28 February 2008

Season 8: Medusa (8X13)

Written by: Frank Spotnitz
Directed by: Richard Compton

A man waits alone on the Clay Street train platform in Boston. He is an undercover transit cop who, speaking into a microphone on his lapel, describes a gangbanger that has jumped the turnstile. The train arrives, and the cop steps in the empty car as it moves into a tunnel. The gangbanger enters from another car. Suddenly, the train lurches to an abrupt stop and loses its power. Strobes of bright light fill the car, and a man's scream is heard. The gangbanger jumps down on the tracks and runs off into the tunnel. At the next stop, incoming passengers see the officer's body on the floor of the car. Huge chunks of his face and body have been eaten away, revealing sections of skull and skeleton.

At the Boston Transit Operations Center, Scully and Doggett talk with Deputy Transit Police Chief Karras, who wants to reopen the line in time for the afternoon rush hour. Scully insists on keeping the train closed until the man's cause of death can be determined. Armed and wearing a flak jacket, Doggett proceeds into the tunnel, joined by Police Lieutenant Bianco, Center for Disease Control pathogen expert Hellura Lyle and transit engineer Steven Melnick. Scully, manning the expedition from above ground, communicates with Doggett by radio and video camera. As they venture into the tunnel, they find it to be unusually hot because ventilation was shut down. Suddenly, Melnick screams, indicating a burn on his neck. Dr. Lyle does a sample analysis on a puddle that the group had passed, but finds that the liquid is only seawater.

In the darkness, Lt. Bianco sees a figure move. Doggett chases after it into an unused and obsolete tunnel, and gets attacked by a man with horrifyingly decayed features. The man is the gangbanger who previously ran off into the tunnels. Lt. Bianco is ready to end the search when Melnick spots three bodies wrapped in plastic. Dr. Lyle sees a shadow run off, but, upon investigation, the team can't find anyone. Scully, believing a contagion is still a risk factor, directs them to leave the bodies and continue into the main tunnel. Melnick screams again, this time with burns on his arms and hands. Scully orders them to pour fresh water on Melnick from their canteens. She guesses that they may be facing some kind of bio-chemical agent. While Dr. Lyle stays with Melnick, Doggett and Bianco start into a side tunnel. No one notices Lt. Bianco's hand glowing faintly green. Scully meets the hazmat team as they bring out Dr. Lyle, the deteriorating Melnick and the three dead victims. She orders that the bodies be taken to the CDC and accuses Karras of hiding dead bodies that he knew were down there.

Doggett and Bianco trudge into the next tunnel. Bianco's face and hands begin to glow green, but it has no other effect on him. He tries to leave, but Doggett pulls a gun on him. Bianco kicks him in the face, knocking Doggett out, and he escapes. Doggett now has the green fluorescent glow on his skin. Scully, meanwhile, gets a visit from Dr. Kai Bowe, a marine biologist. She has analyzed the water from the tunnel, and has found that it contains a sea creature, called a medusa, which is why the CDC missed it when they inspected the liquid. The medusas glow with bioelectricity, but do not burn people on contact. Something triggers it. Scully fears the worst for her partner.

Doggett wakes up and speaks to Scully on the radio. If he is to stop the spread of the contaminant, he needs to find Lt. Bianco. Karras tells Scully that he has reopened the subway and there are already passengers on the platform. It is now becoming urgent to protect the thousands of passengers. Doggett locates Bianco, lying in the tunnel. Scully tells Doggett to get out, but Bianco begs him to stay. Doggett helps Bianco walk, and they see a child's shadow. The boy, who is unaffected, points to a wall. Scully figures out that sweat triggers the electricity. Since the boy's sweat glands aren't fully developed, he has not been affected. The boy motions Doggett toward a big leak in the ceiling with water running from the bay. He leads him to a main track, where trains from the reopened system are about to cross. Doggett is faced with a train heading towards him. He places Bianco's gun on the third rail, which triggers a spark when the train hits it. The electricity charges into the puddles of seawater, killing the medusa. It vanishes from Doggett's and Bianco's skin.

