Teleplay by John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz - Story by Billy Brown and Dan Angel
Summary by Rebecca Rusnak
Internal dating: One week after Easter 1998. (Easter Day was April 12th)
Father McCue arrives at the house of one of his parishioners, a family who's adopted daughter is being baptized. Her name is Dara Kernoff, and she is mentally handicapped, wheelchair-bound, and polydactyl. Father McCue baptizes her, then leaves.
Around midnight, in an intense thunderstorm, Dara's father wakes up. He goes to Dara's bedroom, but she is not there. He sees her outside, walking down the street. Dara heads toward a shadowy figure, then drops to her knees, arms out, palms up. A bright light emanates from this figure, and when her father gets to her, she is dead, frozen in an attitude of prayer, her eyes burned out.
Dara's father wails his grief into the night.
The credits roll: The Truth Is Out There.
St. John's Church, Alexandria.
Scully enters the church and goes into the confessional booth. She tells the priest that she is an FBI agent. She says she came to Easter services a week ago and that Father McCue approached her, asking for her help. "But there was more than that. Father, I had a daughter who died a strange and terrible death several months ago." Father McCue hoped that by having Scully help this family, she might come to terms with her own grief.
Scully goes on to say that she is reponsible for the death of a young girl, a death she could have prevented. She begins crying.
Cut to one week earlier. Scully is just leaving Easter Mass when Fr. McCue stops her and asks if she has a moment. Once in his office, he tells her it is nice to see her at Mass again. Scully says she has been making an effort to come more often. Fr. McCue tells her about the Kernoffs and asks her to see them. Reluctantly, Scully agrees.
At the Kernoffs, Mrs. Kernoff tells Scully that her husband is angry at God for letting Dara die. They adopted Dara six years ago, and had grown to love her as their own daughter. She says her husband cannot understand how God could let such a thing happen to an innocent girl. Scully, still grieving for Emily, understands this sentiment perfectly.
In the present, Scully tells the priest that she felt drawn to the Kernoffs. "I was determined to help them understand why their daughter was taken away."
As no one is sure how Dara died, Scully goes to the hospital and speaks with a doctor there. A tentative answer of a lightning strike has been offered, but the doctor is skeptical. "It's as if God himself struck her down."
Scully asks the doctor if she had any information on Dara's birth mother, but the doctor does not. She offers to find out, but Scully says she has someone else she'd like to ask.
At the State Psychiatric Hospital in Mount Lebanon, Virginia, a young priest named Father Gregory is escorted to the room of a young girl named Paula Koklos. He is adopting her and is very anxious to take her with him. As the orderly is about to open the door, a harried social worker named Aaron Starkey runs down the hall. He has just been assigned to Paula, he says, and he cannot approve the adoption without some time to review her case. The priest must leave.
In her apartment, Scully reveiws the medical data on Dara Kernoff. As she removes a magnifying glass from her desk, she pulls out the photo of Emily from her birthday. Mulder calls then, from a phone booth. He is rushed, and wants to know why Scully called him earlier. She asks him to find the adoption records of Dara Kernoff but keep it quiet. He agrees, then says he has to go. He hangs up and runs across the street into a movie theater showing "A Decade of Dirty Delinquents."
In the hospital in Mount Lebanon, a figure walks down the hall to Paula Koklos' room. A brilliant light fills the hall, and when it subsides, Paula is dead, frozen into a position identical to Dara Kernoff's. A closer look reveals her to be a twin to Dara.
The next morning Scully is investigating. She notices a cross on the wall turned upside down just before Mulder comes in. Mulder says she's been holding out on him. "I didn't want to involve you," Scully replies. "I was asked to look into this as a favor."
Mulder has Dara's birth records, but her adoption records are sealed. Scully looks through the papers, and says Dara was a twin. Mulder corrects her, saying Dara was a quadruplet. Mulder sees the cross and asks who put it there, if Scully has any suspects. She says no. Mulder adds that he knows she doesn't really want his help, but "may I offer my professional opinion?" He believes it's a religiously-motivated killer, one who may believe he is doing God's work.
Aaron Starkey arrives, and Scully asks if the cross was Paula's. Starkey says no. He says, "I don't know if you knew this, but Paula was about to be adopted."
Mulder and Scully drive to The Church of St. Peter the Sinner, run by Fr. Gregory. As they enter the church, a pair of eyes watches them from somewhere.
They are approached by Fr. Gregory. Scully identifies herself, and says she is here about the death of Paula Koklos. The priest seems shaken, and while Scully asks if he is all right, Mulder merely stares piercingly at the man.
Fr. Gregory says he was trying to adopt Paula. Mulder asks why. The priest replies that he hopes Mulder isn't insinuating anything. "Why adopt her?" Mulder repeats. Fr. Gregory says he was trying to protect Paula, that he knew her birth mother, although the woman is dead, killed in childbirth. He cannot reveal her name because he was her confessor.
Mulder asks who the priest was protecting the girl from. Fr. Gregory says their "secular prejudice is blinding you to what's going on. Two girls are dead, not by the hand of man. Unless you accept God's teachings that there is a struggle between good and evil for all souls, you're but fools rushing in." He refuses to say more.
As they leave, Mulder says he believes Fr. Gregory is at the very least hiding something, even if he isn't the killer, and that Scully has enough to bring him in for questioning, even make an arrest. "So you're ruling out anything supernatural?" asks Scully. Mulder says, "religion masquerading as the paranormal has hidden some of the most heinous acts in history." Why does God let bad things happen to good people? Scully replies, "I was raised to believe God has his reasons, no matter how mysterious." Mulder suggests she autopsy Paula Koklos to find her killer.
During Paula's autopsy, Scully notes on two bony protrusions on Paula's shoulders. She is making notes, and glances up the body. She is severely shaken to see Emily laying on the table, not Paula. She turns away in tears, and when she turns back, Emily is still there, saying, "Mommy, please."
In the present, Scully tells her confessor that she feels she was meant to see Emily, and that it was not a hallucination brought on by stress.
After the autopsy, Mulder calls Scully and tells her he has a lead on the third girl, who wandered into a homeless center a few days ago. Aaron Starkey is with him. Scully says she swears she found something wing-like on Paula. Before she can continue, Mulder sees an upside-down cross hanging from the rearview mirror of a parked car, and he hangs up.
In an abandoned church across the street, the third girl staggers in and falls to her knees before the same shadowy figure. A bright light emerges from him.
Mulder enters the building and comes upon Fr. Gregory. Holding him at gunpoint, Mulder eases forward and sees the dead girl. A raven flies up from the spot, out through a hole in the belfry.
Fr. Gregory is brought in for questioning. While Scully stands back, Mulder is antagonistic, badgering the priest, trying to find out why the man killed the girls. He pushes the priest's cross forward, asking about it. Fr. Gregory asks Scully to explain it. She says it symbolizes St. Peter, who would only be crucified upside down, in humility towards Jesus. A cop calls them from the room, and as Scully is about to leave, Fr. Gregory says, "You know what they are. You've already guessed. The last one is still out there. The devil is here. And if he finds her his victory will be complete." Mulder tells Scully they think they found the last girl.
In the present, Scully tells her confessor that she let Mulder believe he could find the girl. "But I already knew I was meant to save her," she says. She says that Fr. Gregory believed the devil had taken those girls' souls, but she knows now he was wrong.
The fourth girl, Mulder says, is named Roberta Dyer. She has a history of allegations of being abused. Scully is perturbed. "Don't let this guy get into your head," Mulder admonishes. "Sometimes the most twisted ones are the most persuasive....I've never seen you more vulnerable, susceptible, or easily manipulated. And it scares me because I don't know why."
Scully hesitates, then says, "I saw Emily. She came to me in a vision."
Mulder puts his hand on her shoulder and says he thinks she should step away, that personal issues are clouding her judgment. Scully tells him to go find the girl, that she wants to finish up with Fr. Gregory.
Aaron Starkey appears in the interrogation room. He asks Fr. Gregory where Roberta is. The priest asks how he got here. "I will not be denied this time, Father," Starkey says. "But you took the others," says Fr. Gregory. "The others were taken from me," replies the devil. The priest will not say, and Starkey burns him.
A short time later Scully enters the room and finds Fr. Gregory dead.
Mulder arrives at the Dyer home. Her foster father will not say where she is at first, but finally admits that the priest took her.
Outside at night, Scully is ready to leave the police station. Mulder calls and she tells him about Fr. Gregory being dead, and that no one can figure it out. Mulder repeats what Roberta Dyer's father told him.
Scully drops her keys. She bends down to pick them up, and two feet enter her field of vision. Slowly she looks up, at a tall figure. It has four faces, all of which reveal themselves to her: a man, an eagle, a lion, and a bull. Bright light emanates from the figure.
Scully goes to see Fr. McCue and tells him what she saw. He takes an old book from his shelf and opens it to a picture, asking if this is what she saw. It is a seraph, he explains.
There was an ancient legend of a seraph, who descended from heaven and fathered four half-angel, half-human children with a mortal woman. The offspring were called the nephilim. "They have the souls of angels, but they weren't meant to be." Disfigured and outcast on earth, the seraph eventually came back to earth for their souls.
Fr. McCue doesn't believe Scully actually saw a seraph. He merely thinks she has taken a half-remembered story from her childhood and mixed it with what is going on in her current life.
Scully leaves the church and runs into Aaron Starkey in the parking lot. He says Mulder has been trying to reach her, that they found the fourth girl.
He and Scully go to Fr. Gregory's church, and although Scully enters, Starkey must stand on the threshold. He cannot enter the church. Scully begins looking for the girl, but sees Starkey's shadow, which has horns. Aware of what is happening, she continues searching, and when she finds the girl hiding under stairs, brings her out, saying she will help her.
From the doorway Starkey demands that Scully bring the girl to him. Brilliant light floods the church, and the girl tries to escape Scully's grasp and head towards it. Behind them the devil continues to demand the girl. Scully does not want to let go the girl's hand.
And suddenly Emily stands before Scully, her tiny hand in Scully's. "Mommy, please let me go," the little girl pleads. Making an agonized decision, Scully lets go and Emily walks into the light while Scully calls her name.
The light fades, then dies. The body of the fourth girl kneels before her, and Starkey is gone.
In the present, Scully tells her confessor that she thought she was doing the right thing by letting the girl go, but she cannot reconcile the saving of her soul with the killing of an innocent person. "Do you believe there is a life after this one?" asks the priest.
"Yes," replies Scully.
"Are you sure?" Scully cannot say anything to this. "Has it occurred to you that this, too, is part of what you were meant to understand?"
"You mean, accepting my loss?" asks Scully. "Maybe that's what faith is."