June 4, 2016
The X-Files 3.5, The List: Sugar, How’d You Get So Fly?
Summary: A man named Mr. Simon gets a ride when another man picks him up from the side of the road. At Eastpoint State Penitentiary in Leon County, Florida, the warden learns that a prisoner nicknamed Neech is visiting with his wife before his scheduled execution. He won’t eat or visit with a priest. Another death-row inmate mocks Neech about heading off to his death. Neech’s wife, Danielle, promises to never fall in love with another man. She’s convinced that the governor will call and pardon her husband at the last minute.
Neech is led to the chair and strapped in for his execution. He faces it courageously and uses his last words to confront the warden: “Allah says the spirit shall rise again and be reborn into this life. The soul shall be recast, born unto new flesh.” Neech vows to return and avenge wrongs. His justice will be the deaths of five men. The warden ignores him and orders the switch thrown.
In their office, Mulder tells Scully that Neech was finally executed after two other attempts, both of which were halted by the governor. The week before, word started to spread through the prison that Neech was going to be reincarnated. Mulder’s more interested in Neech’s vow to get revenge on five men, since a prison guard was just found death in Neech’s cell. Apparently his death can’t be explained.
The agents head to the prison, where the warden says there shouldn’t be any way the guard could be murdered. He also never summoned help. Mulder asks the warden about Neech’s vow of revenge, but the warden thinks he was just bitter. He probably plotted everything for years. Scully goes to see the guard’s body, which is crawling with maggots. Yum!
Mulder questions another prison, Speranza, who believes Neech’s claims that he’ll be back to get revenge. Apparently he’s not the only one, since guards on death row have been doubled. Speranza can feel Neech’s electric energy and knows he’s back. Scully asks to see Neech’s cell, which means she gets to walk down the block and get ogled like Clarice in Silence of the Lambs. She finds flies on Neech’s pillow. The guard who escorts her says that Neech seemed to think he was some kind of god. He’s positive Neech had nothing to do with the other guard’s death.
Scully continues down the block to a shower room, where someone grabs her from behind. He tells her he just wants to talk, not hurt her. Neech had a list of his intended victims, and the next target is a prisoner named Roque. The man is a guard, Parmelly, and he claims he wants to help Scully. The other guard, Fornier, calls Scully back without seeing Parmelly. Scully’s shaken and ready to leave. Fornier seems suspicious.
The next morning, some prisoners are assigned to do some renovations in the jail. One of them is horrified to find Fornier’s head in a can of paint. Scully meets with a medical examiner who tells her the head was removed from Fornier’s body with a putty knife. Scully notes that fly larvae were already present, so the head had to have been removed a long time ago, not hours ago. The examiner disagrees – lucilia cuprina, the green bottle fly, can lay eggs just a minute after death and breed rapidly. The flies were also found in the first guard’s lungs. His cause of death was either suffocation or drowning.
Mulder goes to see Roque, wanting to talk about Neech’s list. Another prisoner yells that Roque is a liar and a dead man. Roque tells Mulder that he heard about the list when Neech was talking to Speranza. Fornier and the first guard are both on the list. Mulder has to get Roque transferred to another block if he wants the other three names. Mulder thinks Roque’s scared because his name is on the list.
The warden refuses to make Roque’s deal, since it’ll domino and other prisoners will want deals as well. He’s desperate to keep things in the prison from spiraling into chaos and murder. Scully reminds him that the guards are the ones being killed. The warden notes that the prisoners will start to think that they’ll benefit from killing the guards. He thinks there’s a conspiracy. In the warden’s office, Fornier’s body finally surfaces, so now, as Mulder notes, Scully can do her autopsy.
The agents check out Neech’s little cell library, which includes things he’s written himself about multiple religions and spiritual practices. He seemed to be obsessed with reincarnation. Mulder says that millions believe in it, but of course, Scully doesn’t. She thinks the warden’s right and there’s a conspiracy going on. Mulder asks who she would put on her own hit list of five people to go after. “I only get five?” she asks. Mulder confirms that he remembered her birthday this year.
The agents next go to see a very anxious Danielle, who tells them she’d dreamed many times about Neech going to the chair but not dying, as if he couldn’t be killed. He wasn’t afraid to die, thanks to his belief in reincarnation. Mulder figures out that Danielle thinks Neech has come back from the dead. She points out that if anyone could, it’s him.
Back at the prison, Roque is taken to see the warden, but in the shower room rather than his office. The warden roughs him up, asking who’s left on the list. Roque tells the warden he’s #5 – now he knows what it’s like to be on death row. The agents leave Danielle’s house, wondering why she seemed so scared. Scully wonders if Danielle thinks she’s on the list. The warden calls to tell her that Roque is dead, having been beaten to death in the shower room.
