June 11, 2016
The X-Files 3.6, 2Shy: Big, Blonde, and Beautiful (and Dead)
Summary: A man and woman are chatting in a car one night in Cleveland. They’ve just met, and the man (who we’ll later learn is named Virgil) thinks he and the woman, Lauren, have a “real connection.” What is this, The Bachelor? They’ve been talking for three months, and she’s happy they’ve finally met. Lauren’s necklace clasp falls open, and Virgil leans over to fix it, exposing something scaly on his neck. They kiss, and suddenly Lauren’s mouth is filled with goo. Virgil attacks. The next morning, a police officer finds Lauren dead in the car, alone.
Detective Alan Cross takes over the investigation, calling in Mulder and Scully. He tells them they think the victim is Lauren, according to her driver’s license, but her body is covered in goo and decomposing, so it’s hard to make a positive ID. Mulder takes a sample of goo, telling Scully that this has happened four other times. He sends her to the coroner’s office while he goes to find out if Lauren has been engaging in dating through personal ads, like the other victims were.
Using the name “Timid,” Virgil chats with another woman (“Huggs”) online. (This is the ’90s, so the technology is super-primitive and they’re probably using AOL.) “Huggs” is hesitant to meet Virgil, afraid of being rejected. He sympathizes but doesn’t want her to hide behind her computer forever. Virgil’s landlady, Monica, brings him a new storage-room key, then tells him she’s guessed what he does. Since he’s always typing and getting packages from publishers, she thinks he’s a writer or editor. Monica is a poet and asks him to read some of her poems. Virgil agrees, probably to get her to go away.
Scully heads to the morgue, where Cross isn’t thrilled to see her. He’s shocked that she’s a medical doctor, and possibly also that a woman in the 20th century is allowed out of the house to do jobs that men are perfectly capable of doing. I mean, what’s up with her husband for letting her work, right? Cross thinks that since the killer obviously has animosity towards women, a woman can’t work this case. Her feelings might get in the way! Silly women, always having feelings. Scully, of course, proceeds. Or she would, if Lauren’s body weren’t just a skeleton now.
Mulder chats with Lauren’s roommate, who tells him Lauren met her killer in a chat room called “Big and Beautiful.” His username was 2Shy. The roommate thought 2Shy sounded great, at least from the letters he wrote Lauren. She saved the letters, which is lucky for Mulder. He calls Scully to fill her in, telling her he’s going to send out a “localized online warning.” He’s sure they’re looking for the killer of the previous victims because he opened the 2Shy account using one of their credit cards.
Mulder joins Scully at the coroner’s office, where she shows him how weak Lauren’s bones are. She tested the goo, which is almost identical to stomach acid and contains a digestive enzyme. That seems to explain why Lauren’s body decomposed so quickly. Mulder asks if anything was missing when Scully analyzed the chemicals from Lauren’s body. She says Lauren contained low levels of adipose and fatty tissue. Mulder thinks that explains why the medical examiner said Lauren’s weight was 122 pounds, while her driver’s license said she weighed 165.
“Huggs,” AKA Ellen, wants to meet Virgil, though her friend Joanne thinks she’s nuts, since they know from Mulder’s Internet warning that there’s a killer out there. Ellen’s sure that Virgil is a great guy, and since they’ve been chatting for months, she doesn’t consider him a stranger. Virgil waits for Ellen at a restaurant, but it looks like Joanne talked her out of the date, because she doesn’t show. Virgil decides to gets himself a hooker instead. He attacks her in an alley, and another hooker and her john catch him running away from the gooey, decomposing body.
Now Mulder and Scully have a new victim, Holly. Cross wonders why a killer who’s been murdering his online girlfriends went after a prostitute. Mulder hands over the letters Virgil wrote Lauren, all quoting texts that could only be accessed by professors, grad students, or translators. He wants a list of everyone in the area with those kind of credentials. Scully sees that Holly was able to scratch Virgil and pull off some of his skin, which should lead the investigators to their killer via DNA.
Virgil gets a package from a publisher, running into his landlady’s blind teen daughter, Jesse, on his way to retrieve it. Monica still wants Virgil to read her poems – and after he does, maybe they can have dinner? OH, MONICA, NO. (Jesse thinks this is nuts, too. She also thinks Virgil smells “like he uses dish soap for aftershave.”) While the police compile Mulder’s list, the crime lab determines that the skin from the killer doesn’t contain any fatty acid. Mulder wonders if he targets the more voluptuous ladies so he can suck out their fat – or, as Scully sarcastically suggests, he’s a “fat-sucking vampire.” Yay, another mutant!
