04 April 2008

Season 8: Per Manum (8X08)

Written by: Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz
Directed by: Kim Manners

Pregnant Kath McCready is in labor. She sweats in the delivery room as Duffy Haskell coaches her breathing. "You're in safe hands now," he says. The baby's heart registers unusually high on the monitor, and the doctor orders an emergency C-section. When Haskell goes out to scrub up for the surgery, a nurse locks him out of the delivery room. Through her drug-induced haze, McCready can barely see the baby being pulled out of her stomach. It is an alien.

In her apartment, Scully scans her own ultrasound image and strokes her growing belly. Later, she heads into the office to find Doggett talking to Duffy Haskell. The man had contacted Mulder eight years ago about his wife, who is now dead. "They killed her," he tells the agents. He says that Kath was a multiple abductee, and aliens had performed procedures on her that gave her cancer. Although she was subsequently cured, she was left barren. She was later implanted with an embryo and gave birth to an alien. All the doctors who were in cahoots with this procedure murdered Kath and stole her alien baby because it was proof. Although his story rings a bell with Scully, she dismisses Haskell. Doggett says that his tale sounds familiarly like Scully's case, "except for the pregnancy." Walking out of the office, she chastens Doggett and tells him to stay out of her personal files.

Scully's head is spinning with fear and confusion when she enters the elevator. She thinks back to a prior conversation with Mulder where she acknowledged that she wasn't ready to accept that she will never have children. "There's something I haven't told you," Mulder confesses. He admits to having found her ova in a lab (seen in 4X15 ''Memento Mori'') and after taking them to a specialist, learned that they were not viable. Still in the elevator, Scully wakes from her daydream to find Doggett staring at her. She tells him that there is nothing to do about Haskell's case.

Scully roams the stark white interior of Zeus Genetics in Germantown, MD looking for somebody to assist her. Suddenly she hears screaming from an examination room. It is a woman begging for another opinion. Scully ducks into a door to prevent being caught spying, and finds herself in a room with scores of jars. The jars are filled with deformed fetuses. Dr. Lev startles her, and she tells him she is worried about her friend. "You're here with Mrs. Hendershot?" he asks, before ushering her out the office. Scully rushes back to her apartment to call her personal geneticist, Dr. Parenti. She asks him to compare her own ultrasound against the one that Duffy Haskell provided. Parenti assures her that she will be fine and hangs up, but Parenti is standing in Zeus Genetics' room of fetus jars. He unwraps a small alien corpse on a dissecting table. It is the baby that Kath McCready gave birth to.

Flashback to the previous year: In his waiting room, Dr. Parenti notifies Scully that her ova can be successfully used to impregnate her. He asks if she has someone in mind as a donor, and Scully nods thoughtfully, saying that she has to figure out how to ask the person. Scully sits in the same waiting room, present day. After reviewing the images, Dr. Parenti certifies that both her ultrasound as well as the Haskell results are both normal. Yet he advises her to let the FBI know about her condition. When Scully returns to the office, Doggett says that Parenti's office called about an ultrasound she dropped off, and since Parenti was the doctor who Duffy Haskell consulted, Doggett questions Scully's investigating the Haskell case when she specifically told him not to. Later, Skinner and Doggett interrogate Haskell about his threatening letters to doctors. He tells them that Dr. Lev was the one who stole Kath's baby. The agents warn him not to keep up with the threats, and Haskell says "there are other women out there, just like Kath." Haskell leaves them and dials Dr. Lev at Zeus Genetics, revealing that he too is involved in the conspiracy. Regarding Mrs. Hendershot, the doctor tells Haskell that "it's time to let her go."

Scully returns to her apartment and remembers another Mulder discussion from the year before. She is nervously awkward when he arrives at her door with an answer to her request. "I wouldn't want this to come between us," Mulder says, in response to his being her sperm donor. "But the answer is yes." Scully cries tears of joy and hugs him. Scully resumes present day, when there is a knock on her door. It is a distraught Mary Hendershot from the genetic clinic. "My baby is in danger," she says. "So is yours."

Doggett pulls up to a diner in downtown Washington at 3:33 am where Skinner and Scully are waiting. Scully has asked for a leave of absence from the FBI, but is cryptic about her reasons. Smarting from the disrespect, Doggett gets up, saying offhandedly "Drop me a line if you get a chance." Mary Hendershot is in Scully's front seat, but neither Skinner nor Doggett know who she is. The women go to the Walden-Freedman Research Center and are met by Dr. Miryum. Scully explains that Mrs. Hendershot's life may be in danger and that she believes this baby is not hers. Mrs. Hendershot's conception dates do not add up and she is sure that her pregnancy was caused by an abduction. Dr. Miryum performs an ultrasound test on Scully that proves her child is normal and healthy, but to be sure she suggests an amniocentesis test.

