November 26, 2016
The X-Files 4.6, Sanguinarium: Nip/Tuck
Summary: A patient is being prepared for plastic surgery at Greenwood Memorial Hospital in Chicago. A nurse assures her that her doctor has done liposuction a thousand times, so she’s in good hands. The nurse checks in with Dr. Lloyd, who tells her to get his other patients prepped. He’s scrubbing for the first patient’s surgery, but he’s probably going a little overboard, since his hands are bleeding. Despite the fact that that can’t be sanitary, he just puts on some gloves and gets to work on his first patient.
The nurse checks in with the next patient, who’s been waiting so long that her tranquilizer is starting to wear off. Also, she was probably supposed to be the first patient, since the man in with the doctor now has markings on his scalp indicating that he was supposed to get a hair transplant, not lipo. The nurse goes to the OR and finds Lloyd practically sawing into the patient. “I think this patient is finished,” Lloyd says. His first clue was probably all the blood.
Everyone’s favorite FBI agents interview Lloyd, who says he was having an out-of-body experience and couldn’t stop himself. Mulder figures he was possessed. Lloyd’s lawyer doesn’t approve of this meeting, but the agents proceed anyway. Scully asks if Lloyd is taking any medication, and when she wants to check the dosages of his antacid and occasional sleeping pill, Lloyd balks. Off a look from his lawyer, Lloyd says he can’t remember how much sleep he got the night before.
Scully looks into Lloyd’s sleeping pills, which have been linked to strange behavior. When he started taking them five years ago, he was addicted, which could have affected his ability to do his job. Mulder notes that only one patient suffered ill effects. Scully tells him that the hospital is like a plastic-surgery factory. Mulder spots five circular marks on the floor next to the patient’s blood. He thinks they were scorched into the floor. He uses a tongue depressor and the patient’s blood to draw a pentagram between the marks.
Scully thinks they’re just looking at a case of a doctor taking drugs and screwing up. Mulder points out that he mistook a lipo patient for a hair-transplant patient, which is a little more than just screwing up. He also wonders how no one noticed what was going on, since there are cameras monitoring the activity in every OR. He thinks they’re dealing with black magic or sorcery.
The agents talk to the nurse, Rebecca Waite, who says she did everything she was supposed to and didn’t notice anything amiss. Mulder asks if she’s aware that Lloyd says he was possessed. “I guess it’s cheaper than malpractice insurance,” Waite quips. A doctor named Shannon sends Waite off on a task and claims to be too busy to talk to the agents. Scully thinks the only magic going on at the hospital is the medical kind.
Around a table that looks like it has a pentagram on its surface, some hospital execs discuss the trouble they could be in. One man worries that they’ll be burned at the stake if anyone thinks Lloyd’s possession story is true. Dr. Shannon is concerned that the agents were talking to Waite, but another man doesn’t think there’s a problem, since Waite doesn’t know anything.
Waite preps her next patient, who’s anxious about being put under for her facelift. She should be more anxious about the five leeches Waite is removing from her stomach. Waite promises to protect the patient. At their hotel of the week, Mulder shows Scully a video of Lloyd’s operation; he’s standing right in the middle of the supposed pentagram. Scully doesn’t think it makes sense for a pentagram to be in the OR, since it’s used to control the elemental forces to protect someone. Mulder disagrees – why not use black magic to prey on “the weak and vainglorious”?
Scully still doesn’t think there are any signs of black magic being used at the hospital. Mulder asks about the antacid Lloyd uses; it contains belladonna, which is used in witchcraft. Scully taunts that he should “put out an APB for someone riding a broom and wearing a tall black hat.” Mulder thinks that if they’re dealing with a ritual or hex, it might not be over.
A doctor named Ilaqua washes up after a procedure as Shannon assures him that, now that the Feds are gone, they should be in the clear. I’m going to guess that’s not true, since Ilaqua is acting a little robotic. When Shannon heads to the OR to operate on the facelift patient, she and Waite find the door locked. Ilaqua’s in with the patient, using a laser for what I’m pretty sure isn’t a facelift. I mean, I don’t think the woman wanted a hole burned through her head, but I could be wrong.
Scully examines Ilaqua, confirming that he doesn’t remember killing her. He was supposed to be leaving for the night. He’s still robotic, possibly due to the contents of the bottle of pills in his pocket. At the hotel, Mulder’s probably supposed to be working on the case, but instead he seems to be considering a nose job. He shows Scully the five spots on the patient’s stomach, left behind by the leeches (though the agents don’t know what made the marks). Scully hands over Ilaqua’s pills, which are the same as Lloyd’s prescription.
The agents interrupt another meeting at the hospital, which one attendee, Dr. Franklin, says is about their concerns for finding the party responsible for the patients’ deaths. He reveals that there were several deaths at the hospital ten years ago; all were ruled accidental. Waite was on the ward at the time, and has now transferred back to the ward. She’s the only person who’s had contact with all the victims. P.S. Now she’s disappeared. (Not really – she’s at home. But she’s doing some sort of ritual with hair and fire, so she probably just wants privacy.)
Mulder and Scully go to Waite’s house, where Mulder points out a broom on the front porch and calls it probable cause. There’s also a pentagram carved into the door. The agents enter and find the aftermath of Waite’s ritual, but no Waite.
Over in Winnetka, Franklin arrives home to find that his electricity is out. (He should consider this a blessing, because now he doesn’t have to see his super-ugly home.) “Vanitas vanitatum” is written on his bathroom wall in what appears to be blood. Speaking of blood, his bathtub is full of it, and it’s still coming out of the tap. When Franklin goes to turn it off, Waite leaps out of the tub and attacks him. Franklin gets away and calls 911, but Waite attacks again.
When Mulder and Scully arrive, Waite rants that something’s too powerful and she’s trying to stop it. She starts convulsing and spits out straight pins, then collapses. Thanks to internal bleeding, Waite will be the next person in this episode to undergo surgery. Scully heads to the hospital with her, while Mulder examines the pins. Without gloves. Come on, Mulder.
Shannon comes over to stitch up a cut on Franklin’s forehead, though he’s otherwise okay. Mulder quips that he can just get a little plastic surgery. Franklin and Shannon claim that they don’t know why Waite would have attacked him. Mulder says she practices witchcraft, so Shannon takes the idea and runs with it – she must be responsible for the patients’ deaths. They plan to put this behind them and get back to work. Franklin lies down in his bed, and as soon as Mulder and Shannon leave, he starts to levitate. He seems to be enjoying himself, so that’s nice.
Mulder’s examining his face in the mirror in his hotel room when Scully comes by (saying “Mulder, it’s me” when she knocks on the door) to tell him that Waite’s dead. Cause of death: massive blood loss thanks to hundreds of straight pins. Scully says that Waite could have suffered from pica, which leads sufferers to consume things that shouldn’t be consumed, but there’s no way she could have lived very long with all those pins inside her. Mulder thinks the more likely situation was [long word I don’t want to look up], which leads possessed people to cough up things they didn’t consume.
Scully will accept that Waite practiced witchcraft, but the rest of it is a little farfetched for her. Mulder gives her a book he got from Waite’s house, along with a calendar. A couple of days are marked with a symbol. Those days, the Witches’ Sabbaths, were also the birthdays of the victims. Mulder doesn’t think the symbols meant Waite was marking them for death, though. He thinks she was trying to protect them.
Franklin and another doctor are scrubbing in for an operation when Shannon warns that the agents are asking questions again. The second doctor complains that the good thing they have going is probably going to have to end. He doesn’t think Franklin’s up for the procedure, noting that they can’t afford to have any more screw-ups.
The agents head to the hospital, confirming that Franklin’s next patient has a birthday that matches up with a symbol on Waite’s calendar. The second doctor, Kaplan, has sent Franklin away to do the patient’s chemical peel, and I don’t think he’s using the chemicals he’s supposed to. Shannon doesn’t either, if her screams over the patient’s blistering skin are any indication.
Shannon tells the agents that the department has been lucrative even as other hospitals have lost revenue. They saw a need and filled it. The agents confirm that the department wanted to cover up the negligent deaths from ten years ago. Shannon says the hospital gave its blessing, like that makes it okay. She mentions that there were five deaths – four patients and a doctor, Cox, who died of a drug overdose.
Mulder asks Shannon to run Cox’s picture through an imaging program while he starts to share his theory with Scully: The four patient deaths ten years ago coincided with Witches’ Sabbaths, but Cox’s didn’t. Mulder and Shannon use the imaging program to alter Cox’s appearance as Shannon explains that doctors use it to show patients what they can look like. “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity,” Mulder says, quoting the Latin on Franklin’s bathroom wall. With a few clicks of the mouse, Cox’s face turns into Franklin’s.
Franklin’s in his super-ugly home, carving something with a blade. I don’t know what he’s carving because this show had no money in the budget for lighting. Mulder tells Scully that he thinks Cox killed four patients so he could become Franklin. They were blood sacrifices, the “most potent offering in black magic.” He couldn’t perform any more medical miracles, so he turned to witchcraft. Scully’s like, “He did this to become pretty?”
Franklin returns to the hospital and gets ready to perform another operation. Shannon catches him and he uses magic throw surgical instruments insider her. Meanwhile, Mulder and Scully go to Franklin’s ugly house, where they find a pentagram in the tiles in his foyer. The patients’ names are written at the pentagram’s points. Four have died so far, and Shannon’s name is written at the fifth point.
Shannon’s taken to surgery to remove the surgical instruments Franklin magically placed inside her. Elsewhere, Franklin starts carving up his own face, then peeling it off. Scully bursts into Shannon’s ER to halt her surgery while Mulder looks for Franklin. He finds an empty room, a bloody scalpel, and Franklin’s face. Shannon’s surgery is successful, which means Franklin hasn’t claimed his final victim. But another patient has a birthday on Halloween, AKA Samhain, AKA the fourth Witches’ Sabbath, and she’s not quite as lucky.
Sometime later, Franklin and his new face and name get a new job in L.A. The doctor he meets with is impressed by his credentials and patient portfolio. Franklin tells her that he likes to say that it’s plastic surgeons’ jobs to recreate in their own image what God created in His. But we never hear about this guy or any other patient murders again, so maybe Franklin has changed his ways and decided to behave himself from now on!
Thoughts: You’d think that with his black-magic skills, Franklin could change his appearance without having to cut off his face.
Nothing like watching someone get fat sucked out of him right before lunchtime.
Hey, Mulder, maybe don’t use blood to draw pictures on the floor of a crime scene. CSI teams must hate him.
Ooh, a rare “Mulder, it’s me” that’s not on the phone. How fun.