July 21, 2018

The X-Files 8.3, Patience: Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Bat-Thing!

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:18 pm by Jenn

Myron isn’t very good at protecting himself, is he?

Summary: It’s the middle of the night in Burley, Idaho, but at least one person is up and about. A man named George comes home, accidentally waking his wife. She complains that he smells of embalming fluid (don’t worry, he’s a mortician) and sends him to change clothes before he joins her in bed. As George gets ready, he sees a huge creature watching him. It attacks with a screech. George’s wife goes to see what’s happening and finds the creature eating her husband.

In D.C., Mulder’s desk is still the way he left it, but it’s time for it to get a new owner. Doggett has studied up on the X-Files and is ready to start working with Scully. His first question is where she works. Answering a years-old question, Scully explains that this is Mulder’s office, so presumably she has her own and we’ve just never seen it. She tells Doggett that George and his wife were both killed by something that bit them – something that appears to be human. The police in Burley have no leads on suspects or motives.

Scully and Doggett go to Burley, where a detective named Abbott welcomes their help. The police are no longer sure that the bites came from a human. They found a four-toed footprint, which they assume came from an animal. Scully notes that a human could have only four toes, too, so they can’t just discount evidence. Doggett adds that an animal could have come by and checked out the bodies while having nothing to do with their deaths. Scully points out that an animal would have left multiple prints, not just the one.

As Doggett leaves to look around the house, Scully spots scratch marks on a beam on the roof of the porch. Abbott tells Scully that the FBI’s help is no longer welcome, since all the agents have done is said they’re looking for a man. Scully tells him that the killer will probably strike again, so telling Abbott’s superiors that it’s human isn’t going to appease anyone. She adds that she never said it was a man.

Doggett finds a second four-toed print on a staircase and suggests that the killer came into the house. He finds another print by the dead couple’s bed. He thinks the killer is human, based on Occam’s razor. Scully would like to know how that explains a killer who only leaves one footprint ever 25 feet. And why did he (or it) come into the bedroom in the first place? At least they discover how the killer most likely left the bedroom: through a hole in the closet ceiling that leads to the attic.

The agents head up there, and though they don’t immediately see anything strange, they figure the killer could have escaped through an attic window. Doggett takes out a flashlight, appearing to think that Scully’s never used one to search a dark place. He finds two fingers, which the killer bit off of George. Scully determines that they were regurgitated. She finds more scratch marks and tells Doggett she saw some on the porch. He says they almost look like something was hanging there. Elsewhere in town, a woman named Mrs. McKesson is in her own attic, looking at a photo album. The killer watches her, then attacks her.

Scully finishes George and his wife’s autopsies and tells Doggett that it’s looking more and more like they were killed by an animal. The bites she thought were human contain enzymes that are only found in bat saliva. She thinks she needs to apologize to Abbott. Doggett disagrees – he found a news story about similar killings in Montana in 1956. The headline: “Hunters Kill Human Bat!” Maybe, 44 years later, the creature is somehow back.

The agents are called to Mrs. McKesson’s house, where they find scratches like the ones at the other crime scene. Abbott thinks they’re claw marks, and the killer isn’t human. As Doggett starts to show him the news article, Scully finds the album Mrs. McKesson was looking at. She’s learned that Mrs. McKesson’s daughter, Ariel, was pulled from a river last week…44 years after her disappearance. Scully thinks Ariel’s death and these recent killings are connected.

Abbott scoffs at this idea, saying Scully’s going down a crazy rabbit hole. She suggests that he exhume Ariel’s body, but he’s more concerned with the people in the town who are still living and could be in danger. Doggett pulls Abbott aside and says something that Scully can’t hear. He tells Scully he repeated her instructions to exhume the body, then told Abbott that she’s an expert in paranormal phenomena, so they should listen to her.

Scully denies that, saying she’s just a doctor make a leap. Why would Doggett tell Abbott to exhume the body if he doesn’t believe her theories? (As if Scully hasn’t spent seven years doing crazy stuff she didn’t understand, just because Mulder asked her to.) Doggett says that, after spending the weekend reading up on X-Files, he’s seen how many paranormal cases have been broken by taking a leap. He doesn’t want to take any leaps himself, since that could get people killed. Scully notes that he took a pretty big leap by believing the article. Okay, are we done with the word “leap” now?

A man takes a couple of bats (the regular kind) from an abandoned shed and brings them into a house with a bat on the door. Abbott goes to a cemetery to receive Ariel’s exhumed body, and a gravedigger tells him that someone had already done most of the work digging it up. There are scratch marks on the lid of the coffin. (On the outside. It’s not like Ariel was trying to dig her way out from inside.) Abbott stays behind to check out what he soon learns is the killer. Of course, it attacks him, so now Scully has another body to autopsy.

