July 16, 2016
The X-Files 3.11, Revelations: Full Circle
Summary: A pastor is giving a sermon at the First Church of Redemption in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. He tells his congregation about a little girl who asked him if miracles really happen. He knows a lot of people nowadays are skeptics, but miracles don’t require justification or rationale. The pastor’s hands begin to bleed and he tells his congregation that the blood is for them, to prove that miracles are real. One man in the church is definitely not a believer. After the service, he visits the pastor to assure him that some people do believe. Then he attacks the pastor, smoke coming out of his hands.
When Scully’s called in to examine the body, she sees ligature marks on the pastor’s neck, as well as signs of blood loss. Mulder tells her the congregation reported stigmata during the service. He taste-tests some of the pastor’s blood, determining that it’s fake. Indeed, the pastor, Findley, still has bags of fake blood strapped to his body, under his shirt. Mulder tells Scully that this has happened in a series of “religiously motivated murders”; all the victims were faking stigmata.
Scully notes the connection between 12 fake stigmatics and 12 apostles from the Bible. They’re up to #11, but Mulder doesn’t think they’re dealing with anything supernatural. Now, though, they need to worry about a 12th victim. That may be someone from Ridgeway Elementary School in Loveland, Ohio, because why else would we go there next? A boy named Kevin Kryder is working on a math problem at the chalkboard when his hands start bleeding.
Apparently the FBI put out an alert about stigmata, so someone from the school contacted Mulder and Scully. This has happened to Kevin before; he came to school last year bleeding from his hands and feet. The school suspected abuse, and Kevin’s father was arrested, but there was no evidence so the charges were dropped. After Mr. Kryder was released from jail, he locked himself and his son in a house and ranted that he had to protect Kevin because he was chosen by God. Now Mr. Kryder is in an institution.
Kevin worries that he’ll be taken away from his parents again. He thinks Scully expects him to say his dad hurt him. She notices that he has a fever. Mrs. Kryder arrives, worrying that the previous year’s troubles are happening again. Mulder tells her that someone might target Kevin for demonstrating stigmata. Kevin’s fever is so high that the thermometer breaks, which…has what to do with stigmata? The school wants to take Kevin away from his mother while they determine what exactly happened to him. Mrs. Kryder refuses to go through that again.
Mulder thinks they’ve done all they can do, but Scully wants to keep investigating. If Mr. Kryder thinks Kevin needs to be protected, he might know who’s after him. They visit Mr. Kryder, who says “the forces of darkness” have been after Kevin since his birth: “They will come in the form of a powerful, respected man.” Armageddon is approaching, but someone will be strong enough to make a sacrifice to end it. Mulder asks if Mr. Kryder is that person, but Mr. Kryder says he’s just a messenger. He tells Scully they need to “go full circle to find the truth.”
Kevin spends the night at the Linley Home for Children, entertaining/traumatizing the other kids with a horror story. His villain is a big, bald guy whose hair has been burned off by the fires of Hell. When he points at you, you’re doomed. The man he’s describing appears in the room and the kids all run off. Kevin holds out his hands to the man, revealing that they’re bleeding through his bandages.
Mulder and Scully come over to take the kids’ statements about what the man looked like. Mrs. Kryder joins them and learns that Kevin has been kidnapped. The agents assure her that they’ll do everything they can to find her son, but Mulder doesn’t think they have much to go on – the man the kids have described looks like “Homer Simpson’s evil twin.” Scully doesn’t think they’re dealing with their religiously motivated killer, since he never abducted any of the other victims. It helps that Mrs. Kryder can ID the man as Owen Jarvis, who’s previously done yard work for her husband.
Kevin is fairly calm about abduction, since Owen isn’t planning to hurt him. Owen just wants to protect him. He calls himself Kevin’s guardian angel. Of course, since the agents now have this guardian angel’s name, it’s not long before they pay a visit to his house. But when Scully goes to the attic where Owen has stashed him, she doesn’t see him. Owen insists that he hasn’t hurt Kevin and isn’t the person targeting him. He was asked by God to protect the boy. “That’s quote a long-distance call, isn’t it?” Mulder quips.
Mulder clearly thinks that Owen’s belief that he needs to prevent the apocalypse is dumb, but Owen thinks Scully might side with him, since she’s wearing her cross necklace. Scully says her religious beliefs aren’t relevant to the situation. “How can you help Kevin if you don’t believe?” Owen asks. Even the killer believes. He criticizes Scully for going through the motions with religion without understanding the sacrifice. He does whatever God asks of him. Apparently, today that means jumping through an attic window and running away.
Kevin has somehow escaped the attic without being seen and made his way home. Someone rings the doorbell, but Kevin doesn’t open the door. The man who killed Findley burns through the doorknob and goes through the house looking for Kevin. The boy hides in a hamper, but the killer finds him when Kevin’s blood seeps through the sides.
Fortunately, Owen shows up to tackle the killer and allow Kevin to escape. The killer uses his smoky killing powers on Owen. Mulder and Scully arrive, and Mulder finds Owen dead with a smile on his face. Scully sees that Kevin’s hands are bleeding again, this time from both the palms and the backs. He asks her if she’s the one who was sent to protect him.
Scully examines Owen’s body and notices a pattern – possibly a handprint – in the burn marks on his neck. Even though Owen has been dead for 14 hours, his body hasn’t started to break down, and his body temperature hasn’t even dropped. Mulder joins Scully and she asks him to smell the body. Well, she sure picked the right person to ask. She thinks she can smell flowers, but Mulder doesn’t notice anything.
