episode by James Wong and Glen Morgan
summary by Pellinor
Internal dating: No dates given for this one, but if the air-date order tracks internal order, this and the two previous episodes all happened in March 1994, after "Miracle Man" (around March 7th 1994) and "Born Again" (starts March 27th). This is all rather odd, considering that Mulder and Scully were rather badly damaged by the events of "Darkness Falls."
(sequel to Squ eeze and set about a nine months later.)
Druid Hill Sanatorium, Baltimore. In his cell, Tooms squeezes an arm through the slit in the door, reaching for the door handle. Just as he is about to reach it, the door opens at the end of the corridor and he pulls back. It is Dr Monte, his psychiatrist. Monte tells him he's confident Tooms will be released at the hearing tomorrow.
Scully has been called in before Skinner. Cancerman is lurking in the background. Skinner tells Scully they're displeased with her reports - "Irregular procedure, untenable evidence, anonymous witnesses, inconclusive findings aggravated by being opinion." Scully says the very nature of the X-Files often preclude orthodox investigation. "Are you suggesting that the Bureau adopt different standards for you and Agent Mulder?" Skinner asks. She says no. He then asks if she means that Mulder is obstructing her from following proper procedure, and, again, she says no. She says she thinks the cases should be reviewed with an open mind, but Skinner wonders if her mind has become too open. Firmly, she points out that she and Mulder have a conviction or solution rate of 75 percent - well above the Bureau standard. "And that is your only saving grace," Skinner says. "May I ask, sir, what more you require?" Scully calmly asks. Skinner says what he requires is more frequent reports and more conventional investigation. "It is your responsibility to see that these cases are by the book," he tells her. "Conventional investigation of these cases may decrease their chance of success," she says, very firmly.
Tooms' psychological review board is opened. Various doctors testify that he's perfectly safe, and that his assault on Scully was born of frustration after a false arrest lost him his job. As Monte talks, Tooms watches him hungrily.
At last it is Mulder's turn to testify. When asked for his qualifications he says he's spent three years profiling serial killers at the Behavioural Sciences Unit. Before he can start, Mulder is warned that the only crime Tooms has been charged with is the assault on Scully and he is not to mention any other so-called crimes. (Just then, Scully enters the court.) Mulder, however, tells the court about the murders they researched in Tooms. As Scully looks down in embarrassment, Mulder shows them the elongated fingerprints and says that Tooms is over a hundred years old. Mulder is cut off mid-argument, having convinced the whole court that he's the insane one. "If you release Eugene Tooms, he will kill again," he warns.
Outside the court room, Scully asks why on earth Mulder said all that. "I don't care how it sounded, as long it was the truth," he says. He then asks where she was and she tells him about the meeting with Skinner.
Tooms is released, as long as he continues to see Monte and live in the care of a couple trained in supervising people who have just been released into the community.
As they leave, Mulder says he's not going to take his eyes off Tooms, sure he's going to kill again. Scully says she'll help him, but he says it's best if she re-examines the older murders. If Tooms can't be tied to the recent murders maybe they can find something to tie him to the earlier ones. "Mulder, that's going to entail unorthodox methods of investigation," she warns. "Look, Scully," he says, "if you're resisting because you don't believe, I'll respect that, but if you're resisting because of some bureaucratic pressure, they've not only reeled you in, they've already skinned you."
Tooms, back at his old animals control job, picks up a dead rat from the road, licking his fingers as he does so. He then spots a woman and looks at her hungrily, as everything goes slow-motion with off colours (as it always does when Tooms eyes up his prey.) Suddenly Mulder steps into his view, asking for help finding his dog - a Norwegian elkhound called Heinrich, which he uses to hunt moose. Tooms flees.
Scully visits Detective Briggs, the old man they consulted in Squeeze. He was in charge of the 1930s investigation, and he tells her that one of the bodies was never found, even though a bit of their liver was found. He thinks Tooms hid the body because there was something incriminating about it. He thinks the body's hidden under the cement at the chemical plant where the liver was found.
Scully and Briggs go to the chemical plant and locate the body, due to Briggs' implausible hunch rather than fancy scientific methods.
Tooms sees a man with the same colour coat as the woman he had followed earlier and follows him home. Mulder follows Tooms and keeps watch, but dozes off for a few seconds. When he wakes up, Tooms has gone, crawling through the drains. Tooms tries to get up through the toilet but the man's wife puts the seat down and locks it with a child lock. Tooms then squeezes through the bars o the window. Mulder, meanwhile, is running around outside and notices Tooms' fingerprints on the windowsill. He knocks on the door and warns the man he may have an intruder in the house. Tooms retreats and drives away.
At the Smithsonian, a forensic anthropologist confirms that the body dates from the 1930s, since some money at the body was all dated from the 30s. There were gnawing marks on the ribs, but he thinks these are from rodents after death. He hasn't yet been able to determine the cause of death. He says that, going by the book, it's too early to say what the person looked like. Scully asks him if he can say anything off the record. "Thank you," he says, and tells her it's pretty likely these bones belong to the fifth person who went missing in 1933.
