July 30, 2016
The X-Files 3.13, Syzygy: “Sure. Fine. Whatever”
Summary: A teenage football player named Bruno is being eulogized at a candlelight vigil. Apparently he was killed by a cult that might be targeting other teens. Two girls at the vigil look bored. After the vigil, the girls approach the eulogizer, Boom, and tell him the rumor is the cult is going after a blond virgin next. They’re worried one of them will be the next victim.
Boom drives them home while they talk about how the cult can even tell who’s a virgin and who isn’t. One of the girls suggests that they ease their fears by not being virgins anymore. Boom quickly pulls his truck over. The next morning, police find him dead, having seemingly hanged himself off a cliff. The girls are playing “he loves me, he loves me not” nearby.
Mulder and Scully are called to Comity, “the Perfect Harmony City,” though they can’t agree on directions. They make it to Boom’s funeral and meet Detective Angela White, who tells them his death is the third in the past few months. All are linked to local cult activity, as a number of people have reported witnessing rituals. Scully notes that there’s no concrete evidence, adding that the FBI has debunked a lot of rumors of trauma linked to satanic cults.
White directs the agents toward the two girls who were with Boom the night he died. Scully confirms that the girls were interviewed together, which means their statements can’t be taken seriously. They probably also testified about the same rituals everyone mentions when talking about cult activities, such as the sacrifice of a blond virgin. White leaves, and Mulder asks Scully, “You don’t suppose she’s a virgin, do you?” “I doubt she’s even a blonde,” Scully replies.
A man named Bob interrupts the funeral to drum up support for his anti-cult sentiment. The two girls take each other’s hands, and seconds later, Boom’s casket goes up in flames. Everyone flees the room except the girls and the agents. They all head over to the sheriff’s station, where Scully interviews one girl, Terri, and Mulder talks to the other, Margi. Even separate, they tell the same story about Boom taking them to a cult ritual where a baby was sacrificed.
With no reports of mass baby graves or missing babies, Scully figures the girls are lying. They could have made up their stories using details from any newspaper article. Mulder elaborates that there have been cases where witnesses used local rumors to flesh out their lies. The only thing the agents can’t explain is the burning casket, so Scully goes to check it out. She thinks the fire could have been caused by a chemical used to embalm Boom’s body. White and Mulder spot a pattern on Boom’s charred chest – possibly a goat or “horned beast.” Scully: “Sure. Fine. Whatever.”
Mulder goes to White’s house, cautioning her to keep her cat inside while people are worrying about animal sacrifices. He apologizes for Scully’s attitude, which is totally the opposite of his open-minded, charming one. He’s there to ask for White’s help solving “the mystery of the horny beast.” Oh, Mulder.
The two head to an astrologer named Zirinka, who denies the townspeople’s gossip that she’s a Satanist. Really, she just crunches numbers to come up with predictions. Earth is approaching a planetary alignment and will be under great influence from Mercury, Uranus, and Mars. If Mulder wants to know more, he’ll have to come back during office hours (and pay).
Terri and Margi chat about guys on the basketball team in their school’s gym (which, by the way, features emblems of the school’s mascot, a horned goat). They agree on the cuteness of Scott Simmons, and agree on their hatred of his girlfriend, Brenda: “Hate her. Wouldn’t want to date her.” They glare at Brenda and she falls over.
One of the players accidentally crashes into the girls’ table of Gatorade, and they agree that they wouldn’t want to date him either. As the boy chases a basketball under the bleachers, the girls stare at him together. The lights go out and the bleachers collapse. The other players are unable to get the boy out before he’s crushed.
Scully meets up with Mulder and White in the gym, learning that an electrical surge took out the lights while activating the motor that moves the bleachers. Scully sees that both Margi and Terri are there. She’s also annoyed that Mulder was with White at the time of the incident – she feels like he’s ditched her. Mulder denies this. Scully: “Fine. Whatever.”
Across town, Bob has gathered some buddies to dig up what he thinks will turn out to be the mass baby grave. White orders the digging to stop, since the adults are destroying private property. Bob goes off about some rumor about “naked movie-star games.” Mulder somehow does not ask to be included. White tells her that Bob is usually a lot calmer. Also, he’s the principal of the high school. Clearly, he’s really qualified for the job.
Scully knows this kind of hysteria is normal but has nothing to do with actual cult rituals. Just then, a woman shouts that she’s found bones. Mulder and Scully start to glove up to investigate the bag the woman found; Mulder lets Scully go ahead. Someone shouts that the bones belong to a child. The bag is monogrammed with the initials R.W.G., so Bob points the finger at Dr. Dick Godfrey, a local pediatrician.
The mob goes straight to Godfrey’s house, calling him a baby killer. Said alleged baby killer also likes to wear women’s clothes, though it doesn’t seem like the townspeople know that. Godfrey tells White and Mulder that he sold the bag at a garage sale, and he has no idea why there were bones in it. Scully joins them and announces that Godfrey is free to go – the bones belonged to a dog. That dog, by the way, belonged to Terri. “This may not be any time to mention it, but someone is wearing my favorite perfume,” Mulder says. But I’m sure Godfrey doesn’t know anything about that.
