July 28, 2018

The X-Files 8.4, Roadrunners: O Holy Slug

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:07 pm by Jenn

That common tableau seen in most Christian denominations

Summary: In the Sevier Desert in Juab County, Utah, a man is trying to find a ride a little after midnight. A bus finally comes along, and at first it looks like it’s going to keep driving, but it eventually stops. The driver isn’t sympathetic when the man complains. He finds a seat and tries to relax, but the bus stops again a few moments later. Everyone silently gets off.

Confused, the man follows the other passengers, who all stand facing a man using crutches to watch. Suddenly the driver starts hitting him over the head with a rock. The other passengers join in until the man is, presumably, dead. Once he’s been taken care of, the killers turn on the confused man.

Scully checks out the scene sometime later, finding blood on the ground and something silvery on a rock. She’s the only one around, and she doesn’t have any cell service. She finds a pay phone and calls Doggett, who’s back in D.C. and unaware that Scully’s out on a case. She explains that she was asked to come do an autopsy on a murder victim who left home about six months ago for a backpacking trip. Though he was healthy when he left, his body now shows signs of disorders that usually only older people get.

Scully asks Doggett to look up an X-File that involved glycoproteins (AKA mucus) at a crime scene. She can’t remember the details of the case, but since Doggett recently looked through all the case files, she thinks he might know where to look. A bus drives by, and Scully watches it with interest, probably wondering why a bus is driving through a part of the desert that apparently contains no people.

Scully herself has a car, so she drives to a gas station to ask where the bus might have been heading. The station attendant has a cut on his hand, and Scully checks it out. She asks if the attendant heard anything about the backpacker’s murder. He just says it sounds scary. He’s out of gas, since his delivery hasn’t arrived, but he brings a gas can to add a little to Scully’s quarter tank. She asks where they are, exactly, since she can’t find the town on her map. He says they’re not really a town, “just a few like-minded people trying to keep the modern world at bay.”

As soon as Scully drives away, the attendant goes inside and tells the driver that help is coming. She’s sitting with the confused man from the bus, who’s alive but not well. Despite the extra gas, Scully’s car breaks down, and she has to walk back to the station. She accuses the attendant of putting something in her tank that killed her engine. She examines the gas can and realizes it only contains water. The attendant says it must be rainwater, which Scully finds doubtful, seeing as how they’re in the desert.

She wants to use the phone, but the attendant says he doesn’t have one. Scully wonders how he communicates with his delivery people, then. He sends her up the street to a man named Mr. Milsap, but his phone line is dead. Milsap says the lines are being updated, so service is spotty. It’ll come back, but he doesn’t know when. He offers to give Scully a room in his house, which used to be a boardinghouse, but Scully’s getting suspicious. It seems like someone doesn’t want her to leave town.

She asks about the bus, which Milsap says wouldn’t have come through town without him knowing. He offers a room again, but Scully leaves, apparently willing to walk for help. Milsap tells her it’s 18 miles to any other civilization. She spots a woman across the street and calls out to her, but the woman ignores her and goes into her house. Scully looks through the window and sees other people gathered inside, but they all ignore her.

With no other options, Scully agrees to spend the night at Milsap’s. After dark, a bunch of people gather outside the house with lanterns. When Milsap knocks on her bedroom door in the morning, Scully grabs her gun. Milsap tells her there’s a man downstairs in need of medical attention. It’s the confused man, and he’s having a seizure. Scully asks who he is, but Milsap just says he’s a stranger who needed help. Scully thinks he has epilepsy and hasn’t taken his medication. Then she sees that his back is soaked with blood.

Scully doesn’t seem surprised when she asks Milsap and the bus driver what happened and they don’t answer. She says the confused man needs to go to the hospital, which will be tough to arrange, what with the lack of phone service and the fact that no one in town has a car. Milsap suggests sending someone to the state road on foot. Scully asks for corn syrup.

Back in D.C., Doggett calls the Juab County Sheriff’s Department to ask for a fax number so he can send info to Scully. The sheriff who answers the phone, Ciolino, asks when Scully’s supposed to arrive. She was supposed to come yesterday. Doggett realizes that something weird is going on and asks Ciolino to send someone to pick up Scully. Then he calls someone to trace the call Scully made to him, so he can get her location.

Scully tries in vain to find a working electrical outlet in Milsap’s house, so she can charge her phone. She tells the driver that the corn syrup was a long shot; she thought raising the patient’s blood sugar might help, but it would only be useful if his seizures were caused by hypoglycemia. What she really needs are anti-seizure drugs.

