10 July 2008

Season 9: Dæmonicus (9X03)

Written by: Frank Spotnitz
Directed by: Frank Spotnitz

A pickup truck parks unnoticed outside Evelyn and Darren Mountjoy's house, while the couple plays Scrabble inside. When the Mountjoy's dog barks at the front door, Evelyn lets it out to run into the woods. They hear the dog's yelping outside, and the lights mysteriously go out. Darren orders his wife to hide in the basement while he loads his revolver. From the stairs, he sees the intruder approaching, and he fires. However, Darren soon realizes that the person he shot is his wife. Her hands and mouth are bound with duct tape. Suddenly, strange sounds rise behind him. They are voices, whispering backwards. Darren turns to see two men with demonic-looking faces coming towards him.

The next morning, Agents Reyes and Doggett look over the crime scene at the Mountjoy home in Weston, West Virginia. The couple's bodies are sitting upright at the kitchen table, and Evelyn has a gun posed in her hand. The Scrabble board is laid out in front of them, blank, except for DAEMONICUS spelled out in the center. The word means Satan or demon possession.

Doggett tries to fend the case off as merely some kind of Satanic ritual, but Reyes has other ideas beyond those based in reality. Her theories are confounded when three blood-slicked snakes squirm out of the bullet holes in Evelyn's chest. Although Scully is on leave and serving as an instructor at Quantico, the agents ask her to perform the autopsies. Evidence proves that Darren was most likely tricked into shooting his wife, and that he was held down and shot in a chair. The snakes were sewn into the body post-mortem.

The facts show that the murders were man-made, but Reyes still believes that she felt the presence of evil in the house. With a lead about an escapee from a nearby mental institution, Reyes and Doggett question Dr. Monique Sampson about her patient, Kenneth Richman. Richman was a doctor who brutally murdered his own patients, but he had no prior knowledge of Satanic ritual. Dr. Sampson tips them off to a possible accomplice - Paul Gerlach, a hospital guard who has recently gone missing.

Reyes and Doggett question Josef Kobold, a former professor who is now an inmate in the cell next to Richman's. Kobold's cryptic answers lead the agents to believe that he knows more than he is letting on. Meanwhile, the two demonic-appearing men from the Mountjoy attacks get out of their pickup truck in the woods. One shoots the other with a gun, then wipes the blood from his hands. The backwards whispers echo once more, but seem to be coming instead from Kobold.

Dr. Sampson summons the agents back to the institution when Kobold asks for Doggett. The professor was also repeating the phrase, Prince of the Apostles. Kobold tells them that He is speaking and has killed again. He leads the agents to the woods, where Paul Gerlach's body is found hanging upside down from a tree. He is wearing the demon mask and is staged in a mock-crucifixion pose, presumably put into such post-mortem. The Prince of the Apostles phrase refers to St. Peter, who was crucified upside down. This is known as the symbol marking the power of the anti-Christ.

Although Doggett believes Kobold is a master manipulator toying with them, Reyes is convinced that Kobold can somehow help them find the real perpetrator - Richman. They turn to Kobold again, and he requests a larger cell with windows. Doggett is frustrated that Reyes wants to give in to the psychopath's every whim, but Kobold is moved to another room, and Officer Custer is assigned to guard him. Kobold confronts Doggett with personal intimations about his own life that no one else would know. Doggett is uncomfortable, but before he can leave the cell room, Kobold's eyes roll back and a strange sound emanates from his mouth - voices, whispering backwards. Doggett calls for Reyes, who translates the word as medicus, or physician. The agents rush to the home of Dr. Sampson, who unbeknownst to anyone, has been followed home by the looming pickup truck. However, they are too late to save her, finding her body with a dozen hypodermic needles jammed into her face.

Scully reports that the needles contained the same medication that Dr. Sampson had treated Richman with, and he is determined to still be a suspect. Doggett furiously looks over at Kobold, held in restraints, knowing that he is really the one responsible for the crimes. Kobold watches as Scully tries to calm Doggett. The backwards whispers swell once more. Back at the mental institution, Doggett attempts to interrogate Kobold about his past knowledge of Satanism. Kobold lobs back insinuations that Doggett is competing with the long-lost Agent Mulder for Scully's affection. Angrily, Doggett grabs hold of Kobold, but a thick orange goo violently spews from Kobold's mouth. It keeps gushing uncontrollably as Doggett calls for a medic.

After an examination, Scully concludes that Kobold is completely normal. Reyes suspects that the orange bile is spiritual ectoplasm, but Doggett won't be swayed by any more unexplainable theories. He is convinced that Kobold is a liar who is playing games with them. As Officer Custer guards Kobold's room, a lightning storm competes with the ever-present whispers. Custer is drawn to the source of those whispers, and looks in Kobold's room. Kobold's face suddenly changes into the demonic mask.

