May 19, 2018

The X-Files 7.16, Chimera: Quoth the Raven: “Don’t Drag Me Into Your Bizarre Revenge Scheme”

Posted in TV tagged at 1:23 pm by Jenn

Hee, he looks so out of place

Summary: It’s Easter, and Martha Crittendon of Bethany, Vermont, is hosting a big party. She’s not pleased to see one of the guests, Jenny, but a friend named Ellen tells Martha to be nice. As the kids search for Easter eggs, Martha’s daughter Michelle comes across a raven that spooks her. Jenny watches her run away. That night, Michelle’s still shaken up and wants to see her father, Howard, who’s on a business trip. Martha calls him, but he can’t come home early. After she hangs up the phone, she sees that a window in the house is open and a raven has invited itself in. Martha realizes that something human-like has also come in.

Mulder and Scully is staking out a seedy area of D.C., waiting for a woman Mulder thinks is killing prostitutes. The police have raided a club called Dirty Dames twice to arrest her, but she hasn’t been found. She’s been seen going in but never coming out. Scully’s less than enamored of the stakeout, though Mulder finds it “ennobling.” He gets a call calling him away and leaves Scully to complete the stakeout on her own.

Mulder goes to meet with Skinner, who tells him that Martha disappeared two weeks ago. The ravens make Skinner think this is an X-File. Mulder confirms that ravens are symbolic in some cultures; Native Americans them as deceptive and Christians think of them as signs of evil. Michelle’s raven encounter and the bird found in the house make Skinner think this is an angle that should be explored, especially since the authorities haven’t come up with anything else. (Also, Martha’s father is a federal judge, so the FBI needs to look good here.)

In Bethany, Mulder meets Sheriff Phil Adderly, Ellen’s husband. Phil says that Martha was beloved, and there’s no evidence that she was kidnapped, so the investigation has hit a dead end. Phil is also certain that Howard had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance. The house is very well decorated, such that Mulder asks if Martha’s last name isn’t really Stewart. He notices some scratch marks on the mantle and thinks they’re from the raven. The only sign of a struggle is a broken mirror.

Howard comes in and shows the men a pack of birth-control pills he found in Martha’s things. He suspects that she was having an affair. He had a vasectomy after Michelle was born, when the couple decided not to have more children, so why would Martha need birth control? (Well, doofus, because birth-control pills can be useful for some medical conditions, but whatever.) Howard also found a key he’s not familiar with. He thinks Martha just ran off with some guy and doesn’t want to be found.

Ellen helps pass out fliers about Martha’s disappearance as a raven watches her. Jenny surprises her, and Ellen offers her some fliers to put up on her side of town. Jenny takes offense and accuses Ellen and Martha of thinking they’re better than everyone else. Jenny says they have more in common than Ellen realizes. As she leaves, Ellen sees the human-like figure from Martha’s house reflected in a car window, which then breaks.

Phil can’t find any record of phone calls between Martha and a mystery boyfriend. Mulder wants to look at the raven angle, telling Phil that in folklore, ravens are companions to evil people. Phil points out that he’s going off of something said by a seven-year-old. But Mulder thinks the broken mirror has meaning, too; mirrors can be items of enchantment, so a broken one may be a clue.

Mulder meets Ellen, who offers to let him stay with her and Phil while he’s in town. They also invite him to dinner, probably the first home-cooked meal Mulder’s had in months, if not years. Scully calls to ask when she can leave the stakeout; the furnace broke, so now she’s freezing on top of having to spy on prostitutes all day and subsist on gross pizza. Mulder reminds her that what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger, then requests no capers with his dinner.

Michelle’s also having a disappointing dinner; her father’s mac and cheese doesn’t taste as good as her mother’s. Howard suggests that they go get fast food instead. Michelle sees a raven in the backyard, so Howard goes out to see what’s happening. He finds a bunch of them digging at something buried in the backyard – a woman’s hand. It looks like Martha has been located.

Mulder comes over to oversee the medical examination and sees claw marks on Martha’s hand. The examiner thinks the body has been there since Martha disappeared, and the ravens have been feeding on her. Phil still thinks Howard is innocent, and Mulder agrees. Ellen comes by to be traumatized at the sight of her best friend’s body. She tells Phil and Mulder about the creature she saw reflected in the window – she thinks that’s what killed Martha.

Phil is skeptical, but Ellen’s news fits Mulder’s theory, so he believes her. He tells her and Phil that Victorians thought mirrors could summon spirits. Maybe the creature was brought forth to attack Martha. Of course, this means they need to figure out who would want to hurt Martha.

Ellen points Mulder and Phil toward Jenny, who should probably speak less ill of the dead when the dead was murdered and they’re looking for a suspect. Jenny thinks they should spend more time looking into Martha’s rumored boyfriend. Mulder brings up a past assault in Jenny’s history, but she says that was a long time ago. She claims she was home all night when Martha disappeared. Phil thinks Jenny’s innocent, but Mulder thinks she’s lying about her alibi.

