July 19, 2015

The X-Files 1.6, Shadows: The Shocking Truth

Posted in TV tagged at 2:21 pm by Jenn

A strange variation on the spoon-is-an-airplane trick

A strange variation on the spoon-is-an-airplane trick

Summary: A woman cries in an office at HTG Industrial Technologies in Philadelphia. Her name is Lauren, and she’s sad about the suicide of a co-worker. As she starts to leave the office, a plaque on her desk moves by itself. She decides to take it with her. In an alley outside the building, she’s grabbed by two people. Two hours later, a couple of homeless teenagers start to climb the fire escape to a balcony. They’re scared away when a man’s body falls out of the building.

Mulder and Scully are summoned to Bethesda Naval Hospital by people they realize aren’t from the FBI. They view two bodies, both of which have experienced heavy electricostatic charges. Scully’s surprised to hear that the men died six hours ago, since their body temperatures are still normal. Mulder asks for more information, but the people who summoned them aren’t very forthcoming. A medical examiner tells them that the men’s throats were crushed, but seemingly from the inside.

Scully wonders why they’ve been called in, since the summoners have clearly already examined the bodies. One of them asks if the agents have ever seen something like this at the X-Files. They haven’t. The summoners dismiss them, asking them to deny this visit if they’re ever questioned. Mulder’s like, “Speaking of denial, what’s up with you guys?”

As Mulder and Scully leave, she accuses him of lying; he’s seen something like this before. “I willfully participated in a campaign of misinformation,” he says. Mulder blames the men’s deaths on psychokinesis. “You mean how Carrie got even at the prom?” Scully asks with amusement. She doesn’t know how they’ll investigate, since they don’t have any evidence to work with. Mulder disagrees – he used his glasses to take the men’s fingerprints.

The next morning, Lauren goes to work as usual, finding nothing about her attack in the newspaper. She hopes to talk to her new boss, Mr. Dorlund, so it seems the dead co-worker was her previous boss, Howard. Dorlund’s assistant tries to delay a meeting between them. Her coffee cup objects, shaking and spilling coffee. Dorlund hears the commotion, and Lauren takes advantage of his arrival to ask for a minute alone.

Lauren gives her two-weeks’ notice, but Dorlund doesn’t want her to leave just because Howard is dead. He tells her how close he was to Howard, and how badly the company needs her. She doesn’t respond, so he tells her he won’t let her leave. Suddenly his bracelet tightens, cutting off his circulation. Lauren’s like, “This is too weird for me – I’m out.” Dorlund decides it’s a good idea to let her quit.

Mulder and Scully ID the bodies as Iranian terrorists working with a group in Philadelphia. The agents head to Philly and talk to a police officer about the body that fell from the building. There’s an ATM nearby, which means there’s a security camera nearby. The agents study the footage and see Lauren’s attack by the two dead men. There’s also a blur in the background, which could either belong to a third person…or to something supernatural.

The agents head over to see Lauren, who’s packing up her house. She claims that she’s never seen the two dead men, but Scully tells her they were her attackers. Lauren isn’t too surprised to hear that they’re dead. She notices the blur in the background of a surveillance photo and says she doesn’t know who it is.

The agents leave, skeptical that Lauren could have fought off and/or killed her attackers on her own. Mulder’s car starts going crazy, as if something else is controlling it. It crashes into another car, though no one’s hurt. Lauren watches the crash from her house, and Mulder notices her watching.

The car is taken to a mechanic, who finds nothing out of the ordinary. The headlights are on, but only because of a strong electromagnetic charge. Mulder thinks Lauren is the key – she was present at the car accident and the men’s deaths. She might not even know she’s capable of psychokinetic activity. Mulder’s other suggestion is a poltergeist, which makes Scully tease, “They’re heeeeeere.” Scully thinks the real mystery is who Lauren’s working with. When Mulder takes his suit jacket off the hood of the car, he gets an electric shock.

Mulder and Scully run a background check on Lauren, who’s clean except for having credit card debt. They follow her to her office and see her getting upset that Howard’s parking space is being given away. They research Howard and realize that Lauren was his assistant. That means three people associated with her have died in the past month.

Next the agents follow Lauren to the cemetery, where she puts flowers on Howard’s grave. They notice the grave of a three-year-old right next to his. A groundskeeper tells them that the three-year-old, Sarah, was Howard’s daughter who drowned when he forgot to latch the gate around their pool. Mulder realizes that if Sarah had lived, she’d be Lauren’s age now.

Mulder develops some surveillance photos of Lauren while Scully writes up a report on Lauren. She’s estranged from her family and had a strong relationship with Howard. Scully wonders if that relationship led to his suicide. She still thinks Lauren’s responsible and has an accomplice. She and Mulder have his photos enhanced and see Howard in Lauren’s house. Scully thinks that means he’s alive, but Mulder suspects something else.

Lauren wakes up in the middle of the night when her cat hisses at something unseen. Something’s making crashing noises. Lauren goes to investigate and hears Howard saying “no” over and over, begging someone not to do something. She follows his voice to her bathroom, where blood spreads through the water in her bathtub.

