May 27, 2017

The X-Files 5.8, Kitsunegari: Quit Playing Games With My Heart

Posted in TV tagged at 1:18 pm by Jenn

I thought of so many “Arrested Development”/Blue Man Group jokes for this, I couldn’t choose one

Summary: A patient is working hard in physical therapy in a prison, under the watch of a therapist who doesn’t get how dangerous he is. As two orderlies return the patient to his room, they discuss his past crimes (he’s a “cop-killer”). One orderly warns the other not to let his guard down around the patient/con. This is good advice, as the patient is “Pusher” Modell. The orderly doesn’t take the advice, though, because that night, he enters Pusher’s cell alone. By the next morning, Modell has made his escape. “He had to go,” the naive orderly explains.

Mulder and Scully are summoned as Skinner addresses a group of agents before sending them out for a manhunt. They tell the group how dangerous Pusher is, and how he likes to play games and leave clues. They warn everyone not to talk to him, even if he’s not armed, and especially if they don’t have backup. Scully tells Mulder that Pusher’s weak because of his injuries from “Pusher” and the brain tumor he still has. She’s worried that Mulder’s putting himself at risk by being involved in the investigation, since Pusher targeted him last time.

Pusher makes his way to Occaquan, fooling a store clerk into thinking a baseball bat is a rattlesnake. He sees on TV that Mulder and Scully are on the taskforce looking for him. The physical therapist at the prison tells Mulder and Scully that Pusher had a visitor the day before from someone with the Little Sisters of Charity. She knows Pusher belongs in prison, but she never had any problems with him. (Of course, if she’s chatted with him, he could have done all sorts of stuff and then made her forget it.)

Pusher calls the prison, asking to talk to Mulder. Mulder orders him to come back to prison or Mulder will drag him back. The taskforce traces the call, and Scully makes Mulder hang up before Pusher can say anything dangerous. When the agents arrive at the store Pusher visited, they only find the wrapper of a carbo-boost bar he ate. They think they spot him down the street, but it’s the clerk wearing Pusher’s prison clothes. “He had to go,” he tells the agents.

The agents next track Pusher to a house with Japanese characters painted on the walls in Pusher’s favorite color, cerulean blue. They think Pusher had the homeowner paint the walls, then kill himself by drinking the rest of the paint. The victim is Nathan Bowman, the prosecutor who put Pusher in prison. An agent translates the Japanese characters as “kitsunegari,” or fox hunt. So that kind of answers Scully’s question about whether he wants to target Mulder again.

Mulder sees a picture of a woman and guesses that Pusher might go after Bowman’s wife, Linda. He calls her realty office and learns that she left for an appointment with a Mr. Fox Mulder. They send two local officers to the appointment location, an abandoned building in Falls Church. Pusher guides one toward him with his voice, surrendering when he’s found. But when the taskforce arrives, they find that the officer has detained his partner, thinking he’s Pusher.

Linda arrives for the meeting late, and the agents have to tell her that her husband has been killed. Apparently she doesn’t watch the news, since she also doesn’t know that Pusher escaped from prison. Skinner takes her into protective custody and tells Mulder and Scully to find Pusher, like, yeah, they’re trying. Mulder wonders why Pusher hasn’t killed anyone this time around. He borrows Scully’s radio as Pusher watches the movement at the scene from a nearby building, eating another carbo-boost bar.

Mulder finds the bar’s wrapper and searches the building for Pusher, who asks what took him so long. He calls Scully for backup as Pusher asks him to hold on. Mulder’s anger is no match for Pusher’s…pushing, and as backup arrives, Mulder exits the building alone. “He had to go,” he tells Scully.

Mulder’s embarrassed that he let Pusher go, even though Scully says it could have happened to anyone. Mulder knows that Pusher sought him out personally to deliver a message: “Don’t play the game.” He hasn’t killed anyone, and Mulder isn’t convinced that Pusher actually murdered Bowman. He knows Pusher’s involved, and somehow related to what’s going on, but he thinks something’s going on that they don’t know about. For starters, why is he pursuing Linda?

The agents visit Linda in a safehouse in Annandale, but she only knows what her husband told her about the case. Bowman thought it would have been better if Mulder had killed Pusher so the taxpayers wouldn’t have to pa9y for his trial. Bowman was proud of himself for convicting Pusher, as if this was his “brush with greatness.” Linda reveals that she and Bowman were only married for two months, after knowing each other just two days. She doesn’t want it to sound like Bowman was impulsive – she wouldn’t “paint him as that.” Mulder gets it, saying that Bowman was “true blue.”

