18 July 2008

Season 9: Improbable (9X14)

Written by: Chris Carter
Directed by: Chris Carter

In a casino, Mad Wayne loses at cards and heads to the bar to converse with Mr Burt, who is playing solitaire. Wayne's attention turns to a woman, who he follows to the bathroom. A short time later, the woman is found dead.

At the FBI, Reyes asks Scully if she believes in the hypothesis that the universe is knowable as a simple mathematical equation. Scully doesn't, and is disbelieving when Reyes attempts to tie together several murders by using a mathematical calculation. Scully notices a pattern in the bruising of the victims' skin, speculating that it was caused by a ring the killer wears. Meanwhile, Mad Wayne returns to the rundown hotel where he lives, and notices Mr Burt playing three-card Monte in the street below. Wayne confronts Burt and warns him to stay away.

Reyes enters Wayne's building to consult a numerologist, Vicki Burdick. Burdick doesn't really believe in numerology, however, but reluctantly promises to run a complete numerology in the hope of producing the killer's profile. Doggett calls Reyes, and reveals that two more victims were found with the pattern bruising on their faces. Returning to the Bureau, she is congratulated by Agent Fordyce for her work. Reyes' revelation of her "special insight" into the case during the debriefing is met with disbelieving silence.

Vicki Burdick calls, but is murdered by Mad Wayne before she can reveal what she discovered. As Scully performs an autopsy on Burdick's body, the patterns around her are all related to the number six. The pattern left on the victims' skin turns out not to be zeroes, but sixes. After Scully and Reyes finish looking for evidence in Burdick's office, they ride the elevator with Mad Wayne. Scully notices the ring on Wayne's finger and draws her gun, but the elevator doors close.

Scully and Reyes use the stairs, and end up in the hotel garage. Suddenly, a car pulls away, a mechanical gate closing behind it. Scully and Reyes realize they're trapped. They search the garage, and discover Mr Burt. He claims he is waiting for a friend, with whom he was to play checkers. With little else to do but wait, the agents busy themselves playing checkers with Mr Burt.

Scully notices the colours red and black on the checkerboard. She stares at Monica's hair, and then touches her own red hair. As the killer strikes in threes - in the order of blonde, red head and brunette - Scully wonders if she and Reyes are the killer's next target. Mr Burt wonders if the numbers are helping the agents catch the killer... or if they're helping him not get caught.

The agents notice a figure watching them from behind a parked car. Suddenly, the lights go out. As Scully heads for the breaker box, Monica tracks the mysterious figure. Suddenly, Mad Wayne jumps out of the darkness and a struggle ensues. But the stairwell door flies open and a dark figure emerges to fire three shots, killing Mad Wayne. The lights come back on, revealing that the shooter is Agent Doggett.

Doggett tells Reyes and Scully that something in the killer's pattern made him realize that they were his next victims. Moments later, the agents realize that Mr. Burt has vanished. Later, Scully asks Reyes about her numerology. Reyes tells her she's a nine. But when Scully asks about the mysterious checker-playing man they met in the garage, Reyes responds, "God knows."

The usual "The Truth Is Out There" tagline at the end of the opening credits is replaced with "Dio ti ama" - Italian for "God Loves You". Presumably this is a reference to what might be the true nature of "Mr. Burt".

Chris Carter's "Executive Producer" credit at the end is in Italian.

Former Production Assistant-turned-Actor Angelo Vacco makes his fourth and final X-Files appearance in this episode. He previously appeared in the episodes ''F. Emasculata'' (Season 2), ''Talitha Cumi'' (Season 3), and ''Milagro'' (Season 6).

Scully: Agent Reyes?
Reyes: ...Three plus four is seven. Seven and six are thirteen...
Scully: What are you doing?
Reyes: Ten, thirteen, fourteen, sixteen... I want to ask you to open your mind to something. I don't want you to think I'm crazy, all right?
Scully: Why would I think that you're crazy?
Reyes: Do you believe the universe is knowable as a mathematical calculation of the whole, reducible to a single equation?
Scully: No.
Reyes: Why not?
Scully: Because I don't think that its complexity allows for it to be reduced so simply.
Reyes: But you accept that some people do?
Scully: I presume you mean the so-called 'Unified Theory'? What physicists often refer to as the 'Theory of Everything'? An equation so simple, they say that it might be printed on a t-shirt. It's a holy grail in the world of science. Potentially, the most important question that mankind has ever asked. But that such a complex calculation is even possible is the subject of enormous controversy. Is that what you mean?
Reyes: Um... potentially.

