14 July 2008

Season 9: Lord of the Flies (9X06)

Written by: Thomas Schnauz
Directed by: Kim Manners

With a gaggle of onlookers, teenagers Sky Commander Winky and Cap'n Dare are videotaping their latest stunts for the cable access Dumb Ass show. Cap'n Dare (otherwise known as Bill) slips on a helmet, as Winky (David Winkle) pelts him with balls from a pitching machine. Cap'n Dare's girlfriend, Natalie Gordon, watches unhappily. So does another boy, Dylan Lokensgard. The boys move on to their next feat, and Cap'n Dare sits inside a portable toilet that is pulled by a car across a parking lot at a high speed. The car skids to a stop, and Cap'n Dare and the toilet roll down an embankment. Cap'n Dare emerges unharmed, and the crowd laughs. Natalie is again, not amused. They move onto their third stunt, where Cap'n Dare will roll down a hill in a shopping cart, onto a ramp that will sail him over Natalie, who waits on the ground. When the stunt goes awry, Cap'n Dare is thrown to the ground. Natalie and Winky are horrified to see that Cap'n Dare's head has collapsed inside his undamaged helmet.

Doggett and Reyes arrive at the Medical Examiner's Office in Ocean County, New Jersey. Dr. Fountain has requested help because he is unable to explain Bill's cause of death. Suddenly, the corpse's eyelid flutters. Reyes gently opens the eye with forceps, revealing a hollow socket from which a swarm of flies emerge. They immediately call Scully in to make an assessment, and she concludes that the flies fed at such a furious rate that it caused the boy's head to collapse from within. The helmet actually protected his head in the crash. Yet Scully pronounces that no fly would act so aggressively. Dr. Rocky Bronzino, an entomologist who appears in the doorway, quickly refutes her conclusion. He informs the agents that the Australian bush fly and the New Zealand screwworm fly are both aggressive insects. However, these varieties are not the flies that apparently killed Bill. Reyes says that they are not investigating a murder by an insect, but a human.

At Garfield High School in nearby Manahawkin, New Jersey, Natalie sits in the cafeteria, saddened by her boyfriend's death. Dylan watches her from afar, as Winky approaches Natalie with a camera. He wants her to speak on the Cap'n Dare Memorial Video, but she refuses, blaming him for making Bill do the stunts. Winky notices that Dylan has stood up to defend Natalie. He threatens Dylan, and spreads food on his head. Dylan's mother, an Administrator at the school, sees this and summons Winky to her office. Waiting for him are Reyes and Doggett, who believe that Winky may have killed his friend in order to sell the video to television networks. Winky denies the claim, and jumps out of his chair while violently scratching his back. Reyes and Doggett see that on his back is written DUMB ASS in red, bloody welts.

Dylan returns home, ignoring his mother to retreat to his bedroom. He lies on his bed, listening to Syd Barrett and looking longingly at a picture of Natalie. Mrs. Lokensgard knocks on his locked door, which makes him only raise his music louder. As he shuts his eyes to cry, bugs swarm over his window and begin to fill up his room.

The next morning, Dr. Bronzino informs the agents that the flies that ate Bill's brain and skull happened to all be female. This suggests that something chemical or hormonal might have triggered the attack. Yet since lice had also caused Winky's wounds, they wonder whether someone was somehow directing the bugs to act. They decide to question Dylan Lokensgard, who was present for every stunt and had a run-in with Winky just before the lice injured his back.

Dylan sees Natalie leave his front door. He rushes out the window, but his mother intercepts him and warns Dylan to stay away from Natalie. She tries to talk to him about the changes his body is going through, but Dylan brushes her off and heads for school. Meanwhile, Dr. Bronzino and Scully revisit the scene of Cap'n Dare's death, tracking the atmosphere with an electroantennogram device. While not-so-subtly hitting on Scully, Bronzino surmises that the bugs are somehow being driven crazy with desire. Suddenly, the device's signal loudly blares. They don't see Dylan, the cause of the device's alarm, peddling past them on his bike.

Dylan finds Natalie at school, and she apologizes for Winky's behavior in the cafeteria the day before. They reminisce about their childhood. Feeling uncomfortable, Natalie leaves abruptly. Reyes and Doggett accost Dylan, and question him in his mother's office. They show him the Dumb Ass video, and he nervously begins to perspire. Doggett hands him a tissue to wipe his sweat. Mrs. Lokensgard enters, refusing to let their interrogation continue, when flies begin to gather on the office ceiling. Dylan's entire body is suddenly and mysteriously covered in flies.

