September 24, 2016

The X-Files 3.21, Avatar: More Like Suck-ubus, Right?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

In a shocking plot twist, Grandma was Little Red Riding Hood all along!

In a shocking plot twist, Grandma was Little Red Riding Hood all along!

Summary: It’s March 7th, 1996, in D.C., and Skinner’s about to sign some paperwork. (We’re not supposed to realize he’s signing his divorce papers, but it’s kind of obvious.) He can’t bring himself to do it, telling his lawyer he’ll sign tomorrow. He goes to the lounge at the Ambassador Hotel, where a woman joins him at the bar, trying to avoid a conversation with another man. They end up having sex, and let me tell you, if there’s anything I never wanted to see Skinner do, it’s that. He sees his new bed buddy as an old woman, for some reason. When he wakes up, she’s dead.

The police are called, and Mulder gets the lead detective, Waltos, to let him talk to Skinner. Apparently Skinner’s having trouble remembering everything that happened. Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”), having heard that Skinner called in a homicide. Mulder tells her that he seems to have been there at the time of the murder. Skinner tells him not to get involved, which, of course, Mulder won’t listen to. Waltos tells him that Skinner only remembers taking the woman to bed, but since he won’t take a polygraph, it’s a little suspicious.

The victim has no ID, and Mulder’s eager to find out who she is. Waltos tells him the police are doing their job. Mulder asks Scully to meet him at the coroner’s office so they can check out the woman’s body. Scully agrees with the county coroner that the woman’s neck was broken without a struggle, and most likely in a “manual trauma.” She also may have had a mild allergic reaction to latex, so now Mulder and Scully get to think about their boss using a condom.

Mulder tells Scully that the victim was named Carina; she was a legal secretary who was recently fired for moonlighting for one of her firm’s clients. Specifically, she was working as a prostitute. As Scully turns off the light to leave, she notices a glowing substance around Carina’s nose and mouth. The agents head to Georgetown to chat with Lorraine Kelleher, the very successful madam Carina worked for. Lorraine’s surprised to hear that her upcoming meeting with Carina won’t be going forward. She first declines to reveal who Carina was hired by the previous night, saying that she works for the government just like the agents do, but she confirms that Skinner hired Carina.

Mulder’s mad that his boss was so indiscreet, but he knows there isn’t enough evidence to prove he’s a murderer. After all, someone could have stolen his credit card. Scully’s like, “To pay for the prostitute who died in his bed?” That happens all the time! It’s just a coincidence, Scully! She points out that they don’t know anything about Skinner’s personal life. He could be murdering hookers all over the country, for all they know! Mulder reminds her that Skinner has put his career on the line for them multiple times, so they owe it to him to try to help.

Skinner’s released, so Mulder and Scully meet him at the police station to ask him what happened the night before. Skinner tells them they’ll have to investigate without his help. He clearly didn’t know Carina was a prostitute when they hooked up, so that’s something. He sees an old woman in a red jacket nearby, and nearly gets hit by cars when he tries to run across the street to her. She mouths something at him, then seems to disappear. Skinner finally makes it across the street to someone in a red jacket, but she’s younger. She also knows him – she’s his wife, Sharon.

The agents go inside the police station with Sharon, who confides that she and Skinner have been separated for eight months. She doesn’t like that he’s built a wall around himself to keep people out. They felt more like roommates than spouses, and she didn’t want to live like that anymore. Sharon tells Mulder that Skinner’s talked about him and clearly respects him. She thinks Mulder can tell her if Skinner’s a murderer. He says no, but if you have to ask someone if your husband of 17 years killed someone, that probably won’t ease your fears.

The agents go to Skinner’s office, where an agent named Bonnecaze has taken over. There’s a hearing the next day to determine if Skinner should keep his job as assistant director. Bonnecaze tells the agents to stop investigating, and to present any evidence they’ve already found at the hearing. Mulder tries to tell Skinner as Scully says he’s acting like he’s guilty. If he’s unstable enough to hire a prostitute, “what else is he capable of?” Mulder wants to give their boss the benefit of the doubt. Plus, Skinner didn’t seem to know that Carina was a prostitute. Scully thinks he just doesn’t remember.

Scully shows Mulder a video of a man having a form of night terrors called REM sleep behavior disorder. People commit acts of violence while dreaming. Scully reveals that Skinner’s been receiving treatment at a sleep-disorder facility for the same disorder for months. He has a recurring dream about an old woman who talks to him (though he can’t understand her) and sometimes straddles his chest. Scully thinks Skinner may have accidentally killed Carina in his sleep, thinking she was the old woman.

