December 15, 2018

The X-Files 9.3, Dæmonicus: Could It Be…Satan?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:33 pm by Jenn

“Hang on. They need me for another unnecessary vision on ‘Dexter'”

Summary: In Weston, West Virginia, a dog named Happy is…not so happy. She’s desperate to go out, and runs off into a field when her owner finally opens the door. The owners are playing Scrabble, and when the wife goes to let the dog out, the husband peeks at her letters. He gets 50 bonus points for playing “triumph.”

The lights go out, and the husband tells the wife to hide in the basement. He shakily loads a gun and points it at an intruder in the house. When the intruder approaches, the man shoots him. He realizes too late that the intruder, who looked like a man, was actually his wife. Duct tape on her mouth prevented her from saying anything to make him realize who she was. Two people with demonic faces enter the room and approach the man. But who will take care of Happy??

Reyes is called to the scene the next morning, finding the dead couple posed at their Scrabble board. The wife is holding the gun, so it looks like she killed her husband, then herself. There’s only one word on the board now: “daemonicus.” Reyes touches one of the tiles (without gloves – come on, Reyes!), then looks up to see that the ceiling fan above them has stopped turning.

Doggett arrives, and the ceiling fan starts moving again. He tells Reyes that the couple was Darren and Evelyn Mountjoy. Despite the bodies being posed as if this was a murder/suicide, the cops suspect it wasn’t. They think two people came to the house and murdered the couple, then posed them, which Reyes says is consistent with satanic rituals. On top of that, “daemonicus” is Latin for Satan. Doggett notes that it’s worth 50 bonus points.

He wonders if the theory here is that the couple was possessed. Reyes thinks something else is going on. Doggett asks if she really believes that Satan himself is the killer here. Reyes starts to tell him what happened just before he came in, but he’s interrupted when someone from the coroner’s office notices movement on Evelyn’s body. There are two snakes poking out from holes in her shirt.

With Reyes and Doggett working the X-Files division, Scully has a new job – instructor of forensic pathology at the FBI’s training academy in Quantico. A student asks if she’s ever slayed a vampire. Scully says X-Files show us that evil comes from people, not monsters, but sometimes science has to be laid aside while other possibilities are considered.

Doggett and Reyes separately come to Quantico to talk to Scully about the snakes. She’s found adhesive residue on Evelyn’s body, which means she was tied up and prevented from speaking. Reyes figures out that Darren was tricked into shooting his wife. Scully has also found fingerprint bruising on Darren’s collarbone, indicating that he was held down when he was shot. This reinforces Doggett’s belief that they’re looking for two killers.

The snakes were harmless, sewn into Evelyn after her death by someone who apparently has surgical training. Scully thinks they were just symbolic. Reyes tells her that when she was in the house, before Doggett came in, she felt like she was in the presence of evil. She’s never felt anything like that before in all her years of investigating satantic rituals. Scully says she’s felt similar things before, and it’s best that Reyes trust her instincts. Doggett gets a call from a hospital stating that one of the patients there may be involved in the murders.

As the killers, now holding their demonic faces (which were just masks), head somewhere to no doubt plan their next crime, Doggett and Reyes go to Chessman State Mental Hospital in Kitsonville, West Virginia. A doctor named Monique Sampson tells them that a patient named Kenneth Richman, a former doctor, is missing. He was originally admitted because he killed three patients; he sewed strychnine tablets into their surgical incisions during operations. But since Richman is a loner, Sampson doesn’t know who his co-murderer might be.

Reyes asks if Richman ever talked about demonic possession or satanic lore. Sampson says he was always coherent and never did anything like speaking in tongues. She figures out that Reyes wants to know if Richman was possessed. Sampson says this is the 21st century; doctors no longer blame demons for patients’ mental illnesses. (But they apparently still call their facilities mental hospitals instead of psychiatric facilities, so…) Reyes says she’s not talking about mental illness. Doggett makes a hilarious “oh, this should be good” face.

Sampson is called away, so Reyes and Doggett discuss whether Richman is the likely suspect here. If so, who was his accomplice? Sampson tells them it might be Paul Gerlach, a guard who’s now also missing. As they leave the room’s chessboard floor (keeping with this episode’s game theme), the killers, now with their masks back on, face off in some woods. One shoots the other.

Doggett and Reyes are taken to see Josef Kobold, a patient who was supposedly the last person to see Richman and Gerlach together. His padded cell is next to Richman’s, so he might know why Gerlach would help Richman escape. Kobold points out that one could have forced the other to escape, or they could be working together. They could be “of one mind, like a snake eating its own tail.”

Doggett asks for his help, if he knows anything that can help them. Kobold says they’re too late to stop the killers from hurting anyone else. He asks if Doggett believes in the power of the devil. Doggett thinks the devil is just a story made up to scare people. Kobold asks how Doggett can protect him in that case. Doggett points out to Reyes that Kobold isn’t really a good source of information.

The demon-faced killer cleans blood off his hands and leaves the cloth behind as he gets in his truck. He hears demonic whispering, which Kobold can hear as well, miles away. The next day, Sampson asks Doggett and Reyes to come back to see Kobold, who’s been asking for Doggett. He’s also saying “prince of the apostles” over and over. Kobold tells the agents that “he” is speaking to him, whispering in his ear. “He” has killed again, and Kobold can show them where it happened.

I guess Kobold couldn’t just, like, draw a map or something, because the agents get him put in chains and take him with them to the scene of the latest murder. He’s happy to be out of his “cage” and outside for the first time in years. But once he’s pointed them in the right direction, Doggett sends him back to his cage. He tells Reyes he thinks Kobold is putting on a show. Reyes disagrees, since he’s just spotted the newest victim’s body, hanging upside-down from a tree, dripping blood on the ground.

It’s Gerlach, and Scully gets to do another autopsy. She recognizes Kobold’s mention of “prince of the apostles,” a nickname for St. Peter, who was also hung upside-down at his death. Reyes notes that satanists use that symbol. Maybe the killer is a medium, “a willing host for Satan.” She points out that Kobold brought up the devil and snakes without knowing that she and Doggett thought the case had a satanic element.

Doggett still thinks Kobold is playing them. He was a history professor before he killed six students and ground up their bodies for fertilizer. Reyes wonders why Kobold didn’t escape with Richman, if he’s just messing around. Doggett hasn’t figured that out yet, and Scully doesn’t yet have an opinion on the case. But Reyes is determined to prove that Kobold can help them.

She and Doggett go back to Kobold’s cell, but he says he can’t do anything for them while he’s in there. “He” is sending Kobold too many voices, and he can’t hear any of them individually. He needs a bigger room with a view of the sky. Reyes is willing to give him that, telling a protesting Doggett that they can’t turn their backs on an offer of help. Outside, Monique leaves the facility for the day, and the killer follows in his truck.

Kobold is moved to a new room that’s bigger than my entire apartment (and has more light). He wonders why Doggett agreed to work in the X-Files division, since he’s obviously a skeptic. Is he looking for approval from some woman? Reyes? Or does Doggett have a dark secret he’s trying to appease his guilt over? Doggett doesn’t want to hear anything more from Kobold, so he starts to leave, but he stays behind when the demonic whispers overcome Kobold.

As the killer follows Sampson home, someone at the facility tries to sedate a now-seizing Kobold. Reyes thinks he’s trying to say the Latin word for “physician.” She puts together what this means and rushes to Sampson’s house with Doggett and some cops. But they’re too late – the killer has already claimed another victim, killing Sampson with a bunch of syringes to the face.

Scully comes to the house and identifies the substance in the syringes as an antipsychotic being given to Richman. Also, Kobold’s in a car outside the house, for some reason. Doggett repeats what Scully said in her lecture at Quantico about this being about humans, not monsters. (Apparently he was at the lecture.). Scully reminds him that she also said that when science isn’t enough, they have to “consider extreme possibilities.” She can sympathize with Doggett’s frustration, but he has to put it aside and remain objective. Doggett thinks both she and Reyes are falling for whatever Kobold is pulling to mess with them.

