June 10, 2017

The X-Files 5.10, Chinga: You Do the Hokey Pokey and You Kill Some Innocent People. That’s What It’s All About!

Posted in TV tagged at 1:10 pm by Jenn

Eh, I’ve seen scarier

Summary: A girl named Polly is annoyed to have to go grocery shopping with her mother. (I feel you, kid.) Everyone who sees Polly gives her strange looks, but that’s not the weirdest part of this shopping trip. Polly’s doll opens her eyes, and Polly’s mother, Melissa Turner, sees a ghostly figure on the door of a freezer case. Melissa cuts the trip short, begging Polly not to “do this.” People in the store start tearing at their eyes and hitting themselves. A butcher calls the police, then sees a reflection of Polly’s doll. He suddenly grabs a knife and tries to keep himself from stabbing his face.

Scully’s in a peaceful seaside town in Maine, pumping gas into her rented convertible, when Mulder calls her (“Scully, it’s me”). They’d both planned to take the weekend off, but Mulder has a case. He also wants to warn Scully not to talk and drive, and to be wary of decapitation while she’s driving a convertible. Scully hangs up on him. She then sees Melissa fleeing the grocery store with Polly, and notices a man leaving with scratches all over his face. Scully goes inside and finds everyone else in the same state.

A manager tells Scully that Dave may be dead, and she finds him with the knife in his face. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell him that now she has a case. He’s supposed to be on vacation, too, but he’s in his office, watching The World’s Deadliest Swarms. Scully tells him about the weirdness in Maine, which he blames on sorcery or witchcraft. She hasn’t seen any evidence of that, and when he questions whether she would know what to look for, she rattles off a list. “Scully? Marry me,” Mulder says. He agrees that witchcraft probably isn’t at play here.

Scully watches a surveillance tape and sees Melissa leaving the store with Polly, unaffected by whatever caused everyone else to turn violent. The police captain, Bonsaint, tells her that something has always seemed off about Melissa. P.S. She and Dave the butcher were seeing each other. A deputy named Buddy calls Melissa to tell her he knows she was at the store. Polly, who’s blasting a record playing “The Hokey Pokey,” sternly orders Melissa to hang up the phone.

Melissa goes to another room as Buddy warns her to keep quiet. Then he tells her that Dave is dead, and Buddy wants to come over to comfort Melissa. The doll opens her eyes and says, “Let’s have fun.” Melissa tells Dave not to come over, though she can’t tell him why. She’s outside now, and the doll’s silhouette appears behind some laundry hung out to dry. Sometime later, Scully and Bonsaint come over but no one answers the door. They see the backdoor open and check the backyard, but Melissa’s no longer there.

Scully sees that a window was nailed shut. Bonsaint tells Scully that Melissa’s a local who married a fisherman who died last year. Polly is said to be autistic, and people started a rumor about Melissa being a witch after Polly seemingly knocked a teacher to the ground for slapping her. Scully asks about Dave and Melissa’s relationship, but Bonsaint clarifies that it was more like Dave had a crush on Melissa that she didn’t return. Scully wonders if Dave got violent, and Melissa nailed the window shut to keep him from coming by. Bonsaint doubts that, wondering if Melissa nailed the window to keep something – or someone inside instead of keeping someone from getting in.

Melissa and Polly are at an ice cream parlor with Buddy, who thinks mother and daughter should leave town. Buddy regrets not making a move on Melissa years ago; now she needs someone who can provide for her. As Melissa tells Buddy that had a premonition of Dave dead before he died (that would be the figure she saw on the door of the freezer case), Polly goes to the counter and demands more cherries. When an employee turns her down, the doll opens her eyes. “Let’s have fun!” she says, so I guess that’s the only thing she can say. Buddy gives Melissa a key to a cabin where she and Polly can hide out. Suddenly, the employee’s hair gets caught in a churner, nearly scalping her.

Bonsaint takes Scully to visit a woman named Jane who knows exactly why they’re there. She insists that Melissa is descended from Salem witches and passed her “cursed lineage” on to Polly. Jane tried to save Polly, but all it did was get her school shut down when she slapped Polly. She wishes they lived in the time when people knew what to do with witches – then Melissa would get what’s coming to her. Scully’s like, “Wow, the people in this town sure are nice!” She asks Bonsaint if there’s any truth to the talk about Melissa’s family tree. She thinks Bonsaint should talk to Melissa and find out what’s going on. But since Scully’s still on vacation, she’s not going to continue with the case.

Melissa and Polly head to Buddy’s cabin even as a ranger warns that the weather might leave them without electricity. Polly demands to go home, and her doll is ready to make that happen. Melissa sees a vision of Jane on the back window, begging for help. She speeds off. Back in town, Jane hears “The Hokey Pokey” in her house and realizes the record player is on. She hears the doll saying she wants to play. Jane breaks a record and raises a piece as a weapon, ready to fight the doll. Instead, she turns the weapon on herself.

