January 17, 2016
The X-Files 2.10, Red Museum: Local Teens Have a Beef With This Cult
Summary: It’s quitting time at J.A.S.D. Beef, so an employee named Beth Kane heads home to her sons. Someone watches through a hole as she gets undressed in her bathroom. Beth’s older son, Gary, gets a phone call and leaves the house, telling his younger brother he’ll be back in five minutes. Four hours later, Beth calls the police – Gary hasn’t come home yet. The next morning, the police find him in the woods, wearing only his underwear. “HE IS ONE” is written on his back.
In D.C., two random FBI agents discuss the situation. Ha ha, just kidding – of course Mulder and Scully are on this. They don’t know any more than we do, since Gary hasn’t been able to give a coherent statement to the police since he was found in the woods. Neither have the other victims – two other teenagers have had the same experience. A sheriff contacted Mulder because he thinks the teens have been possessed.
The agents head to Delta Glen, Wisconsin, where the sheriff tells them about the Church of the Red Museum. Three years ago, a man named Odin turned a ranch into a collective for vegetarians. They turned the cattle there into pets and call the ranch “a monument to barbarism.” The sheriff takes the agents to the Red Museum, where everyone wears white tunics and red turbans.
Odin sits at a computer and types while a woman reads his words to the crowd. It’s about the Age of Aquarius and moving into eternal life. Yeah, this is a cult. Mulder explains some of the terms to Scully, like how the group believes in taking possession of others’ bodies. Odin notices the agents and the sheriff, encouraging them to open themselves to the teachings of the Red Museum (and also stop eating dead animals).
The agents next visit Gary, who only remembers pieces of what happened to him. He felt a spirit enter him in the woods. He doesn’t remember what happened before he left the house, and doesn’t know who called him. Scully checks out the family’s pictures and encounters the younger son, Stevie. The same man as before watches through a hole as they talk. Scully seems to sense that she’s being watched.
The sheriff tells Mulder that he’s known Gary since he was young; Gary’s friends with his son. He’s never been in any kind of trouble before. Mulder asks how the Red Museum has been treated. The sheriff says there’s tension, but most people leave them alone. Mulder decides they should stick around so they can look into Odin and his followers.
The agents have dinner at a rib joint, and Mulder wipes some sauce from Scully’s face because they’re actually a married couple. He tells her that the Red Museum is a new form of an old religious idea. When you lose hope and want to die, you become open to possession by an enlightened spirit. He names Ronald Reagan, Mikael Gorbachev, and Nixon advisor Chuck Colson as believers in the idea of “walk-ins.” Not Nixon himself, though – “not even they want to claim Nixon.”
As Scully starts to tell Mulder that she felt uneasy at the Kanes’ house, a group of teens drives by and starts hassling a member of the Red Museum. Mulder runs outside to stop them. One of the teens tells Mulder to run along with his “little wife.” Another teen, Katie, notices that Scully has a gun, but the ringleader, Rick, isn’t scared. After all, his dad is the sheriff.
After the teens are done being annoying, Rick takes Katie home, where she hears a dog whimpering in the yard. When she goes to check on it, someone grabs her. In the morning, she’s in the woods, wearing only her underwear. She hallucinates a tree full of crows turning into one big crow that almost attacks her. Then she imagines a bunch of bugs crawling on her. Instead of “HE IS ONE,” she has “SHE IS ONE” written on her back.
Mulder stays at the motel while Scully examines Katie, finding something in her blood that might be an opioid. She also has traces of a drug that’s been used to subdue kidnapping victims. Since that’s a controlled substance, they need to look into medical professionals…like Odin, who used to be a doctor. The agents head back to the Red Museum, but Odin won’t let them in his house, with or without a warrant. They eat meat, so they’re not allowed near the Red Museum’s kitchens.
The agents take Odin to the local police station and ask him about the drug found in Katie’s blood. He’s familiar with it, but he’d rather talk about cult stuff. The sheriff interrupts the interrogation to report that a bunch of cult members are holding a peaceful protest outside the barbecue restaurant where the agents had dinner the night before. Rick and his friends take the opportunity to douse the members with what they say is cow blood.
As the teens are run off, Scully notices a man sitting in a truck nearby. He asks the agents to come with him to the pasture his family used to own. There are men there injecting cows with bovine somatotropin, a genetically engineered growth hormone that makes cows produce more milk. People in Delta Glen have gotten meaner in the past few years, and crime has gone up – high school boys have committed seven rapes. He thinks BST is to blame. As the agents leave, we see that one of the injectors is the watcher from the Kanes’ house.
