mulder that you hadn't seen Mr Spinks. Is that correct?
Rob Roberts: I don't even know him that well. If he was going to leave town he wouldn't come tell me about it.
Mulder: Who said he left town?
Rob Roberts: I don't know. Isn't that what you think happened?
Mulder: No, no, no. Personally, I think he's dead. I can't speak for my partner, but I think that whatever it was that killed Donald Pankow also got to Mr Derwood Spinks.
Rob Roberts: What do you mean, 'whatever it was'?
Mulder: I'll let you in on a little secret. We've been able to keep it pretty quiet up until now but Donald Pankow's brain was missing from his skull. My partner was able to find something that was previously undetected. It was the tip of what can only be described as a tiny shark's tooth embedded deep in the bone. I think we're looking for some kind of genetic freak — a carnivorous predator as yet unidentified. A monster, if you will.
Rob Roberts: There's no such thing.
Mulder: Don't you believe it. This thing definitely qualifies. It has a biological imperative to eat. I think it even ate that ground chuck you threw away.
Rob Roberts: Yeah? Why?
Mulder: Because it can't kill with impunity and it knows it. It knows that the more it feeds on humans the closer it gets to getting caught, but the hunger is always there. And it satisfies it any way it can.
Rob Roberts: I'm sorry, but this is like good cop, insane cop. Why are you telling me all of this?
Mulder: I think you know why.

Episode Number: 142
Season Number: 7
First Aired: Sunday, November 21, 1999
Prod Code: 7X01

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