Kobold is taken back to his new cell, which can’t really be called a cell, because it’s HUGE. Doggett comes to visit, having read something Kobold wrote once about the influence of Satan in Renaissance thinking. He thinks Kobold has planned this whole thing. Now Kobold thinks Doggett has feelings for Scully but knows he can’t compete with Mulder. “You want her, but she feels sorry for you,” he taunts. “They both do.”

Doggett grows furious and grabs Kobold by the shirt. This is horrible timing, as just then, Kobold starts puking up gallons of some reddish substance. It’s gross and goes on forever. Scully examines him and declares him fine, because this sort of thing is totally normal. Reyes thinks the substance was ectoplasm, which Scully remembers Mulder saying was a byproduct of telepathic communication. Doggett asks if they’ve stumbled into Ghostbusters.

Reyes thinks this could be the proof they need that Kobold is telling the truth. Doggett still thinks it’s a game, but Scully sides with Reyes; at least testing the substance will give them some answers. Doggett again accuses her of falling for Kobold’s games. He’s just trying to distract them from whatever’s really going on. Scully says that Reyes is trying to figure out that truth; what is Doggett doing? Reyes acknowledges that this could be a hoax, but they need to look at the evidence. Why doesn’t Doggett want to do that? He says he’s already told her why.

There’s a thunderstorm that night, but even over the noise of the thunder, Custer, the officer assigned to sit outside Kobold’s room, can still hear whispering inside. When he checks on Kobold, he sees the patient’s face turn demonic. Sometime later, Doggett calls Scully to report that Kobold told the guard he knows where Richman is. Scully recognizes the location as a marina, Happy Landing, which she just happens to be near. (Why did Richman leave West Virginia and go to Virginia? No clue.) Reyes and Doggett arrange to meet Scully there.

Scully checks out the place alone, of course, which means she’s disappeared by the time Doggett and Reyes get there (with Kobold, AGAIN). They hear a gunshot one of the marina buildings, and the agents run off to check it out. Kobold stays back with Custer. Fortunately, Scully’s fine, and Richman’s dead by his own hand, though it’s not clear why he waited for Doggett and Reyes to arrive before killing himself. Doggett goes back outside and sees Kobold running away. He shoots Kobold, who falls in the water.

Scully’s next Quantico lecture is about uncertainty. It’s very rare to wrap up a case with all questions completely answered. As the class ends, Doggett and Reyes arrive and ask Scully not to file a report on the case. They know that Kobold got information about all of them from the Internet, so he was able to get their attention and make sure they were investigating the case. He messed with them the entire time, getting them to play the game he planned out. But Scully doesn’t get why the game ended the way it did.

Kobold’s body hasn’t been found, which means the game isn’t really over. Doggett writes “daemonicus” on the blackboard and brings up Reyes question from before, about why Kobold didn’t escape with Richman. Doggett thinks it was about misdirection. He talks about the snake eating its own tail, and the case beginning and ending in the same place, as we see him go to Kobold’s original cell. He finds a page from a phone book with the Mountjoys’ address circled.

In the classroom, Doggett explains the real meaning behind the use of the word “daemonicus.” The DAE stands for Darren and Evelyn. MONI comes from Monique Sampson. CUS is for Custer, and Doggett thinks he was the person shot in the marina. That means Kobold is out somewhere, free. Doggett declares this checkmate, but Reyes isn’t sure. Scully thinks it’s that she felt the presence of evil, but Reyes says she believes Doggett felt it, too.

Thoughts: Kobold is played by James Remar.

How did Richman get away with poisoning one patient, let alone three? I would think an autopsy would sort everything out pretty quickly.

Even a guy who’s never met Mulder knows Scully wants him. I love it.

So no one noticed that “daemonicus” also contains the letters that spell “Monica”? The leftover letters spell “deus,” or God. They also spell “used.” Or the D and S could stand for Doggett and Scully. See, I can play games, too!

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