3×14 – GROTESQUE
Recap by Crass
What a great opening – I love a bit of nudity in my shows. Which is why I liked Californication so much, I suppose. Just let me pause this for a moment and enjoy the view. Aaaaahhhhh, that’s nice. Apparently it’s the George Washington University Extension Program – so what is it exactly that they’re extending? Enquiring minds want to know… Apparently sitting still and modelling like that is quite difficult. I can imagine the cramps. Still, I don’t have enough sympathy for this young man to want him to move just yet (how long can you pause DVDs without damage?). He’s rather a sight to behold – tanned skin, long, dark, curly hair, nice muscles…. sorry, I drifted off for a moment there. I’m now officially a dirty old woman. Moving on…
Oh, it really is an art class. There are lots of students beavering away at their interpretations of “Nude Man on a very small stool” and I take a moment to reflect how jealous I am of anyone with talent in the visual arts. I can’t even draw stick people well. Mark Snow’s Theme of Impending Creepiness is yawing about on the soundtrack, so I’m sure there will be some sort of reveal soon (I mean on top of the reveal we’ve already had…and now I’m just digging myself in deeper, aren’t I?). Now the camera has focused on a bug-eyed man with very short hair who seems to have a very different interpretation of the life drawing from everyone else. He’s a sweaty sort of individual who needs a shave and some very strong sort of soap. He looks as if he smells a bit. He has a rather odd way of holding his pencil (not that I’m an expert) and he is staring so intensely at the model that Nude Man on a very small stool is getting a bit creeped-out by it. Ugh, a close-up of his buggy eyes. I’m certain it’s not natural to have that much white showing and we’re so close in you can see the individual blood vessels. Yuck. Mark Snow gives us an audio prod and we see that Creepy Sweaty Guy is actually drawing some sort of gargoyle, and it’s clear that even the insane are much more artistically talented than I am. Sigh. CSG is working so intently on his drawing that he breaks the pencil, so he has to use his Exacto knife to resharpen it, but cuts his finger instead, causing blood to flow. He just looks at it for a moment, then goes right back to work, incorporating the blood into the picture. They call that mixed media, don’t they?
All of a sudden, the art class is over. The instructor covers up the model with a blanket (aaawwww) and tells everyone that they’re done for the night. Creepy Sweaty Guy throws all of his equipment into a wooden case and quickly puts on his coat. He’s in some sort of a hurry. He pushes past his classmates, ignoring them when they complain and the instructor and the model watch him leave. CSG’s outside now, pauses for a minute to look around furtively, then scurries off into the night. The camera pulls back and up and focuses on a stone gargoyle perched on the roof of the building.
Now we see an alleyway and there’s a hulking shadow on the wall, but fake-out! It’s only no-longer Nude model returning to his car. I don’t think there’s a woman alive who would be foolish enough to park in such a dark, deserted place, but I suppose if you’re young and muscular, or if you carry a gun, you probably wouldn’t think much about it. He’s about to get into the car (some sort of low-slung sporty thing, but a bit old), and he hears a noise. As he fumbles for his car-keys, we get a shot of someone’s hand, outlined in that blue-steel lighting that TV shows use for night. Ruh-roh, someone’s shoved an art pencil in the door lock of the car. I’d be really pissed off right now – parts for that sort of car are going to be hard to get and expensive. We see a sudden flash of Exacto knife, then a masculine scream (not girly). It’s so dark you can’t really see anything else.
Alarm clock buzzing, and it wakes up Creepy Sweaty Guy, who looks like he has a horrible headache and is in need of a shower. Bang – his door is kicked in and there’s a group of men yelling, “FBI!” and they proceed to arrest CSG, reading him his rights. They’re all heavily armed and are toting flashlights as they haul him out of bed and he yells incoherently and scrabbles at the floor. They handcuff him and pull him to his feet and the camera swings back for a close-up of Kurtwood Smith, one of my favourite character actors. You young’uns will recognise him as Red Foreman from That 70s Show, but I remember him most fondly as Clarence Boddicker in Robocop, a truly evil son-of-a-bitch. CSG bites one of the arresting agents and is bundled outside while Kurtwood snaps on the latex and begins to examine the unusual wallpaper until his gaze lights upon the art supplies shoved underneath a small table. He picks up the Exacto knife and pushes the blade up. Dun dun DUHHHNNNN! It’s all bloody! Cue old-school titles – the Truth is Out There – still. That’s sort of comforting.
