episode by Howard Gordon
summary by MaraKara
Internal dating: The teaser takes place on May 17th 1996. By internal dialogue this is "three months ago", placing the episode as about August 1996.
On May 17, 1996, an African diplomat flying from Burkina Faso Africa to JFK in NYC goes to the lavatory. A pair of pink eyes on a grey man watch from a closet near the plane's restroom. The diplomat washes his face, looks up and screams. Several minutes later, a different black man with one red eye one purple eye stands in the bathroom. He leaves the bathroom, looking fine, running into the flight attendant. She is looking for the diplomat. She finds him in the bathroom -- but now he is an albino.
Credits role. the truth isn't out there. Instead:
Three months later, at 5:17am, Scully is pulled into a meeting with Skinner and a doctor from the CDC. No Mulder. Scully is asked what she knows about a series of kidnappings in Philly. Four black men are missing, no ransom, no bodies -- just gone. The CDC doctor tells Scully the 4th missing man was found dead. When he shows her a picture of the dead man, he is an albino. The problem is a picture of the man taken several days before his death show him a black man. Scully is asked to join the CDC's investigation.
As Scully starts her autopsy two hours later, Mulder walks in. She gives him a brief rundown on the case but they start to disagree. She believes it is a medical mystery, not a murder case. Mulder thinks the FBI and Philly cops brought in the CDC makes it look like they are really trying to find a killer -- not make it look like no one cares. Scully totally disagrees with Mulder's conspiracy theory, telling him that not everyone is out to "deceive, inveigle and obfuscate". Scully continues with the autopsy, Mulder takes the trace evidence removed from the body to Agent Pendrell.
In Philly, a social worker speaks to an African National, Samuel Aboah, about Aboah's desire to become a U.S. Citizen and bring his family stateside. The man, Aboah, has patches of white skin on his back, but they are covered by his clothes. He is the same man who walked back from the restroom on the plane several months ago.
Mulder meets with Agent Pendrell. Pendrell doesn't want to talk to Mulder until Scully arrives, but he tells Pendrell that Scully isn't coming -- she has a date. Pendrell gets really bummed. Mulder then tells Pendrell he can breathe again, Scully's date is with a corpse in an autopsy bay. Pendrell found some asbestos, hairs and normal fibers on the corpse and a strange seed. Through some very serious research, he found it was from a rare passion flower only found in Africa.
Mulder calls Scully from a pay phone. Mulder was able to find out that the seed secretes a toxin that could kill some one with significant exposure. Scully's done with the autopsy. There is no definite cause of death, but the victim's pituitary gland was necrotized. Mulder knew this would kill the victim, but Scully said they still don't know why that happened. Scully would continue the medical work -- Mulder was going to do some field work and boards a plane
Later that night in NYC, the UN blonde haired woman from Herrenvolk (Marita) is leaving the office. She is being followed. When she turns suddenly, its Mulder. She asks him want he wants. Mulder shows her the seed and asks her about it. She knows nothing and wonders why he is bothering her. Mulder tells her that she made the original overture to him several months ago. He wants to know -- will she help him or not? She says she'll look into it.
In Philly, a young black man sits at a bus stop, waiting for the bus. Before the bus arrives, the young man is hit by a dart. He collapses on the bench. He can't move, but he is awake and aware. When the bus pulls up, he can't get on and can't tell the driver he needs help. The driver just pulls away. As the bus goes, Samuel Aboah is standing there -- one red eye, one purple.
The next morning, a young man who works in a fast food restaurant is reported missing. His backpack is found at the bus stop. Scully interviews the bus driver who left the young man -- the same young man -- at the bus stop. Mulder arrives. He has info from his UN pal. The man killed on a plane from Burkina Faso -- he had the seed in him as well. He was a diplomat -- Mulder had a crime scene photo -- but the Embassy claimed diplomatic privilege and vanished. The seed will shut down your body's reflexes and defenses. You're alive and know what's going on, you just can't move or speak.
As the police canvas the area, two cops go to the apartment of Samuel Aboah. He is warned about a possible kidnapper. As he returns to his living room, the kid from the bus stop is sitting, paralyzed in a chair. Aboah opens his mouth really wide and regurgitates a long dart gun.
Mulder and Scully go to the INS and find the social worker who helps recent immigrants from Burkina Faso. He is reluctant to help the FBI find the men he is trying to help, but Scully tells him about the illnesses. He gives up Samuel Aboah.