A Vector Control team evacuates the school, but all the bugs have disappeared. The paramedics examine Dylan, who is unharmed with no bites on him. Reyes believes that Dylan staged the attack to make himself look like a victim instead of a perpetrator. Mrs. Lokensgard drags Dylan to the car, while Winky eyes him suspiciously. Dr. Bronzino examines the tissue that Dylan used to wipe his sweat, finding that the boy is actually secreting bug pheromones. Although that notion is preposterous, Reyes theorizes that Dylan is using the bugs to act out against anyone who might harm Natalie. Later that night, Dylan is surprised to see Natalie climb up to his bedroom window. She hasn't been there since they were in the fourth grade. She apologizes for not being a friend to him over the years, realizing only now how important he really is to her. He is ecstatic that his dream girl has opened her heart to him. They kiss, but she pulls away when Dylan's tongue causes her mouth to bleed. Natalie cries and quickly leaves, as Dylan tries to explain. He runs after her into the street, when another car stops behind him. It is Winky with a group of friends, who capture Dylan. They ask how he killed Cap'n Dare. Dylan responds angrily, I just have to open my mouth. And when he does, a set of bug mandibles appears between his lips, spraying an opaque mist. The car loses control, turning upside down before it rolls to a stop.

Doggett and Reyes come upon the car wreck, where Winky and his friends are stuck under a thick spider web. He tells them that Dylan is the one responsible, and that he chewed his way out the back window. Reyes finds Natalie at home, curled up on her bed and crying. Reyes asks Natalie to talk to Dylan and convince him not to hurt anyone else. Yet Dylan is already standing in Natalie's bedroom. At the Lokensgard home, Scully and Dr. Bronzino arrive to question Dylan, but the house is empty and dark. They enter through the open front door, and Bronzino finds high readings of pheromone levels. After Scully leaves to join Doggett at the crime scene, Bronzino continues to scan the Lokensgard home with his electroantennogram. Mrs. Lokensgard surprises him, and she shoots a stream of webbing at Bronzino from the insect mandibles in her mouth. Dylan returns to his house with Natalie, and Mrs. Lokensgard confronts her son. He is upset when she tells him that he is not like the other kids and never will be.

Doggett arrives at Natalie's to find Reyes completely wrapped in layers of webbing, barely able to breathe. She tells Doggett that Dylan took Natalie to his house, which is where Scully is headed when she lost contact with Dr. Bronzino. Scully creeps in the Lokensgard home and sees Natalie sobbing. Scully cautiously goes into the attic with her weapon ready. Her flashlight beam locates a cocoon, from which comes the voice of Dr. Bronzino. Scully frees him. Paramedics arrive soon after, followed by Doggett and Reyes.

The agents discover that the other cocoon in the attic was a crude coffin for four bodies, one of whom was Dylan's father, long reported missing. Mrs. Lokensgard had killed her husband for not being what she and Dylan were -- neither human nor insect, but an anomaly in between. Although Dylan had tried to fit in with his peers and was in love with Natalie, he could not hide from his true nature. Mrs. Lokensgard escapes with her saddened son. Natalie lies awake in her bed, when her attention is drawn to a light in the night sky. She goes to her window and sees a swarm of fireflies, their lights twinkling and forming a message that reads, I Love You.

The reality show is called 'Dumbass', a spin-off of MTV's 'Jackass' which is also a reality show where the cast performs dangerous and weird stunts.

Winky tries to sell the tape to FOX Network. This is a slight at FOX who ran the X-Files show and at the time were showing programs entitled "Worlds Wildest/Dumbest/Dangerous/etc. Videos".

Scully: Well, judging from the amount of insect faeces in the ear and nasal cavities it appears that they fed at such a furious rate that it caused the boy's skull to collapse from the inside. His helmet protected his head during the crash; there is no impact trauma here whatsoever. None.
Reyes: You're saying flies killed him.
Doggett: All the kids at the scene... the flies choose to attack this boy? Why?
Reyes: Maybe they were attracted for reasons we're not seeing.
Doggett: What if somebody put something in his helmet? Insect pheromone. You know, 'Spanish Fly' — that stuff you see advertised in the back of magazines that guys use to attract girls? I glance at them for amusement.
Scully: I may have to brush up on my 'Spanish Fly' but I don't think the science works that way. Anyway, before we start looking for MO, I want to find out what kind of fly would act that aggressively.
Dr Bronzino: The musca vetustissima walker. The Australian Bush Fly. It craves protein so much it will actually crawl into your open nose, mouth, ears even your eyes to feed on nutritious blood and moisture. Though, the New Zealand screw-worm fly often kills its victims in mere moments by burrowing into an open wound or cut. I'm sorry. I'm Dr Rocky Bronzino. Hi. Rocky Bronzino. Hello there. Rocky Bronzino, field entomological expert, Rutgers University, at your service.
Scully: Dr Bronzino...
Dr Bronzino: Rocky.
Scully: These flies you mentioned neither of them are indigenous to North America. Are you suggesting that we've got a virulent foreign vector here?
Dr Bronzino: No. The specimens you collected are your garden-variety calliphorid. Harmless as, well... flies.
Doggett: What are you suggesting then?
Dr Bronzino: Nothing. Dr Fountain brought me in for my scientific expertise. And I must say... I'm glad he did.
Reyes: Dr Bronzino, you should know we may be looking at a murder.
Dr Bronzino: A murder? Are there any suspects?
(Reyes hands him a bottle of flies)

