November 22, 2015
The X-Files 2.2, The Host: Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Flukeman!
Summary: On a freighter in the Atlantic Ocean, two miles off the coast of New Jersey, a man finds a toilet overflowing. A man named Dmitri is told to fix it so the ship’s tanks can be purged. When Dmitri goes to check out what’s blocking the system, something pulls him into a tank. Some men try to pull him out, but he’s yanked underwater.
In D.C., Mulder’s still on wiretap duty, trying to entertain himself by flicking sunflower seeds into a cup. Another agent tells him he’s being sent to Newark for a new assignment, at Skinner’s request. As soon as he arrives, he’s given a pair of boots and sent into a sewer. An unidentified, decomposed body has been found there. Mulder tells the local police to have it shipped to Skinner, then returns to D.C. and yells at Skinner for giving him horrible, meaningless assignments. He thinks the body’s a casualty of a gang war, hardly something that requires the FBI’s investigation. Skinner tells him to just do as he’s told.
Mulder then meets up with Scully and confides that he’s thinking of leaving the bureau. She suggests that he ask to be transferred to Quantico, but Mulder knows the bureau is trying to keep them separated. Scully thinks she can ask to do the body’s autopsy so she and Mulder can be on the same case again. Mulder still doesn’t think there’s anything to the case. Scully does get the autopsy assignment, finding a Russian word tattooed on the body. Everything goes normally until a slimy little tentacle pokes out of the body.
Back in Newark, a sanitation worker goes into the sewer to repair a grate. He’s pulled underwater, and when a co-worker pulls him back out, he notices damage to the man’s skin. Mulder comes to see the worker, who complains of a bad taste in his mouth. A doctor tells Mulder that the worker is mostly fine, except for the wound on his back that looks like a bacterial infection. She’s never seen anything like it before. The worker thinks he was attacked by a python or another large snake. The doctor notes that the wound on his back looks like a bite.
Scully calls to tell Mulder that she has information to share with him when he gets back to D.C. Moments later, Mulder gets another call from an unidentified man who tells him he has a friend at the FBI. Mulder heads to Quantico, where Scully shows him the tentacle thing; it’s actually a flatworm, AKA a fluke. Apparently lots of people have them inside their bodies. They can be ingested through poorly cooked food, or contracted through sewage. Scully couldn’t find any other cause of the John Doe’s death.
Mulder shows Scully the sanitation worker’s bite mark, thinking it was from a fluke. Scully notes that the size doesn’t match. Plus, flatworms are parasites and don’t go around attacking people. Mulder thinks back to his phone call, asking Scully not to try to campaign for him to get better assignments or be reassigned at the bureau. Scully has no idea what he’s talking about, promising that she would never betray his confidence.
At home, the sanitation worker still can’t get the bad taste out of his mouth, squeezing out half a tube of toothpaste. In the shower, he starts gagging and spitting out blood. A flatworm crawls out and goes down the drain. At Newark’s sewage processing plant, Mulder asks a man named Ray if he can shed any light on the fluke. Ray isn’t too shocked that a big slug was found in the sewer. Underground, a worker sees something swimming through the sewer and calls Ray. He’s able to trap it, so Mulder and Ray get a nice look at the thing. (Let’s just call it Flukeman, since that’s what everyone always calls it.)
Scully reads up on flatworms, writing up a report on the sanitation worker. She doesn’t think he was attacked by a fluke. Someone slips something under her door, and when Scully goes to check out who it was, no one’s there. The person left Mulder’s favorite source, a tabloid. This one features a story about what happened on the freighter, leading Scully to starts to put the pieces together. Mulder calls to tell her that the fluke she found in Dmitri’s body must have been “the runt of the litter.”
The agents meet up at a psychiatric facility, where Flukeman is being held. Just like a flatworm, it’s genderless. It’s similar to a parasite, but has primate-like physiology. Scully fills Mulder in on Dmitri’s identity, which she confirmed when she translated his tattoo as his name. She shows him the tabloid and encourages him to remember what his caller said about him having a friend in the FBI. She would consider it a great loss if he left the FBI.
Mulder meets with Skinner, who says the paperwork from the case is all in order. Mulder’s surprised that Skinner’s so nonchalant about a killer flatworm. He objects to the idea of running a full psych evaluation on Flukeman, since it’s a monster, not a human. Skinner points out that it killed two people – the sanitation worker is now dead. Mulder notes that if he and Scully had been allowed to work the case, they could have saved the sanitation worker. Skinner agrees that it should have been an X-file, but he has to obey orders just like Mulder does.
Flukeman is transferred to a new facility, but it escapes its restraints and vanishes from the back of the ambulance. The U.S. marshal driving the ambulance is ready with a shotgun, but not ready enough. Flukeman shoots the marshal with his own gun, then escapes to a nearby Portapotty. Early the next morning, a man arrives to clean it, sucking Flukeman into his truck. Mulder arrives at the sight of the marshal’s death just as the truck leaves. Mulder’s new buddy calls him again, telling him that the X-Files sector must be reinstated.
The police were smart enough to think Flukeman might be hiding in a Portapotty, but they didn’t find it there. Mulder figures out that it could have been sucked into the truck. He goes back to the sewage processing plant, but three trucks from that area have already been there to deposit their loads, so Flukeman could have already come and gone. Ray assures Mulder that if Flukeman was there, it will get trapped there. If it’s not already there, Mulder just needs to wait.
So Mulder waits. Scully calls to tell him that the fluke from Dmitri’s corpse might have been looking for hosts so it can reproduce. Mulder’s figured out that he needs to keep Flukeman from finding a new host. Ray alerts him to an overflow system, and Mulder guesses that Flukeman is going to use it to return to the ocean. The men go down into the sewer, where Ray tries to fix a stuck gate but falls in the water. Looks like Flukeman has a potential new host. Mulder can’t pull Ray out, so he jumps in to find him, giving Flukeman a choice of hosts. But instead of attacking, Flukeman tries to escape. Mulder unsticks the gate and drops it on Flukeman, killing it.
Mulder and Scully meet up again in D.C., and he tells her about his buddy insisting that they reinstate the X-files. Scully reports that Flukeman was a human/flatworm hybrid. It must have been the result of radiation or some other process, not something from nature. Since it originated in Russia, it may have been a result of the Chernobyl disaster. Mulder wonders how many new species are being created every day. I don’t know, but there’s still at least one Flukeman in the sewers in New Jersey…
Thoughts: Scully’s first instinct when she sees the flatworm during the autopsy is to tug on it with forceps. This is why I’m not a medical examiner. My first instinct was “put that thing back where it came from or so help me…”
Mark this episode as Scully’s first use of “Mulder, it’s me.” (And later, Mulder says, “Scully, it’s me,” but it’s not as exciting.)
Mulder had to go to Jersey so many times in this episode. And all he got to see there was gross stuff. Poor guy.