Slideshow! It’s the mug shot of Creepy Sweaty Guy, whose name we now learn is John Mostow, divorced, with no children. Mulder’s monotone drawls out all the information about Mostow, who is from Uzbekistan and spent time in a mental institution there. Don’t worry Mulder, I’m sure your time will come to experience the thrill of five-point restraints and anti-psychotic medication. Scully is reading the file, and is dressed in what appears to be a rust-coloured skirt suit. Apparently CSG has been killing young men, but there’s no evidence of sexual assault, death being caused by massive blood loss due to facial mutilation. As Mulder talks about the wound pattern, he makes this funny sort of circular hand motion around his own face that cracks me up a bit. He really wants to leave the FBI and interview for Vanna White’s job. Mulder changes the slide as Scully reads out the litany of abuse and she gasps a little at the bloody sight that we can only see from side on because we’re the audience and some of us might become unbalanced if we saw anything so horrifying. She tells us that the level of violence and overkill suggest the work of a very angry individual. Mulder’s sitting at his desk with his foot up – while Scully seems more than a little rattled by these goings-on, he seems totally relaxed. Must be that profiling BSU background. His tie is rather subdued and tasteful, especially compared to other examples we’ve seen on this show. It’s in differing diagonal stripes of blue, with a white stripe for contrast. Perhaps Scully chose it for him this morning and he was so sated from the night before that he didn’t have the strength to argue. Or was that a fanfic I read? Anyway, he looks rather delish.
Of course, now that he’s looking so attractive, he has to go and spoil it by dropping a paranormal bombshell – he tells Scully that Mostow claims he was possessed by an evil spirit who was actually responsible for the murders. Scully, of course, is sceptical. She trots out that it’s a common thing for criminals with dissociative disorders to make these claims and disavow responsibility for their crimes. However, as usual, Mulder’s got something to back up his bullshit; the murder of a nineteen-year-old man with identical facial wounds, just last night. Since when are nineteen-year-olds men? Now I’m showing my age. Scully, of course, is no slouch when it comes to the Moose and Squirrel version of Pong, and comes straight back with “A copycat?” Mulder isn’t that easily vanquished when he catches a hint of that old paranormal bouquet, and tells Scully that the details of the facial mutilation were never released and that only members of the team tracking Mostow knew. Apparently Mostow’s been in custody for five days, so it couldn’t have been him. Ooh, and the credits now tell us that this episode was written by Howard Gordon, now of 24 fame. Perhaps this means we’ll get some super-spy action!
Now we’re at the DC Correctional Complex at Lorton, Virginia. I suspect it is actually no such place, but it looks sufficiently forbidding, although the razor wire is still nice and shiny. Creepy Sweaty Guy is in his cell, complaining about the light hurting his eyes in a vaguely Eastern-European accent. Hoorah! It’s Moose and Squirrel, all trenchcoated-up and looking yummy! How I miss them! CSG’s in a straitjacket and sitting on the floor. Scully asks him why he isn’t using his nice, soft bunk (suuurrree) and Mulder says that CSG’s been working. They’re both looming over the CSG, quite deliberately to intimidate, I suspect, but then Mulder squats down close and asks CSG what he’s drawn on the floor, which appears to be a gargoyle. CSG whispers, “It killed those men,” and Mulder asks, “Does it have a name to go with that face?” CSG comes across all metaphysical and says, “All men know its name.” What about the women? Surely we’d know too? Or are all serial killers misogynist? Wait, I think I answered my own question there.