Abbott’s deputies pull Doggett aside to tell him they don’t want Scully examining their boss’ body. The agents’ crazy theories aren’t welcome in Burley. Scully hears part of the conversation, and Doggett tells her they should respect the deputies’ wishes. But Scully has already examined Ariel and determined that she died of heart failure, then burned to cover something up.

Doggett thinks they should go looking for the killer instead of examining dead bodies. Scully says the killer attacks with purpose, stalking victims who had contact with Ariel – her mother, the detective who gave her the news that Ariel was found, and George, the mortician who prepared her body for burial. That means a man named Myron Stefaniuk, the man who found Ariel’s body in the river, is probably the next victim. Doggett recognizes the name: a man named Ernie Stefaniuk was one of the hunters who found the killer in 1956.

The agents track Myron down at the river and warn him that he might be in danger because he found Ariel’s body. Myron thinks they’re nuts and tells them to leave him alone. Doggett blurts out Ernie’s name, which makes Myron stop in his tracks. Ernie was his brother, and Myron says the bat-thing killed him. He doesn’t want to revisit the past, and he tells the agents again to leave him alone.

The agents go on an impromptu stakeout, keeping an eye on Myron without him knowing. After nine hours, Scully wonders if they’re just wasting their time on a big coincidence. Maybe she’s working too hard to come up with a theory. Doggett asks if she’s trying to be Mulder. He knows he’s nothing like Mulder, but he does think Scully’s on to something. At the very least, Myron’s keeping a secret.

Myron loads supplies in his car in a barn where the bat-thing happens to be taking a nap. Myron goes back to the river and takes his supplies on a boat to a place called Bird Island. The agents make themselves known, and though Myron is able to flee, they catch the man he’s brought the supplies to. It’s the man who took the bats from the shed, and as Doggett correctly guesses, he’s Ernie.

Ernie takes the agents to his house on the island and tells them he hasn’t left in 44 years because of his fear of the bat-thing. He knows that bats are close to apes on the evolutionary ladder; since humans are also close to apes, it’s not too much of a stretch to think a bat evolved into a person. Ernie cut off all contact with people on the mainland, except for his brother and his wife. Doggett realizes that his wife was Ariel. Ernie says that Ariel’s only demand, after agreeing to spend her life in hiding, was to be buried in consecrated earth.

Scully tells Ernie that the bat-killer has killed four people, and all four would have had traces of Ernie’s scent on them, thanks to his contact with Ariel’s body. They assure him that Myron’s fine, but Ernie points out that just because he was okay during the day doesn’t mean he’s still okay now that it’s night. After all, bats are nocturnal. Doggett leaves to check on Myron, but the bat-thing is waiting and attacks him. They fight in the water for a little while, but the bat-thing soon takes off.

Back in Ernie’s house, Scully explains that they only found him because she and Doggett thought they were dealing with some paranormal. She credits Doggett with putting everything together. Ernie says she should wish he hadn’t – now they’re marked. Scully promises that she can protect Ernie, since the bat-thing is flesh and blood, and can be killed. Ernie notes that it’s been waiting for 44 years. Is Scully willing to sacrifice having a family and children to spend her life in hiding?

An alarm goes off, telling Ernie that his radar has picked up something moving around on the island. It’s now in the attic, so Scully starts shooting through the ceiling. She goes up to look around while Ernie loads up his own gun. (That’s what I want around when I’m pregnant – a paranoid old man with a shotgun.) The bat-thing finds Ernie and attacks, but Scully hears and comes running. The bat-thing flies off before Scully can shoot it. Doggett joins the fun, and the bat-thing returns to try to kill him again. Both agents get off a bunch of shots, but the bat-thing is able to make its escape, still screeching somewhere in the sky.

Two weeks later, Doggett gets a fax from Myron, who’s now gone into hiding himself. Scully asks if Doggett believes that the bat-thing is still out there and will come after them again some day. Doggett doesn’t – he’s pretty sure they killed it. He still has some questions about the case, though. “Get used to it,” Scully tells him. She says she never had a desk in Mulder’s office, but she’ll make sure Doggett gets one. She appreciates that he had her back on the island. Doggett said he didn’t see it as a choice, and he’s sure Scully doesn’t either. She takes Mulder’s nameplate off his desk and puts it in a drawer.

Thoughts: The gravedigger who talks to Abbott at the cemetery is played by Brent Sexton. He’s also in “Medusa” later in the season.

I know I used the “Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na” title for “The Host,” but it really works much better here.

Doggett, to a fellow FBI agent, re: a flashlight: “You ever carry one of these?” Please, please explain to Scully the importance of light, and how a flashlight works. I want to hear that conversation.

The bat-thing’s attack on Abbott looks really cheesy. Like, it’s very obvious that that’s a guy in a bat suit.

An episode about a bat-human hybrid and not one Batman joke. For shame.

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