Doggett calls Scully in her car. Kobold has identified something called Happy Landing as the place to find Richman. Scully recognizes it as an old marina she passes on her commute to Quantico, and she heads there alone. At the marina, Scully is attacked by a demon mask-wearing man. When Doggett and Reyes arrive with a pack of troopers, Scully is nowhere to be found. Kobold is held in shackles in a police car, and Doggett threatens him to tell where she is being hidden. All the professor can say is Game's over, Mr. Doggett. You've lost. A gunshot rings out over the marina, and the agents find Scully unharmed, in an abandoned warehouse. Richman, having held her at gunpoint until Doggett arrived, shot himself. Reyes can't figure out why he would do that, but Doggett quickly understands, and he runs after Kobold, who is escaping from the police car. Doggett shoots at the fleeing prisoner, and Kobold, hit, falls into the water.

Back at Quantico, Reyes and Doggett tell Scully that their case is not completely solved. It is understood that Kobold designed the crimes so that they would be on the case, and then researched all of their backgrounds on the internet. However, Kobold's body has not been found, even though they saw him get shot. The body in the water is actually Officer Custer, the guard assigned to his cell. Kobold had selected his victims so that parts of their names spelled out the word Damonicus. He wanted the agents to see how brilliantly he could beat them at his game. By the time they realized it, Kobold would be too far away to get caught. Reyes is still unsettled. She did feel the presence of evil and believes that Doggett had the same premonition as well.

The title of this episode is Latin for Satan.

Custer (the guard assigned to watch Cobalt's cell) at one point is seen reading a magazine during a thunderstorm. The magazine he is reading is 'American Ronin,' which is the magazine that Modell, the psychic murderer, placed ads in on the episode ''Pusher'' from Season 3.

Mitch Pileggi did not appear in this episode and was not featured in the opening credits.

In the end of the episode, John Doggett is writing the word Daemonicus on the blackboard. We can see, that he's left-handed.

Darren and Evelyn Mountjoy, married thirty-two years, three kids, five grand-kids. Not an enemy in the world. That's their dog out front. Neck's broken. And the footprints in the mud, best guess is; we're looking for two perps.
Reyes: Nothing stolen from the house, nothing at all to suggest motive.
Doggett: Well, it all fits the profile, right? This thing is staged to look like some kind of Satanic ritual.
Reyes: Placing victims in a murder-suicide posture is ritualistic. And this word (on the Scrabble board) is undoubtedly Satanic.
Doggett: Dæmonicus.
Reyes: It means Satan in Latin, or Dæmonicus — demon possession.
Doggett: And it's worth 50 extra points. That's why they were posed like this, so we'd think that these folks were possessed, right?
Reyes: That would be the textbook explanation.
Doggett: Then I'll let them know.
Reyes: This may be something else.
Doggett: Which is what? Hey, you say anything you want about Satanic ritual, but don't tell me you think the devil did this, 'cause we've got prints on the gun over there. This case ain't even close to being an X-File.

Scully: Dr Dana Scully. I have just been assigned to the Academy as a forensic investigator. For the past eight years I was part of a unit known as the X-Files. Some of you may have heard of it.
First FBI Cadet: You ever slay a vampire?
Scully: Sorry to disappoint you, but this is a course in forensic pathology. Hard science. An X-File is a case that has been deemed unsolvable by the Bureau, because such a case cannot be solved it may beg other explanations... a vampire, perhaps. Science, however, tells us that evil comes not from monsters, but from men. It offers us the methodology to catch these men, and only after we have exhausted these methods should we leave science behind to consider more... extreme possibilities.

Reyes: The husband shot her. He was tricked into it.
Doggett: That's what we were thinking. Some kind of sick game.
Scully: Well, there's also evidence of fingerprint bruising along his collarbone.
Reyes: They held him down. Shot him in his chair.
Doggett: Again, we're looking for two guys.
Scully: Snakes appear to be purely symbolic. They're a non-venomous species collected locally. They were sewn post-mortem into the body cavity with household thread, by someone who appears to have surgical skill.
Reyes: You've made a lot of headway.
Scully: But there's something else. There's something that you're not saying.
Reyes: When I was alone in that house this morning... I had the strong feeling I was in the presence of evil.
Doggett: Look, Monica, the only reason we were called in on this thing is you've investigated hundreds of these kinds of cases.
Reyes: And not once did I find anything to support evidence of genuine Satanic activity.
Doggett: I'm saying...
Reyes: I've never felt this before.
Doggett: Excuse me. (answering mobile) John Doggett.
Reyes: Agent Scully, have you ever sensed what I'm talking about?
Scully: I've felt things that I couldn't understand. Things I was afraid to admit even to myself.
Reyes: And what did you do?
Scully: I learned not to ignore it... to trust my instincts.
Reyes: What is it?
Doggett: Mental hospital, 100 miles from here. They think one of their patients did this.