The confused man wakes up, and the relieved driver goes off to tell everyone he’s okay. The man has no memory of coming to the town, and doesn’t even remember his own name. All he knows is that the townspeople are taking good care of him. Scully says they appear to dote on him, and even stranded her in town to help him. She tells him about the recent murder, which she thinks was perpetrated by at least a dozen people. She suspects it was the work of a cult – one populated by the townspeople.

Scully wants to get the patient out of town right away, and as she’s helping him turn over to get out of bed, she gets a better look at the wound in his back. It’s a big hole, and there’s something crawling around in it. I probably don’t need to say that it’s gross. The man passes out again, which is good, because Scully then jams a knife in his back to pull out the crawly thing. She only gets a piece of it.

Ciolino checks out the number Doggett traced and calls to tell him it was a pay phone. He can send people out to look around, but he knows it’s in a desolate area. Doggett decides it’s time to go to Utah and get backup from the FBI’s Salt Lake City office. He adds that he’s learned of a missing-persons report on a man named Hank, who disappeared while on his way to visit his sister. And finally, our confused man has a name, because the missing-persons report is about him.

Hank wakes up again, and Milsap and the drive thank God that he’s still alive. Hank insists that he just needs rest, and Scully can take care of him by herself. Once Milsap and the driver are out of the room, Scully tells Hank that it looks like a parasitic organism has moved into his spine. It’s not something she’s familiar with, and she doesn’t know how to extract it without hurting him. If Hank doesn’t get proper treatment, he’ll die. Further, Scully thinks the townspeople put the parasite inside him.

Hank is understandably overwhelmed with the news that these supposedly kind people killed someone and are trying to kill him as well. Scully doesn’t see an option other than leaving Hank behind while she sneaks out the window to go find help. At least she leaves him her gun. When Milsap and the driver return to the room, Hank tells them that Scully said he’s dying: “We need another swap.”

Doggett arrives in Utah and tells Ciolino that the recent murder victim (AKA not-Hank) is just one of many killed in southwestern deserts over the years. The victims all had the same wound, and glycoproteins were found at all the murder scenes. Scully makes it to a barn, where she encounters Hank, who’s now using crutches to walk. She realizes he was working with the other townspeople. They grab her, ignoring her when she yells that she’s a federal agent. Hank tells her that she’s about to become a part of something a lot greater than her. She’s going to be very loved. The other townspeople chorus, “Amen.”

The driver kills Hank with a rock, to more Amens. She digs a hand into Hank’s back and pulls out the parasite, a giant slug. As she slowly approaches Scully to introduce the parasite to its new host, Scully yells that she’s pregnant. The driver doesn’t care. Scully ends up in Hank’s former bed, angrily protesting having to share her body with a giant slimy thing. Milsap tells her that Hank “wasn’t a suitable tabernacle,” and they’re hoping that “he” will want to stay in Scully forever.

Scully sees headlights outside as Doggett arrives. Milsap and the driver go out to greet him but, of course, play dumb. Scully manages to kick over an oil lamp and start a fire in the bedroom. This doesn’t help, though, as Doggett doesn’t see the flames outside. However, he’s gotten a weird vibe from the townspeople, so after he pretends to drive off, he calls Ciolino for backup. He finally finds Scully and frees her.

Since Doggett’s car is a half mile away, Scully comes up with a better idea: take the bus. And by “take,” I don’t mean ride, I mean hotwire. While Doggett’s working on that, Scully tells him he needs to get the slug out of her ASAP. She’s afraid it’ll go to her brain. As the townspeople swarm the bus, Doggett pries out the slug. It’s huge and super-gross. Doggett shoots it, and the townspeople all fall silent. They allow the agents to leave the bus as backup finally arrives.

A week later, Scully’s being released from BYU’s medical center. Doggett tells her that a grand jury is convening today to determine punishment for the 47 cult members, who are all sticking together and claiming religious persecution. Scully says they believe they worship Jesus, and the slug was the Second Coming. She apologizes for leaving Doggett out of the case and promises not to do it again. And then…wait, that’s it? Oh, okay.

Thoughts: I know when I go out in the desert, I also like to wear two shirts and a jacket. Come on, Scully.

I never thought I would miss Mulder’s stupid jokes and sides, but I do. Doggett just…doesn’t have a personality.

The lesson here is that you always fill your gas tank before you drive into the desert. And also Doggett is better at trusting his instincts than Scully is.

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