Meanwhile, Doggett learns that Duffy Haskell has gone under a different first name and was buried as a Marine in 1970. He assumes that Haskell is really working for an underground conspiracy and he approaches an old friend, Knowle Rohrer, about Haskell's identity. Although Rohrer's job is not apparent, he assures Doggett that there is no conspiracy at work and he will look further into Haskell's files.

Dr. Miryum withdraws the amnio needle, warning Scully to be still. After the doctor leaves the room, Scully notices that her ultrasound image is being retrieved from a VCR. She removes the videotape and realizes she has been viewing someone else's fetus. Scully goes into the delivery room for Mrs. Hendershot, clutching the wound from the amnio needle on her stomach. "I have to get you out of here," she tells her, putting the woman's baby and her own health at risk.

That same night, Doggett rushes to the FBI, demanding Skinner to locate Scully. He believes that she may be in danger, knowing that Haskell can not be trusted. Scully and Mrs. Hendershot escape the research center and run right into Knowle Rohrer, who claims that Doggett sent him. A team of armed men described as experienced field medics throw the women into a black truck. When police cars intercept the truck, it travels off-road into the woods. Suddenly, Mrs. Hendershot goes into labor, and Scully orders the truck to stop so as not to endanger the pregnant woman's life. As the men lay down Mrs. Hendershot, Rohrer drugs Scully and prevents her from witnessing the birth. In her haze, she hears the distorted cry of an alien baby.

Scully awakes the next morning in a hospital room. Doggett is at her side, assuring her that she and her child are both healthy. He also tells her that Mary Hendershot is fine and delivered a normal baby boy. Scully contends that the men switched the babies, but Doggett thinks she has overreacted to everything. The tape that showed her ultrasound was recorded onto an old cassette, and Rohrer's men say that they saved her life. Scully insists that, from the minute Duffy Haskell walked into their office, they were set up to get Mary Hendershot's baby and cover it up. Doggett asks why she didn't reveal her pregnancy, and Scully reluctantly responds that she was afraid that the FBI would take her off the X-files. "Then I couldn't find Mulder," she says. Doggett comforts her, and promises that he will help her find Mulder.

Scully thinks back again to the previous year, finding Mulder in her apartment. She tells him that the artificial insemination - her last chance to get pregnant - did not work. "Never give up on a miracle," Mulder says, and gently kisses her forehead.

"Per Manum" means "by hand" in Latin.

Mulder appears in flashback form several times during this episode, and his badge returns to the opening credits.

Doggett: This is Duffy Haskell. He says he knows you or you know him.
Scully: I'm sorry. I don't remember.
Duffy Haskell: I contacted you about my wife. About eight years ago because she was an alien abductee.
Scully: That was before my time here. But is there something I can help you with?
Duffy Haskell: She's dead. My wife is dead now. They killed her. Kath — my wife.
Doggett: I checked the files. Mr Haskell wrote several letters to Agent Mulder describing his wife's abduction experiences.
Duffy Haskell: My wife gave birth to an alien.
Scully: I thought you said that your wife was murdered.
Duffy Haskell: That's the reason they did it.
Scully: Okay, Mr Haskell. Why don't you start from the beginning.
Duffy Haskell: Kath was a multiple abductee. The aliens did these procedures on her — tests and what not. One procedure would give her cancer while another one would cure her. Stuff like that. For years, you see. And then, this year, they came right into our bedroom and implanted an alien embryo in Kath.
Scully: I don't suppose that you have any medical proof of this.
(Duffy Haskell hands her an envelope labelled 'Zeus Genetics Germantown, Maryland 1-800-555-0100')
Duffy Haskell: I have an ultrasound here. Anyone with a trained eye can see that is a bizarre pregnancy. Especially for a woman who was never supposed to be able to conceive. I doubt you'd ever get the doctors to cop to any of that.
Scully: What doctors?
Duffy Haskell: We've been through three sets. They're all in on it. They're all in cahoots.
Scully: So you're... saying that it was the doctors that killed your wife?
Duffy Haskell: And stole the alien baby. That ultrasound is proof.