Scully calls again, telling Mulder that when he finds her dead in her hideout, he should remember that her last thoughts were of him, and how she wants to kill him. “I’m sorry, who is this?” he teases. He tries to convince her that the location of his case is just as horrible as hers. Then he asks her to come to Bethany to do Martha’s autopsy. Just then, Scully notices a van outside, which she’s seen a couple times before. Suddenly, her horrible case just got interesting.

Ellen’s doing some housecleaning when she finds a key like the one Howard showed Mulder. She hears ravens and finds one in her daughter’s bedroom. She sees the creature in the mirror again and runs. It follows her as another mirror breaks. Ellen hides in a closet with her baby, crying out when the door opens, but it’s just Phil.

Phil thinks Ellen is just having emotional issues because her best friend just died. There’s no sign that anyone else was in the house, even with the two broken mirrors. Phil thinks Ellen broke them herself. Mulder sees the key on the carpet, and Ellen says she found it just before she saw the raven arrived. That night, Phil sneaks out to a motel and uses the key to open a room. He’s there for a fling with Jenny. He insists that they have to stop doing this, but she’s not ready to call it quits.

Mulder wakes up to find his shirt recently ironed. Ellen tells him that she does housework when she feels like her life is out of control. Phil’s still out; Ellen says he must have gone on a call. She’s happy to tend to Mulder, sensing that he doesn’t get that kind of treatment a lot. She notices his lack of a wedding ring and asks if he has a significant other. “Not in the widely understood definition of that term,” Mulder says, because he won’t admit that he and Scully are basically married. Ellen reminds him not to focus so much on work that he neglects a social life. A marriage and family could be a refuge for him.

Phil comes home, saying he was doing paperwork. After Ellen leaves the kitchen, Mulder mentions that he heard Phil leave during the night. Phil sticks to the story that he was working. Mulder tells him that Martha’s autopsy showed that, despite her birth-control pills, she was four weeks pregnant when she died. Howard’s vasectomy means he wasn’t the father. Does Phil know who it might have been? Phil’s smart enough to get that Mulder already knows the answer to that question. Mulder also knows that Phil has the key, though Phil won’t say what it unlocks.

Jenny calls her son from the motel, lying that she had to work a double shift. There are ravens outside her window, and the creature is suddenly in her room, accompanied by the breaking of the mirrors over the bed. (Nothing but the classiest rooms for Phil’s conquests.) The creature attacks Jenny, who ends up dead. At least now Mulder knows exactly what Phil’s key was for.

Phil insists that Jenny was alive when he left her in the motel. He admits to having affairs with Martha and Jenny, who apparently knew about each other. “You put the ‘service’ back in ‘to protect and serve,'” Mulder cracks. Phil cared about both women, and says that Ellen won’t let him leave. He thinks she got pregnant with their daughter to lock him up. Phil wants Mulder to go back to his theory about an evil entity, since that will take the heat off of him. But Mulder notes that the entity had to have been summoned by someone – possibly someone who didn’t even know he or she was summoning something.

Phil calls home and leaves Ellen a message letting her know that Mulder’s on his way to talk to her. Ellen misses the call because she’s busy with the baby. Ellen also has a gash on the back of her neck, which she only notices when she’s getting ready to take a bath. It’s from her fight with Jenny in the motel room.

Mulder arrives at the house as Scully calls to report that the stakeout is over. It wasn’t an X-File and there was no serial killer. The missing prostitutes are all in a halfway house, having been rescued by a Mr. Egbert, who was posing as a woman to get access to them. He wants them to become Christians and leave their jobs. Mulder and Scully thought they were searching for a woman who could disappear; instead, Mr. Egbert went into the club dressed as a woman and left dressed as a man. He was walking away under their noses the whole time.

This gives Mulder an idea. He tells Ellen that Jenny’s dead and Phil has been arrested for her murder, but Mulder thinks he’s innocent. He believes that Ellen is in denial about who she really is – hence the broken mirrors. Ellen doesn’t want to admit who she really is, because it’ll mean her marriage and life are lies. Her eyes black, she wishes that Mulder had never come to Bethany.

Mulder draws his gun, but Ellen, back to looking like the creature, attacks him and tries to drown him in the bathtub. Then she stops herself, turning back into Ellen. She ends up in a psychiatric hospital, where she’s diagnosed with multiple personalities. Mulder can accept this, since medical science isn’t going to figure out the truth. Ellen wanted a perfect life, and when she found out about Phil’s affairs, she bottled up her anger to keep her perfect façade. She thought she was protecting her family. Outside Ellen’s room, a raven comes by see her.

Thoughts: Fun fact: A group of ravens is called a conspiracy or an unkindness. Not as cool as a group of crows being called a murder, but still creepy.

I kind of want to use “paperwork” as a euphemism for sex, but I think that’ll get confusing.

I like Jenny’s son’s logic that he should be allowed to have oatmeal cookies for breakfast because oatmeal is a breakfast food.

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