June 24, 2017

The X-Files 5.12, Bad Blood: “That Is…Essentially Exactly the Way It Happened”

Posted in TV tagged at 1:14 pm by Jenn

Don’t worry, Mulder, he’s not a threat. Well, not to your relationship with Scully, at least

Summary: A redheaded boy runs through the woods in Chaney, Texas, being chased by someone he says is going to kill him. He’s right, since his pursuer eventually catches up to him and stakes him through the heart. The pursuer happens to be Mulder, and when Scully joins him, he shows her the boy’s fangs. Mulder is horrified to see that the fangs are removable, and he just staked a human. When the agents return to D.C., Mulder struggles to write up a report, telling Scully not to talk about it and taking out his frustration on a trash can. The agents each wonder what the other will tell Skinner.

Mulder wants to know if Scully’s going to back up his story, since he’s the one who could go to prison. Scully points out that the family of the boy, Ronnie Strickland, wants to sue the FBI for $446 million, and she’ll most likely be Mulder’s codefendant. Mulder insists that he didn’t overreact – Ronnie was a vampire. He wants Scully to tell him her version of events.

Scully starts her story: The previous morning, Mulder told her they were going to Chaney, population 361, and was really excited to investigation “nocturnal exsanguinations.” Cows have been found in the area drained of their blood, with puncture wounds on their necks. Scully thinks this is the work of a cult, but Mulder suspects vampires. It’s only then that he mentions there was a human death.

The agents go to a funeral home in Texas so they can look into the death of Dwight Funt. They meet the sheriff, Lucius Hartwell, who seems to find Scully attractive. Mulder’s eager to get investigating and tells Scully to “get those little legs moving.” Funt has puncture wounds on his neck, just like the cows, and Scully thinks they’re looking for a killer who pretends to be a vampire. Hartwell agrees with her. He edges Mulder out to talk to Scully about medical stuff and call her Dana.

In the present, Mulder objects that Hartwell never knew Scully’s first name. Scully continues: Mulder notices that Funt’s shoes are untied, then asks Hartwell if there’s “an old cemetery in town, off the beaten path – the creepier, the better.” Mulder assigns Scully to stay behind and autopsy Funt while he and Hartwell go to the cemetery. Scully asks what she’s supposed to look for in the autopsy. Mulder admits that he doesn’t know. “He does that,” Scully tells Hartwell.

She starts the autopsy on Funt, “who is arguably having a worse time in Texas than I am, though not by much.” Everything looks normal, and she can see that Funt’s last meal before his death was pizza. She then checks into the Davey Crockett Motor Court, though Mulder corrects that it was the Sam Houston Motor Lodge. Scully puts some money in the vibrating bed and tries to relax, but a muddy, disheveled Mulder shows up to talk business. She tells him she found knock-out drops in Funt’s system, and she thinks the “vampire” doped his victim before extracting his blood.

Mulder announces that another person has died, so Scully needs to go do another autopsy. He’s happy to take over relaxing for her. She leaves just as the pizza she ordered arrives, delivered by Ronnie Strickland. Scully autopsies Paul Lombardo, a tourist from Florida, and discovers the same knock-out drops in his system. She gets a phone call but only hears breathing on the line. Lombardo’s stomach contents are the same as Funt’s, making her realize that the pizza delivery guy is the killer. That means Mulder could be in danger.

Scully rushes back to the motel, where she finds Ronnie next to Mulder’s unconscious body. She shoots at him but he runs off. Scully checks on Mulder, who sings a verse of the theme from “Shaft” as he comes to. In the present, Mulder objects to this part of the story. Scully continues that she shot out one of Ronnie’s tired, so he ran off on foot. She followed him into the woods but lost him, and when she found him, Mulder had already killed him. She plans to tell Skinner that Mulder was overexcited because of the drugs in his system.

Mulder says that’s not what happened at all – Scully’s just afraid to tell the truth. So she asks for his version of events. He tells her that she was grumpy when she got to work, and he was no more excited than usual. In Mulder’s version, he’s not nearly as insistent about this being the work of a vampire as Scully claimed. At the funeral home, Mulder notices that there are a lot of caskets for a town with so few people. The funeral director tells him it’s because of “repeat business,” then says he was joking.

Mulder thinks Scully didn’t hear this conversation because she was distracted by the attractive sheriff. Mulder remembers him as having huge buckteeth and an exaggerated southern accent. Scully doesn’t find that a significant observation, but Mulder says he’s trying to be thorough. The agents view the body, and Mulder talks about the history of vampires. Scully thinks the killer is a human who wishes he could be a vampire. Mulder notes that there are lots of different kinds of vampires; some are killed by sunlight, some have red hair, and some aren’t eternal.