As Mulder and Scully wait for Aboah, they disagree about how this case should be handled. Mulder thinks it is a murder case, Scully still sticks with the science/disease side. The argument is cut short when Aboah arrives, jumping off a work truck. Mulder takes the license number. The two go after Aboah. Mulder's coat is off. When Aboah sees Mulder's gun, he flees. Aboah turns down an alley way and disappears. Totally gone. The two agents rummage through trash looking for Aboah. No luck. As Mulder squats near a storm drain and wonders where Aboah is, he finds him. The guy was able to cram himself into the world's smallest storm drain.
Scully and the doctor from the CDC start running a million tests on Aboah, but the early results show nothing. Scully sees this guy as a carrier or even patient zero. Mulder is fascinated about his storm drain hiding abilities.
The INS social worker arrives, furious that Aboah is in custody. Scully said they wanted the social worker to translate for them. This way, she can get a medical history. Mulder also wants some other answers -- like what happened to the other missing black men and why did Aboah run. The social worker goes postal on Mulder, reminding him that Aboah is from a country where the police and men in power beat and kill at will. Mulder, unhappy with the lectures from both the social worker and Scully, leaves to find someone who "deceived, inveigled and sought to obfuscate."
In the DC embassy of Burkina Faso, Mulder is introduced to the security minister. The minister is annoyed. The Embassador got a phone call from the UN telling them to cooperate with Mulder. A little surprised, Mulder shows the picture of the dead man from the plane. The minister doesn't want to help Mulder -- Mulder he thinks, won't believe him. Mulder assures the man he believes in many things.
The minister describes the Teliko, a childhood myth. The Teliko are spirits who hid during the day. They hid in keyholes and places too small for children to hide.
While the minister is talking, back in Philly, Aboah has smushed himself into a draw on a medical cart and is being pushed down the hall.
The minister tells of when he was a child. He woke one night and saw an albino standing over him. He was frightened and fainted. When he woke, his father was there. The next morning, his seven year old cousin was found dead in a field. The cousin was now an albino. The minister is now afraid the Teliko is here.
Back in Philly, the CDC doctor learns from Scully two strange discoveries from Aboah's medical tests. He has a long stick in his throat -- the dart gun -- and no pituitary gland. Mulder walks in and announces that Aboah is gone.
In the INS parking lot, the social worker is going to his car. Aboah is waiting for him. After a few pleasantries are exchanged, Aboah hits him with a dart. He is now paralyzed but wide awake and aware of what's going on.
Mulder and Scully learn the INS social worker is missing. In a nearby alley, Aboah has another long stick. He puts it up the INS social worker's nose, but before he can do any damage, the police arrive. The social worker is safe, but still out of it.
The police canvas the area. Mulder figures out that the killings are incidental. He wants the pituitary glands. He learned about a tribe from Africa. These folks are albinos who steal pituitary glands to make themselves black. Scully is skeptical of Mulder's story, especially when he said he figured it out from an African folk tale. He said what was the difference between a folk tale, medical ideas or a conspiracy? Scully wonders why he came to America. Mulder thinks it is better here - "free cable".
They pull up in front of a construction site. Mulder put the asbestos and the work truck together and figured out where Aboah worked. At the site, the two split up. Mulder gets too close to Aboah and is hit with a dart. He is able to call for Scully before he is incapacitated. Scully finds his flashlight and gun (gee, Mulder lost his gun--that *never* happens). She also sees an air conditioning duct. As she starts to crawl through, she starts finding dead albino guys. Finally down one turns she finds Mulder. He's alive, awake but unable to move, speak, help himself or her.
Scully looks for a safe place, but finds Aboah. She takes several shots at him, but misses. She returns to Mulder. As she tries to carry him out of the air duct, she loses control of him (size and weight differences). She has to leave him on the floor with several of the dead guys. Scully calls 911, but the Philly 911 is not all that helpful. As she is trying to get Mulder an ambulance and herself some back up, Aboah is behind her. She can't see him but Mulder can. Mulder is desperate to warn her, but can't -- he can only move his eyes. Just as Aboah is about to jump Scully, Mulder gets her eye and signals Aboah's arrival. Scully shoots Aboah and tries to attend to Mulder.
As the episode ends, the INS social worker is OK, so is Mulder. The drug is temporary. Aboah is up on murder charges, but is dying without the pituitary glands. Scully muses about desire of a man who is different to "deceive, inveigle and obfuscate" the truth about himself.
"But what science may never be able to explain is our ineffable fear of the alien among us, a fear which often drives us not to search for understanding, but to deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate. To obscure the truth not only from others, but from ourselves."