episode by Chris Carter
summary by Pellinor
Internal dating: No date given. The dating goes a bit odd at this point anway. The previous episode, "Eve" was early November 1993, but the next one, "Beyond the Sea" is after Christmas. Make of that what you will.
In England, some rich man (with an implausible English accent) suddenly bursts into flame in front of his wife. The gardener (with an implausible Irish? accent) watches, an odd smile on his face.
Mulder and Scully are returning from a tiring day in court. Mulder finds a cassette tape in the car in front of his seat and plays it. An English woman's voice greets him by name, and tells him how an English member of Parliament received a similar tape. When it was put in the car stereo is armed a bomb which exploded when he tried to open the door. Mulder and Scully look understandably worried. Suddenly the door bursts open and they both jump. It's a woman, and she greets Mulder as an old friend. He looks distinctly displeased to see her. She accuses him of having left his sense of humour back in Oxford ten years ago. He says he hasn't - it's one of the only things she didn't drive a stake through. She then kisses him, but he doesn't kiss her back. Instead he pulls away and introduces Scully to the woman - Phoebe Greene, "Terror of Scotland Yard." "She hates me," Phoebe whispers, but Mulder pulls away and asks her why she's here.
In the office, Phoebe tells Mulder and Scully about her case. Someone's been sending threats to members of the British aristocracy then burning them alive. She says the word "burn" with relish. The suspect sends love letters to the wives of his victims. The latest woman to receive such a letter, the wife of Sir Malcolm Marsden, is currently on holiday in Cape Cod. She is here to protect them, and has come to Mulder because she figured he "couldn't resist a three-pipe problem." Phoebe is talking always just toMulder. When she leaves she pauses at the door and says "Oh, goodbye," to Scully, as an exaggerated after-thought.
Scully asks about the three-pipe problem thing. He says it's from Sherlock Holmes and is a private joke. "How private." she asks, briskly. He says Phoebe was a brilliant student at Oxford and he got in "over his head... paid the price." "Mulder, you just keep unfolding like a flower," Scully says. He insists it's all ten years in thepast, but she says he dropped everything to help Phoebe. "I was merely extending a professional courtesy?" he says. "Oh, is that what you were extending?" she asks.
Mulder and Phoebe consult an arson specialist, who seems fascinated both by the fires and by Phoebe. He says the people wouldn't burn like that, not without an accelerant, but she tells him they found no trace of an accelerant on the bodies. He says it could be rocket fuel, as this leaves no trace. Mulder suggests the fires are caused by a pyrokinetic - a person who can control fire. The arson specialist doesn't believe in this. Looking at Phoebe, he mutters to Mulder, ostensibly about the case, "I almost wish I was in your shoes."
Cape Cod. The gardener we saw at the start is now masquerading as the caretaker of the Marsden's holiday home. (His name is Cecil L'Ively, though we don't know that yet. He's going by the name of Bob.) As he watches the family arrive, he lights a cigarette without using a lighter. Outside, he sees the dog digging up a body. He kicks it away. "I'm the caretaker now," he says.
Mulder enters the office. Scully greets him by the name "Sherlock" and he calls her "Watson." He tells her she needn't get involved with the case, which he calls "Phoebe's little mind game." Looking awkward, he says, "there's something else I haven't told you about myself, Scully. I hate fire. Hate it. Scared to death of it." He says that, when he was a child, his best friend's house burnt down and he had to spend the night in the ruins to help keep away looters. "For years I had nightmares about being trapped in a burning building." Scully asks is Phoebe knows about this. He says she does. "This is classic Phoebe Greene, mind-game player extraordinaire. Ten years it's taken me to forget about this woman and she shows up in my life with a case like this." Scully offers to help, but he says "sooner or later a man's got to face his demons."
L'Ively watches Lady Marsden in the kitchen. He then talks to the Marsden's driver, who has a cough. He says he's going into town and offers to buy some cough medicine.
In town, L'Ively goes to a bar. A woman starts chatting to him, and he lights her cigarette for her by calling up a flame at the end of his finger. Then his whole arm is alight and he burns the whole bar.
Mulder and Phoebe visit the woman from the bar, who is in the hospital. She's reluctant to talk, saying she doesn't want her boyfriend to find out, but Mulder persuades her.
In the corridor, Phoebe congratulates Mulder on his technique - "Casually disregard her indiscretions". Mulder says it was technique he learnt from his dealings with her. She looks a bit hurt and he apologises, saying it was a "cheap shot." "I don't want to dredge up the past," he says. She snaps at him, saying that "Ten years seems to be sufficient time to have forgiven, if not forgotten, a few youthful indiscretions." "I'm cursed with a photographic memory." Mulder replies. She leans up close and asks him if he's forgotten a certain youthful indiscretion on Arthur Conan Doyle's tomb one foggy night. "Like I said, let's stick to the case," Mulder says, firmly.
Back at Cape Cod, the driver is still coughing, and now he's being sick. L'Ively has poisoned the cough medicine.
At night in the office, Scully works on the case. She theorises that the arsonist is a young man who's able to get into a position close to the victims.