Cross tells the agents that they’ve compiled a list of 38 suspects. When Scully says she wants to help brief the investigators, he actually agrees. Virgil gets an email from Ellen apologizing for standing him up and asking to reschedule their date. The agents and cops start talking to suspects, and Cross is the lucky one who gets to meet Virgil. The bandage on the hand Holly scratched seems to make him suspicious. The agents meet back at the police department with no leads (of course), but Cross hasn’t checked in yet.
Ellen and Virgil have their date, and she notices his scaly wrist. He tells her it’s eczema. She apologizes again for being too scared to meet for their first date, assuring him that she’s not scared anymore. He has to leave to catch a bus, but she offers to drive him home. Meanwhile, Monica goes to Virgil’s apartment to leave him her poems. Ellen takes Virgil home, nervous now that she’s facing making out with a guy in a car. In the apartment, Monica notices flies. Virgil invites Ellen upstairs, then changes his mind when he sees through the window that someone’s already in his apartment.
Monica snoops around and finds Cross’ gooey body in the bathtub. Virgil arrives moments later. Later, Jesse comes by, wondering if Virgil knows where Monica is. Lucky for Virgil, Jesse can’t see her mother’s body in the apartment. She almost trips over a suitcase, which Virgil tells her he’s packed for a trip to New York. Jesse’s too smart not to be suspicious. In fact, she ends up calling 911 to report a possible homicide, leading the agents and cops to Cross and Monica’s bodies.
Jesse explains to Scully that she knew her mother was there because she smelled Monica’s perfume. She tells Scully about the suitcase and Virgil’s supposed trip to New York. The agents now have Virgil’s name and a composite sketch, but no other information on him – he has no birth records or Social Security number. He works as a translator of Italian literature and gets paid in cashier’s checks. Scully wants to follow up on Virgil’s claim that he’s going to New York, but Mulder says he’s too smart to go there after telling Jesse about the trip.
Mulder turns to Virgil’s computer, knowing that he’s been in contact with all of his victims before they’re murdered. His files have all been deleted, and though a tech can restore them, it’ll take a while to decrypt them and open the ones that are password-protected. Virgil goes to Ellen’s apartment, but she doesn’t want to talk to him, thinking he only wants sex. He convinces her to let him inside for a brief conversation. OH, ELLEN, NO.
Scully wants to release the composite sketch of Virgil to the press, but the computer tech has already decrypted the names of all the women Virgil’s been chatting with. The agents and cops get to work calling them to warn them that their online buddy might want to kill them. Ellen lets her call go to her answering machine, then tells Virgil she’s going to her bedroom to change her clothes. Instead, she emails Joanne to tell her Virgil’s at her place.
Since two women on the list haven’t answered their phones (including Ellen), Mulder and Scully decide to contact them in person. Ellen finishes her email to Joanne and gets a message from the FBI warning her to avoid Virgil. Virgil catches her on the computer and asks what Ellen was telling Joanne. Ellen says she’s happy that Virgil’s still interested in her. In a mirror, he sees a reflection of the email warning her about him. She’s barely able to contain her anxiety as she asks him to leave so she can change her clothes.
Fortunately, Mulder and Scully are there to save her. For some reason, Virgil’s typical gooing hasn’t killed her, only left her with chemical burns. Mulder chases Virgil outside but loses him, instead scaring the crap out of a teenage graffiti artist. Virgil has, in fact, gone back to the apartment and hidden in the bathtub, where he jumps out to attack Scully. She fights him off, and Ellen rescues her by shooting Virgil with Scully’s gun.
A week later, Mulder gives Virgil a list of 47 missing women and asks how many were his victims. Virgil admits they all are. Scully asks why he kills. “When you look at me, you see a monster. But I was just feeding the hunger,” he says. She accuses him of feeding on his victims’ minds. Virgil says they’re all weak. He gave the women what they wanted and they gave him what he needed. I don’t think they “gave” it, considering he murdered them, but okay. “The dead are no longer lonely,” he tells Scully in Italian. Okay, well, enjoy prison, weirdo.
Thoughts: The actress playing Ellen is…okay, I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but she should really pursue something other than acting.
Mulder’s all, “This guy’s really smart,” but how dumb do you have to be to use one of your victim’s credit cards to set up the next murder you’re going to commit? 2Dumb.
What’s with this show and flies?
This episode is much more fun if you imagine it as an episode of Catfish. “So you were chatting with all these women because you wanted to kill them? Do you feel like you should apologize for that? Did you take their feelings into consideration?”