Scully talks to Mulder in his car, telling him what she's learnt. He says it's not enough yet - not enough to tie this body to Tooms. Mulder's been outside Tooms's house all day but he hasn't once come out. Scully reminds him that surveillance work requires two pairs of agents, one pair relieving the other when every 12 hours. "Article 30, paragraph 8.7," Mulder says.
Scully: "This isn't about doing it by the book. It's about you not having slept for three days. Mulder, you're going to get sloppy and you're going to get hurt. It's inevitable at this point."
Mulder: "A request for other agents to stake out Tooms would be denied. To them we have no grounds."
Scully: "Well, then I'll stay here. You go home."
Mulder: "They're out to put an end to the X-Files, Scully. I don't know why, but any excuse'll do. I don't really care about my record, but you'd be in trouble just sitting in this car, and I'd hate to see you to carry an official reprimand in your career file because of me."
Mulder: (laughing awkwardly, and shaking his head) "I even made my parents call me Mulder."
Scully: "Mulder, I wouldn't put myself on the line for anybody but you."
Mulder: "If there's an iced tea in that bag, it could be love."
Scully (reaching into her bag) "Must be fate, Mulder. Root beer. You're delirious. Go home and get some sleep."
Mulder gives Scully his half-eaten sandwich and asks her to call him as soon as anything happens. She gets out and goes to her car, just as the trunk of Mulder's car clicks shut ominously. After Mulder's driven off, Scully looks at the bite marks in Mulder's sandwich and gets an idea.
Mulder is asleep on his couch, with "The Fly" playing in the background. Tooms climbs in through the ventilation grille and starts scratching his own face.
Tooms is treated for his injuries. There is a shoe print on his jaw. He is asked who did this to him, and whispers a name.
Mulder (still on the couch) is woken up by the police. They walk straight in an pick up his shoes, checking the soles. They seem to match the print on Tooms's jaw. "You're in some trouble," they tell him. Mulder finds the screw from the ventilation grille on the floor and understands.
Skinner asks for Mulder's explanation of these "serious allegations." Mulder says it should be easy to find that the bruise on Tooms' jaw isn't compatible with his foot having been in the shoe at the time. Tooms is framing him, he says. Skinner says there's no way Tooms could have got to his shoe as Mulder was wearing it all the time during his unauthorised surveillance. Scully steps in and says that she was helping Mulder and that he was with her at the time Tooms was admitted to the hospital. "Agent Mulder could not have done it because he was with me," she says, although this is not actually true. "You wouldn't be lying to me, would you?" Skinner asks. "Sir, I would expect you to place the same trust in me and I do in you," she says. Skinner asks her to leave so he can talk to Mulder alone (although Cancerman is there too.)
Skinner goes into paternal mode and tells Mulder, "you were one of the finest, most unique agents in the nearly 60 year history of this institution. We were talking about you when you were in the Academy. Now most of us, including the Director, feel your talents are wasted on the X-Files, but we respect that you were deeply invested in these areas. But if these cases have created such stress as to cause not only you to act in appropriately but those agents close to you as well, then may I advise you to step away for awhile. Clear your head. Take an extended vacation." "That's a good idea. Thanks for your concern," says Mulder. Skinner reverts to his "boss" mode and forbids Mulder from going anywhere near Tooms. Mulder leaves, but Skinner calls him back. "This was close," he says. "Any closer and a thousand friends in the Capitol won't be able to help you."
Scully compares Tooms' dental X-rays with the gnawing on the bones she and Briggs found. Using some clever computer they find out these match.
Dr Monte visits Tooms, who is ripping up newspaper like he does before making a nest. Monte assumes it's origami, and says how good that is - what a good way to express his feelings. The camera fades to black on Monte's screams.
Mulder and Scully go to Tooms' lodgings and find Monte's body. As this is the fifth liver this year, Mulder assumes he's off to build a nest.
66 Exeter Street has now been pulled down and turned into a shopping mall called "City Square." Mulder and Scully go there at night. There is an escalator at much the same spot as Tooms' apartment was, and Mulder notices a trap door at the base of the escalator. They open it up, but it's only narrow - only room for one of them. Scully prepares to go down, but Mulder says "you can get the next mutant."
Mulder crawls in the narrow passageway under the escalator, getting his nice white shirt all dirty. At the end of the passage he finds Tooms' nest. As he gets up close, Tooms' hand reaches out and grabs him so that his gun flies out of his grasp. Mulder turns and crawls fast for the exit, pursued by Tooms. Just as Mulder is about to grab Scully's hand and get pulled to safety, Tooms grabs his foot. Mulder, however, is able to pull free and climb out. He starts the escalator, crushing Tooms.
Skinner reads the report. (This reveals that Tooms was initially arrested on July 23rd 1993) He looks thoughtful, asking Cancerman if he believes him. "Of course I do." Cancerman says.
Outside the FBI building, Mulder is looking at a chrysalis. "It's amazing how things change, isn't it?" he says. "Change for us. It's coming." Scully asks how he knows. "A hunch," he says, turning and walking off.