March 23, 2019

The X-Files 9.17, Release: Corruption? In the U.S. Government? Well, I Never!

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:21 pm by Jenn

“This is my brooding wall”

Summary: For some reason, this episode has chapter titles, and the first one is “The Tip.” Doggett goes to a rundown apartment building, where a guy attacks him and runs off. Inside his apartment, Doggett finds a freshly repaired wall. When he digs into the repairs, blood comes out. There’s a body entombed in the wall, a Jane Doe, and her body is sent to Quantico for Scully to examine. She uses the body as a teaching exercise with her students.

Scully tells the class that the woman was stabbed, and Doggett found her by following the sound of rats feeding on her corpse. One student sees dirt under the Jane Doe’s fingernails and guesses that she was killed somewhere else and tried to claw her way out of dirt. Scully asks what else would help them find the killer. A student named Hayes can tell from Jane’s chipped nail polish and dye job that she’s an unemployed single woman. She’d been drinking, so Hayes thinks she hooked up with a man in a bar, and he killed her.

Hayes continues that the man has killed before. The bruise near Jane’s ribs indicates that the killer meant to finish her off with a single blow to the heart, but Jane struggled, causing the knife to slip and the hilt to jab her in the side. The killer then got mad and killed her. Hayes thinks this should be obvious to everyone.

When the class is over, Scully looks at the body again by herself, getting an idea. Using Hayes’ guesses, she’s able to ID Jane as a woman named Ellen. She tells Reyes and Doggett that Ellen did go to a bar the previous night – the same bar where another woman was killed two weeks ago. The other woman, Rita, was found in a ditch, not plastered behind a wall, so Doggett isn’t sure Rita and Ellen were killed by the same person. But Scully is sure that Hayes’ theory is correct.

Doggett wants to know why someone sent him a tip about looking for Ellen’s body, since this doesn’t appear to be an X-File. Scully thinks he should just continue with the case anyway. So Doggett and Reyes go to the Forensic Training Facility in Joplin, Virginia, to see Hayes. He’s doing an exercise with body parts, and he gets to show the agents in person how he works. Just from looking at a severed arm, he can tell how the arm’s owner died. “I see things,” he explains.

Reyes tells him they used his theory to develop a profile of Ellen and Rita’s killer. Hayes disagrees with the profile, though – he thinks the killer’s in his 40s, an ex-con who’s in the mob. His parole officer thinks he’s looking for a job back in New York, but he already has one. He’s killed a lot of people and will continue to kill. Hayes walks off without another word, and Reyes lightly says to Doggett that he’s kind of annoying.

Hayes goes home that night to his nearly empty apartment. The only decorations are pictures of murder victims. Well, that’s…certainly an aesthetic choice. Doggett and Reyes go to a bar and see a man named Nicholas Regali, whose mug shots they’re carrying. They tell him he’s violating his parole by being in Virginia. Regali says he’s there looking for work, just as Hayes predicted.

Regali denies killing anyone, of course, but the agents make it clear that he’s their main suspect and won’t get away with any more murders. Regali tells them they don’t know what they’re dealing with. At home, Hayes stares out his window creepily, then goes to bed. One of the pictures on his wall is of Doggett in a field, crouching next to a boy’s body.

“Ashes”: Doggett lies awake in bed, then gets up to look at the box holding his son’s ashes. Later, Hayes finds him in his office, and Doggett asks him to look at another case. A seven-year-old boy was riding his bike around the block when he disappeared. His mother went looking for him but only found his bike. There’s no indication of why he was taken. Three days later, his body was found in a field.

Of course, Doggett’s talking about Luke. It’s been nine years, and there’s not much to go on, but Doggett hopes that Hayes can be a fresh set of eyes and find something everyone else has overlooked. Hayes tells him that the case he helped with yesterday is also Luke’s case.

He takes Doggett to his apartment and shows him the wall of photos. They’re all of unsolved murders. Hayes started collecting them before he joined the FBI academy, though he’s not sure why. Sometimes, if he just sits with them, they tell him things. It’s how he sees the things he sees. There are multiple pictures of Luke, and Hayes says that Luke calls to him. Doggett says Hayes might be nuts, but that’s clearly not a deal-breaker for him.

The two discuss the main suspect, Bob Harvey, who died in a car accident the previous year. Hayes says that Harvey took Luke but didn’t kill him. Doggett asks if Regali killed Luke, but Hayes doesn’t respond. Doggett goes to the FBI building to talk to Follmer, who worked on an organized-crime task force in New York. He’s familiar with Regali but doesn’t think he was involved in Luke’s death. Doggett thinks Harvey and Regali are connected somehow. Follmer has his doubts, but he clearly has some sympathy for Doggett, so he offers to do some research.

Reyes finds Doggett, and he fills her in on his suspicions about Regali. He’s learned that Regali and Harvey were both in the same prison at the same time, so it’s possible they knew each other. Plus, the day Luke disappeared, Regali used a credit card to buy gas two miles from Doggett’s house. Reyes notes that living in New York at the same time isn’t enough to go on. She’s worried that Doggett will once again be disappointed by a dead end to the case. Doggett is sure that this time, he’ll get answers.