Scully: Agent Reyes, am I to presume that you've solved these unsolved murders by using some kind of numerical calculation?
Reyes: Letters of names assigned values, added to birth dates reduced to the lowest common denominator. A, J, S, equal one. B, K, T...
Scully: Numerology, Agent Reyes? You're trying to solve these cases by using what is essentially a child's game.
Reyes: It's been in use since the sixth century BC. When Pythagoras determined that the world was built on the power and influence of numbers.
Scully: And... when exactly did you stumble upon it?
Reyes: We did it as kids. I still do it. You meet people at a party ask them their birth date. It's kind of an icebreaker. And as I was reading the story of this woman, I calculated she was a 14 — what they call a karmic number — an extremely significant numerological number. Prompting me to look at all of these other unsolved cases, the victims of which, also work out to have karmic numbers — ten, thirteen, and sixteen.
Scully: So, in other words, you haven't actually solved these cases.
Reyes: Maybe 'cracked' is a better word.
Scully: Without any other evidence to directly connect them... circumstantial or forensic.
Reyes: What?
Scully: Can you enlarge this? Can I see the rest of those photos?
Reyes: What is it?
Scully: There's a pattern in the bruising. Yeah... all four of the victims have it. Three small circles. They might be from a ring that the killer wears.
Reyes: So you're saying these cases are connected. That numerology may actually be driving the killer and that I'm definitely not crazy.
Scully: Or that maybe you're both crazy.

Mr Burt: Music.
Reyes: You must really like music.
Mr Burt: Oh, I love it. The classics, of course. Mozart, Bach, the earlier jazz, Louis Armstrong, Sinatra, Doo-wop, Elvis, marching bands...
Scully: Sir, enough.
Mr Burt: Don't get me wrong. I love all music but I prefer the stuff that lasts. (Reyes picks up a couple of the anonymous CDs) You like them? Keep them. Thanks to the wondrous world of digital technology I can always make more.
Scully: What time is your friend coming?
Mr Burt: Soon.
Reyes: What do you want to do?
Scully: I don't know. I don't know.
Mr Burt: I have some nice dance music.
Scully: We happen to be here, Sir, because there is a serial killer on the loose.
Mr Burt: How many did he kill?
Reyes: Seven women now.
Mr Burt: How are you going to catch him?
Scully: We're not, stuck down here.
Mr Burt: You sure there's nothing I can do?
Scully: Do you have the combination to the door?
Mr Burt: No.
Reyes: Do you have a cell phone that works?
Mr Burt: I wish I did. There's always chequers.

Reyes: The killer is driven by an impulse we believe is numerological.
Mr Burt: Of course. He's a serial killer.
Scully: No, that's not what she means. She thinks that his acts are determined by a calculation of numbers.
Mr Burt: So the killer's not in control of his actions the numbers are?
Reyes: Yes.
Mr Burt: Well, are the numbers helping you catch him or are they helping him not get caught?
Reyes: That's a good question.
Mr Burt: So, it's a kind of a game.
Scully: No, it's not.
Reyes: No, maybe it is. Maybe that's what this is about — who wins the game.
Mr Burt: I think she's onto something.
Scully: Agent Reyes, you can't reduce a complex factor as physical and psychological into a game.
Reyes: You're a scientist, Agent Scully. Your world is ruled by numbers: Atoms, molecules, periodicity.
Mr Burt: Wow!
Reyes: And wouldn't it follow that everything made from those things is ruled by numbers, too: Genes, chromosomes, us, the universe.
Mr Burt: Go, girl.
Scully: Agent Reyes, that is utter nonsense, okay? It would mean that all we are are chequers on a chequerboard being moved around by some forces completely outside and unbeknownst to us.
Reyes: What did Einstein say?
Mr Burt: Einstein — now there's a winner.
Reyes: 'God does not play dice with the universe'.
Scully: Nor does he play chequers. Look, Agent Reyes, you can't reduce all of life, all creation, every piece of art architecture, music, literature, into a game of win or lose.
Reyes: Why not? Maybe the winners are those who play the game better; those who see the patterns and the connections like we're doing right now.
Mr Burt: Free will.
Reyes: Maybe we're not the next victims. Maybe we're here because we saw the numbers and read the patterns and we're here to catch the killer.
Scully: But the killer is outside, killing, and we are stuck in a parking garage.
Reyes: What if he's not? What if we didn't look hard enough? What if the killer's still down here? (She draws her weapon. A shadowy figure hiding behind a car withdraws quickly into the shadows)
Scully: What are you looking at? (The lights go out)
Mr Burt: Same thing you are.

Reyes: Hello?
Scully: All right, I need to know.
Reyes: What?
Scully: What my numerology is, and what my number... whatever you call it. What am I?
Reyes: You're a nine.
Scully: Which means what?
Reyes: Nine is completion. You've evolved through the experiences of all the other numbers to a spiritual realisation that this life is only part of a larger whole. Dana, are you there?
Scully: There's something else that's bugging me.
Reyes: What's that?
Scully: Who was that man?
Reyes: God knows.

Episode Number: 195
Season Number: 9
First Aired: Sunday, April 7, 2002
Production Code: 9X14

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