September 8, 2018

The X-Files 8.10, Badlaa: Emphasis on “Bad”

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:05 pm by Jenn

If I have to watch this episode, I’m dragging you all down with me

Summary: Sahar International Airport in Mumbai is a busy place today. An American man named Potocki fights his way through the crowds and heads to a lounge before his flight. A legless beggar follows him, rolling himself on a cart with his hands, but Potocki doesn’t have much sympathy for the man. Finally he hands over a couple of coins and tells the beggar to buy some WD-40 to oil his wheels. That doesn’t seem to go over well. Later, the beggar follows Potocki to the bathroom and drags him out of his stall.

Potocki eventually lands in D.C. and checks into a hotel. A bellboy tries to make small talk, but Potocki is silent. He also has the beggar’s cart with him. He sits on the bed and starts oozing blood. The next morning, Scully and Doggett check out the scene, assigned to figure out why Potocki died. A maid found his body 20 minutes after the bellboy left, and no one else was seen coming or going. 20 minutes is pretty fast for a deadly disease to do its work, so Doggett teases Scully that they must be dealing with something supernatural, like “sloppy vampires.”

The only clue they have to go on is what looks like a child’s print in Potocki’s blood. Doggett remembers a ring of robbers who used children to get through tight entrances in New York, but this doesn’t seem similar. Scully doesn’t think a child would commit a murder this gruesome anyway. But she hopes Doggett keeps an open mind.

At Fairmont Elementary School in Cheverly, Maryland, a man named Burrard interviews for a job in maintenance. He’s actually the beggar in disguise, though the woman interviewing him doesn’t see that. Scully performs Potocki’s autopsy, which takes a while because he weighed over 400 pounds. Doggett has done some research and decided that, since Potocki was generally a generous man (not with the beggar, though), his ex-wives probably didn’t want to kill him. Scully agrees, since she found tissue damage and trauma to Potocki’s rectal wall. Something went in or out of his abdomen.

Potocki has traveled to and from India many times over the past year and a half, so Doggett logically thinks that he was transporting drugs. Maybe someone tore the drugs out of his stomach. Scully didn’t find any drugs in Potocki’s system, though, and that kind of extraction wouldn’t explain his massive blood loss. Also, she’s discovered that his time of death is around 24 to 36 hours ago – before he left India. She reminds Doggett that she told him to keep an open mind.

A preteen named Trevor attacks another preteen named Quinton at school and tries to steal his scooter. Quinton’s father intervenes and tells Trevor to bully someone his own age, since Quinton is a year younger. Burrard watches Quinton and his father as they drive off. In the office, Doggett tells Scully that an American businessman named Albert Brecht was found dead in his New Delhi hotel room three weeks ago. His autopsy shows that he died the same way Potocki did.

Scully sees that his recently issued passport says he weighed just over 200 pounds, but his autopsy showed he was 33 pounds heavier. She thinks this has something to do with “accommodation.” Maybe whatever killed the two men entered and left their bodies on its own after living inside them as a stowaway. Doggett says this is going beyond asking him to keep an open mind. Scully gets that, but the evidence supports her theory. Doggett asks about the part of the theory where Potocki was already dead when he left India.

In Cheverly, Quinton wakes up late at night and sees the beggar in his room. He calls for his father, who doesn’t see anyone and thinks Quinton just imagined an intruder. He puts Quinton back to bed, then goes downstairs to watch TV while the beggar watches him. The next time Quinton wakes up, it’s to his father’s shouts of terror. R.I.P. Quinton’s dead, who never even got a name.

Scully and Doggett check out this new crime scene, where Doggett feels horrible that Quinton had to find his father’s body. Scully wants to focus on the intruder Quinton saw. She mentions that he said he was keeping himself up with his arms, which fits the palm prints Doggett found in his room. But unlike with Brecht and Potocki, the intruder didn’t travel in anyone’s body – he came in through a window.

Since Quinton’s father seems to have died of a cerebral embolism, this death doesn’t seem to fit with the others. But since all the blood vessels in Quinton’s father’s eyes were broken, as Brecht and Potocki’s were, there’s something there. Scully wonders if that’s the first stage of death here.

She goes to the morgue for her next (unauthorized) autopsy, immediately noticing the large bulge in Quinton’s father’s stomach. She notes his weight as “quite possibly subject to change.” She makes an incision in his stomach, and a hand reaches itself out. Think Alien, but weirder. Scully grabs a gun (because who doesn’t bring a gun to an autopsy), but by the time she returns to the body, whatever was inside Quinton’s father is gone. She follows the trail of blood left behind, but it ends at a closed closet door, and there’s nothing inside – or at least nothing she sees.