Scully pulls Mulder aside to chastise him for keeping the case going. She doesn’t appreciate having to bring Terri in – on her birthday, of all days – to ID the bones of her dead dog. Also, she thinks his behavior on the investigation has been awful. Mulder doesn’t help things by sniffing her to see if she’s the one wearing his favorite perfume. “Must be Detective White,” he decides. Scully tells him that if he wants to keep investigating to be close to White, he’s on his own.
That night, Terri and Margi have a joint birthday party, though they’re the only guests having fun. They bring out a Ouija board, and Brenda asks it who she’s going to marry. The board spells out “Satan.” Brenda runs off to the bathroom, where Margi and Terri are playing Bloody Mary in the mirror. When Brenda tries to leave, the door slams shut. The other girls hear screaming.
Mulder tries to make a screwdriver in his motel room, using frozen orange juice and a small bottle of vodka. He turns on the TV, finding Keystone Kops on every channel. Scully has the same experience next door. She smokes a cigarette and complains to herself about Mulder’s affection for White. Speaking of White, she’s now at Mulder’s door with the body of her dead cat. He comforts her, then sniffs her.
White notices that Mulder’s been drinking, which he says is abnormal for him. She swigs his makeshift screwdriver and asks to spend the night. Mulder tries to call the front desk to get another room, but the phone doesn’t work. White goes in for the kill, saying they can solve the mystery of the horny beast at last. Mulder isn’t interested, but White isn’t going to give up. Scully finds her on top of him when she arrives to announce that there’s been another death.
Once Mulder and White are ready to venture out in public, Scully tells them that a high school girl was found impaled by broken glass. She insists on driving, pretending she’s not upset about seeing Mulder and White together. She wonders why Mulder always has to drive anyway: “Because you’re the guy? The big macho man?” “No, I was just never sure your little feet could reach the pedals,” he replies. OH, MULDER.
Terri and Margi leave their party to corner Scott in a restaurant. They want to make him “feel better” now that Brenda is dead. He runs off to cry. “Hate him,” Terri says. Margi doesn’t reply, so Terri says it again. Margi just walks away. This is turning out to be the worst birthday ever!
While Scully and White go to the crime scene, Mulder goes to see Zirinka, who makes sure his credit card is good before she helps him. He wants more information about the planetary alignment. She tells him that every 84 years, something something something astrology, and this year is particularly bad. Disastrous, even. The worst day will be today, and anyone born today in 1979 has the energy of the cosmos focused on him or her.
Scott heads home, finding out when he arrives that Margi has stowed away in the back of his pickup. Terri arrives moments later, and their anger at each other makes things start flying around Scott’s garage. Scott gets impaled. The girls can’t agree on which of them killed him. Elsewhere, Scully and White are in the middle of a silent car ride when they come across a bunch of dead birds.
Still at Zirinka’s, Mulder gets a call from Margi, who says she knows who the killer is. Scully and White are standing up to the armed town mob when Terri finds them and announces that she knows who killed everyone. Meanwhile, Mulder finds Margi cowering in Scott’s garage. She tells him that Terri killed everyone. Margi tells the others that Terri did it, and may be possessed. The girls tell the same exact story again, this time about each other.
Mulder calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) and they learn that they’re with each other’s accused killers. Mulder decides that they need to take the girls in to get formal statements. “Sure. Fine. Whatever,” Scully replies. At the sheriff’s station, a TV turns itself on, showing Keystone Kops. The building starts to shake, moving the furniture around. Terri and Margi are now both in the building, and it’s clear that’s a dangerous thing.
Guns start firing on their own and the lights go out (though the TV still works). Mulder grabs Margi and hurries her out of the room, which makes everything calm again. Terri follows, so the agents put her in the same room as Margi. Mulder figures they’ll just let whatever’s coming play out. The building shakes again. At midnight, everything stops. The mob arrives, demanding to see the girls. Mulder protests, but White insists on opening the door, so Scully lets her in. The girls are huddled together, crying.
Mulder wrap-up voiceover time! Something about the universe and the cosmos and forces and the girls having those forces focused on them. Bob still thinks Satan’s to blame. Whatever it really is, the case is over, so the agents can leave. Scully has to adjust the driver’s seat before they go. Mulder tries to give her directions, but she won’t listen. He tells her she ran a stop sign and he tells her to shut up. “Sure. Fine. Whatever,” he replies.
Thoughts: This episode is probably best known now as the one with Ryan Reynolds (he plays Boom).
The teens go to Grover Cleveland Alexander High, which is another jab at David Duchovny for another question he missed on Celebrity Jeopardy.
Scully’s skeptical face really gets a workout in this episode. It’s one of her better faces, really. Definitely better than her jealous face.
’90s music alert: Live’s “All Over You.”