Mulder, doing what he does best, speculates, and asks CSG if it is called Satan or the Devil, but Scully can’t resist dragging this conversation back into the realm of the realistic and says, “Maybe it’s just the name of your accomplice,” in her interrogation voice. Creepy Sweaty Guy gets upset and denies having an accomplice. Scully keeps her blank face on and says, “You killed all those young men yourself?” making it clear she thinks he’s not capable of it. This upsets him even more and he spits out “It killed them. How many times do I have to tell you?” Scully comes back with the fact that Mostow’s fingerprints were on the murder weapon and sounds just a little bored and pissed-off, (a dangerous Scully combination) also dropping the fact that he will be tried for seven murders under the death penalty. If possible, Mostow becomes even more sweaty and creepy, and tells Scully that “It laughs at fools like you.” Oh, she’s not happy about that and you can see that she’s envisaging him in the ‘lectric chair and is even fantasizing about how she’ll cackle as the switch is thrown. Then Mostow turns to Mulder saying, “Fools who would pretend evil can be brought to heel like a brindle bitch. Or be held by your pathetic gulags.” Mulder looks unimpressed by Mostow’s comments so he goes on to say, “While, with a snap of its fingers, it makes men lick the greasy floor of hell…just to see its reflection.” Nice image, that. Naturally, Scully is not going to take this lying down. She continues to interrogate him, even though he’s clearly insane, asking him about the young man who was killed last night. Mostow looks surprised at this, and Scully gives him a disbelieving look, complete with half-mast right Eyebrow, while Mostow begins to shake and cough, just like that old man in that book by Nabokov. He posits, “ It found somebody, somebody new. Just like it found me.”
Bzzzzzzztttt. The door opens and it’s our old friend Kurtwood Smith, who addresses Mulder and asks to see him and Scully outside. Scully, like the good little FBI agent she is, leaves immediately, but Mulder rather reluctantly stands and finally walks out. Duchovny plays this scene as though Mulder is a sulky adolescent who’s been caught with Dad’s car-keys and a six-pack of Heineken. He’s all hunched-over and won’t look anyone in the eye. Kurtwood starts to lay into him, “So what is it, Mulder? Little green men? Evil spirits? Hounds of hell?” Was he listening through the bars or what? Mulder doesn’t answer him, but instead turns to Scully and says, “Scully, this is Bill Patterson. He runs the Investigative Support Unit at Quantico.” Oh, so that’s who Kurtwood is. Scully tries to get this meeting back on a more professional and friendly track by saying it’s an honour to meet him. B-Pat has no interest in being professional or friendly however, and asks Scully if she also thinks Mostow is possessed by some dark spirit. He’s being a bit unfair here – so far Mulder hasn’t expressed any sort of opinion about whether Mostow is truly possessed. Scully does a beautiful double-take (B-Pat obviously hasn’t heard much about her) and denies it. B-Pat then comes back with, “Strange company you keep then.” Obviously, he doesn’t appreciate the back view of Mulder that Scully and the female audience (and certain sections of the male audience) find so appealing. B-Pat’s flunky seems quite uncomfortable with the repartee and keeps his mouth shut. Mulder really has trouble looking B-Pat in the eye, but then he sort of laughs before reaching down, finding his balls, and looking him square in the eye and telling B-Pat how mean-spirited he is, before turning to walk away. B-Pat follows him, telling Mulder that the arrest of John Mostow was the culmination of three years’ work by the ISU and that they were upset by the recent murder and by the suspect floating his possession theory. Mulder counters, saying that B-Pat now thinks Mostow has an accomplice, even though B-Pat’s own profile said that Mostow would definitely be working alone. Well, I suppose it’s not an exact science, now is it? B-Pat tries to save some face by saying that Mostow did act alone, and that last night’s murder was by a second killer, and he acted alone too. How right you are, B-Pat, how right you are. Mulder and B-Pat play their little pissing game a bit more, and it comes out that Mostow draws the gargoyles to keep the demon away. Doesn’t appear to have been terribly effective, now does it? Mulder makes an attempt at giving B-Pat a history lesson about the use of gargoyles at Notre Dame and Chartres, but B-Pat tells him to talk to the hand and shuts him down much more quickly than Scully ever manages to. Mulder loses his temper a little bit (probably because of the cut-short lecture, just as he was getting on a roll) and tells B-Pat he was asked to look into this case and to take it up with AD Skinner. Ding-ding! Two bald macho guys head to head! I’d pay to see that! Mulder stalks off in a huff, leaving Scully and B-Pat’s sidekick to exchange embarrassed glances, before Scully follows him.
