11 September 2007

Season 7: Theef (7X14)

Written by: Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
Directed by: Kim Manners

When California Doctor Robert Wieder wins the Bay Area Doctor of the year award, both he and his family are overjoyed. But the celebrations soon turn sour when his father-in-law, Irv is found hanging with his throat cut in Robert Wieder's mansion, the words, 'Theef' scrawled in blood on the wall next to him. Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate and conclude that the message on the wall is a mis-spelling of the word thief.

Mulder also discovers dirt in Irv's bed that is identified as hex-dirt. They question Robert Wieder on the matter but he claims that neither he or his father-in-law had any enemies. Scully's autopsy of Irv's body reveals that he was suffering from progressive dementia, a rare disease that affects a person's sanity. Mulder speculates that this could have driven Irv to kill himself.

When Robert Wieder's wife, Nan is taken ill and rushed to hospital, she is diagnosed as suffering from Diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis, another rare disease. Mulder airs his belief that someone is using hex-craft to direct these rare diseases against his family, but Robert Weider, being a man of science dismisses his concerns. Later however he is approached by a man claiming to be the father of Lynette Peattie, a patient he treated from a bus that rolled over. Knowing he could do nothing to save her and with her in pain, he eased her suffering by administring morphine until she died. Mulder believes Lynette's father is using the occult to harm Robert's family as punishment.

This episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Make-up in a Series.

Dedication: In Memoriam, Rick Jacobson 1951-2000. Rick Jacobson was president of Twentieth Television (the syndication arm of Fox) who died of cancer in March of 2000.

The name of the reporter covering the flesh-eating disease story is John Gillnitz, marking the 5th appearance of the name in an X-Files episode. This long-running in-joke is a combination of the names of the writers John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, and Frank Spotnitz.

Mulder: What do you think, Scully, is this a name, possibly? Or a code, or an anagram?
Scully: T-H-E-E-F. I assume it's supposed to be T-H-I-E-F — 'thief'.
Mulder: Insert your own Dan Quayle joke here. Lousy spelling aside, what do you think it refers to? Who's the thief?
Scully: Well, that's certainly one question. I've got many.
Mulder: Mulder, why are we here?'
Scully: To be fair, I might have used the words 'Mulder, how is this an X-File?'
Mulder: You see that, Scully, you always keep me guessing. This is Dr Irving Thalbro, age 66. Found hanged with his throat cut. His family tucked away and in bed not 40 feet from here didn't see or hear anything.
Scully: Which would certainly shine the light of suspicion on them.
Mulder: Except they're the ones that called it in and there's no evidence whatsoever to link them to the crime.
Scully: Which is why the police are rightly wondering if Dr Thalbro killed himself.
Mulder: Except who, then, did this? Blood pattern doesn't indicate that the good doctor did it, who I am assuming could read and write above a fourth-grade level.
Scully: I'll admit, Mulder, this is not an open and shut case. But, uh... it doesn't make it an X-File.

Mulder: This dirt we found? Gas chromatograph shows pronounced spikes of methane and sulphur compounds — the signature of decay. It's graveyard dirt. Also known as conjure dust. It's one of the most powerful hexing elements, whether for good or evil, not the kind of stuff you want to be on the wrong end of.
Scully: Uh-huh.
Mulder: Go ahead, Scully, keep me guessing.
Scully: Kuru.
Mulder: The, uh... the disease that New Guinea tribesmen get?
Scully: From eating the brains of their relatives.
Mulder: I thought my grandpa slurping his soup was bad.
Scully: Practically speaking, Mulder, Kuru doesn't even exist any more. Not in New Guinea and certainly not in the US. But this man's cerebellum and his striatum clearly show signs of it, Mulder. I mean, these... these anyloid plaques? His brain is riddled with them.

Dr Wieder: Folk magic. You mean like Baba Yaga... Gypsies.
Mulder: I was actually thinking less Eastern and more Celtic. Maybe... Scots-Irish or Appalachian, even.
Dr Wieder: I'm supposed to take this seriously?
Scully: Sir, regardless of the particulars, I think it's clear that there was an intruder in your home, and I think it would be prudent for you to... accept our protection and help us to identify this person.
Dr Wieder: Prudent for me would be to continue treating my wife.
Mulder: If we don't stop who's causing this, your treatments won't matter.
Dr Wieder: So... modern medicine, and all it encompasses — artificial hearts, laser surgery, gene therapy, to name a few — all of that arrayed against a pile of magic dirt... and you tell me I'll lose. I have MRIs to look at.
Scully: Oh, yeah, Mulder, win him over.
Mulder: Oh, he will lose unless we can find a way to stop it.
Scully: What do you suggest?
Mulder: A second opinion.

Mulder: Lynette Peattie's body is on its way back home to Indiola, West Virginia.
Scully: She's going back to her people after all. You know, Mulder, I would've made the same call... as a doctor... if I was certain that I couldn't save her life and she was in that much pain... I would've done what Wieder did.
Mulder: Mm-hmm. It seems pretty clear-cut.
Scully: Except maybe it's not.
Mulder: You're wondering if maybe Peattie could've saved her life? You do keep me guessing.

Highlights from ''Theef''

Episode Number: 153
Season Number: 7
First Aired: Sunday, March 12, 2000
Production Code: 7X14

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