Scully tells Mulder that they learned about this kind of thing in catechism class – bodies of “incorruptibles” that don’t break down after death. Mulder thinks those stories, like stigmata, are just that, stories. Scully wonders if they’re dealing with a saint. She believes in miracles, even if they can’t be explained by science: “Maybe that’s just what faith is.” Mulder disagrees – they’re dealing with a lunatic who just has a different justification for his crimes. He thinks the autopsy will prove that.
Later, Mulder and Scully meet up again and he tells her the handprint on Owen’s neck has allowed them to get the killer’s fingerprints. They’re dealing with Simon Gates, a super-rich CEO. Scully remembers Mr. Kryder talking about a respected and powerful man. A few years ago, Mr. Kryder was given a suspended sentence for a DUI and left the country for Israel. Mulder thinks he’s suffering from Jerusalem Syndrome, which gives people religious delusions when they visit the Holy Land. They come home thinking they’re Moses, Mary, Jesus, or the devil.
Mulder thinks they’re dealing with a killer who’s as nuts as Mr. Kryder. Scully doesn’t get how Gates could burn his fingerprints into Owen’s neck. It’s from the fires of Hell, of course, Scully! Mulder gets a call telling him that a social worker took Kevin to lunch, but witnesses saw Kevin with his mother at the exact same time.
In actuality, the Kryders are currently by the side of a road with a broken-down car. Gates finds them and offers to help. It doesn’t take long for Mrs. Kryder to grow suspicious. Kevin distracts Gates for a second, but he turns back to Mrs. Kryder and knocks her to the ground. Kevin runs off and Gates chases him…expect there’s still a Kevin back at the car with his mother. Gates chases Kevin into an open field, where the boy disappears. Mrs. Kryder drives through the field, barely conscious, and hits Gates with her car before crashing.
By the time Mulder and Scully get to Kevin, Mrs. Kryder is dead. Well, that sucks. He wants to know why Gates is after him. Scully promises to protect him. “Why can’t I just be like everybody else?” Kevin asks. Scully wants to know why he thinks he’s different, but he says he just is. She agrees not to take him back to the children’s home, convincing Mulder that Kevin’s safer with them. Maybe not, though, since Gates is lurking nearby and will be able to follow them.
Scully takes Kevin to a motel, where she sees a big cut on his side while she’s getting him ready for a bath. “You never draw my bath,” Mulder mock-complains. Scully’s disturbed that the cut showed up after the car accident. She tells Mulder that yesterday, Kevin’s hands bled from the palms and the backs, just like Jesus’ when he was crucified. She continues that Kevin was able to be in two places at once, like St. Ignatius was in the Bible.
Mulder argues that she’s thinking about a parable, just a metaphor for the truth. Why didn’t Kevin show up in two places when Owen kidnapped him? Scully asks why Mulder can continue to believe in aliens but won’t listen when she talks about miracles. He tells her he waits for miracles every day, but this situation is only testing his patience, rather than his faith. Gates opens a window in the bathroom, catching Scully’s attention. When the agents go in to check on Kevin, he’s gone, and the window has been heated and bent to create an opening.
Mulder continues to believe they’re dealing with a human, saying that Gates must have used an acetylene torch to get through the window. He’s officially completed his transformation into Scully the skeptic. The real Scully wants to go back to Mr. Kryder, who warned them about a powerful man putting Kevin in danger. They show him a picture of Gates, but Mr. Kryder doesn’t recognize him. He also doesn’t know why someone would want to hurt Kevin.
Mulder shows Scully that Mr. Kryder has been receiving increased doses of an anti-psychotic. Scully asks Mr. Kryder to explain what he said about coming full circle to find the truth, but thanks to the medication, he can’t remember. Gates is spotted at an airport, but Scully thinks it’s a distraction. She’s just noticed a recycling bin with its iconic circle of arrows – a full circle. Gates owns a recycling facility nearby, and she thinks that’s where he’s taken Kevin. Mulder guesses that Scully thinks she’s the one who’s been chosen to protect Kevin.
At the 21st Century Recycling Plant, which happens to be located in Jerusalem, Ohio, Gates is telling Kevin that he has to die for the New Age to come. He thinks the other victims were false prophets, but Kevin is the True One. Scully arrives before anyone can be sacrificed, but she soon loses Kevin and Gates when Gates knocks over a bunch of newspapers to keep her away. He takes Kevin to the top of a shredding machine and jumps in. Fortunately, only Gates is shredded, as Kevin manages to grab on to the side of the machine. He tells Scully he knew she’d come for him.
Two days later, Kevin’s hands are completely healed, and he’s sure he and Scully will see each other again. Before her flight back to D.C., Scully goes to confession, wanting to talk to someone about miracles. She’s unsure of whether she really saw a miracle, since Mulder can’t back her up. The priest suggests that what Scully saw was only for her to see, not Mulder. Maybe she saw things she needed to see: “Sometimes we must come full circle to find the truth.” Scully admits that she’s afraid God is speaking but no one’s listening.
Thoughts: Mulder, some day you’re going to taste something at a crime scene and find out the hard way that it really is blood. You need a babysitter.
Listen, I’m a Christian, but if God tells me to jump through a window, I’m going to ask a few questions.
So shouldn’t Mr. Kryder be released from the institution? He wasn’t delusional. Does Kevin wind up in foster care? I hope he lives with a nice family with a dog and bunkbeds and lots of religious tolerance.