Cut to – Mulder and Scully walking together down some sort of creepy corridor or laneway (it’s hard to tell – 10:13 must have saved heaps on lighting in these early seasons) and Scully asks Mulder when his love affair with B-Pat ended. I love Scully’s sense of humour. She seems to know just what to say to bring Mulder out of his black moods. Apparently, we’re back at Mostow’s warehouse. Mulder tells Scully that B-Pat never liked him, but Scully expresses disbelief (what a surprise!) and says, “Weren’t you considered the fair-haired boy at the Bureau?” That must have been some time ago. Mulder tells Scully that B-Pat never liked him because Mulder didn’t want to get his knees dirty. That’s disappointing for Scully. Mulder couldn’t quite cast himself in the role of the dutiful student. Well, I’m not surprised, and Scully is barely coming up to Mulder’s shoulder in this scene, even wearing high heels. Hee, she’s tiny! Scully goes on a bit about how men wanted to worship B-Pat and that a lot of men joined the Bureau because they wanted to be him. Mulder is still annoyed, although he’s trying manfully not to take it out on Scully, but he rips the crime scene tape off and throws it down rather vindictively. He tells Scully that B-Pat had a saying, “…if you wanted to know an artist, you had to look at his art. What he meant was: if you wanted to catch a monster you had to become one yourself.” Aaandd, with a push to the door, they’re inside Mostow’s studio. It hasn’t improved any since B-Pat was there and the walls are literally papered with pictures of gargoyles. A gargoyle here, a gargoyle there, here a gargoyle, there a gargoyle, everywhere a gargoyle. Old John Mostow had a farm, EIEIO.
A cat jumps out of nowhere and startles Scully. I’ve never actually known a cat to do that – perhaps it’s something they save for when they’re cast in horror movies and creepy TV shows? Maybe Scully has some sort of horrible premonition about Teso dos Bichos as she seems uncharacteristically unnerved by the feline hijinks. Mulder mans it up and investigates the cat’s hiding place, noting that there’s air coming through and that there must be something on the other side of the wall. He and Scully start tapping around and looking behind the pictures until they find a door. Mulder goes straight in, but Scully hangs back and asks Mulder to wait until they can get some more light. However, Mulder is as prepared as a Boy Scout (or an Indian Guide) and has a flashlight. Scully gets her gun out to back him up as he prowls through the doorway (he really does prowl, it’s not just a figure of speech). Mulder is back on the hunt. The beam from his flashlight reveals even more gargoyles, this time sculpted in clay. Scully asks the question on everyone’s mind, “Why would he keep them in a secret room?” Why indeed? Mulder touches one and the clay still appears to be wet. Holding his flashlight in his mouth (launching a thousand slash-fics) and thus unable to answer Scully’s increasingly worried questions, he digs at the clay with his fingers, revealing a real face underneath (or a good sfx fake face). Aaannnnddd – Scene.
Now we’re watching a young man doing some glass-blowing (and no, it’s not a euphemism, he really is blowing glass). Why do all these people insist on working in large, dark warehouses? It’s just asking for trouble in my opinion. He pauses for a moment as he hears a door slam, but goes back to his work when no-one appears. As the audience, we get to see a shadow creeping around, through the shelves with the finished glass, coming up behind the young artist, who just keeps on working with the molten glass. He turns and screams, dropping the stick with the red-hot glass on the floor, where it begins to burn. Fade out, and we’re at the George Washington University Hospital, in Washington DC. That Washington sure had a lot of stuff named after him. Funnily enough, most Australians would be able to tell you that he was the first President of the United States of America, but would be unable to name the first Prime Minister of Australia. Sir Edmund Barton, for those of you playing along at home. He was also one of the first three High Court judges. Thus endeth the Australian History lecture. Our glassblower is in hospital, with bandages all over his face (I recognise his hair, all right?). The doctor isn’t encouraged by his signs, so I’m guessing he’s not doing too well. B-Pat’s sidekick is there and yay! Scully turns up filling him in on the fact that they found five dismembered bodies in the secret room, all with their faces mutilated like the latest victim, our glassblowing friend in the hospital room. B-Pat’s sidekick tells Scully that the latest victim is still alive, but was subjected to the same facial mutilation as the other victims. B-Pat’s sidekick hasn’t yet spoken to B-Pat about the latest victim, but Scully theorises that she and Mulder’s finding Mostow’s secret gallery (which B-Pat’s team apparently missed) is not going to endear them any further with B-Pat. I’m thinking B-Pat will go for the ball-gag next time, along with the kneeling. Then B-Pat’s sidekick drops the bomb on Scully that he thinks that B-Pat went to Skinner and requested Mulder secretly. Scully evinces disbelief (shocking, I know!), but B-Pat’s sidekick goes on to say that he has worked with B-Pat for three years on the Mostow case and that it nearly killed B-Pat, and the first copy-cat murder had thrown B-Pat “for a loss”. Scully confides that Mulder thinks that B-Pat never thought very highly of him. B-Pat’s sidekick says, “That’s just Patterson. Late night, couple of beers in him, he starts telling me Mulder stories, how he’s some kind of crack genius.” Scully looks down and asks Sidekick about the stitches in his hand, and he tells her that Mostow bit him (I think this was meant to be like a werewolf-style red herring or something, to make us think that Sidekick is the copycat murderer).
B-Pat finally shows up and asks about whether the victim could identify his attacker, but Sidekick says that the doctor says it’s too early to even try and that they’re not even sure he’s going to make it. In a show of utter insensitivity, they’re all standing at the foot of glassblower’s bed while they’re having this conversation. Glassblower is starting to shake and moan, but the FBI agents just keep on talking. Sheesh, no wonder Scully’s a pathologist. Her bedside manner sucks like an Electrolux. Finally, a nurse who’s holding glassblower’s hand and trying to calm him down boots all three of them out. About time, too. They don’t even have the good grace to look embarrassed.
Now the camera is investigating the bookshelves of the Georgetown University Library, as Mulder voiceovers all sorts of information about gargoyles. Yawn, but keep rolling up those shirtsleeves, pretty boy. He’s leafing through books about gargoyles, with pictures of gargoyles and comparing them to Mostow’s drawings. This scene would have been improved if Mulder had been wearing his glasses. He must be writing his own profile of the copycat killer. Finally, he is put to sleep, possibly by his own monotonous voiceover. B-Pat wakes him, telling him that “They’re closing up in a few minutes,” and critiquing Mulder’s work, while Mulder looks put-upon, sulky and unshaven. B-Pat tries to get Mulder to tell him about his theory, but Mulder isn’t playing. B-Pat says he knows where Mulder is going with this, but that he’s already been there and Mulder is wasting his time. Mulder and B-Pat indulge in some badinage in which Mulder tries to push B-Pat into admitting There’s Something About Gargoyles, but B-Pat won’t go there, instead telling Mulder that Mulder has disappointed him. Mulder sits back in an attempt to look down his nose at a man leaning over him (A+ for effort) and says: “I wouldn’t want to disappoint you by not disappointing you.” Ouch. I think my son said something like that to me once when he was about 16. B-Pat tries to keep the argument going, but Mulder refuses to play his silly game and B-Pat stalks out in high dudgeon. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary the word dudgeon means: a wood used especially for dagger hilts. I’m guessing the term high dudgeon means that you are so angry you’ve pulled your dagger partway out so the hilt is visible or something. I’ve always wanted to know, but that was surprisingly unhelpful. But we digress. Back to the action. Mulder makes his rumpled but sexy way to the window and looks out to see a stone gargoyle looking back in at him.
Casa de Mulder. Scully’s knocking on the door and not getting an answer, so she lets herself in with her key. No really, they’re not sleeping together, I swear! She turns the light on in his foyer and walks through to his lounge-room, where the circling camera makes it clear that Mulder has begun to take his decorating tips from John Mostow, the Creepy, Sweaty Serial Killer. In a nice dissolve from one picture of a gargoyle to the next, we’re with Mulder in Mostow’s studio. He’s revisiting the portrait gallery and apparently there are unearthly whispers on the soundtrack, or so the closed captioning tells me. Mulder is staring intently at one of the pictures, and running his fingers over it. Now it appears Mulder has decided to take up sculpture. He’s a Renaissance Man! The camera pulls back and he’s surrounded by creepy torsoes sculpted in clay. Weird. It’s now 3.43am and Mulder has fallen asleep there. How? I’d be afraid something would come to life and freak me out! Oh no! A shadow falls over him and he wakes with a gasp! A chase ensues through the poorly lit warehouse, so that all we can see is that Mulder is chasing a humanoid figure with a bald head and pointy ears. Is it Skinner? Our mysterious friend could also do with some Body Shop Hemp hand lotion if the camerawork is anything to go by. Mulder chases him up ladders and across catwalks, and it’s making me a little tired just watching it. Mulder’s gun is still in the holster (if it had been Scully, she would have just busted out her loudest “Freeze! FBI!” and fired a warning shot at his head). At least this time he won’t have a chance to drop it. Oh, I spoke too soon. He’s drawn his weapon at last, but the intruder was hiding behind some boxes and leaps out, cutting Mulder on the face and pushing him off the catwalk into some conveniently located drop-cloths or something. At any rate, they’re soft and they break Mulder’s fall nicely.
Mulder is now being patched up by a paramedic while Scully berates him about turning off his phone and she actually tells him she was scared when she couldn’t contact him. The paramedic finishes the butterfly sutures and Mulder doesn’t even thank him, just gets up and flounces off, leaving Scully to say “Thanks” and if I was the paramedic I’d be feeling pretty unappreciated right about now. Talk about being in the middle of a lovers’ quarrel, which is exactly how this plays. Mulder is shrugging on his coat, and walking very quickly out of the warehouse, but Scully is like a little terrier, following him doggedly and nipping at his heels. She is not going to let this go. Apparently Scully has been unable to get hold of Mulder for two days – he hasn’t been returning her calls. He attempts to distract her from this line of questioning by saying, “This thing exists Scully. It’s real.” Scully is getting really exasperated by this stage, reiterating that Mostow is the killer and that there is a copycat. Mulder asserts that whatever attacked him wasn’t a person, but when Scully asks him if he actually saw it, he refuses to answer, instead rolling his eyes and looking as though he is barely restraining himself from saying something to Scully he’ll truly regret later. She says that maybe he’s only seeing what he wants to see, which tips Mulder over the edge and he yells at her: “What makes you think I would want to see that!” Scully is a little taken aback, but keeps on going. She tells him that he should listen to himself and admits to him that she went to his apartment when she couldn’t reach him and that she saw his new wallpaper. Mulder picks up quite quickly that she thought it in bad taste. Then she drops the clanger that B-Pat is testing Mulder and that he asked for him on the case specifically. Mulder just gets into his car without another word and drives off. Scully looks pretty annoyed at this point, but at least she knows he’s alive and relatively sane, right?
Her primary target fled, Scully looks around for someone else to take out her temper on. And look, it’s B-Pat and sidekick lurking in the alley. How convenient. Get ready for a dose of Hurricane Scully boys – you’d better batten down the hatches. She asks B-Pat for a minute – in private. Sidekick, realising he has just been handed a golden opportunity to save his genitals from serious damage, leaves B-Pat to Scully’s tender mercies. She bails B-Pat up about requesting Mulder on the case, and of knowing exactly how deeply it would affect him. B-Pat squirms a bit on the hook, saying that Scully should take up Agent Mulder’s conduct with Mulder himself. Scully says that he knows she has already done that and B-Pat asks what she expects him to do about it. Scully accuses B-Pat of trying to payback Mulder for quitting the ISU to work on the X-Files and B-Pat denies that his motivations are that petty. He all but admits he needs Mulder to solve the case for him, and Scully softens at the compliment, but then B-Pat spoils it all by giving Scully a warning to let Mulder do what he has to do, telling her not to get in his way or to try to hold him back, because she won’t be able to. Why she’s taking advice on her love life from B-Pat, I’ll never know. Sidekick has been watching all this from a distance, stroking at his stitches. That must be itching like hell by now. Resigned, Scully makes her way back to her car. She gets in and starts it, just happening to look over at the tyre of another car parked next to her. Dun DUN DUHHHNNNN!!!!! There’s a blade from an Exacto knife stuck in the rubber! She grabs her trusty flashlight and goes over to investigate. Pulling some latex from her pocket, she removes it from the tyre and looks at it closely. She decides further investigation is warranted and looks underneath the vehicle, finding the rest of the Exacto knife, sitting in an oil spot. Isn’t that always the way?
Bzzzztttt. Mulder’s back at the prison. He asks Mostow why the creature didn’t kill him like it killed the others. Perhaps because you had a gun, Mulder? Mostow continues his runaround bullshit and looks extremely greasy in this scene. Eeeewww. Mulder wants Mostow to help him get inside its head so he can understand what it wants. Mostow just keeps giving him his Eastern-European Vincent Price impression, which is not helping at all. Mulder quickly reaches the end of his tether and indulges in some police brutality. Moist! However, it doesn’t help. Mostow probably thinks Mulder’s a bit of an amateur compared to the KGB, so Mulder leaves.