Doggett: Mr Kobold? My name is John Doggett, this is Monica Reyes. We're with the FBI.
Reyes: The patient in the cell next to yours escaped last night. Did you see or hear anything? You shared the same guard, Mr Kobold. Do you know anything about their relationship? Why he would have helped him to escape?
Professor Kobold: You mean did the guard force the patient to escape, or did the patient force the guard? Or are they both of one mind, like a snake, eating its own tail?
Doggett: You know something about this, Mr Kobold? If you do, we need your help. To stop them before they hurt more people.
Professor Kobold: You're too late for that.
Doggett: If you're afraid to help us, Mr Kobold, we can protect you. No harm will come to you.
Professor Kobold: Do you believe in the power of the devil, Mr Doggett?
Doggett: I believe that the devil's a story made up to scare people.
Professor Kobold: Then how can you possibly protect me?

Doggett: It's the security guard, Paul Gerlach.
Scully: It appears he was shot in the chest. His body was staged post-mortem, just like the others.
Doggett: Someone likes to play games.
Reyes: Or not. Prince of the Apostles. Kobold kept repeating it in his cell.
Scully: Saint Peter. He was said to have been crucified upside down.
Reyes: A symbol later adopted by the Satanists to mark the power of the antichrist.
Doggett: Which you take as proof, the devil possessed the surgeon and somehow put him in contact with Kobold.
Reyes: It's part of the literature. He could be a medium. A willing host for Satan. Communicating with Kobold.
Doggett: Well, that's convenient.
Reyes: He brought up the devil and the snakes. No one told him the details of the crime and yet he knew.
Doggett: That's 'cause he planned it. I pulled his file. This guy's a master manipulator. He was a history professor at the University of Miami, committed for grinding up six co-eds, that he tricked into his basement. He used their flesh as fertiliser in his garden.
Reyes: If Kobold's part of this, then why is he still behind bars? Why not escape when he had the chance?
Doggett: I don't know yet. You believe this guy, Agent Scully?
Scully: I haven't formed an opinion about it yet, actually.
Doggett: That's great. Just great. Where are you going, Monica?
Reyes: This man Kobold can help us, John. I'm going to prove it to you.

Doggett: I brought you something, Professor. Something to read. It's a monograph you wrote six years ago. You know the one I'm talking about, Professor? About the influence of Satan in Renaissance thinking.
Professor Kobold: So, you found your proof. Circumstantial though it may be.
Doggett: You planned this whole thing. I want to know why.
Professor Kobold: I've been thinking a lot about you, Agent Doggett.
Doggett: You're not answering my question, Professor.
Professor Kobold: About why someone so ill-suited would draw this duty. Clearly, you have feelings for her.
Doggett: You ordered Dr Richmond to kill these people, didn't you?
Professor Kobold: But you can't compete with the long-lost Agent Mulder. His easy good looks, his Oxford education.
Doggett: This is about you, Professor.
Professor Kobold: Mulder has what you can't have. What you stumble forward, the flat-footed cop, thinking he could put handcuffs on a demon.
Doggett: Answer the question!
Professor Kobold: You want her, but she feels sorry for you. They both do.
(Doggett grabs Professor Kobold by the shoulders, when a viscous orange substance gushes from the man's mouth, covering Doggett's jacket and shirt)
Doggett: Guard! Guard, we need a medic! Guard! We need a medic! Guard!

Scully: What brought this on?
Doggett: The guy's an expert on Satanic history, I confronted him on it.
Reyes: Which proves what?
Doggett: Come on, Monica, you wanted to know who could stage a textbook example. This guy wrote the damn book!
Reyes: I can't explain those voices we heard in his room... or this.
Doggett: It's a trick.
Reyes: What if it's ectoplasm?
Doggett: Ectoplasm?
Reyes: You've heard of it, Agent Scully?
Scully: Agent Mulder used to refer to it as psychic plasma — a residual by-product of telepathic communication. In theory it would have inorganic properties that couldn't be explained otherwise.
Doggett: So what are we talking now? 'The Ghostbusters'?
Reyes: If I'm right an analysis of this sample could prove whether he's telling the truth or faking it.
Doggett: Well, you can throw that crap away because I can tell you right now that this guy's liar. He's playing a game.
Scully: Well, then let's just see how well he plays that game.
Doggett: Why? So you can get suckered in even more? Listen to you two!
Scully: Agent Doggett.
Doggett: Listen, I'm telling you, this guy threw this stuff up for our benefit. He knew exactly what you'd say, he knew exactly what I'd say. He even knew that the two of you would be so blinded by this hocus pocus, that you wouldn't see what's in front of your faces.
Scully: Agent Reyes is just trying to get to the truth, okay? What are you doing?
Reyes: Maybe this is a hoax. Maybe you're right. But now you're saying we should turn away from evidence? It's not like you, John. I don't understand why.
Doggett: I already told you why.

Episode Number: 185
Season Number: 9
First Aired: Sunday, December 2, 2001
Production Code: 9X03

You can rate this episode below:

No comments: