December 29, 2018

The X-Files 9.5, Lord of the Flies: The Bug Whisperer

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:04 pm by Jenn

Being attacked by bugs could definitely traumatize someone enough to lead him to cooking meth

Summary: Two obnoxious teen boys calling themselves Sky Commander Winky and Captain Dare welcome us to their Jackass-type show, creatively called Dumbass. Looks like the title is fitting. Captain Dare puts on a football helmet and lets Winky fire balls at him. Later, Captain Dare asks a girl named Natalie for a kiss before he lets himself be dragged behind a car in a Porta-Potty. Natalie doesn’t bother to hide how stupid she thinks this all is. The rest of the crowd gathered thinks the guys are awesome.

Captain Dare’s next stunt is riding a shopping cart down a hill, supposedly flying over Natalie as she holds up a torch. She objects to participating, but Winky’s excited to see the cart get set on fire, then extinguish itself in a kiddie pool. Somehow, Natalie agrees to the stunt, lying down on the road and holding the little torch in her mouth. But Captain Dare and Winky’s expert calculations fail, and Captain Dare tips the cart over before he even get to her. Even with the helmet on, Captain Dare (real name: Bill) gets his head caved in. And that, kids, is why you don’t try this at home.

Doggett and Reyes go to Ocean County, New Jersey (not to be confused with Atlantic City, I assume), to check out Bill’s body. The medical examiner, Dr. Fountain, thinks they’re medical experts, which he really needs since he has no idea what happened to Bill’s body. But he’s feeling pressured to get some answers, since Bill’s parents are suing everyone possible, including the company that made his helmet (fair), the county for making the road too steep (probably not fair), and the grocery store he stole the shopping cart from (definitely not fair).

Fountain tells the agents about the Dumbass show, which makes Doggett figure that this was, you know, an accident. Fountain says since the agents are the experts in unexplained events, they should explain this to him. Reyes sees something fluttering under one of Bill’s closed eyelids and cuts it open. A ton of flies buzz out.

Scully is next to come to Ocean County, and she’s as stumped as Fountain is. She thinks the flies caused Bill’s head to cave in, since the crash didn’t – there’s no sign of trauma from the tip-over. Doggett wonders if someone put something in Bill’s helmet, like Spanish fly. Scully’s more interested in finding out more about the flies themselves, then looking into possible murder motives.

A man saunters into the office, telling the agents that they’re dealing with an Australian bush fly. They’ll often crawl into people’s skulls looking for protein, eventually killing them. This is Rocky Bronzino, an entomologist from Rutgers. He’s full of charm, but Scully isn’t impressed. He says the flies from Bill’s body are harmless. Reyes tells him they’re the agents’ primary murder suspects.

Poor Natalie is struggling to make it through the day at school, sitting alone at lunch and missing her boyfriend. Winky ambushes her to make a memorial video for Bill. Natalie yells that Winky and his brother (who also worked on the show) are jerks for making Bill participate in their stunts.

Another guy in the cafeteria, Dylan, starts to approach and rescue Natalie, but Winky turns on him. Before he can do whatever a stereotypical bully would do to a quiet, geeky kid like Dylan, a teacher (principal? Guidance counselor? I don’t know) named Mrs. Lokensgard summons Winky (real name: David) to her office. This just makes thinks worse for Dylan, since Mrs. Lokensgard is his mom, and now it looks like he needs her to stick up for him.

Doggett and Reyes watch footage of Bill’s last stunts, and it looks like Doggett’s more amused than he should be. He guesses that the flies saw Bill as a good meal because he had “crap for brains.” Reyes thinks Doggett must have engaged in some stupidity in his youth as well. (Wrong, Reyes. Doggett was born 22 and serious.) Doggett says this is different – these kids take pride in being stupid. Reyes points out the accuracy of the show’s title.

The agents are in Mrs. Lokensgard’s office to talk to David, who recently tried to sell the video of Bill’s death to some TV networks. He says Fox was the only network that showed any interest. (This is supposed to be a joke, since that was The X-Files‘ network, but really, it sounds plausible.) The agents suspect that David killed Bill to make money. In fact, they think he put something in Bill’s helmet. David starts fidgeting and thinks he’s about to suffer the same insect-related fate as his best friend. The agents see “DUMBASS” spelled out in insect bites on his back.

Dylan gets home late that night and tries to skip dinner, but his mother insists that they talk. He ignores her and goes to his room to listen to music and look at a picture of Natalie. Bugs cover his windows and walls as he cries himself to sleep.

Back at the medical examiner’s office, Scully tells Doggett and Reyes something Rocky discovered: All the flies from Bill’s bodies were female. She thinks this means something about Bill made the flies attack. Doggett wonders if they were trying to “express themselves,” like the lice that attacked David and bit “DUMBASS” into his skin. Reyes no longer thinks David was responsible for Bill’s death, but she does believe that someone is controlling bugs.

The agents have looked at pictures from the crowds gathered at various Dumbass stunts and spotted Dylan in all of them. He’s also had run-ins with Bill and David. Obviously, the agents need to question him. At the Lokensgards’ house, Natalie comes by to talk to Dylan, but his mother sends her away. Dylan goes out his window to avoid his mother and catch up to his crush. It doesn’t work, since Mrs. Lokensgard intercepts him and tells him to stay away from Natalie. She wants to talk about the changes his body is going through, but Dylan doesn’t want to have that talk with his mother.