Doggett is later treated at Boston General Hospital. Scully tells him that he is rid of the organism and is perfectly fine. The boy is with social services. Plastic surgeons are working on Melnick and Bianco, and the three bodies' deaths are being attributed to an unknown pathogen. Since there is no proof that Karras endangered people's lives, he can't be criminally charged for keeping the trains running. He was merely doing his job. Scully congratulates Doggett for saving all those people's lives. You figured it out, he tells her. I was just your eyes and ears.

In the teaser, the undercover cop refers to "a possible ten-thirteen" in his radio call. This is a common X-Files in-joke. Many episodes make reference to "ten thirteen" or "1013" in some fashion. This is because 10/13/56 is Chris Carter's birthdate. His production company is also "Ten Thirteen Productions".

David Duchovny does not appear in this episode.

Doggett: Do you need some help with that?
Scully: No. You're going in without me.
Doggett: What?
Scully: I don't know what kind of games are being played, but I'm going to be much more effective analysing the situation from up here.
Doggett: Yeah, but I'm just tag along here. This is your thing. You've got all the experience.
Scully: You've got capable people with you, Agent Doggett. What I need down there are eyes and ears.
Doggett: Okay. I'll be your eyes and ears. But I wish somebody would tell me what the hell I'm supposed to be looking for.

Scully: (on radio) I want you to leave those bodies where you found them and go after whoever it is who's in that tunnel. We need to know whether he is causing this or if he's infected himself. Either way, he may kill more people. I'm sure Dr Lyle will agree.
Doggett: All right, we just got our order. We're going to continue on.
Lieutenant Bianco: Says who?
Doggett: Says the boss.
Lieutenant Bianco: Agent Doggett. This agent you work with deals with weird stuff, right?
Doggett: She works on something called the X-Files — FBI cases dealing with unexplained phenomena.
Lieutenant Bianco: You know her at all?
Doggett: Yeah, I know her. We've worked together for a short time.
Lieutenant Bianco: I wonder why she sent you down here instead of coming herself.
Doggett: It's the right call. You got a problem, Lieutenant?
Lieutenant Bianco: Yeah. A problem when somebody I don't know keeps me down here in the dark looking for jack squat when we've already found our man.
Doggett: It's a question of contagion.
Lieutenant Bianco: It's a question of who's in charge.

Deputy Chief Karras: Agent Scully, we are on a deadline here, which is fast approaching.
Scully: These bodies need immediate examination and diagnosis.
Deputy Chief Karras: And that is being arranged.
Scully: By whom? I already arranged it. You knew those bodies were down there, didn't you?
Deputy Chief Karras: I'd watch yourself, Agent Scully.
Scully: Look at the way they're wrapped. Somebody sealed them in plastic, hoping they wouldn't be found. Look, if I find out you sent my partner and those others down there knowing about this...
Deputy Chief Karras: You are way out of line here.
Scully: I want to see inspection reports. I want to know who was down there in that tunnel and what they saw.
Deputy Chief Karras: I'll get you anything you want.
Scully: Good. Now, let's get these bodies to the CDC where they're supposed to go.

Scully: (on radio) Agent Doggett? Agent Doggett, can you hear me? Agent Doggett?
Doggett: (on radio) Yeah. I'm here. I hear you.
Scully: (on radio) Oh, you had me. I... I started fearing the worst.
Doggett: (on radio) No, I... I got blindsided by... I don't see Lieutenant Bianco. He's infected with something. I saw it glowing on his skin.
Scully: (on radio) And what's your condition, Agent Doggett?
Doggett: (on radio) I'm going to assume it's not good. (He is covered in the green glowing substance)
Scully: (on radio) I'm going to send a quarantine unit down to get you, Agent Doggett, okay? I want you to stay right where you are.
Doggett: (on radio) I appreciate it, Agent Scully, but I can't do that. If we're going to stop the spread of this thing I got to stop Lieutenant Bianco.
Scully: (in Control Room) Dr Bowe, I need you to get on the phone with the CDC. Tell them everything we know. We have to learn as quickly as possible what sets this thing off. (to Deputy Chief Karras) Look... I need you to blockade any and every exit from the system. You've got a possible outbreak situation here.
Deputy Chief Karras: (in Control Room) No, no. That's not going to happen.
Scully: (in Control Room) No, you listen to me. Your lieutenant is infected and at large in the system and he is looking for a way out.
Deputy Chief Karras: (in Control Room) I hear you. It's just that there are already passengers waiting on the platform.

Doggett: Nurse! Nurse! (He gets out of bed)
Scully: Where do you think you're going?
Doggett: Find the nurse. She said she was going to talk to the doctor about me going home. I could be dying in here for all she knows.
Scully: Well, you're not... Agent Doggett. Your skin and body have been rid of the organism. Simple alcohol bath cleaned you right up. I was just down talking to the nurse and... I told her I'd come and give you the news.
Doggett: Well, can I get out of here?
Scully: Yes.
(Doggett heads for the bathroom, then, remembering he's wearing nothing but an open backed hospital gown, backs towards the bathroom instead)
Doggett: What about the others?
Scully: Well, the kid is with Social Services, and plastic surgeons are working on Melnick and Bianco, and Dr Lyle has been discharged.
Doggett: You know, I'd like to think that this was over, but there's going to be hell to pay for these guys.
Scully: No. It's over, Agent Doggett.
Doggett: Excuse me? This guy Karras, put a train back on the tracks. He recklessly endangered peoples lives.
Scully: But there is no proof of that.
Doggett: What do you mean, there's no proof?
Scully: What I'm saying is that the organism is no longer extant. It's destroyed.
Doggett: By what?
Scully: I'm guessing by the electrical charge that you set off.
Doggett: We have victims. Dead bodies.
Scully: Infected by a pathogen of unknown aetiology. Look, Agent Doggett, not a criminal charge is going to stick. These guys were just doing their job — keeping the trains running. But they've got you to thank. And not just for saving their butts.
Doggett: No. You figured it out. I was just your eyes and ears. Agent Scully...
Scully: Let's go home.

Episode Number: 173
Season Number: 8
First Aired: Sunday, February 11, 2001
Production Code: 8X13

01 February 2008

Season 8: The Gift (8X11)

Written by: Frank Spotnitz
Directed by: Kim Manners

In a flashback, a car drives up to a semi-rural house in the middle of a rainstorm. A man gets out and enters the house, which is marked with a strange symbol in blood. Inside are Marie and Paul Hangemuhl, hiding a creature with ruined skin and cataracted eyes. The unseen man raises his gun and fires at the mysterious creature. It falls to the ground. He goes back to his car and drives away. The man is Mulder.

It is present day when Doggett arrives at the Sheriff's Station in Squamash, Pennsylvania to dig up clues about Mulder's disappearance. Sheriff Frey tells him that Mulder had been there the past spring to investigate the disappearance of Marie Hangemuhl, who was later found to have never been absent from her house. Although Mulder left no trace of this investigation in his files, Doggett uncovered cell phone records indicating he had been to the town the week before his abduction. The Sheriff brings Doggett to the Hangemuhl home, where they find a sickly Marie Hangemuhl suffering from kidney failure. She admits to meeting Mulder the previous spring, when he had asked about her disappearance. Her husband, Paul, quickly interjects that nothing out of the ordinary had gone on and that they never saw Mulder again. He claims that Mulder had been interested in an Indian folk legend about a creature from the woods that eats people. When they leave, Doggett mentions to the Sheriff that he spotted patches in the wall of the Hangemuhl house that could be bullet holes.