Danielle watches the agents drive away, still jumpy. It’s probably because she didn’t want them to know Parmelly’s in her house. Looks like they’ve been having an affair. Parmelly assures Danielle that Neech isn’t coming back, and for his sake, let’s hope he’s right, because who better to get revenge on than the prison guard who was sleeping with your wife while you were on death row?
The agents return to the prison, where the warden announces that he’s authorizing a lockdown. Parmelly’s back as well and reminds Scully that he warned her. The warden tells Mulder that Neech and Roque hated each other, so Roque’s death isn’t surprising. Mulder wonders if Neech had any problems with the guards who died. It seems Neech had a problem with guards in general. Mulder thinks the murders are personal, so a lockdown isn’t going to help.
The warden still thinks they’re dealing with a conspiracy, but Mulder points out that they wouldn’t have been able to put Fornier’s body in his office. If there’s a conspiracy, the guards would have to be involved, and Roque might not be on Neech’s list. That still leaves them with three victims remaining. Mulder wants to know more about the executioner, but the warden doesn’t think he’s at risk. He and two other men always place an ad and pay in cash; there’s no way Neech could know who was going to kill him. Mulder still wants to pursue that angle.
The agents head to the executioner’s house once they have his name – Barry Simon. Judging by the mail just inside his door, he hasn’t been home in a while. Also, there are larvae on his rug. The agents find him dead in his attic, having spent the past couple of days being eaten by bugs. Mulder goes back to the prison to talk to Speranza again, but the prisoner still won’t give him the other names on the list. Mulder threatens to have him thrown in solitary, but Speranza’s still too scared to talk. He thinks he saw Neech outside his cell. All he’ll say is that Roque wasn’t on the list.
Scully tells Mulder that a look through Neech’s phone records showed that he made a number of calls to someone named Danny Charez. Since the murder of the first guard, Charez has come to visit Speranza three times. He could be part of the conspiracy. The agents question him, but Charez, a former attorney, just says he has connections with the government and was trying to get Speranza a retrial. He reveals that he represented Neech decades earlier but, obviously, couldn’t keep him off of death row.
Charez is worried that he’s on Neech’s list, and he’s reached out to Speranza to help keep him safe. He also tried to speak to Danielle, but her boyfriend ran him off. This is the first time the agents have heard about Danielle dating someone who works at the prison. Meanwhile, the warden visits Speranza, promising to have his case reexamined if he can put an end to the murders. After the agents leave Charez’s house, he gets a visit from a very angry Parmelly, who smothers him with a pillow.
Parmelly then goes to Danielle’s house, which Mulder and Scully are staking out. Scully quips that sometimes a woman gets lonely and “can’t wait around for a man to be reincarnated.” The agents leave to tell the warden about Parmelly and Danielle’s relationship. Scully adds that Parmelly told her about Roque being next on Neech’s list. Maybe he’s working as Neech’s assassin. When Scully mentions their conversation with Charez, the warden reveals that he was found murdered earlier in the evening.
Back at Danielle’s house, she has another visitor: Neech. Or an astral projection of Neech. Or the ghost of Neech. Or it’s just a dream. I don’t know. She tells Parmelly, but he’s more concerned about the arrival of some police officers. Danielle pulls a gun on her boyfriend, thinking he’s Neech. Scully sees the standoff through a window, but the gun goes off before she and Mulder can get inside. Parmelly’s dead, and Danielle’s sure that he was Neech reincarnated.
At the prison, Speranza is taken to the shower room to see the warden. With Parmelly dead, the warden thinks the conspiracy’s over, so he doesn’t see the point in keeping his deal with Speranza. Speranza, however, doesn’t count Roque as one of the five victims, which means there’s one man left to die. It might be him, of course, since the warden’s feeling like beating up another prisoner.
The agents stop by the side of the road on their way back to the prison, since Mulder needs a minute to think things through. It doesn’t make sense to him that Parmelly could have been on the list. Scully thinks Parmelly changed his and Neech’s plan, or maybe Danielle always planned to kill Parmelly so the truth about their affair couldn’t get out. Either way, Scully thinks the case is closed.
As they get back on the road, they pass the warden, who’s bothered by a fly in his car. He’s also bothered by Neech in his backseat. Neech strangles him, forcing the warden to drive the car into a tree. But when the car stops, there are only larvae in the backseat.
Thoughts: Three notable guest stars in this episode:
- The warden is played by late character actor J.T. Walsh.
- Neech is played by Bokeem Woodbine, who was most recently in the second season of Fargo.
- Danielle is played by April Grace, who’s been in a ton of stuff and should have been in more than just three episodes of Lost.
So if the governor grants you a stay of execution, the prison can just try again later? What’s the point of the stay, then?
Hello, Bokeem Woodbine’s abs! He has, like, a ten-pack.