Scully and Rocky go to the street where Bill died, and he waxes poetic about flowers and pheromones. Strangely, the bio sensor they’re using doesn’t detect any pheromones in the area. Scully doesn’t get why pheromones would make a harmless fly become violent anyway. Rocky says bugs are unpredictable and react to stimuli. He moves closer to Scully as he says that something must be driving the bugs “crazy with desire.” The same thing appears to be happening to him. He doesn’t even back off when Scully tells him she has a child.

The bio sensor picks up something approaching, but Rocky and Scully look in the air for bugs, not on the ground for people, so they miss Dylan riding by on his bike. At school, he crashes it when he finds Natalie, who feels bad about how David treated him the day before. She wishes they could go back in time, make everything go away, and start over. She and Dylan were friends as kids, and she has fond memories of playing together. He once carved their names in a tree they hid in during a game of Manhunt.

Doggett and Reyes show up to question Dylan, showing him footage from Dumbass. He tries to stay calm. The same can’t be said for his mother, who gets understandably upset when she learns that her son is being questioned in her office without her knowledge. As files appear on the ceiling, only noticed by Dylan, Mrs. Lokensgard defends her son. It’s hard to continue that, though, when she and the agents realize that he’s covered in flies.

By the time a team arrives to get rid of the bugs, they’re gone. Dylan’s unharmed, and his mother isn’t about to let the agents keep questioning him. David and his brother glare at Dylan as his mother whisks him away. Reyes thinks this was a show – Dylan made the bugs attack him so he’ll look like a victim instead of a perpetrator. Doggett asks if he’s “the horse whisperer, only for bugs.” Reyes doesn’t know, but she has an idea to follow up on.

The agents take Scully a tissue that Dylan used to wipe off some sweat during his questioning. They hope there will be something Scully can find in his sweat. Indeed, Rocky finds a huge amount of insect pheromones in Dylan’s sweat. Scully thinks his hormones are attracting bugs, but Reyes thinks there’s something else going on – he’s able to control the bugs. They saw him talking to Natalie, whom Doggett recognizes as Bill’s girlfriend. Maybe she’s the key.

Natalie comes by Dylan’s house again that night, climbing up to his window even after he tells her not to. He remembers the exact time she was last there, in the fourth grade. They talk about Dylan’s love of Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd; Dylan feels a kinship with him because they’re both misunderstood. Natalie wishes that she’d expressed her condolences back when Dylan’s father disappeared years ago. She hasn’t forgotten her friendship with Dylan, and she’s just now remembering how special he is to her.

They kiss, and he dubs it “amazing.” But something’s up with Dylan’s tongue, and Natalie ends up with blood in her mouth. She runs off crying. Seconds later, David and some of his friends arrive, calling Dylan “fly boy.” They take Dylan for a ride in their car and ask how he killed Bill. He offers to give a demonstration, telling David to film it. Dylan opens his mouth and some insect thing emerges. The car’s driver freaks out and crashes.

Scully and Rocky go to the Lokensgards’ house, where they detect insect pheromones. Scully considers that enough probable cause to allow them to enter without permission. Rocky’s excited because he’s never worked with a partner before. Scully: “I have.” He thinks this is a special kind of partnership where both of them get to use their knowledge to reach higher than they could on their own. “You complete me,” he says. Scully tries to keep things professional.

Doggett and Reyes come across the crashed car, which is now full of what looks like a bunch of spider’s webs. David tells them that Dylan attacked them and chewed himself out the back window, because he’s a bug. Reyes heads off to look for him at Natalie’s house. Doggett calls Scully to tell her about the crash, thinking she should come see it for herself. She leaves Rocky behind at the Lokensgards’ house.

Reyes tells Natalie that she may be the key to stopping Dylan’s weird rampage. Natalie’s upset because she thought Dylan was normal, but he’s a freak. Reyes thinks he’s acting strangely because he’s going through changes. His bad kissing experience with Natalie might have led to his attack on David and his friends. Ugh, way to blame her for a guy’s behavior.

Before Reyes can take Natalie off to look for Dylan, Dylan finds them. He’s confused because he thought she wanted someone different from Bill and David; why is she so upset? He claims he’s been trying to protect her, and invites her to come somewhere with him. Meanwhile, Rocky’s pheromone detector leads him to Mrs. Lokensgard, who has the same insect tongue thing and web-shooting abilities as her son.

Just as Mrs. Lokensgard is done dealing with Rocky, Dylan and Natalie arrive, planning to take his mother’s car and run off together. Dylan doesn’t realize that his mom knows exactly who – or what – he is. She was never able to tell his father that she and Dylan aren’t like other people.

Doggett finds Reyes webbed up at Natalie’s house and frees her. They head to the Lokensgards’, where Scully has already arrived, having lost phone contact with Rocky. Instead, she finds Natalie there, unharmed but upset. She points Scully toward the attic, which is full of victims trapped by webs. “Help me,” one of the victims squeaks, a la The Fly. It’s Rocky, who has a big smile on his face when Scully gives him CPR (which he shouldn’t need, since he was breathing enough to talk, but okay).

Scully gives the end-of-episode report wrap-up: One of the bodies in the attic belonged to Dylan’s long-missing father. Mrs. Lokensgard was something between human and instinct, according to Rocky. She just couldn’t hide her biology any longer. She and Dylan are on the run now, to try to hide in another town, and Scully laments that Dylan couldn’t fight his biology long enough to be accepted. However, she thinks love could overcome biology, since the heart wants what it wants. Dylan has one last message for Natalie: a swarm of fireflies outside her bedroom window, spelling out “I love you.”

Thoughts: David is played by Aaron Paul. Mrs. Lokensgard is played by Jane Lynch.

Whoever came up with the name Rocky Bronzino gets a gold star.

I hope Scully charged him with sexual harassment after the case was over, though, because…ew.

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