Mulder tells Scully that in the Middle Ages, people reported the same behavior, attributing it to a succubus. If the succubus became too attached to the man with the behavior, she would kill any woman she thought was a romantic rival. Sometimes a luminous substance was left behind. Hmmm, just like the glowing substance Scully saw on Carina! She takes Mulder to see Carina’s body, but the substance is gone. Fortunately, Scully got a sample. Unfortunately, the lab claims there was nothing analyzable in the sample container. Mulder wonders if Skinner suspects himself as the killer and is running because he’s not sure.

Sharon visits her husband to check on him and have a lovely conversation about how their marriage has collapsed. She wants Skinner to let her help him, or at least comfort him. He declines, so she leaves. He finds their wedding picture (he had hair!) and falls asleep holding it. He wakes up after dark, hearing screams, and sees the old woman in the red jacket. Moments later, Waltos comes to his door to tell him that Sharon was in a car accident – someone ran her off the road. And not that there’s any connection or accusation, but Waltos would like to see Skinner’s car keys.

Mulder meets up with Skinner at the police station while Sharon undergoes brain surgery. Skinner isn’t being charged (yet), but Mulder knows the police are building a case against him. Skinner wants to know if Scully thinks he’s innocent. Mulder admits that she wants to know why he’s not doing more to defend himself. Skinner replies that he can’t do that when he doesn’t know what’s happening. Mulder asks about the old woman, and what the police might discover in their investigation.

Skinner says that he started seeing the woman “again” a few months ago. He first saw her in Vietnam, but since he was using drugs, he thought she was just a hallucination. Skinner thinks the woman was watching him when he killed people, and she kept him from being killed. Mulder wonders if she’s trying to protect him. However, only Skinner can figure out what he needs protection from. If I were him, I’d start with CSM, who’s watching the conversation through a window.

Mulder and Scully go to see Skinner’s impounded car, which sure looks like it hit another car. Skinner’s prints were the only ones found on the steering wheel. With half an hour to go before Skinner’s hearing, Mulder cuts off the airbag and takes it to Pendrell (yay, Pendrell!), who’s able to find an impression of the face of whoever was driving the car when it crashed. From the impression, he should be able to create a replication of the driver’s face.

Scully goes to the hearing and testifies that there’s no conclusive evidence that Skinner killed Carina. She puts forth Mulder’s theory about a “visitation,” though she won’t say whether she believes this. The man running the hearing asks if Skinner might sometimes bend the rules a little for Mulder. Has Scully’s loyalty to Skinner led her to conceal anything? Scully says no, but the people in charge are done listening to her.

Mulder and Scully meet up, and she announces that Skinner’s been announced. Mulder thinks he’s being set up – the impression from the air bag shows a face that isn’t Skinner’s. Scully wonders why the people behind this setup don’t just kill Skinner. Mulder thinks they can use the driver (who must have hired the prostitute, as Scully says in a voiceover that was obviously added in later for clarification) to find the people behind the conspiracy.

The agents return to Lorraine’s apartment, but she’s dead, apparently having jumped from the roof. They spot Judy, one of Lorraine’s other prostitutes, and take her to a diner to ask her questions. She recognizes the driver’s face and confirms that he hired Carina. The agents convince Judy to arrange a meeting with the driver at the Ambassador Hotel, pretending she wants money to leave town before the FBI asks too many questions.

Skinner visits an unconscious Sharon and tells her he’s not signing the divorce papers. He kept himself closed off from her for years because he didn’t want to tell her about all the horrible things he’s seen, or about the things he couldn’t explain. He wishes he’d told her before that the thought of ending each day with her got him through his work. As Skinner’s kissing her goodbye, an alarm on one of Sharon’s monitors goes off. He leaves to call a doctor, but when he looks back, the old woman is in Sharon’s bed, beckoning him. When he goes back in, she’s Sharon again, and she has something to tell him.

Mulder and Waltos stake out the lounge at the Ambassador Hotel while Scully and Judy wait in a room. Scully hears a noise and tells the men to come upstairs. The driver has somehow gotten into the room, where he knocks out Scully and aims his gun at Judy. Mulder and Waltos hear gunshots as they race toward the room. When they arrive, the driver’s dead and Judy’s okay, thanks to Skinner.

Skinner quickly gets his job back, but not everything gets wrapped up. The driver still hasn’t been ID’d, and Skinner figures they’ll never get answers. Mulder wonders how he knew something was going to happen at the hotel. Skinner says whatever happened can’t go in an official report. Mulder asks for the info off the record, but Skinner won’t give it even then. After the agents leave, Skinner puts his wedding ring back on and gets back to work.

Thoughts: This episode was co-written by David Duchovny.

Waltos is played by Tom Mason (Joe on Party of Five). Carina is played by Amanda Tapping, who’s done all sorts of sci-fi/fantasy TV shows.

Sharon seems pretty together for someone who’s ending a miserable marriage with a possible murderer.

This episode makes no sense. Obviously they just wanted to give Skinner something to do. Thanks for trying, guys!

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: