Episode by Chris Carter
Summary by Stacey O., aka CleverGrrl
Internal dating: The telegram, sent at the end of the movie and saying that the X-Files have been re-opened, is dated September 6th 1998. The events of this episode obviously happen very shortly after this date.
The episode begins with a shot of bright sunlight over the desert - location is Mesa, Arizona. Two men in shirt and ties run back to a white van with a DNA double helix, and a ROUSH TECHNOLOGIES logo on the side. They get in the van joining about six other men. One of the men in the carpool waves them on.
"Hurry up!," he implores them. "Uh, next time, maybe take a leak before we leave work. Okay, Dipwads?"
The two men exchange benign verbal barbs, and the van drives off.
The next scene takes place in Phoenix, Arizona, timestamp of 5:46 PM. This is much later in the day, and the carpool is now on a return trip home. T
he van continues on. The man sitting beside the original man in the carpool, Sandy, is shivering uncontrollably. He appears seriously ill, and is sweating profusely.
The carpool man thinks that Sandy, too, has to use the restroom, and tells him to hold it a little while longer.
Sandy is nonresponsive, sweating and shaking. The van pulls up in front of a suburban house. Still shivering, Sandy gets out of the van.
The van drives off. Sandy goes inside his house and goes immediately to the thermostat, which reads 60 degrees. He raises the temperature to the highest setting, then goes into the living room and sits on the couch. He appears to be freezing cold. He begins gasping in pain, then raises his hand up to look at it. The skin and tissue is almost completely transparent. He begins convulsing weakly.
Time stamp now reads 7:04 AM. It's the next morning, and the paper boy is delivering as the van arrives at Sandy's house to pick him up. They blow the horn. When there is no response, the carpool man knocks on Sandy's door... but there's no answer. There are lots of pictures of Sandy, but all as a scientist. No family looking pictures. The carpool man enters the unlocked house and reacts to the sweltering heat.
He sees the thermostat, and appears concerned. He sees Sandy sitting on the couch and claps his hands to get his attention, but Sandy has no reaction.
The man comes closer to the body and stares down at a gaping bloody hole in the middle of Sandy's chest. He backs up in fear, then hears a sound from the hall. A figure looks out at him. The camera cuts to the men waiting in the van. Back inside the house, the carpool man screams as the figure leaps out at him.
He tries to get to the door, but covered in blood as he now is, he slips and is unable to turn the doorknob. The unseen figure jerks him back out of camera range and he continues to scream.
Opening Credits - Unchanged from the previous five seasons. THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE
Next scene: Mulder, sitting in a small dark office using an electronic magnifier and his computer, is laboriously piecing together fragments of burned paper. Vaguely, we see the words, "FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION."
We then fade to Mulder addressing the OPR committee in conference room. Several Assistant Directors are present, including Skinner.
Mulder: "Using a process that restores moisture to the documents and by a reassembling of fragments I should be able to recover a large percentage of the case material that was destroyed in my office fire several months ago... And while this process will be tedious and ongoing what I've already recovered will allow Agent Scully and I to begin work on the X-Files immediately."
Mulder turns as he sees Scully enter the room. She looks uncomfortable as she sits beside Mulder. AD Maslin, a dark-haired, no nonsense woman in her late thirties, looks at the file in front of her.
Maslin: "Agent Mulder... Agent Mulder, I'm reading here a very pie-in- the-sky report about global domination plans by vicious, long-clawed spacelings? Is there going to be data to back this vague, omnibus account?"
Another AD: "I see your renowned arrogance has been left quite intact. You're asking us to accept this report of a spaceship buried under polar ice and your death-defying escape from it?"
Mulder responds that the ice had become superheated by the ship as it rose beneath them, causing the ice to collapse.
The ADs continue to attempt to poke holes in Mulder's arguements, and Scully merely looks on, looking quite pained and not saying a word.
Maslin: "And, so, the plot... I-I'm just trying to get this straight. The plot is for these spacelings to take over the planet aided by a group of men here on earth? "
Skinner turns to her, looking very uncomfortable.
Maslin continues to express the OPR committee's skepticism, and Mulder appears increasingly resigned. Finally, he decides to try and bring the situation home for the committee, attempting to put everything into perspective:
Mulder: "Agent Scully was assigned to the X-Files as a scientist, was stung by one of these bees and was infected with this virus. She is here today with hard and incontrovertible evidence... Scientific proof that the virus she was infected with is, in fact, extraterrestrial."
Having said this last statement confidently, he turns to Scully, who looks very ill-at-ease and does not say a word. Realizing that she is not going to back him up, he stares at her in surprise.
Time passes. When they exit the conference room, Mulder and Scully appear very irritated with one another.
Mulder:"Next time, I'll wear a clown suit and do balloon tricks."