Scully: I'm glad you're here. I think we just got our first real break.
Reyes: What did you find?
Scully: Well, it's what the entomologist Rocky Bronzino found. The flies that ate at the brain and skull of the victim are all female. Every last one of them.
Doggett: Exactly how is that a break?
Scully: Well, what are the chances of that?
Reyes: You mean that the absence of males suggests there's a reason for the attack. Behaviourally.
Scully: Well, something biological is going on. Whether it's hormonal or chemical, something has caused these bugs to attack.
Doggett: Or a need to express themselves.
Scully: To what?
Doggett: This is a kid that calls himself 'Sky Commander Winky'. Agent Reyes and I were interviewing him as a suspect, when this happened. The paramedics arrived and treated him for an aggressive attack of body lice.
Scully: Hmm. Lice are not altogether uncommon in a school environment.
Doggett: Except that these are better spellers than most of the kids.
Scully: So what are you saying? That this is just another 'Dumb Ass' stunt?
Reyes: Well, that was my first thought. But the victim here was just too freaked out by this incident to make me believe he'd staged this. Which leads me to think, that while you may be right about this being a matter of biology, someone is directing the biology.
Scully: How does one direct bugs?
Reyes: I don't know how, but we've been running down a long list of witnesses. (She hands Scully a series of photographs of the crowd on the video) A loner who was present at every 'Dumb Ass' stunt and who had a run-in with this kid Winky at school just prior to the lice attacking. His name is Dylan Lokensgard. We're going to want to talk to him.

Dr Bronzino: So many flowers... so little time.
Scully: Excuse me?
Dr Bronzino: Pheromones, Dr Scully. Heavy in the air. Nature's natural attractants. Driving the insect world to go forth and pollinate.
Scully: I'm aware of how pheromones work. But according to this device there isn't a single pheromone to be found out here.
Dr Bronzino: Well, that can't be right. The bio-sensor we use is an actual fly antennae over which the pheromones pass. But I modified the EAG to measure in picograms which makes it sensitive to traces a mile in any direction.
Scully: But I'm still not sure why you think that pheromones might cause an otherwise harmless fly to attack a human so violently, Doctor...
Dr Bronzino: Rocky.
Scully: Rocky.
Dr Bronzino: Bugs are small-minded creatures, and therefore very predictable. They don't have moods, per se. They react to circumstance and stimuli, as they have been doing it for millennia.
Scully: So what do you suppose they're reacting to out here?
Dr Bronzino: It may be the bugs are being somehow driven crazy with desire. You know, they say we humans respond to pheromones, too.
Scully: Yeah, I tend to agree with that, yeah.
Dr Bronzino: 'Women's dormitory syndrome'. It's believed that pheromones are the reason that women who live together share the same menstrual cycle.
Scully: Fascinating.
Dr Bronzino: You know, when a male and female calliphorid fly mate they stay joined for up to one and a half hours. One and a half, doctor.
Scully: You know, Rocky... I'm a mother.
Dr Bronzino: Mothers are women, too. Big hit!
Scully: What is it?
Dr Bronzino: A high concentration of C-13 calliphorone... Incoming.

Scully: (voiceover) Four more bodies were found in the Lokensgard attic including that of Michael Lokensgard, Dylan's father, long reported missing. It now appears that he, like the others, fell victim to Dylan's mother who, in Dr Rocky Bronzino's expert opinion, was neither human nor insect but something in between. A biological anomaly, whose difference from the rest of humanity could be hidden only for so long. However strong Dylan Lokensgard's yearning to fit in, to win acceptance, to love and to be loved, he could not defeat the unseen forces which direct behaviour. In the struggle between our desire to determine who and what we will be and the identity which biology defines for us, there can only be one outcome. But even in victory, there are forces biology can not defeat — the stirrings of the soul, the mysteries of desire, the simple truth that the heart wants... what the heart wants.

Episode Number: 187
Season Number: 9
First Aired: Sunday, December 16, 2001
Production Code: 9X06

You can rate this episode below:

No comments: