February 16, 2019

The X-Files 9.12, Underneath: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Cable Guy

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

Jason Mantzoukas? Is that you?

Summary: In Brooklyn, a cable guy pulls up outside a house and kisses a crucifix. A voice from the back of the truck tells him to go do his job. This job involves lying to the family inside that their cable’s out, then acting really squirrelly. Suddenly, the father of the family is dead on the floor, and the mom and daughter are dead in the kitchen. Two cops arrive seconds later and arrest the cable guy. One of those cops is Doggett.

In D.C., Doggett is yelling at someone on the phone, angry that the cable guy (Robert Fassl) has been cleared of the murders thanks to DNA evidence. Doggett insists that if Fassl is released from prison, he’ll kill again. He was known as the Screwdriver Killer and murdered seven people 13 years ago. Doggett thinks the DNA evidence is the result of a lab mistake.

He tells Reyes that neighbors called the police after hearing screams (which we didn’t hear in the original scene), and Doggett and his partner found the family dead. Fassl was in the house, so he must have been the killer. Reyes points out that they didn’t catch him in the act. Scully arrives and confirms the medical examiner’s report – the DNA exonerates Fassl. The odds are a hundred million to one that there was a mistake. Doggett wants her to redo the tests herself anyway. He’ll be going to New York to make sure Fassl doesn’t kill anyone else.

Fassl is released from prison in New York and collects the belongings he had with him when he was arrested, including the crucifix. The press is interested in hearing from him, but his attorney, Jana Fain, speaks for him, saying they’re looking into procedures at the D.A.’s office and the police department to determine why he was falsely imprisoned for 13 years. Fassl spots a bearded man across the street, staring at him.

Scully and Doggett are in New York, trying to convince the ADA, Damon Kaylor, to let them look into the evidence. Doggett points out that if Fassl really is innocent, the real killer is still out there, and his victims’ families are going to want some answers. As Doggett and Scully look through files, she notes that the case must have been a career-maker for him. He remembers how relieved everyone was when they thought they’d finally found the killer. Scully reminds him that even good cops make mistakes.

Doggett wants to make it clear that he’s not reopening the case just to cover up his errors. Scully knows that, but she doesn’t want him to feel guilty. Doggett says he would never send someone to prison if he wasn’t absolutely sure the person was guilty. This is just a matter of finishing the job he obviously didn’t finish 13 years ago.

Jana takes Fassl to her house since he has no other place to stay. Her house his huge, and she has a full-time housekeeper, thanks to a generous inheritance from her parents. Jana tells Fassl that she tries to use her wealth to help people, which explains why she took his case. She’s fully convinced that Fassl is innocent, and she feels horrible that he was punished for a crime he didn’t commit. Alone in his new room, Fassl prays with his crucifix and rosary, but stops when his hands start bleeding. He looks up to see “KILL HER” written in blood on the wall.

Doggett reunites with his old partner, Duke Tomasick, wanting help going over the case. Duke thinks they just arrested the wrong man. He warns Doggett that if he keeps working the case, it’ll come back to bite him. At Jana’s, she finds Fassl praying again and remarks that it’s great how everything he’s been through hasn’t diminished his faith. (He was once a seminary student.) He tells her he prays all the time, even when it doesn’t look like he’s praying. Jana’s sure that someone’s listening. Well, yeah, but it’s the bearded guy, and he has a screwdriver he wants to use on Jana.

Doggett works all night only to get bad news from Scully: Hair samples found at the murder scene belong to someone other than Fassl. However, the DNA in the hair is very similar to Fassl’s, and must belong to a blood relative. Doggett knows that Fassl’s parents died when he was a teen, and he’s an only child, so he doesn’t have any blood relatives.

Fassl wakes up on his floor and is surprised to see Jana in his room, completely unharmed. In a stroke of luck, she was at the county lockup the previous night. However, someone went through her things in her room, and since Fassl’s the only houseguest, she thinks he’s violating her privacy. Now that he’s free, he has to be responsible. P.S. The housekeeper is MIA, and there’s blood dripping from a kitchen cabinet. As soon as Jana leaves for work, Fassl pulls the housekeeper’s body out of the cabinet and chops it up for easier transportation.

Reyes is now in New York, meeting with Brian Hutchinson, the warden at the prison where Fassl spent the past 13 years. He thinks Fassl really is a murderer and should still be behind bars. His cellmate was murdered, and the killer, whose picture was snapped by a security camera, was the bearded man. He wasn’t an inmate, so no one’s sure what all happened. They also couldn’t pin the murder on Fassl, though Hutchinson is sure he was involved somehow.

Since the DNA retests say Fassl’s innocent, Kaylor doesn’t get why Doggett and Scully are still working the case. The DA’s office is planning to offer Fassl a settlement and end the whole thing. Doggett’s all, “But! The truth!” Kaylor doesn’t care about the truth, since the DNA evidence is definitive. Just then, Reyes shows up to tell Doggett and Scully that they have a new suspect – the unidentifiable bearded man.

Doggett tells Reyes that Fassl, not the bearded man, was in the house 13 years ago, so the bearded man isn’t important to the case. Reyes disagrees, suggesting that Fassl and the bearded man are somehow connected. Doggett would rather not have this turn into an X-File. Reyes thinks one of the men is doing the other’s bidding. They just need to compare the DNA from Fassl’s cellmate’s murder to the DNA from the 1989 murders.

Scully says that won’t work – the hair samples logged from the 1989 crime scene weren’t actually at the scene. Doggett thinks she’s accusing him of planting evidence, but Scully just wants the facts on the table. The DNA evidence that convicted Fassl was planted.

Kaylor goes to Jana’s house to tell Fassl they want to offer him a settlement. To his surprise, Fassl announces that he wants to go back to prison. Kaylor thinks Fassl’s about to make a confession, so he tries to leave, but the bearded man stops him with a screwdriver to the back. Looks like Fassl has another body to get rid of.

Doggett confronts Duke, who admits to planting the evidence that sent Fassl to prison. He was sure Fassl was guilty and wanted to make sure he was punished. Doggett reminds him that he committed a felony, not to mention did something unforgivable. Scully interrupts to report that Kaylor has gone missing. Meanwhile, Fassl’s hiding Kaylor’s body in some kind of tunnel. There’s a skull nearby, so this can’t be the first time Fassl’s been down there.

Knowing that Kaylor went to see Fassl, Scully and Reyes call him in for questioning. They try to play good cop to convince Jana they don’t think Fassl has done anything wrong. When they show Fassl and Jana a picture of the bearded man, Fassl gets agitated. Scully notices him holding his rosary and asks if he’s Catholic. She knows a rosary can be a great comfort, like Fassl obviously wants his to be right now. She asks about the bearded man, guessing that Fassl just wants him to go away.

Jana accuses the agents of playing mind games and announces that she and her client are leaving. Doggett comes in, having watched the whole conversation, and Reyes says she’s changing her theory. Maybe Fassl can’t admit that he has a sinful side, even to himself, and has manifested a second personality that does all the bad stuff. If he could actually physically become that other personality – the bearded man – that would explain the different DNA.

Doggett scoffs at the idea of a real-life Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde situation. Reyes argues that Catholicism backs up her idea, when you really think of transubstantiation. Scully sums it up: Fassl won’t face his sins, so he’s forced to become a killer. Doggett wonders how they’re supposed to catch a killer who hides inside an innocent person.

Back at Jana’s, “KILL HER” appears in blood on the bathroom wall. Then the bearded man smacks Fassl around a bit, telling him to kill. So this is Fight Club now? Jana hears the scuffling and checks on Fassl, who just says he fell. When she goes to get a bandage for a cut on his head, the bearded man ambushes her.

Doggett and Reyes stake out Jana’s house, fighting about her theory. Doggett thinks regular old police work is good enough to solve this case. It’s really all he has anyway. They spot the bearded man lurking around the house and chase him. Jana’s still okay, and she tells Reyes that Fassl was there one minute and then suddenly gone.

Doggett finds a hatch labeled “cable access,” and he and Reyes go into the tunnel underneath it. Regular old police work ensues, though I’m not sure they should be splitting up. Reyes winds up falling in some water, where she finds Kaylor’s body and some skeletons. The bearded man sneaks up on Doggett and knocks his gun into the water. Reyes finds the bearded man holding a screwdriver to Doggett’s neck.

She tries to get through to Fassl, appealing to the part of him that couldn’t bring himself to kill Jana. The bearded man denies that he’s Fassl. Reyes calls him a sinner and a murderer, which just makes him madder. She manages to get off a shot in the bearded man’s back, and he falls in the water. When Doggett pulls him out, he’s Fassl. Well, well, well! Looks like Reyes’ crazy theory was correct!

Scully and Jana come down to help look over the crime scene. Jana knows she saw the bearded man, so she’s a little confused about how Fassl could be the killer. Doggett – sleep-deprived, and coming off of finding out his former partner is a felon – can’t explain anything. Reyes agrees that this time around, regular old police work was good enough. They closed the case. Of course, who knows it that’ll be enough next time?

Thoughts: Yeah, you don’t get released from prison the day after evidence exonerates you. The justice system is nowhere near that fast.

Hutchinson says Fassl’s cellmate was a “bada&%,” but how tough can you be with a name like Spud?

Why would Fassl ask to go back to prison when the bearded man could still kill people there? It’s not like he could hide there.

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