Meanwhile, Scully’s over at the FBI Sci-Crime Lab, in the Latent Fingerprint Section. Wow. I wonder if the FBI really is that specific? Unlike Mulder, Scully knows how to play nice with the other agents, and the Sci-Crime lady has worked hard and gotten some results for Scully. I sometimes wonder how much of the missing X-Files evidence has to do with Mulder pissing off his fellow agents, and how much is actually conspiracy-related. Sci-Crime Lady dusted the blade with Redwop (Scully goes Wha?) and Sci-Crime Lady has to admit to a geek in-joke – it’s powder spelled backwards. Oh, the yuks in the Sci-Crime lab must be something to see! She and Scully are wearing some rad sunglasses, possibly to protect their eyes from the UV. Apparently the real name for Redwop is fluorescent lycopodium. You learn something new every day in this show. You can tell Scully’s storing that little bit of information up so she can impress Mulder with it later. There’s a partial index on the blade, and a full thumb on the haft of the handle. The prints are oriented where someone would grip the knife, which is why Sci-Crime Lady thought she had Scully’s guy (oh, really), but it turns out that the prints were Mulder’s. Scully is rather disturbed by this information, but I’m thinking that if Mulder were the killer, he’d have enough knowledge of forensic science not to be so sloppy as to leave his fingerprints on a murder weapon. Unless he was being extra clever, but this could go round and round in circles.
Scully runs straight down to the evidence room (Section L7 if anyone’s that interested), determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Exacto knife. The clerk obligingly gets the box down for her (I don’t think she would have been able to reach it without a step ladder) and she knocks back the offer of using the table, instead asking him to put it on the floor for her. His phone rings and he leaves Scully alone with the evidence box. In a move that makes me grasp my poor old knees and moan in sympathy, Scully squats down and looks through the box, finding the plastic baggie for the knife is empty. Nice chain of custody there, FBI people. Also, some advice for the young’uns – if you’re going to play squash and indulge in competitive gymnastics, do something to protect your knees. Any attempt to use my knees in any weight-bearing sort of way results in sounds like firecrackers going off. Gilly must be a lot fitter than I am. She sighs in exasperation, then gets the uplifting news that the phone call was the Skinman, looking for her.
Chugga chugga chugga – Office du Skinman. That is a very nice double-breasted pantsuit Scully’s wearing. Skinner questions Scully about her search for the Exacto knife of Mystery. He asks if it is her opinion that the knife missing from Evidence is the same knife she found at the crime scene. Scully says she’s not absolutely certain. Skinner knows that Mulder’s prints were found on it and there’s a particular Sci-Crime Lady who’s now off Scully’s Christmas card list. Skinner starts questioning Scully about Mulder’s mental state. Jeez, everyone on this show just assumes that Scully is Mulder’s keeper. How about treating him like an adult and asking him yourself? No wonder he acts like a sulky adolescent. Next they’ll be asking Scully if he wets the bed or has any interesting dreams, and by the way, what really happened to your little dog, Scully? Are you sure he has a phobia about fire? Scully gives Skinman the old stonewall, and Skinner admits he’s worried about Mulder. Well, maybe you should take that up with him, Skinman.
Meanwhile at Mostow’s Museum of Morbidity, Mulder is musing. I love alliteration. He’s walking around with his flashlight looking at the sculptures, when he is attacked again. But no! It’s B-Pat, his Sidekick and some Sidekickettes. Mulder fights back, only to seemingly slash himself on the cheek with the Exacto knife of Mystery. Then he wakes up. It was all a horrible dream and he’s on his couch, surrounded by examples of Mostow’s art. That would be enough to give anyone nightmares. He’s still in his work clothes and was wearing his gun. He must have been really tired, because that could not be comfortable. He puts his trench-coat on and he’s outta there! He goes back to Mostow’s lair in the dark. Man, Mulder must have a backbone of sheer titanium (much like a SuperSoldier) because there is absolutely NO WAY I’d be visiting the scene of one of my nightmares in the middle of the night on my own, even if I had a gun. Entering the secret gallery with a determined stride, Mulder notices that there’s a new work of art, the clay still wet, on the bench. Our friend, the kitty cat, is licking up blood from the floor. Lawks! Mulder follows the blood trail and finds a disembodied arm. Oh my paws and whiskers! Do you think the cat did it?
