October 18, 2015

The X-Files 1.21, Tooms: Thanks for Nothing, Walter Skinner

Posted in TV tagged , at 3:26 pm by Jenn

Mulder has no idea what kind of effect these two men will have on his life

Mulder has no idea what kind of effect these two men will have on his life

Summary: Druid Hill Sanitarium in Baltimore does not look like a fun place to be. And that’s even before we know that one of its residents is Eugene Victor Tooms. He’s using his food slot to work on his stretching skills. His doctor, Monte, arrives for a visit the day before Tooms is supposed to have an evaluation. Monte thinks it’ll go in his favor and he’ll be released. But Tooms should keep his fingers crossed just in case. His creepy, stretched fingers.

At FBI Headquarters, Scully’s in a tense meeting with CSM and a displeased man. Meet Assistant Director Walter Skinner. He thinks Scully’s being swayed by Mulder’s delusions, even though their success rate has been 75% (much higher than the usual success rate across the bureau). Skinner wants more “conventional” investigations and more reports from Scully. Scully thinks that “conventional” investigations would actually make her and Mulder less successful.

Mulder attends Tooms’ evaluation, in which he’s painted as a distraught man who took out his frustrations over his lost job on Scully. Monte says that Tooms has learned to talk about his feelings, which makes him sane. He doesn’t show any signs of being a danger to himself or others. Mulder takes the stand, though Tooms’ lawyer objects that Tooms has never been convicted of a crime. Mulder testifies about the murders he believes Tooms committed, and shares that he thinks Tooms is super-old because of a genetic mutation.

Surprisingly, Mulder ranting about Tooms needing livers so he can hibernate for 30 years at a time doesn’t sway the judge. Outside the room, Mulder asks Scully if he would have been more credible if he’d worn a gray suit. She’s late because of her meeting with Skinner, who she says just wanted to “reel [her] in.” In other bad news, the judge releases Tooms from the sanitarium, as long as he moves in with an approved couple, the Greens; gets his job back; and stays in Monte’s care.

Mulder knows Tooms will kill again very soon, but the Greens are probably safe (too easy a target). He’ll kill out of self-defense or necessity, like an animal. Mulder plans to be watching so he can catch him in the act. Scully wants to participate in Mulder’s surveillance, but Mulder wants her to go over the previous evidence and find something else to nab him for. Scully notes that that would require some unorthodox investigating, the exact opposite of what Skinner wants.

The Greens take Tooms home to a room they warn is small – but he should be able to squeeze into it. Har har. Tooms quickly returns to his job, which involves cleaning up dead animals (and then licking his gloves – EW). He zeroes in on a woman on the street, but before he can move in on her, Mulder approaches and asks for help finding his dog. (“He’s a Norwegian elk hound. His name is Heinrich. I use him to hunt moose.”)

Scully visits Briggs, the detective who investigated Tooms’ crimes 30 years ago. She’s looking for a connection between Tooms’ victims. Briggs remembers that all five of the victims were found liverless at the crime scenes. Tooms’ four recent victims were also all found at the crime scenes. But in the ’30s, only four victims were found. Instead of a body, a piece of another victim’s liver was found at the fifth crime scene. Briggs wonders if the fifth body was of some sort of importance to Tooms.

Briggs also thinks the fifth body was buried in the cement of the foundation of a chemical plant, so he and Scully head over to look for it. Briggs isn’t impressed with the technology used for this search, since it involves some guessing. While Scully talks with the technician, Briggs goes off on his own and finds a spot where he insists the body is. Meanwhile, Tooms chooses his new target, a businessman. Briggs is right, and the FBI is able to unearth a skeletal hand, complete with a ring.

The businessman is followed home by Tooms, who’s followed by Mulder. Mulder follows asleep on his stakeout, and when he wakes up, Tooms is no longer in his van. You had one job, Mulder! He runs into the house, but Tooms has been hiding out in a sewer so he can climb up through the man’s toilet. The man’s wife drains the bowl, thinking it’s clogged, then leaves to tend to a child.

The wife is unable to snake the toilet, so she calls it a day, putting a child lock on the bowl. So Tooms finds another way into the house – squeezing through bars on a window. Mulder spots his handprints on a windowsill, then tells the man that he thinks there’s an intruder in the house. The man realizes that the window’s open, though it’s not the window Tooms entered. He’s already split.