The next morning, Scully tries to relax in a bubble bath, ignoring her phone. Once she’s out of the bath, she also tries to ignore the message light blinking on the phone. Bonsaint comes by and tells her that Jane is dead, so Scully puts her vacation on hold to go to the crime scene. Somehow, Mulder tracks her down to ask if Scully needs any help on the case – he was the person whose call she ignored. He’s now at home, bouncing a basketball to make it sound like there’s construction going on outside his window. (I don’t know. Mulder’s weird.) Now he thinks there’s a medical explanation for the violence at the grocery store.

Scully writes off Mulder’s idea that the people at the store were infected by “dancing sickness,” then hangs up so he can go back to drinking expired beverages from his nearly empty fridge. “The Hokey Pokey” starts playing on the record player, and Buddy turns it off. Scully tells Bonsaint that it might be time to start considering “extreme possibilities.” So the lesson here appears to be that when Mulder and Scully go on vacation, he starts acting like her and she starts acting like him.

“The Hokey Pokey” is playing at the Turners’ house, where Melissa tries to approach her sleeping daughter. The doll scares her off and the record restarts. She sees another vision in her window, this time of Buddy. Bonsaint chows down on a huge lobster at a restaurant while Scully asks about Melissa’s husband’s death. Bonsaint always found it strange that he was killed by a grappling hook. He points out the boat Mr. Turner died on, and Scully recognizes a fisherman on board as a man from the grocery store.

At the Turners’, Polly demands popcorn from her mother, then listens to “The Hokey Pokey” for the millionth time. Buddy arrives and accuses Melissa of killing Jane. He calls Polly a brat, so you know the doll is going to have something to say about that. Scully talks to the fisherman, who tells her that Mr. Turner caught the doll in a net, then gave it to Polly for her birthday. Three days later, Mr. Turner was dead, and the fisherman blames the doll. Mr. Turner heard the doll’s voice on the boat and went looking for it with a grappling hook – the same hook that killed him.

Mulder calls as Scully’s leaving and tries to tell her about a virus that might have caused the violence. She asks about cursed objects, like talking dolls. Mulder says that the lore claims the objects can pass their magic on to people, possessing them. Witches have been punished just for saying that the objects exist. Scully’s like, “This is totally just conjecture. I didn’t actually find a talking doll that’s connected to murders. This is all hypothetical.” Mulder suggests that she check the back of the hypothetical doll for a pull ring.

Scully and Bonsaint decide to go see Melissa again, but she’s a little busy frantically making popcorn just a few feet away from Buddy’s dead body. After Polly goes to bed, Melissa loads a shotgun and nails all the windows shut. Polly wakes up, as does the doll. Melissa’s next vision is of herself with a hammer in her forehead. When Scully and Bonsaint arrive, he recognizes Buddy’s car outside. They bang on the door as Melissa prepares to set the house on fire. The doll isn’t pleased and tells Melissa not to play with matches, then makes the match go out.

Melissa goes for some cutlery instead, but the doll tells her not to play with knives. Scully guesses that Melissa is about to kill herself, so she looks for another way into the house. “Let’s play with the hammer,” the doll suggests. Melissa grabs it just as Scully and Bonsaint make it inside. “I don’t like you anymore,” the doll says, making Melissa hit herself with the hammer. Scully tells Polly to give her the doll, which just repeats that she wants to play. As Melissa hits herself over and over, Scully takes the doll and microwaves it, breaking its hold on Melissa.

Scully returns to the office to find Mulder entertaining himself by sharpening a bunch of pencils. She asks about his “I want to believe” poster, which he says he got in a head shop downtown a few years ago. She says she wants to send one to Bonsaint. Amazingly, Mulder doesn’t interrogate her about who this guy is and why she wants to send him a present, and whether he’s handsome or rich or if they’re getting married. Instead, he asks about the case, but Scully says she didn’t follow up – she was on vacation.

Mulder tells her he accomplished a ton without having her questioning his every move. Well, he certainly accomplished throwing a bunch of pencils up into the ceiling tiles. “There’s got to be an explanation,” he says. “Oh, I don’t know,” Scully replies. “I think some things are better left unexplained.” Back in Maine, a fisherman makes a surprising catch: a burned doll that wants to play.

Thoughts: This is the episode that was co-written by Stephen King. The story is that he had a bunch of Mulder/Scully stuff in the original script that Chris Carter took out, because Chris Carter hates it when people are happy.

This idea of cursed, talking toys really gives Toy Story a whole new spin, doesn’t it?

Once again I have to ask: How does Mulder function without Scully? Does she normally buy him groceries?

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