September 1, 2018

The X-Files 8.9, Salvage: Iron Man

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:26 pm by Jenn

Admittedly, this looks really cool

Summary: A man named Ray is dead, and two people named Nora and Curt are talking in vague terms about what killed him. Nora blames his time in the Gulf War, though the doctors haven’t been able to explain the illness that killed him. She wants payback. Someone watches from outside the window as Curt leaves Nora’s house and drives off. He gets distracted lighting a cigarette, then looks up just in time to see a man standing in the middle of the road. Curt slams on the brakes but hits the man anyway. However, the man is unharmed, and the car is destroyed around him. The last thing Curt sees is his old friend Ray reaching through his windshield.

We’re in Muncie, Indiana, and Scully and Doggett are on the case. The destroyed car remains in the road, but Curt is no longer in it, and they haven’t been able to reach him. Forensics show that whatever he hit had to have been 4,300 times the density of steel to cause the damage it did. Of course, something that heavy wouldn’t have been sitting in the middle of a residential street, so there’s your X-File.

Once the car is lifted up, Scully can see footprints in the asphalt under it. Doggett notes that, even if it were possible that the super-dense object the car hit was a person, they’d definitely see…well pieces of that person on the road. Scully replies that the footprints are the only evidence they have. He thinks Curt would have stopped if he saw someone in the road (though skid marks show that he did try to stop). Scully wonders if they’re not dealing with an ordinary man.

Nora comes outside, distressed that something horrible must have happened to Curt right after he left her house. She explains that Curt worked with Ray, her husband, at a salvage yard. Scully calls Doggett over to a trash can, where she’s found what’s left of Curt. He has huge, bloody holes in his forehead. Didn’t we already do a plot with bloody forehead holes? Are we running out of ideas eight years in?

Scully’s autopsy shows that Curt wasn’t killed by the crash – he was pulled through the windshield by someone’s hand, which left five deep wounds in his head. “Like a bowling ball,” Scully elaborates. Thanks for the word picture! She thinks they’re still dealing with a person who’s more than ordinary. Doggett has a new lead, though it makes no more sense than Scully’s theory: Ray’s fingerprints and blood were found in the car. Ray himself wakes up in his room at St. Clare’s Halfway House with little pieces of metal stuck in his cheek. He removes them with nail clippers.

Meanwhile, Doggett goes to Nora’s house, where she’s chatting with Harry Odell, the man who owns the salvage yard where Ray and Curt worked. Nora’s confused about why Doggett wants to talk about Ray, since he’s supposed to be investigating Curt’s death. She insists that Ray died of Gulf War Syndrome.

Doggett tells her that even though she requested that Ray’s body be cremated, and even though she was given ashes, there’s no record of the cremation taking place. Is it possible that Ray is still alive and was somehow involved in Curt’s death? Nora says that she watched her husband die, and by the end, he was too weak to lift his head, let alone walk. Harry says Ray was a good man.

Larina, a volunteer at the halfway house, introduces herself to Ray as he eats breakfast. She lets him know he’s eaten a little tinfoil with his sandwich. She tells him he’s not alone; she’s been where he is and knows it can help to talk. Ray tells her to leave him alone. Larina leaves, apparently not noting the blood on the backs of Ray’s hands.

Harry goes to the salvage yard that night and shreds some documents. Not suspicious at all! Ray appears to politely request his last paycheck and some personal time off to deal with some issues he’s going through. Okay, not really. Harry says that Ray can’t blame him or Curt for what happened – they’re his friends. He claims to have proof. In reality, he has a gun, and he’s determined to make sure that Ray stays dead this time. He fires, but Ray takes off, leaving behind only an arm…which still moves. Ray returns to collect it, and also kill Harry the way he killed Curt.

The next day, Doggett examines Harry’s body, noticing blue paint on his hands and fingernails. Scully’s with Curt’s body and tells Doggett over the phone that he doesn’t have any paint on him. Doggett doesn’t remember seeing anything on Harry when he left Nora’s the night before. Doggett thinks that after Harry heard that Ray might still be alive, he came to the office to shred something incriminating and was attacked. He admits that people can still do remarkable things after being horribly injured, but this seems too far beyond that to be plausible.

Scully’s more interested in the why than the how. Doggett has an idea, returning to Harry’s office to look at the document he shredded. The top, which is still intact, reads “Chamber Technologies.” Speaking of things that are intact, Ray’s arm is now back on his body. Larina comes to visit, wanting to check on him since someone said they saw him with blood on him. She offers to help him find a doctor, but he’s not interested in her help. He’s probably more concerned with the big hole in his face.

Doggett goes to Chamber Technologies, which is working on creating super-strong metals that can be used to build indestructible things. So it’s clear now, at least to the audience, what we’re dealing with, right? Doggett’s looking for David Clifton, whose name was on the shredded document, but he’s no longer with the company. His successor, Tom Puvogel, says their work is all theoretical, so they don’t deal with materials, which means they would have no need for a salvage yard.