Scully takes the skeleton to the Smithsonian, where a scientist finds gnawing marks on some of the bones (though he thinks they’re from rodents). However, he used some superimposition software on his own time and thinks the skeleton matches the photo Briggs gave him of the fifth victim. Mulder, who’s on another stakeout, this time at the Greens’, says it’s not enough. Scully thinks his car is getting “ripe,” so Mulder puts up an air freshener.

Scully gives Mulder a sandwich and chastises him for going on a three-day stakeout without assistant. He needs to sleep. Mulder doesn’t care about getting in trouble, but he doesn’t want Scully to come under fire for helping him. She calls him Fox, and he tells her that no one calls him that, even his parents. Scully says that he’s the only person she would put herself on the line for. “If there’s an ice tea in that bag, it could be love,” he says. “Must be fate, Mulder,” she replies, handing him a root beer.

Mulder agrees to go home to sleep, leaving Scully with his uneaten sandwich and a recommendation for a sports-talk radio show. Neither of them realizes that Tooms has snuck into the trunk of Mulder’s car. Scully settles in for a stakeout without knowing it’s a complete waste of time, she takes a long look at the one bite Mulder took out of his sandwich.

While Mulder falls asleep watching The Fly, Tooms unscrews an air vent and creeps into the apartment. Instead of attacking Mulder, Tooms cuts his own cheek. Later that night, he turns up at a hospital, looking like he was beaten up. He names Mulder as his attacker. Mulder sleeps through the night, only waking when the police come to investigate Tooms’ alleged assault. They match his shoes to a shoeprint on Tooms’ face and take him in for questioning. Mulder finds a screw from his vent and realizes what’s going on.

Mulder, Scully, and CSM end up in Skinner’s office, where Mulder argues that there’s no proof that anyone kicked Tooms. He may have just pressed the shoe to his face. Scully claims that Mulder couldn’t have attacked Tooms – he was with her the whole time. Skinner asks if Scully actually expects him to believe that. “I expect you to place the same trust in me as I do in you,” Scully replies.

After kicking Scully out, Skinner tells Mulder (calling him Fox – shut up, Skinner) that he’s an awesome agent who should be working on higher-profile cases than the X-files. His actions are now having a negative effect on other agents. Maybe he should take a vacation? Mulder evenly thanks Skinner for his concern. Skinner announces that Mulder is forbidden to go near Tooms. He warns that this was a close call, and if it happens again, the government will step in.

Scully tells Mulder that his sandwich gave her an idea. The fifth victim’s ribs were gnawed on near his liver, which means they now have the ability to match the tooth marks to Tooms’ dental records. This gives them the evidence they need to tie Tooms to a murder. At the Greens’, Tooms is working on one of his famous newspaper nests when Monte arrives for a visit. He thinks it’s great that Tooms is working on his hobby, papier mâché. Tooms thinks it’s great that his fifth victim is sitting right in his room.

By the time Scully and Mulder make it to the house, Tooms has his fifth liver, which means he’ll be hibernating soon. They go to his old haunt, 66 Exeter Street, which is now an office building with a storage facility. Mulder crawls through a utility tunnel, finding one of Tooms’ old nests. Tooms is inside, and he and Mulder fight. Tooms pursues Mulder through the tunnel, grabbing him and almost pulling him back down before Scully’s able to help her partner out. Mulder turns on the escalator, crushing Tooms. Nice.

The Tooms case is closed, and Skinner asks CSM if he believes Scully and Mulder. “Of course I do,” CSM replies. Outside, Mulder looks at a cocoon and waxes poetic about a change coming. He has a hunch. I just wonder how long he had to shower to get rid of all the bile he crawled through.

Thoughts: 75% success in closing cases is basically an A on the FBI’s sliding scale. How inept are the rest of the agents??

Someone please tell CSM that you’re not allowed to smoke in government buildings. (What? I’m not volunteering for that job.)

“Honey, our new houseguest is tearing up newspapers. Wasn’t he connected to a bunch of newspaper nests when he was accused of murder?” “I wouldn’t worry about it. Did you manage to get the sports section before he destroyed it for what I’m sure is a completely innocent art project?”

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