That night, two men in a small plane crash in the pasture. Mulder and Scully investigate the scene in the morning, learning that one of the men was a doctor. In fact, he delivered Rick. The men, both dead, were transporting a briefcase full of money and a pouch containing a vial of an unidentified substance. More investigating turns up the news that all the abducted kids were Dr. Larson’s patients. The briefcase contained shipping orders and credit card numbers from the kids’ families.
Scully wonders what Larson was treating the kids for. Mulder thinks it’s more important to know what he was treating them with. As members of the Red Museum enter the pasture, one of the injectors heads home. The other takes longer to leave, which means he’s still there when a man drives in and shoots him.
The agents go back to the Kanes’ house to ask Beth about Gary’s medical history. Beth tells them that Gary has never been sick. Larson treated his patients with vitamins, comparing the practice to a dentist giving patients fluoride to prevent problems. Beth’s late husband, Jay, wanted to take Gary to another doctor because he thought his son wasn’t growing. Jay died a few years ago at the packing plant where he worked.
Mulder notices a light in the bathroom and realizes there’s a hole in the mirror. He breaks it to find a secret room containing a video camera and dozens of tapes. Rick and a buddy drink beer in the woods, and when the buddy gets out of the van to pee, the watcher from the house drugs and kidnaps Rick. When he’s found in the woods the next morning, everything is the same as it was for the other victims, except for one thing: Rick’s dead. It looks like the shooter is to blame.
Mulder and Scully look into the watcher, Gird Thomas, who owns the Kanes’ house. They drive by the pasture and spot the shooter as he’s leaving. Scully recognizes him but can’t seem to place where she saw him before. The agents question Thomas, who used to run a daycare center and apparently has a history of videotaping children. He admits to kidnapping the teens but swears he didn’t kill Rick. He wrote “HE IS ONE” on the kids because they’d become monsters due to Larson’s tests.
Scully flashes back to seeing the shooter and figures out why he was familiar: He’s the badgeless man who killed Deep Throat. She calmly excuses herself. Thomas tells Mulder that Larson used the teens as guinea pigs, and paid the injectors to inoculate the cattle. After the teens started getting aggressive, Larson admitted that he felt responsible. He was inoculating the teens but not kidnapping them. Thomas abducted them because he cared about them.
Scully returns and tells Mulder that she thinks Thomas is innocent of Rick’s murder. Toxicology reports show that the substance in the vial from the briefcase contained unidentified amino acids: “purity control.” Larson may have been injecting the teens with an extraterrestrial substance. In other words, they were experimenting with alien DNA. Also, the second injector is dead, and Scully thinks he was killed by the badgeless man who killed Deep Throat.
Mulder thinks the teens are the next targets, so he sends Scully to get the sheriff and meet him at the Kanes’ house. Mulder gets there first, telling Beth and her sons to come with him. He tells the sheriff to pack up all the kids whose families had their credit card numbers in the briefcase. Then he goes to the Red Museum and asks Odin for help.
The teens and their families take refuge at the Red Museum while Mulder goes looking for the badgeless man at J.A.S.D. Beef. He finds gas all over the floor and catches the badgeless man preparing to torch the place. The badgeless man locks Mulder in and is about to start a fire when Scully and the sheriff arrive with some deputies. The sheriff kills the badgeless man, and Mulder is rescued.
Scully files her report, noting that the badgeless man’s identity has not been determined. The substance in the vial has broken down and can’t be analyzed any further. The people who were inoculated have all gotten sick with a flu-like illness. No one in the Red Museum has gotten sick, and Scully thinks they were used as a control group. The government has promised to investigate the possibly tainted milk and beef, but, you know, government. As Scully declares the case unsolved, the man who showed her the pasture drives by the rib joint in Delta Glen.
Thoughts: I like the twist that the Red Museum wasn’t connected to the main plot (it was a red herring, if you will), but they didn’t focus much on the Red Museum in the first place. If you want someone or something to seem suspicious, we have to see it for more than two minutes.
If someone found a secret recording studio in my home, I would be on the other side of the country before anyone could finish getting into the room.
Also, Mulder breaking the mirror explains why he has bad luck for the seven remaining years of the show’s run.