Scully: "Mulder, I was hoping it wouldn't come up."
Mulder: "The only reason I was in there was because you assured me there was a scientific basis for what we saw."
Scully: "Mulder, let me remind you once again... What I saw was very little."
Mulder: "Look, Scully, that excuse is not going to work this time. You were there and you were infected with that virus."
Scully: "Mulder, yes... there is a scientific basis for what happened to me. I was exposed to a virus but as it turns out, Mulder that virus is not what you thought. Look, I can't identify it, Mulder-- I have run three separate tests--but I can tell you without a doubt that that virus's DNA and proteins are very much of this world."
Mulder: "I saw what that virus did. I saw it generate a new being... An alien being inside a human body."
Scully: "It attacks and destroys human cells but that is all it does, Mulder. It creates nothing. Look, I don't like telling you this... And I know that you don't want to hear it... Not that you can't question me and what I saw but what you can't question is the science."
Mulder turns angrily, stalking off, and she watches him retreat with a sad expression.
Next scene: New York City. The Consortium are in a conference room. Cigarette Smoking Man is addressing the Elders and showing slides of the body of the man, Sandy, from the teaser.
CSM tells the Elders that he made up a story about a crazy Indian man on the loose to appease the press and explain the Arizona carnage. When the Second Elder asks what the situation is, CSM tells him that Sandy was one of theirs, presumably accidentally injecting himself while he was working on the virus. It took just 12 hours for the creature to gestate.
He assures the others that his response will be equal to the threat.
Next scene: Mulder is working again on piecing together the burned files in his new office when Skinner enters.
When Skinner warns Mulder that he's wasting his time, Mulder shoots back that he needs to produce evidence to justify their reassignment. To his shock and horror, Skinner tells him that their reassignment on the X- Files has been denied.
Angrily, Mulder asks if there had been a vote, and is visibly horrified when Skinner admits that it was unanimous against.
Mulder turns off the computer, and gathers up a box full of files in individual plastic bags and heads for the door. Skinner still stands in the way.
Mulder: (coldly) Excuse me.
To his surprise, Skinner informs him of a file in his old office that might give him the evidence he needs.
Mulder enters his old office. It has been cleaned, and there is a large house plant by the door. There is nothing on the walls, just a plain desk with a manilla folder sitting on it. Mulder sets his box of files on the edge of the desk and opens the folder. Inside is the same picture of Sandy from the teaser, chest gaping open. Unseen by Mulder, Agent Spender enters the office.
Mulder asks glibly why Spender is in his office. Spender replies that it is no longer his. When Mulder tells him that he won't allow some "brown nose" to take over his life's work, Spender reveals that it is actually Diana who is taking his place as the skeptic.
Diana enters, and Mulder appears surprised and hurt. We get the impression that they have not seen each other since the shooting six months earlier.
Next scene: An unknown research facility. CSM walks down a hall and looks into an operating room. In the glow of the red "No Smoking" sign, he lights a cigarette and enters the room. Inside, a group of doctors are working on a patient's head. The doctors look up in surprise, but no one challenges him.
He orders the doctors to wrap the patient and prepare him for travel, ignoring their objections. When he exits, the camera pans down to show that the patient is Gibson Praise, very much awake and silently unhappy as the doctors work on him. His head, crisscrossed with open incisions, is in a restraint, his hair is completely shaved off allowing the doctors access to his brain.
Next Scene: PHOENIX, ARIZONA 4:58 PM
Scully and Mulder enter Sandy's house. She attempts to remind him that they are breaking the law by entering, but he ignores her, and she mutters to herself, "Why do I bother?"
They scrutinize bloody scratch marks on the wall, and Mulder tells her that supposedly the marks were made by a Native American man.
Scully comments that this is improbable in the extreme, and Mulder agrees.
Suddenly, Mulder finds a nail in one of the grooves, and it looks like a large cat claw.
Mulder shows Scully the photo of the man's gaping torso, and tells her that he believes an alien birthed itself right on the couch before them. She is skeptical.
Outside the house, a car pulls up, but they do not see it. CSM and Gibson whose head is now bandaged, blood seeping through, sit in the back seat.
Gibson: (emphatically, nervous, perhaps protecting Mulder and Scully inside) It's not here. Why don't you believe me when you're so afraid of me?
CSM: I'm not afraid of you.
Gibson: You think I can destroy you for what I know, because of what I am. You're thinking you could've destroyed me, too and if I don't find this creature, you will.
The driver pulls away. Back inside the house, Mulder and Scully are almost out of the door.
Mulder tells Scully, "I don't see there's any argument here. You admit yourself that the crime report is a lie." Scully retorts: "Mulder, that doesn't mean that I can just accept your theory."
(They exit the house just as the car leaves.)
Mulder continues: "What does it take? For this thing to come up and bite you on the ass? I saw these creatures. I saw them burst to life. You would've seen them, too, but you were infected with that virus. You were passed out over my shoulder."
Scully: "Mulder, I know what you did. I know what happened to me but without ignoring the science, I can't... Listen, Mulder (close up of her hand grasping his) You told me that my science kept you honest. That it made you question your assumptions. That by it, I'd made you a whole person. If I change now... It wouldn't be right... or honest."
Mulder: "I'm talking about extraterrestrial life alive on this planet in our lifetime. Forces that dwarf and precede all human history. I'm sorry, Scully but this time your science is wrong."
He walks away from her.
In the next scene, we are at Rolling Hills nuclear power plant. Inside the plant, an engineer, Homer, is sitting in front of the systems monitors. He is asleep. "Put On A Happy Face" is playing on a cheap radio. Another engineer enters and startles Homer.
He tells Homer to make sure to monitor the reactors in case any of them overheat. Sure enough, one reactor seems to have abnormal readings, and Homer runs to investigate.
He hears a sound behind some creepy red-lit pipes and sees a clawlike hand moving around one of the pipes. He gingerly reaches out with a wrench to touch it, but suddenly the hand reaches out and grabs Homer's hand. Homer begins to scream.
Later, Mulder and Scully pull up in a red sedan, Scully driving. They get out of the car and head for the building. They are confronted by Spender who is wearing an FBI jacket.
Spender tells them to leave because it is restricted to authorized personel. When Mulder claims that they received a call to come, Spender confronts him, challenging him to admit that they breached orders to come there.
Diana emerges from the plant, but refuses to allow Mulder and Scully into the building. "I hope you know what you're doing, Diana," Mulder warns her.
"I hope you know whose errand you're running."
"I think I do," she replies coldly.
Scully leads him away, and they begin to discuss the situation by the car. Suddenly, Mulder stops abruptly and tells Scully to give him the keys and get inside.
When she gets inside, she finds Gibson Praise, seemingly unconscious, his head bandaged and bloody.
Scully calls his name and softly shakes him, but Gibson will not respond.
Next Scene: CAMELBACK VIEW MOTEL 7:52 PM
Later that evening, Scully sits beside Gibson who is lying on the bed propped up with pillows. She gently cuts away the bandage. Just as she removes the final wrappings, Mulder enters and joins them on the bed. They can see that the wounds are red and inflammed.
Mulder asks how Gibson got into their car, and he responds that he snuck away. "It's easy when you know what they're thinking," he finishes.
When Scully asks what the child is supposed to be able to communicate with, he replies, "You already know. You just don't want to believe it."
They glance at each other, and then go into a corner of the room to speak quietly.
They have an argument about what to do with Gibson. Mulder argues that they could care for him themselves, but Scully says that he is in bad shape and should be cared for in a hospital.
Scully tells Mulder that the boy could be their last, best chance at discovering the evidence they've been seeking.
Later, Mulder carries Gibson out of the room to the car. Scully is already in the driver's seat. Just as Mulder places the boy in the back seat, a car drives up, tires squealing. The bright headlights hide the driver.
Diana Fowley is the driver, and asks Mulder to come over so that she can talk to him. He approaches warily, asking what she's doing there.
Fowley tells Mulder that she is keeping his best interests in mind, trying to accept the assignment she has been given but also making sure the work is furthered. She tells him that what he seeks is in the power plant, and that they must go to find it.
Partially convinced, Mulder runs back to Scully and tells her to take Gibson to the hospital while he goes with Diana.
In the car, Fowley tells Mulder that she and Spender got a call from the Nuclear Regulatory Committee. The body had been removed by the time the agents had arrived, but no one would explain why.
Mulder theorizes that maybe the creature seeks heat, and needs it to gestate, which is why he is hiding in a power plant.
Fowley surprises him by suggesting that it might still be developing. "You're not under the impression what we're looking for makes sense in any conventional way?" she asks him, and Mulder looks taken aback. "No," he admits, eyeing her.
Back at the hospital, Scully walks beside Gibson as he is being wheeled on a gurney. She tries to reassure him that he will be all right, but Gibson is bitter, telling her that he knows she just wants to run tests on him.
Scully is hurt and saddened by his insight, and tells him that he is a very special little boy. Gibson replies, resigned and accusing: "I'm a very special lab rat."
Back at the power plant, it is now 11:42 PM. Spender and Fowley are running, attempting to track down the body of Homer.
Mulder steps in a gooey puddle, and kneels to dip his hand into it. [Summarizer's note: D'oh!!!!]
Mulder reaches in through some pipes, jerking back when he hears a strange noise. He reaches back in, and drags out perhaps a 10 pound blob of tissue or skin. It drops to the floor and he kneels down to look at it closely. His cell phone rings, and scares them both.
(Scully, phone in hand, is looking at Gibson's chart in the hospital.)
Scully tells Mulder that they have found evidence of the alien virus in Gibson's body, and that it is almost certainly the same one that she was exposed to. When Mulder asks what this could mean, she admits that she doesn't yet know, but that it's a huge link.
While they continue to speak, we see Gibson being wheeled away by the driver of CSM's car from earlier in the episode.
When Scully goes back to his bed, she finds him gone, and runs around the hospital, yelling that she wants to know what had happened to him.
Meanwhile, the ambulance carrying Gibson is headed toward the power plant.
Inside the plant, Mulder and Fowley are still sneaking around. They see the driver and Gibson walking above them, also searching. They circle around to follow the other two. Gibson and the driver enter a room above the central core. There are lots of pipes rising out of the superheated water of the tank.
Gibson tells the man that the creature is here... somewhere.
They descend some stairs to a lower level of the room. Mulder sees them through a door window at this level and begins pounding on the locked door and yelling.
Fowley runs off, telling him that she will try to find another way into the room. Mulder continues to yell and pound on the door.
Gibson and the driver see the creature, and the creature attacks the man. Mulder watches this from the other side of the window, looking on in horror and calling Gibson's name.
The alarm begins clanging. A group of armed men, lead by Fowley, runs up to Mulder.
Fowley pulls out her gun and holds it on Mulder. Mulder looks at her, then turns back to the bloody door, continuing to yell. Although the driver's body is visible in pieces, Gibson is nowhere to be found.
OPR conference room. Mulder and Scully sit front and center, while Fowley sits at the back of the room. Skinner's chair is empty.
AD Maslin: "As I said and as I am forced to reiterate, Agent Mulder the FBI is not here for vendettas or for the grinding of personal axes. Now, this holds not just for you but for everyone at the Bureau. You force us to put a point on this. To make some hard changes. You and Agent Scully will cease all material association with the X-Files. Refusal to do so will end in immediate dismissal. A probationary period will be set. You will now report to Assistant Director Kersh."
Focus on AD Kersh, a very stern-looking older African-American man.
Scully looks over at Mulder, but he says nothing.
Later, back in Mulder's old office, Spender and CSM have a conversation.
CSM commends Spender for a job well done, but Spender responds that Mulder will never give up.
"You can kill a man," CSM resonds, "but you can't kill what he stands for... Not unless you first break his spirit. That's a beautiful thing to see."
Meanwhile, Mulder is in his new office again, working on the burned files. The door opens. He turns quickly to see who it is, then relaxes when he sees that it's Scully. He goes back to work.
Scully tells Mulder that Fowley's report has painted Mulder in a very unflattering light, and asks if she is to be trusted.
Not looking at her, Mulder responds, "Agent Fowley's report was a means to an end. Trying to protect the work. Protect the X- Files."
When Scully replies that Fowley has left out everything that might help Mulder, Mulder stubbornly says that she put herself at risk by taking him to the plant. "No matter what you think," Mulder says, "she's certainly not going to go around saying that just because science can't prove it, it isn't true."
Scully appears wounded, looking down, and then looks up again, more determined. "I don't doubt what you saw, Mulder. I don't doubt you. I'm willing to believe, but not in a lie and not in the opposite of what I can prove. It comes down to a matter of trust. [He looks up at her] I guess it always has."
Mulder looks at her incredulously. "You asking me to make a choice?"
She sighs. "I'm asking you to trust my judgment. To trust me."
She hands him a folder. Making an assumption about the contents, he refuses to accept it... "Not if it refutes what I know to be true."
To his surprise, she informs him that the DNA from the claw exactly matches the DNA from the alien virus, and the DNA that was found in Gibson Praise.
"Wait a minute," Mulder interrupts. "I don't understand. You're saying that Gibson Praise is infected with the virus?"
"No," Scully corrects him. "It's a part of his DNA. In fact, it's a part of all of our DNA. It's called a genetic remnant. It's inactive junk DNA. Except in Gibson it's turned on."
"So, if that were true," Mulder says, "that would mean that Gibson is in some part extraterrestrial."
"It would mean that all of us are," she tells him.
Back at the power plant, the camera pans into the room where we last saw Gibson. He is still there, peeping out from behind some pipes. Then we go down into the superheated water inside the reactor. At the very bottom is the creature. As we watch, the skin on its four fingered arms and on its very animalistic alien head sloughs off. Our last view is of a five fingered much more human looking creature. Very small with a large head and large eyes. (It looks very much like the figures that Scully saw at the beginning of Season 3 inside the Strughold Mining Facility.)