Mulder: There you are. I've been looking all over for you.
Scully: Hi. I'm sorry. I had a doctor's appointment and, I don't know, I guess time just got away from me.
Mulder: Is anything the matter?
Scully: Nothing. No, I just... I went for a walk.
Mulder: Mmm. Then what's wrong?
Scully: I'm sorry I haven't told you. I don't know why I haven't. I mean, you were always there for me during my illness but...
Mulder: Don't make me guess.
Scully: I was left unable to conceive with whatever test that they did on me. And I am not ready to accept that I will never have children.
Mulder: Scully, there's... there's something I haven't told you either and I hope you forgive me and understand why I would have kept it from you.
Scully: What?
Mulder: During my investigation into your illness I found out the reason why you were left barren. Your ova were taken from you and stored in a government lab.
Scully: What? You found them?
Mulder: I took them directly to a specialist who would tell me if they were okay.
Scully: I don't believe this.
Mulder: Scully, you were deathly ill, and I... I couldn't bear to give you another piece of bad news.
Scully: Is that what it was? It was bad news?
Mulder: Well, the doctor said that the ova weren't viable.
Scully: I want a second opinion.

Doggett: Agent Scully, I just got a call from a Dr Parenti's office. About an ultrasound you left there this morning.
Scully: Dr Parenti is my doctor.
Doggett: Come on, Agent Scully.
Scully: You don't believe me?
Doggett: That ultrasound is the one Duffy Haskell left here yesterday. Dr Parenti is one of the doctors he consulted with during the course of that pregnancy.
Scully: Excuse me, Agent Doggett, but are you investigating me?
Doggett: No, I was doing a background check on Mr and Mrs Haskell before I dropped the case, like you asked me to do.
Scully: No, I didn't ask you to drop the case. I said there was nothing to do.
Doggett: Well, if there's nothing to do, then why are you investigating?
Scully: You are jumping to conclusions.
Doggett: No, I'm just trying to do my job, only it gets hard to do if the person you're working with is keeping secrets and telling lies.
Scully: I am not investigating these people, Agent Doggett. Parenti is my doctor. Is that so strange? Is there something about him I don't know?
Doggett: No. But Duffy Haskell's a piece of work. I'll tell you that much.

Doggett: Knowle... can I talk to you?
Knowle Rohrer: John, what are you doing here?
Doggett: Well, your assistant said you were going to get right back to me about this David Haskell fingerprint.
Knowle Rohrer: I've got a day job, John. The government gets suspicious if I work at too fast a pace.
Doggett: I can't wait, Knowle, it can't wait. Is it the same guy, or not?
Knowle Rohrer: How about we take a walk? How'd you hook up with this guy, anyway?
Doggett: The man was in my office, Knowle. Military records show he died in 1970. What the hell's the story?
Knowle Rohrer: Possible. He's intelligence.
Doggett: Doing what? Working for who?
Knowle Rohrer: What did he say he wanted?
Doggett: He wanted us to investigate the murder of his wife. He claims she was an alien abductee. Look... I don't buy this crap, but if the guy's CIA he wasn't just in my office killing time.
Knowle Rohrer: Why go to the trouble at all?
Doggett: All I can think is that there must be documentation in our files of a conspiracy to hide the truth.
Knowle Rohrer: About what, extraterrestrials?
Doggett: Look, it's not my work. It's the woman I work with — an Agent Scully.
Knowle Rohrer: John, there's no conspiracy. You and I go back a long time. You know I'll do anything I can for you. Just give me a little more time to find out who this Haskell guy is, okay? By the end of the day.

Mulder: Scully? I must have dozed off. I was waiting for you to get back. It didn't take, did it?
Scully: I guess it was too much to hope for. It was my last chance.
Mulder: Never give up on a miracle.

Episode Number: 174
Season Number: 8
First Aired: Sunday, February 18, 2001
Production Code: 8X08


Anonymous said...

Can somebody explain this episode to me? It just makes no sense.

Who are the doctors covering up these alien babies? WHY are there still alien babies? The conspiracy was detroyd at season 5 so why still impregnate women and have so many doctors in on a (new?) conspiracy?

And second: the idea that Scully wants children makes no sense at all in the flashbacks. Scully wanting to get pregnant in the flashbacks is before the Emily episodes and right after she gets her cancer...

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting episode, we get to see the remains of the old conspiracy in the form of the alien babies (somethig that is explain later in the season)and the new conspiracy led by rohrer, taking the oportunity to destroy the experiments of the old conspiracy