31 August 2007

Season 7 : Signs and Wonders (7X09)

Written by: Jeffrey Bell
Directed by: Kim Manners

Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate after the body of a young man, Jared Chirp is discovered with 116 snake bites in the small town of Blessing, McMinn County, Tennessee. Jared's body was found in his car will all of the doors and windows locked but no snakes were found at the scene, not to mention the fact that some of the snake bites came from snakes who hibernate during the winter. The agents suspect Jared was murdered, but Mulder is puzzled by snakes being used as the murder weapon.

Until Scully points out that serpents and religion go hand in hand and wonders if the use of snakes is symbolic to the killer. A theory given credence when it turns out that Jared belonged to the 'Church of God with Signs and Wonders', a fundamentaist congregation that practice snake handling as part of their worship. Suspicion soon falls on the church leader Reverend O'Conner, when it transpires that he has been persecuting Jared and his girlfriend, Gracie who is Reverend O'Conner's daughter, since she got pregnant and the pair turned their backs on the Church of God with Signs and Wonders in favour of a less fundamental church in the same area.

But when Reverend O'Conner is himself the victim of a snake attack, Mulder and Scully uncover evidence that suggests Jared was killed because he found out that he was sterile and so could not be the father of Gracie's baby. Opening up the possibility of some wider evil at work in the community.

'Signs and Wonders' is a common biblical phrase used to describe the acts used to convince followers of the nature of Christ and his apostles, for example:
Second Corinthians 12:12: "The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles."

A deleted scene included O'Fallon singing to his church group. It was cut due to time restraints.

Enoch O'Connor's namesake can be found in the bible book of Genesis. An ancestor of Noah, the prophet Enoch "walked with God" and was transferred so as not to see death.

A mic boom operator is visible on the lefthand side of the screen wearing a white t-shirt, beige shorts, and sneakers. He's carrying the boom mic and following Mulder and Scully. You can see him when Mulder and Scully arrive at the "Church of God with Signs and Wonders" for the first time...when Mulder delivers the line "That's funny, I knew a couple Catholic schoolgirls who were experts at it."

Scully: "Snakes."
Mulder: Lots and lots of snakes. Very pissed off ones, from the look of it. That's the former Mr. Jared Chirp of McMinn County, Tennessee.
Scully: Oh, my God.
Mulder: 116 separate bite marks. Judging from the wound measurements there were 50 different snakes involved — mostly copperheads and rattlers.
Scully: But it says here that he was found dead in his car.
Mulder: Yeah, with a pistol in his hand. He fired six shots, into the floorboards, into the passenger seat, even into his own right kneecap, and the windows were shut and the doors were locked.
Scully: But, uh, what happened to all the snakes?
Mulder: No one seems to know that. There was not a scale found. I just got off the phone with a herpetologist at the Smithsonian, and he's stumped — especially because these rattlesnakes tend to hibernate in winter.

Scully: Tennessee. Snakes. Thank you, Mulder. Thank you so much. I say we arrest him and catch the first flight out of here.
Mulder: He does seem like a likely suspect only the local sheriff's office ruled him out. Apparently, he was in Kentucky the night Jared Chirp died.
Scully: Well, Mulder, there are other people in his congregation.
Mulder: Jared Chirp died with a packed suitcase by his side. There's got to be somebody that knows where he was headed.

Reverend O'Connor: Your FBI partner could've learned something about herself if you hadn't stopped me. Some powerful good news, maybe.
Mulder: I'd say it's good news for you that she's not here right now... considering what you tried to do to her. Is that what you did to your wife? Alice O'Connor... succumbed to multiple snakebites in June, 1994. It happened during a church service or at least that's what you told local police. You got away with it... almost. What was, uh... the problem with your wife? Was she not... righteous enough for you? Just like your daughter's boyfriend... or Iris Finster?
Reverend O'Connor: Educated man... too smart to know any better.
Mulder: Smart enough to know you're a murderer.
Reverend O'Connor: Satan is near, and you don't even have eyes. You're just proud and fancy free.
Mulder: No one quite passes muster with you, huh? You feel the need to exact some kind of Old Testament revenge? What about your daughter? What were your plans for her?
Reverend O'Connor: I pray for her soul. I pray and I pray because she's lost.
Mulder: Because she no longer believes as you do?
Reverend O'Connor: You think because you're educated you're better than most? You ain't. Unless you're smart down here (points to his heart) the Devil's going to make a fool of you and you ain't even going to know it.

Reverend Mackey: Are you a righteous man, Agent Mulder?
Mulder: Stay where you are.
Reverend Mackey: It's just a simple question. Most people believe they're on the side of angels. But are they? If you were put to the test... how would you do?

Episode Number: 148
Season Number: 7
First Aired: Sunday, January 23, 2000
Prod Code: 7X09

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