As the agents leave, Mulder tells Scully his theory that Linda, not Pusher, killed Bowman. The game Mulder’s not supposed to play is Linda’s. She hasn’t shown any interest in the details of her husband’s death, and she’s not scared that a serial killer seems to be stalking her. Scully and Skinner think Mulder’s getting overinvolved. Mulder suggests that Linda might have the same abilities Pusher does. Skinner tells him he’s off the case and needs to hand over his gun, just to be on the safe side.

Mulder heads back to the prison to talk to the physical therapist again. She says one of the nuns from Little Sisters of Charity once referred to Pusher as a “conquered warrior.” This is the same nun who visited the day before Pusher escaped. Mulder shows the therapist a picture of Linda, but the therapist can’t see well enough and needs to get her glasses. But first, she needs to answer a phone call telling her to electrocute herself.

A Falls Church police car brings Pusher to the safehouse, where he tells a U.S. Marshal standing watch to go home. Mulder calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) from the prison to tell her about the physical therapist’s death. He thinks Linda made her kill herself – if she were innocent, the physical therapist would have identified her as Pusher’s visitor. He tells Scully to trace the call the therapist and make sure Linda can’t make any phone calls from the safehouse. He’s stunned to hear that Scully isn’t there, telling her that no one at the safehouse switchboard is answering the phone.

Skinner’s there and has the same concerns, since no one’s answering the ringing phone. He catches Pusher and Linda together and orders Pusher to get on the ground. Pusher says he has a gun and points it at Skinner. Skinner shoots him but realizes that Pusher’s unarmed. Mulder and Scully come to the scene, where Skinner insists that Pusher had a gun, though it hasn’t been found. Mulder thinks Pusher’s taking the fall for Linda, who’s now been let out of protective custody.

Mulder heads to the hospital to make sure he’s the first person to get to talk to Pusher once he’s out of surgery. Scully thinks this is a bad idea, so Mulder tells her to call him when she thinks he’s come to his senses. He waits in Pusher’s room while he sleeps, only leaving when a nurse tells him to leave so she can change the patient’s bandages. Only it’s not a nurse – it’s Linda wearing a fake badge that says “nurse.”

Once Mulder’s gone, she wakes Pusher and asks him why he came to see her. “Don’t make a mistake,” he tells her. She insists that she won’t let “them” get away with this – she’s going to finish what he started. Pusher begs her to stop, but he’s weakening. She uses her abilities to convince him he’s not in any pain, then convinces his heart to stop beating.

Mulder finds Linda’s fake badge, which has the address of the abandoned warehouse written on the back. He goes back to the warehouse and finds Scully there with a gun. She tells him he was right about Linda, who’s making her turn on her partner. She begs Mulder to make her stop. Unwilling to kill her partner, she turns the gun to her own head and pulls the trigger.

Linda arrives and tries to convince Mulder that she’s Scully and Scully is Linda (or was, since she’s seemingly dead). Mulder tries to resist, even when Linda tells him things about his family to try to convince him she’s Scully. She reminds him that Pusher warned him not to play Linda’s game. Linda fires a shot over Mulder’s shoulder, and someone behind him falls to the floor. When he turns back to Linda, he sees that she’s really Scully, and she shot the real Linda. “You think you can hold me?” Linda asks.

The agents learn that she has a tumor just like Pusher’s…and they’re twins. She didn’t know she had a brother until a few weeks ago, and must have gone on her “fox hunt” as revenge for what the agents did to Pusher. Skinner’s proud that Mulder figured things out, but Mulder doesn’t feel too proud of himself, since he almost killed his partner. Skinner tells him he won the game. Mulder asks why he feels like he lost, then.

Thoughts: Falls Church is my hometown, and I remember hearing back when this episode was filming that someone from the show worked with the police department to make sure the squad cars and officers’ jackets were accurate.

I’ve been watching The Vampire Diaries, and Pusher’s abilities remind me of how vampires can compel people to do whatever they want. They should have just given all the agents vervain to protect them.

Dear David Duchovny, please learn how to give fake chest compressions. The physical therapist never stood a chance with you working on her.

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