Thanks to that little field trip, Burrard is late to work. Trevor sees him in a school hallway with his squeaky bucket, and he pauses when Burrard glares at him. Meanwhile, our friend Chuck Burks visits Scully and Doggett to show them a video he shot in India in the 1970s. He tells the agents about siddhi mystics, who have occult powers that allow them to manipulate reality and become tiny and/or invisible. They can even take on the appearance of someone else. Doggett: “Well, this has been…insightful.” Chuck thinks he doesn’t believe because he doesn’t understand.

Trevor goes to Quinton’s house to express his condolences and share his theory about Quinton’s father’s killer. Scully can’t see the case the way she thinks Mulder would, so she calls Chuck back to talk about the siddhi mystics more. Since the mystics believe their powers come from a divine source, they wouldn’t use them to murder, right? Chuck confirms this, saying the mystics would see that as endangering their souls. Scully wonders what might cause them to break their faith – something human, like revenge?

She’s found a news story about a chemical plant near Mumbai, where an accidental release of gas killed 118 people in Vishi. One of the people killed was an 11-year-old boy whose father is from the beggar caste. The father could be a mystic out for revenge, but why would he kill two American businessmen and Quinton’s father?

On his way home, Trevor hears squeaky wheels following him but doesn’t see anyone. He takes off running as the beggar pursues him. He makes it home, then immediately runs off again. His mother sees him at the bottom of their pool and dives in to save him, but he turns into the beggar. When Scully and Doggett are called to the house, the mother is dead, and Trevor is nowhere around.

Scully thinks this death matches the others, but Doggett thinks she’s making a connection between unrelated deaths. She’s seeing things that aren’t there. Scully insists that there’s a motive and a pattern, even if they don’t see them yet. They’ll have to find another way to work the case. Trevor returns to the house just then and tells the agents that the beggar was there.

Burrard is brought in for questioning, and Scully calls Chuck in for more consulting. Doggett tells him that he won’t talk, so they’re going to have to let him go. Chuck pulls out a video camera and tells Doggett that the man they see in the room might not really be there. Indeed, when the men look through the camera, they don’t see anyone in Burrard’s chair. This means the mystic could be anywhere.

Scully goes back to Trevor’s house to ask the boy about the beggar. Doggett calls her back to the office to tell her about Burrard, but before she can react, Trevor’s father reports that he’s not in the house. Burrard goes to the school, supposedly to clean, and the woman who interviewed him for the job decides to call Scully and let her know. Quinton and Trevor are a few steps ahead, though, using themselves as bait to try to trap the beggar. It almost works, but he catches on and they have to run.

Quinton hides out in a classroom, realizing too late that he can’t escape through a window. Trevor appears outside and tells him to break one. It’s too late, since the beggar has found him. He slowly wheels himself toward Quinton as Trevor runs off to get help. Scully arrives, and Quinton yells for her to help, but she doesn’t see a problem. As far as she can tell, the only people in the room are Quinton and Trevor.

As the fake Trevor turns to approach Scully, she draws her gun. But even knowing this child isn’t really a child, she can’t bring herself to shoot him. As Doggett arrives outside, shots ring out. Scully found her resolve after all and has killed the beggar. Both boys are safe, though they’re probably scarred for life. (Maybe they can get their parents to fall in love and form a new family?)

Once the proper authorities have been called in to take care of things, Doggett notices that Scully is struggling with what just happened. He reminds her that she didn’t actually shoot a child, no matter what she saw. She hates that she wasn’t able to trust her own eyes. Doggett asks why she shot him, then. Scully says she trusted what Quinton saw, and knows Mulder would have understood. He has the open mind Scully doesn’t have. Doggett thinks she should go easy on herself, since nothing in the case made sense. But Scully says it did, somehow. Then can she explain it to me? Because back in India, an American businessman is on his way to catch a plan when he comes across…the same beggar. Sigh.

Thoughts: Who do we blame for this episode’s premise? I want names.

Maybe Trevor should work for the X-Files. He put things together way faster than Scully and Doggett, and with much less information.

Someone wheeled something squeaky down the hallway outside my door while I was doing this recap, and I almost yelled, “That’s not funny!”

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