He notices the untied shoes, and in the present, Scully wonders why that’s important. Mulder says he’ll get there. He continues his version, telling Scully about going to the cemetery with Hartwell. Mulder explains that cemeteries are a haven for vampires, so he wants to see signs that they’ve been there, like the lack of birdsong, broken tombstones, or the sound of a creature eating its death shroud in the tomb. Mulder needs a new hobby, guys. Ronnie passes by in his delivery car, and he and Hartwell greet each other. Mulder thinks if they wait long enough, the vampire will return to the cemetery.

Scully asks again about the significance of Funt’s untied shoes, but Mulder has more to tell first. He and Hartwell sit in the car, waiting for their killer. Hartwell questions why Mulder has sprinkled sunflower seeds on the ground. Mulder explains that vampires are compulsive about things like untying knots and counting seeds on the ground. He thinks that compulsion made the vampire untie Funt’s shoes. This leads to a conversation about Rain Man and counting cards.

Hartwell is alerted to a situation at an RV park, so he and Mulder drive over. They find a group of people (including Ronnie) watching an RV drive in circles in the parking lot. Mulder and the sheriff try to shoot out the RV’s tires, which proves harder than they thought. Plan B is Mulder grabbing on to the vehicle to try to slow it down manually. Eventually the RV stops, and the men find Lombardo’s body inside. No one at the scene saw anything.

Mulder goes to the motel, where Scully yells about having to do an autopsy. She’s especially annoyed because she’s hungry – all she’s had to eat all day is half a bagel with light cream cheese. After she leaves, Mulder takes a shower, then accepts Scully’s pizza delivery. He recognizes Ronnie but doesn’t find it suspicious that this guy keeps turning up. After dinner, Mulder notices that his shoes are untied and puts all the pieces together.

With the drugs in his system making it hard to function, Mulder rolls out of bed and calls Scully. He can’t quite talk, so all she hears is his breathing. Ronnie comes back to the room, baring his fangs. Mulder distracts him by throwing sunflower seeds on the ground, then tries to escape while Ronnie counts them, annoyed. But the drugs knock Mulder out, and he doesn’t wake up until Scully arrives.

Mulder thinks Scully’s bullets did hit Ronnie, but they didn’t affect him. He also says he saw Ronnie fly at Scully before running out. The chase begins, and Mulder stakes Ronnie. He thinks the boy’s autopsy will back up his story. But when the coroner removes the stake from Ronnie’s body, the boy revives. His eyes glow, and though his fangs are gone, that won’t stop him from biting the coroner.

Scully and Mulder wait together outside Skinner’s office (she tries to straighten his tie, because they’re married), still unsure of what each will say. Scully thinks Mulder needs to remind Skinner multiple times that he was drugged, which means he wasn’t thinking clearly. Mulder tells her to let it go, but when Skinner appears, Mulder immediately blurts out that he was drugged. Instead of interviewing the agents, Skinner tells them to go back to Texas: Ronnie’s not dead, and he chewed on the coroner’s neck.

The agents go back to the cemetery in Texas, since Mulder says a vampire has to sleep in “his native soil.” He thinks Scully was right about the killer being someone who’s watched a lot of vampire movies. It’s just that, in this case, he’s also a real vampire. Hartwell comes by to offer his help, so Mulder has him stay with Scully while he goes looking for Ronnie’s family. Since their mail comes general delivery, he thinks they live at the RV park.

Hartwell and Scully share some coffee and discuss vampires, which she’s heard are seductive and charming. Though, since there are so many different kinds, according to Mulder, she doesn’t know for sure. Hartwell apologizes on Ronnie’s behalf – “he makes us all look bad.” Now “we” pay taxes and make good neighbors. Ronnie just doesn’t know how to keep a low profile. As Scully realizes what Hartwell’s saying, the drugs in her coffee start to take effect, and Hartwell’s eyes start to glow.

At the RV park, Mulder finds a coffin in one of the vehicles and opens it to find Ronnie napping. He starts to read Ronnie his rights, sitting on top of the coffin to keep it closed. Other vampires approach as he handcuffs the coffin to keep it closed, then grabs two baguettes to use as a cross. The vampires aren’t repelled (maybe he should have tried garlic bread?), and they swarm and attack Mulder. The next morning, Scully finds him asleep in a car, his shoes untied. Scully just woke up in the cemetery and doesn’t know what happened. All the RVs in the park are gone – as Mulder says, “they pulled up stakes.”

Back in D.C., the agents tell Skinner their sides of the story, though they can’t confirm each other’s versions. “That is…essentially exactly the way it happened,” Mulder says. “Essentially,” Scully agrees. “Except for the part about the buckteeth,” Mulder allows.

Thoughts: Hartwell is played by Luke Wilson. Ronnie is played by Patrick Renna, who was in a bunch of stuff as a kid, including The Sandlot.

I feel like they only showed Scully weighing all of Funt and Lombardo’s organs to make Gillian Anderson touch gross-looking things.

I’ll admit, I laughed at “pulled up stakes” and “so we staked out the cemetery.”

Mulder only tips Ronnie 2 cents for the pizza, so Ronnie’s almost justified in attacking him.

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