L'Ively befriends to two Marsden boys, impressing them with "magic" tricks with cigarettes.
Scully visits Daly, the arson specialist, who seems as impressed by her as he was by Phoebe. They speculate that the accelerant could be something like hand cream.
L'Ively tries to tempt the boys into smoking, but their mother calls them just in time. She tells him their driver is ill and asks him if he could drive them into Boston, where they have a party.
As L'Ively watches Lady Marsden's retreating figure, Scully's voice-over on the profile of the arsonist says how they tend to have obsessive fantasies about women. He sets fires because he is too cowardly to attempt a real relationship. She has asked for immigration data to see who's come in from England.
Mulder and Phoebe plan to attend the party in Boston to set a trap for the arsonist. She says he is to book "a room" at the hotel for the night.
Mulder arrives at the hotel and sits down on the double bed. When Scully calls him he says he anticipates having his "hands full" that night. He also, somewhat guiltily, stands up as soon as he hears her voice. She says she's looked through the immigration details, but he's not really interested and tries to deflect her.
At the party, Mulder looks rather disconsolate as Phoebe ignores him. Eventually she comes across him, alone in an empty ballroom. She asks him to dance. He says it looks as if the arsonist isn't here, but she says this doesn't mean "there won't be any fires to put out." They dance close and she tells him she's thought about him often. Scully arrives and sees this. She looks fed up and paces up and down in the hallway as Phoebe and Mulder kiss. When she turns round she glimpses L'Ively in the corridor, but a minute later he is gone. She then notices a red light on a panel on the wall, announcing that there is a fire on the fourteenth floor. She rushes in to tell Mulder and Phoebe, who says that's where the two boys are.
While Scully and Phoebe run to get help, Mulder rushes up the stairs. At the door to the fourteenth floor he pauses and takes several deep breaths, as if trying to get the nerve to go in. He opens the door, and crouches down to get below the smoke. He crawls forward a little, but then the flames burst out and he turns round and collapses on the floor. He is still there when someone carries the two boys out past him, and when the firemen arrive.
Downstairs, everyone is congratulating L'Ively for saving theboys. Only Scully seems at all concerned about what has happened to Mulder. He's then half-carried down by a fireman, oxygen mask clutched to his face. He slumps to the floor. Scully asks him what happened, but he can't talk.
Mulder wakes up in bed, Scully looking down at him. She asks him what happened, and he says "I panicked - couldn't move." She says it could have happened to anyone. "yeah, but it happened to me. I hared out, plain and simple," he says. She asks him about the "driver" who saved the boys. Phoebe comes in and says he's served the family for years and is reliable. Scully, however, is suspicious, saying she saw him in the corridor downstairs, when he was supposed to be watching the boys upstairs. Mulder seems displeased to see Phoebe and the atmosphere is very awkward.
After Phoebe leaves, Scully tries to tell Mulder what she's found out, but he's not interested. he just grunts in reply. He only perks up when she says howshe's checked through the names of all the servants of all the victims, and found the same name appearing twice - Cecil L'Ively - who was gardener for two of the victims. However, according to the records, he died in a fire in 1971, and someone of the same name also died as a child in a fire 1963. Also, someone of that name recently entered America.
Scully gets a picture of L'Ively faxed to her and recognises it as the "driver."
Mulder arrives at the Cape Cod house, finding Phoebe and Lord Marsden kissing. He tells them the name of the arsonist and advises that they get packed quickly. L'Ively watches as they prepare to leave.
Scully arrives, saying simply "it's the driver." Mulder looks a bit low and she asks him what's the matter, but he says nothing. He says he's found some rocket fuel in the garage. The family refuse to believe the driver is a killer, but when they see the picture they realise the misunderstanding. The caretaker is upstairs with the children, they say.
They find the driver, dead. Suddenly the pictures start bursting into flame. Everyone watches, frozen, but Mulder beats wildly and vainly at the flames. Mulder tells Scully to take everyone outside while he goes after the children. Phoebe, looking concerned, asks him if he'll be okay. He says he will - "there's no place I'd rather be."
As Mulder tries to open the locked door of the children's room, L'Ively appears and sets the whole corridor alight. Mulder cowers against the far wall.
L'Ively goes downstairs, where Scully holds him at gunpoint. He taunts her, saying she can't shoot him in case the spark makes the whole house blow. Just then, Phoebe throws the accelerant over him, and he staggers.
Mulder is still on the floor, but now he can hear the boys screaming for help. He pulls himself to his feet and hammers at the door.
Everyone is outside, when Mulder comes out, carrying the children. L'Ively bursts into flames, cackling, "You can't kill me."
Scully comes into the office, doing a Phoebe impression and scaring Mulder. Mulder says Phoebe's gone, leaving a tape. He's not going to listen to it.
L'Ively is in a secure hospital with very severe burns, but still alive. Also, he's quickly regenerating and should be recovered in a month. After that he will be tried, but already several unexplained fires have started around him. As the episode ends, we see a badly burnt L'Ively saying "I'm just dying for a cigarette."