Mulder and Scully visit the National Bureau of Medical Examiners, discussing whether Howard could have faked his death. Mulder claims that the only person who successfully did that was Elvis. A medical examiner named Dr. Bledsoe assures them that Howard is dead – he bled out in a bathtub. However, no identifying examinations were run, and Lauren ID’d the body.

Scully realizes that they can trace Howard’s transplanted organs to their new hosts to verify his identity. Luckily, some of his dura mater (that’s braaaaaaains) was saved because not all of his organs could be donated, due to his age. Lauren’s co-workers throw her a goodbye party, and she takes a last look around the office. Dorlund corners her in Howard’s now-empty office to say that he knows Howard told her something he shouldn’t have. If she doesn’t keep quiet, she’ll be in trouble. Lauren accuses him of having Howard killed – he told her so.

Lauren escapes the office, quickly calling Mulder. Scully tells Mulder that the dura mater proves that Howard is dead. The agents head to Lauren’s house, but two other people arrive first, ready to kill Lauren and make it look like she committed suicide in the bathtub. There’s a bunch of psychokinetic activity, and the lights all pop out. One of the attackers is pinned by a table, and a swirl of wind crushes the other attacker’s throat, then beats up the first one.

Mulder and Scully arrive to hear Lauren screaming. The first attacker is floating in the air, being choked by something invisible. Now it seems pretty clear to the agents that Lauren is killing people psychokinetically. They take her in for questioning, but she won’t talk. The summoners from the beginning of the episode pull the agents out of the room, demanding to know what they’ve learned so far. Scully asks for what they’ve learned first.

The summoners reveal that they think HTG sold parts to the terrorist group the two dead men were part of. Those parts were used to create a bomb that destroyed a Navy transport van. The summoners aren’t sure how Lauren’s connected, since Mulder and Scully’s investigation got in the way of theirs. Mulder warns them to be gentle when they question Lauren, since, you know, she could crush their throats.

After the summoners try and fail to get Lauren to talk to him, they let Mulder and Scully in to tell her she can leave. Lauren finally speaks, saying she can’t go home. Mulder has figured out that Howard is watching over her. Lauren testifies that she and Howard had a good relationship. Howard was distraught when he learned of HTG’s connection to the bombing, and she thought that’s why he killed himself. But Howard showed her how Dorlund had him killed to protect HTG’s deal with the terrorists.

Lauren wants to leave town to make all the recent events go away. Scully urges her to show Howard what he meant to her by helping expose HTG’s illegal acts. Lauren won’t be able to rest until Howard can. Mulder’s surprised to hear Scully talk like this, since she doesn’t believe in this stuff. “I believe that she believes,” Scully says. Her priority is bringing down Dorlund. Mulder’s annoyed that now they won’t be able to observe spectral phenomena. Scully points out that they’re going after something tangible rather than shadows.

Mulder, Scully, and the summoners gather a group of FBI agents to raid HTG for evidence of its connection to the terrorists. Lauren’s coming along to direct them to possible hiding spots. This means Lauren has to face Dorlund again. But the raid doesn’t turn up anything, which means the summoners’ year-long investigation has been a waste.

Mulder tells Lauren they can leave, but she’s desperate to bring down Dorlund. When he turns nasty on her, she attacks him with a letter opener. Cue the psychokinetic activity. There’s a big swirl of wind in the office, and the letter opener approaches Dorlund on its own. Instead of stabbing him, it cuts open the wallpaper, exposing a hidden computer disk. Looks like the evidence was in the office after all.

As Lauren finishes packing up to leave town, Scully and Mulder tell her that Dorlund and HTG are going to trial. She promises to come back to testify against them. Mulder asks Scully if she believes in an afterlife. “I’d settle for a life in this one,” she says. He decides that he wants to see the Liberty Bell, though Scully says it’s not worth it. Sometime later, Lauren starts a new job in Omaha, putting Howard’s plaque on her desk. When her new boss criticizes her, the desk shakes. Oh, Howard.

Thoughts: I’ll have to use Mulder’s glasses trick the next time I need to…um…solve a crime? I guess? Whatever, it was clever.

I do my recaps on a pretty old computer that sometimes flashes when it gets cranky. It started flashing right when Mulder’s car went crazy, and it freaked me out. Not cool, computer.

The headline of the article about Howard’s death: “Howard Graves Suicide Creates Shock.” Get it? Shock? Very funny, show writers.

I liked the twist in this episode – that Lauren wasn’t doing anything, but that Howard was trying to protect her. Sometimes angry ghosts are angry for a good reason.


  1. BSCAG said,

    Want to hear a weird story related to this episodes opening?

    My dad had this insanely vivid dream that he was walking home from a college class, except at night–the class was a daytime one. He heard noises coming from the trees to the side of the pathway, walked up a little trail there, looked around in the moonlight, saw nothing, and woke up. Sounds trivial, but it stuck with him enough that he told his girlfriend. She asked when he had the dream.

    It was the same night a group of men had dragged a woman to the spot Dad walked to and were about to rape her. They let her go and scattered when they heard someone walking up the path.

    • Jenn said,


      • BSCAG said,

        Dad swears it’s true, and he doesn’t lie. He figures God needed someone to help the woman, whether the helper was actually there or not.

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