Returning to Washington, Doggett searches Mulder's apartment. He overturns every drawer and finds a pistol underneath the sink. He later asks Skinner about the mystery case, as well as an unreported three rounds discharged from the gun. Test results show that blood had splattered back, meaning Mulder had fired at close range. Although Skinner tries to defend Mulder and dismiss Doggett's claims, the paperwork proves that Scully had signed off on the falsified report. Doggett pledges that he will not take the situation to a review board, but will investigate further.

Back in Pennsylvania, a lynch mob converges on a rundown house in the woods. Paul Hangemuhl is among them. The leader of the group, Sheriff Frey, demands that it be sent outside. An old woman in the cabin tells the men that it is dead. Suddenly, a side door bursts open and a figure bolts out of the house into the woods. The men chase it, capturing what appears to be a deformed man. Later, Doggett and Skinner confront the Sheriff about the body of an unidentified transient found the day after Mulder's visit to the Hangemuhl home. The Sheriff is resistant to their charges, but they discover that the transient's grave has been unearthed. The casket is empty, and it appears that someone dug themselves out of the grave. Doggett becomes even more suspicious of the townspeople.

Paul Hangemuhl is painting the strange symbol on his front door with chicken's blood when the Sheriff arrives, inquiring about Marie's readiness. The deformed creature is taken from a cage and brought into the house, where Marie lies naked on the floor. It unhinges its jaw and rips into her body. She screams, as her husband silently prays in the next room. Doggett and Skinner return to the Hangemuhl home, looking for the missing Marie. Skinner spots a pool of blood seeping from under the couch. Doggett suggests that Mulder had been trying to protect Marie from whoever was buried in that coffin. Meanwhile, in a secret cave, the creature regurgitates a murky liquid into an outline of a human figure dug in the ground.

The remnants of a blood symbol are found on the Hangemuhl home. The Lone Gunmen analyze the symbol, via an internet feed, and tell Doggett and Skinner that it may summon a shaman to the house to aid the sick. Legend has it that a soul eater consumes illnesses. Doggett thinks that maybe it was connected to Marie's kidney disease and that maybe there wasn't really a transient buried in that coffin. The agents visit the old woman in the cabin because she had originally found the transient's body. Doggett tells her his theory that Mulder tried to kill the creature to protect Marie Hangemuhl, but the woman says he's got it all backwards. Doggett sees a cellar door in her house and goes down. He finds a fully-formed Marie on the ground, naked, covered in a gooey substance. He wraps her up and takes her to the hospital. She successfully recovers, and her kidneys have spontaneously healed. The soul eater actually took her to cure her, and Doggett realizes that Mulder was not trying to protect Marie when he shot at the creature.

Doggett returns to the home of the old woman, and she explains that people do not understand the creature's gift. It looks deformed because it takes on people's sicknesses. Mulder had come to Pennsylvania to try to save himself from his own illness. When he saw the creature's suffering, he couldn't go through with it. Mulder decided to shoot the creature to take its pain away. It was then buried, but didn't die. The townspeople know it is still alive and want it to help their sick, causing the creature to continue to suffer. Doggett carefully puts the creature in his car when the Sheriff and other townspeople show up.

They demand the creature be given back because there are sick people who need to be healed. The Sheriff shoots Doggett in the chest and the creature escapes. The townspeople bury Doggett's dead body and leave. Later, the creature brings Doggett back to life in the cave. He awakes in the human outline, covered in goo. The old woman is tending to the dying creature that took away Doggett's death.

Back at the FBI, Doggett sits at his computer. He's at a loss on what to write in his case report. He tells Skinner that he's not any closer to finding Mulder. You got inside his head, Skinner says, advising him not to write up a report. Doggett, however, wants the truth to be told. You and I both know what happened out there, the A.D. says. No one else needs to. As Skinner leaves, Doggett imagines that Mulder is standing in the office, watching him.

Mulder is mentioned as having a Walther PPK as a second weapon - the same gun he used to kill John Lee Roche in "Paper Hearts".