Doggett goes to Woodbury, Long Island, to see his ex-wife, Barbara. He tells her he has a suspect in Luke’s murder, but she’s obviously heard that from him before and doesn’t believe this time will be any different. She doesn’t like him coming by to dredge up the past. She doesn’t want to hear any more about this unless Doggett knows for sure they’ve found the killer. He takes Barbara to a lineup to see if she can identify Regali, in case she saw him the day Luke was taken. She doesn’t find him familiar, so she’s done with her ex for now.

While Doggett’s fighting with Follmer, Scully meets Barbara, who hates that Doggett is so regretful about not finding Luke’s killer. She hopes Scully can help him move on. Well, really, it sounds like she hopes Reyes can help him move on, since she believes they could have a relationship if Doggett would let Reyes in.

Without anything to hold Regali on, the agents have to let him go. Doggett hopes Scully has found something in her forensic work, but she can’t tie anything between Luke and the two dead women. They were killed with different weapons, and the killers’ MOs aren’t consistent. Scully thinks Hayes just made a leap in connecting the cases to each other.

“A Message”: Hayes sits with his pictures, waiting for them to tell him something. In the X-Files office (which, by the way, now has two desks), Doggett tells Reyes that something about Regali seems strange. He keeps getting away with small crimes, as if he’s bribing someone to keep letting him slide.

Reyes gets an idea, and the two go to see Follmer to discuss when he and Reyes worked in New York together. Reyes used to get takeout from a place called Carlo’s. One night, she saw Follmer in the kitchen talking to a mobster and accepting a stack of money from him. Apparently this was what caused her to break up with him and move away.

Follmer asks if the agents are really there to accuse him of taking bribes. He asks if they also suspect him of taking bribes to cover up details about Luke’s murder. He claims the mobster was an informant, and Follmer was giving him money, not the other way around. He can prove his story – can Reyes prove hers? Follmer wishes Reyes had come to him with her concerns, “especially given what I know now.”

Follmer tells Doggett and Reyes that Hayes is using a fake identity. The real Hayes died in 1978. Cadet Hayes is really a guy named Simms who was previously treated at a psych facility for paranoid schizophrenia. He checked himself out and disappeared ten years ago. Oh, and he was in New York City in 1993, the year Luke was murdered.

The agents send a SWAT team to Hayes’ apartment, but he seems to be waiting for them to arrive. He’s taken all the pictures off the walls. Elsewhere, Regali meets with Follmer, who tells him he’s lucky because Doggett is pursuing a different suspect. He asks if Regali was involved in Luke’s murder. Regali doesn’t appreciate Follmer asking him questions, or suspecting him of doing things like murdering children.

Follmer announces that he’s done with whatever they have going on. Regali notes that he can kill Follmer right now and make it seem like self-defense. If anything happens to Regali, the Washington Post will get a video proving that Follmer accepted a bribe to make an indictment go away for Regali. “You’re done when I say you’re done,” Regali says.

Doggett brings Barbara back for another lineup, and she focuses on Hayes/Simms for a long time. Scully presents him with a file full of evidence that he used a fake identify to get into the FBI academy, which is fraud. They think he orchestrated everything to get close to Doggett. Simms sticks to his story that his photos speak to him. He studied Luke’s case obsessively, as people with schizophrenia obsess over things. Yes, Barbara recognized him, but not from the day Luke was taken.

Doggett accuses Simms of lying, but Simms says he just wanted Doggett to listen to him. He knew Doggett wouldn’t believe a former psych patient with apparent psychic abilities. Doggett guesses that Simms gave him the tip that led him to find Ellen. Simms says he was just sending Doggett on Regali’s trail. He’s received another message, and he’d like to go home – not to his apartment, but to the institution he checked out of ten years ago.

The agents are back at square one, so Doggett returns to the bar to chat with Regali again. This time, he’s not here as an agent, but as a father. Regali insists that he doesn’t know who killed Luke, but he’s willing to offer up a hypothetical. Maybe there was a businessman who, for whatever reason, had to associate with people like Harvey. Maybe Harvey kidnapped the boy to do gross, illegal things to him, and the businessman caught them. Maybe the businessman had to get rid of the boy because the boy could identify him. Maybe the businessman had to find a solution to that problem.

Doggett ditches his parent persona and goes back to his FBI persona. He pulls out his gun and starts to follow Regali out of the bar. Outside, there’s a gunshot, and Doggett finds Regali on the ground, dead. Follmer has beaten Doggett the punch and, like Regali, has found a solution to his problem.

“Release”: Doggett and Barbara go to a beach to scatter Luke’s ashes in the ocean. When he returns to his car, Reyes is there, and Doggett hugs her warmly.

Thoughts: Jared Poe, who plays Simms, was an intern in the writers’ office, and not an actor. He asked Frank Spotnitz, the show’s executive producer, if he could audition for the role, and Spotnitz said okay, thinking Jared would never get it. But Jared beat out about 30 other actors for the part.

Simms is like House, if House were a semi-creepy FBI cadet with schizophrenia.

Maybe people with mental-health problems should be given a little more credit for being helpful in jobs like criminal investigations. I mean, it’s mostly about finding patterns and noticing small details, right? Who’s better at that than people with OCD and schizophrenia?

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