Doggett relays all this info to Scully, who’s spending a lot of time in the morgue in this episode. She tells him that Ray’s Gulf War Syndrome was actually a reaction to some kind of metal. Doggett jumps from there to “Ray Pearce has become some kind of metal man” (which, of course, is a ridiculous theory). Scully’s like, “I’ve done this for seven years. I know stuff.” She thinks Puvogel is withholding something important from Doggett.

Larina sees Ray’s obituary in the newspaper, then sees a report about Harry’s death on the news. The police are saying robbery was the motivation. Larina calls Information to get Ray’s phone number. Meanwhile, Scully and Doggett meet up, and she reports that she’s confirmed that blood found at the scene of Harry’s murder was Ray’s. It contains a ton of metal alloy. Doggett says that, no matter what kind of creature he is now, Ray should still be thinking like a man. So why is he killing his supposed friends? Why is he hiding from Nora?

Doggett has Ray’s records from the VA, which state that he had a couple of DUIs ten years ago, but has since become sober. He overcame adversity and created a nice life with Nora. He’s not the sort of person who would go on a killing spree, especially not when the two murder victims were his friends. Scully says that even if they find Ray, he’s so strong now that they probably won’t be able to stop him.

Puvogel’s working late when Ray comes by his office to chat. Well, if “chat” means skulk around and go looking for trouble. Puvogel’s waiting for him and is able to lock him in a chamber of some kind. Scully and Doggett arrive quickly, so it looks like they figured out where Ray would show up next. Despite the strength of the walls imprisoning Ray, they’re not sure he’ll stay contained. Indeed, there’s a rupture in the chamber, and when the agents get the door open, Ray’s gone, having torn the walls apart with his bare hands.

Scully sees that some of Ray’s blood on a wall is merging with the metal. Doggett has Puvogel taken someplace safe while he and Scully figure out what to do next. Ray goes to the halfway house, where he finds Nora waiting for him. He tells her she shouldn’t have come. She’s upset that he didn’t come home to her after he came back from the dead, or whatever. He tells her he couldn’t because he’s not himself. She’s unbothered by his deteriorating skin and just sees his resurrection as a miracle. She wants to help. Ray tells her, “They’ve all got to pay.”

Doggett goes to the salvage yard and finds “Chamber” written on the side of a big container. He hears a knocking noise and sees a pair of hands reaching out from inside a hazardous-materials barrel. There’s a dead body inside. Scully and Doggett have Puvogel brought in to ID the body, which they’ve already guessed is David Clifton. He says Clifton was dying and was worried that Chamber’s work would be hindered. The two just wanted to do the right thing for their company.

Puvogel explains that Clifton got sick after working with an alloy that contained a genetic algorithm. It could convert energy and basically form memories. When Clifton got sick, they shut down the project, but obviously it was too late. Puvogel covered up Clifton’s death so the team could keep working. Somehow, the barrel containing the body was sent to the salvage yard, where the alloy infected Ray.

As Scully pulls Doggett aside, they spot Nora arriving. She grabs a file and starts to make a phone call. A SWAT team goes to the halfway house, looking for Ray, who grabs Larina and covers her mouth to keep her from screaming. This works a little too well, and she dies, either from the strength of Ray’s grip or the toxins in the alloy. Ray makes his escape.

Doggett and Scully tell Nora that her husband has now killed three people. Nora says Curt and Harry made him who he is, which Scully disagrees with. But Nora thinks Chamber knew, and Doggett guesses that Ray sent her there to get revenge. Scully demands to know the name of the person Ray blames the most for his condition. Nora says she wasn’t able to complete her call to Ray and give him the name.

Nora’s taken into protective custody, which somehow means letting her go home while agents watch the house. They don’t bother to check out the inside of the house first, though, and Ray is already there waiting for his wife. Nora asks why he killed Larina when she was just trying to help. Ray demands the name of the person who caused his condition, but Nora won’t give it up – she doesn’t want anyone else to die. He grabs her arm and squeezes hard.

Sometime later, Nora bursts out of the house and tells the agents outside that she was forced to give Ray the name Owen Harris. A rapidly deteriorating Ray ambushes the Harris family in their car and pulls Owen out like he did Curt. Owen’s confused, saying he’s just an accountant. When Ray hears Owen’s son screaming for him, he stops. I guess revenge just isn’t worth traumatizing a little kid by killing his father in front of him.

When Scully and Doggett reach the scene, the Harrises are fine and Ray is gone. Doggett doesn’t get why Ray would just stop his spree. Scully says that Owen was the target because he authorized the delivery of the toxic barrel to the salvage yard. She thinks the real Ray died, and the killer he became was just an abomination. He’s a machine now. He still has a flicker of humanity, and it made him spare Owen. But it looks like Ray has melded with Owen’s car, and is now slumbering in another salvage yard, possibly waiting before he strikes again.

Thoughts: Larina, hon, if an angry man tells you to leave him alone, LEAVE HIM ALONE.

Writers, please. I need you to name a character Smith. Just one. Don’t make me keep typing “Puvogel” over and over.

So is Scully going to wait until she’s showing before she tells Doggett she’s pregnant? Until she gives birth? Is she just going to call in one day, tell him she’s taking a couple months off, and then return to work 40 pounds lighter?

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