Mulder and Scully both briefly return in this episode, albeit in flashbacks.

Sheriff Frey: Shame to have you drive all the way up here on a Saturday. Hate to say you're wasting your time.
Doggett: Not if you confirm what you told me before.
Sheriff Frey: Yes, sir. Agent Mulder was here, all right... last spring.
Doggett: You said on the phone Agent Mulder was investigating a missing woman, Marie Hangemuhl.
Sheriff Frey: Well, she wasn't exactly missing. He wasn't exactly investigating, either.
Doggett: I'm not following you.
Sheriff Frey: It was a false report. Marie never even left the house. The only reason Agent Mulder found out about it was because Marie's sister got all excited about nothing. There. See for yourself. Say, I've got some hot coffee and a danish here if you're interested.
Doggett: No thanks.
Sheriff Frey: You know, if you don't mind me asking, Agent Doggett, what's your interest? I mean, I was actually surprised that one FBI agent gave this case a thought.
Doggett: It's not so much the case as it is the agent. Agent Mulder disappeared last May.
Sheriff Frey: Sorry to hear that. I still don't see what that has to do with us.
Doggett: Did Agent Mulder have a personal connection here — something that might not be in your report?
Sheriff Frey: No, I don't think he'd ever been to Squamash before, as far as I know.
Doggett: I have cell phone records showing that Agent Mulder came back here the week before he disappeared.
Sheriff Frey: What for?
Doggett: That's what I want to know. It's my job to find him.

Doggett: Three shots were fired in a house where Mulder investigated a case last May. He never filed a report on the case or the discharge of his weapon. Do you know any reason why?
Skinner: If Mulder did these things, he would've reported them.
Doggett: Mulder submitted case reports, all right but they indicate he was here in Washington on days his cell phone records prove he was in Pennsylvania.
Skinner: Are you calling Mulder a liar?
Doggett: This is the muzzle of Mulder's pistol. You see that there?
Skinner: It's blowback.
Doggett: Macrospatter of dried blood in a semicircular pattern. Which indicates Mulder fired close-range at something or someone.
Skinner: I've heard enough.
Doggett: Where are you going?
Skinner: It's where you're going, Agent Doggett. Trying to build a case, that what? Mulder killed a man and then made himself disappear? I told you before — he was abducted. I saw it!
Doggett: Agent Mulder signed falsified case reports.
Skinner: Oh, come on, John, this isn't about Mulder — it's about you! Your career. You give the FBI a narrative for Mulder's disappearance, you're off the X-Files and back on the fast-track to the directorship.
Doggett: I'm just trying to find the truth.
Skinner: You want the truth? Then ask Agent Scully!
Doggett: I can't do that.
Skinner: Why not?
Doggett: Because she... she signed those case reports, too.

Rustic Woman: To understand what this thing is, you have to understand what it can do — its gift. People hate it because they need it. It looks the way it does because of their sickness.
Doggett: You care for this man.
Rustic Woman: Someone always has.
Doggett: Because you believe it? That it can cure people's sickness?
Rustic Woman: Not cure. Consume.
Doggett: Mulder came to see you last year. Not to save Marie Hangemuhl. To save himself. Mulder was dying, but he kept it a secret. He had an undiagnosed brain disease. He was a sick man, desperate to find a cure.
Rustic Woman: They all are.
Doggett: Mulder didn't do it.
Rustic Woman: Agent Mulder saw how it suffered. He saw it in its eyes. I knew what needed to be done. I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
Doggett: Mulder killed it.
Rustic Woman: He couldn't bear to add to its pain.
Doggett: So he came back here that night to take its pain away.
Rustic Woman: They buried it. It wanted to die. It still does, but it can't. All these months I've kept it here in secret. But now that they know it's back, it'll keep suffering.

Episode Number: 172
Season Number: 8
First Aired: Sunday, February 4, 2001
Production Code: 8X11