Scully’s finally made it home to discover a message on her answering machine. It’s from a Greg Nemhauser and he asks her to call him right away on 555 0143. I’m guessing this is Sidekick’s actual name. Halfway through the message, Nemhauser is cut off. That is never a good sign on The X-Files. Conscientious as ever, Scully dials Nemhauser’s number. Briiiiinnnggggg. We’re back in Mostow’s Museum of Morbidity and someone’s phone is ringing, startling Mulder. He goes looking for the sound. One of the things that frustrates me the most about my hearing loss is that I don’t have any directional hearing any more and you use it more than you would think. It freaks me out to see people put their phones to their right ears as it just seems so wrong to me now. In Mulder’s position, I’d be hopelessly lost. Mulder finds a discarded coat that coincidentally contains a ringing cellphone. I’ll bet that’s Scully on the other end. Of course I’m right because I’ve seen this episode before, but Mulder, being the nosy parker that he is, just can’t resist answering it, and of course it’s Scully on the other end, wondering why Mulder’s answering Nemhauser’s phone. Uh-oh, Mulder is now getting some idea about whose arm he just found. Scully is also taking the opportunity to drag him over the coals about the Exacto knife of Mystery, stolen from Evidence, found at a crime scene with Mulder’s prints all over it. Mulder admits to examining Mostow’s knife in the Evidence room, but denies taking it. Scully tells Mulder to stay where he is and that she will be there soon to work things out together, OK? This sounds more and more like conversations I have had with teenage children. Mulder is staring at the new piece of art and hangs up on Scully to examine it further. I bet she hates when he does that. Suddenly, Mulder tears at the clay to reveal Nemhauser’s poor, mutilated face underneath. He draws his gun and swings around to confront B-Pat, who has snuck up behind him. He lowers his weapon and tells B-Pat that he has found Nemhauser. Then he looks suspiciously at B-Pat and says: “But you already knew that, didn’t you?” He accuses B-Pat of killing Nemhauser because Nemhauser suspected that B-Pat was the second killer. Mulder’s now holding his gun on B-Pat again, while B-Pat tells Mulder he’s out of his mind (a common misconception). B-Pat orders Mulder to put the gun down, but Mulder refuses unless B-Pat tells him what he’s doing there. Mulder tells B-Pat to look at his hands. He does, and they are covered in clay. B-Pat is now not sure what he’s doing there, but Mulder is happy to fill him in. B-Pat lived the horror show that was inside John Mostow’s head for three years and caught the crazy himself.
At the worst possible moment, Scully turns up and shines her flashlight directly in Mulder’s eyes, shocked that he’s holding a gun on the head of the ISU. B-Pat takes the opportunity to push over one of the sculptures on top of Mulder, then he barrels right over the top of Scully in an attempt to escape. Mulder helps her up and tells her that the killer is B-Pat, who’s doing a pretty good job of running away for an old guy, but it’s clear that Mulder is going to catch him easily. I think they must have asked Duchovny to wind back the speed in this scene to make it seem like Kurtwood could perhaps outrun him because he looks like he’s just loping along without much effort. Mulder and Scully chase B-Pat up onto the roof, and search around for him, guns and flashlights at the ready. Mulder startles some sleeping pigeons and climbs up over a low wall leading to another section of the roof. B-Pat jumps him from out of the shadows causing Mulder to drop his gun (groan) and a struggle ensues. There is a gunshot, and it appears that Mulder has been successful in getting his gun back and has shot B-Pat, wounding him. Scully rolls B-Pat over, checking his pulse and telling Mulder to call an ambulance. I think at this point Mulder would be perfectly happy to let B-Pat bleed out on the roof, but he calls the paramedics as the camera pulls back to reveal yet another roof-top gargoyle. Does Washington DC really have this many gargoyles dotted around? I don’t think I’ve ever seen any in Australia. I think it’s a gargoyle-free zone.
Two weeks later, and we’re back in the prison, or at least on the prison set. B-Pat is behind bars, having a conniption fit because no one will listen to him. He is protesting his innocence. Just to add insult to B-Pat’s injury, we now get a Mulder voiceover as the camera zooms in close on a gargoyle drawn in blood on the wall: “We work in the dark. We do what we can to battle the evil that would otherwise destroy us. But if a man’s character is his fate, this fight is not a choice but a calling. And sometimes the weight of this burden causes us to falter, breaching the fragile fortress of our mind, allowing the monsters without to turn within. And we are left alone, staring into the abyss, into the laughing face of madness.” I think there’s something in that for all of us.