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Back from commercial, there's Scully in the boat again, on the same misty lake. This time the woman who was standing behind Mulder and Melissa before is speaking, telling Dana her name is Nurse Owens and she's there to watch over her, and help her find the way home. Cut to the hospital again; Nurse Owens is leaning over Scully's bed. Mulder sidles in, and Nurse Owens gives Scully a forehead kiss (bow chicka bow bow! Oh, sorry, just habit with forehead kisses on this show) and slips out. Mulder doesn't freak out and slam her up against a wall and demand to know what the hell she's doing and who she's working for, so if you're wondering why, as you might well be, you might just want to put that aside for later. The other, grumpier nurse -- who, by the way, is otherwise known as the Howard Graves Is Very Dead lady (see "Shadows" for more on that) -- tells Mulder to move it so she can take some blood. Oh, I'm sure nothing will go wrong here. Taking blood on TXF is always so innocuous.

Next bed over, half-hidden behind a curtain, is some other guy in a suit, looking down sadly at whoever's on that side. Just a bland, nondescript dude, sort of hanging around, not at all suspiciously. Mulder exchanges a glance with him -- nothing more than two sad suit-wearing guys in a hospital -- and looks back to Scully. Nurse Howard Graves Is Very Dead takes the blood and, in an extreme closeup, puts it carefully and showily down on a table, and just then some other lady crashes and she rushes off. While some attempts at ER-style dialogue are going on in the background, Mulder looks back at the test tube of blood -- which is suddenly gone OH NOES. Guess who else is gone? You got it -- Mr. Totally Not At All A Secret Government Agent Of Any Sort. The door is swinging closed. Mulder springs into action, bolting out the door and down the hall, where he sees the guy strolling ahead of him. As Mulder chases him, the man breaks into a run, heading for an elevator, which starts to close behind him. Mulder's juuuuuuust too late to get it open (except for the take on the bloopers where he does get it open, heh). Stupid blood-taking jerk! He takes off down the stairwell. Nobody in the X-ray department! What's next? Parking garage! Mulder runs through it, or I think it's him; it's hard to tell. Hey, you know what's hard to watch at the gym, when you don't have a great angle on the TV to begin with because you're short and it's very bright inside and you keep going up and down because you're on the elliptical and so the angle keeps changing? The X-Files. Just a by-the-way. Mulder slides out from behind a concrete wall, gun drawn, looking for Blood-Stealing Man -- and is jumped by Mr. X, who shoves him against the wall, his own gun in Mulder's face.

"I didn't expect you here until after visiting hours," says Mr. X, which is a line I have never really gotten. Mulder babbles, "There was a man -- he took Scully's blood -- " Mr. X tells, nay, ORDERS him to leave it alone. Mulder is still put out that Mr. X never answered the tape telephone, and says as much. Mr. X snarls back that Mulder got "him" killed, and "her" killed -- I'm assuming "him" and "her" are Deep Throat and Scully, respectively, though I guess we never really got any definitive proof that Deep Throat wasn't a woman -- and Mr. X isn't going to let that happen to himself. "You're MY tool!" he hisses. "I come to YOU when I need YOU." If Mulder doesn't cut out the indiscreet MIB-chasing, he's going to "lead them right here." "What the hell are you talking about?" Mulder growls. Excellent question, Mulder. "You're not supposed to know. That's the point," Mr. X says. Oh, for the love of little apples. That just doesn't make any sense. Mulder not knowing is "the point"? In what way? Grumble. Mulder brokenly says that he owes Scully more than just sitting around pouting and watching porn and turning down offers from the Gunmen to hop on the Internet and nitpick the scientific inaccuracies of various 1994-ish sci-fi programs, though he doesn't say that specifically. Mr. X acknowledges that Scully was a good soldier (aww), but says there's nothing Mulder can do to bring her back. "She's not dead," Mulder grits, and Mr. X laughs in his face. Then he says my favorite Mr. X line ever: "You're a damn schoolboy, Mulder," which simply rules. I used to say "You're a damn schoolboy, Mulder" a lot. Usually when Mulder was doing something dumb on the show. Try it, you'll like it.

So, why is Mulder a damn schoolboy again? Oh, OK, it's because he has "no idea. No idea!" That makes total sense. These informants! Sheesh! Mr. X further tells Mulder that he used to be Mulder, but Mulder basically doesn't have the stones for what lies in the future for him if he doesn't walk away now. He tells him to grieve for Scully and then get out and don't look back. "You will be able to live with yourself...on the day you die," he says. Mulder's all, I just want my partner's stolen vial of blood back, for pete's sake, so you don't have to be such a drama queen about it. He fakes Mr. X out, escapes, and runs some more around the parking lot while Mr. X backs up against the wall. And -- who should Mulder see but Blood-Stealing Man, sort of jogging among the cars. What was he doing all this time, reading a magazine? Writing "WASH ME" on all the dirty cars between the elevator and the exit? Mulder crouchingly runs after him, yells "Federal agent!" and gets shot at for his trouble. He jumps behind a column that says "E" on it, and "225," and I'm sure that means something but...I got nothing. Or it could mean that they found a parking garage to film in that had a column in it that had an "E" and a "225" on it. The mysteries on this show are boundless.

Now Mulder's like, inside the hospital again? I guess? No, maybe still the garage. Still pointing his gun all over the place, while some crazy "tense chase" music plays. Suddenly, some footsteps ("Footsteps," the closed captioning says helpfully), and a very out-of-nowhere closeup shot of Blood-Stealing Man holding his gun aloft someplace that could be right here or could be in some other building. Back to Mulder, who's skulking around some more -- and then he pops up behind BSM. He tells him to put his gun slowly on the ground and put his head on "the machine," which is some sort of...machine that you might find in a hospital parking garage, or basement or something. Laundry room maybe? IT IS DARK, OK? I'm not sure Mulder knows what it is either, but he's a smart boy so "the machine" covers it without any betrayal of the ol' cool exterior. Mulder pats him down, finds the vial of blood and gives it a once-over. "Face me," he orders, and, holding up the vial, demands to know who wants it. When he doesn't get an answer, he tells BSM to start walking. They don't get very far before BSM upsets a laundry cart...or something...and knocks Mulder's gun out of his hand. Fisticuffs ensue, and end with Mulder on the ground, the blood vial also knocked out of his hand. You might want to do some wrist exercises or something, Agent Butterfingers. Just when it seems like curtains for Mulder, Mr. X pops up out of nowhere, and very loudly and cringe-inducingly breaks some of the guy's arm bones or something, then kicks the gun out of the way. He tells Mulder, who's still writhing on the floor, to stay put, then tosses BSM off to the side. "Wait!" Mulder says, but Mr. X shoots him anyway, sending him flying offscreen.

"You want to see what it takes to find the truth, Agent Mulder?" Mr. X says. "You want to know the things I know?" YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES! Mulder screams, but only in his mind, because it seems imprudent at the moment somehow. See, even Mulder has some filters. Mr. X turns back to the fallen BSM, who's still moaning creepily offscreen. Now we see their silhouettes -- BSM hunched over, Mr. X standing in front of him, and we can see the gun raised, and -- yup. Mr. X shoots BSM right in the head -- or it looks like it, anyway -- and he falls. DAMN, MR. X. Man, he is such a total badass. He does not fuck around with the appearance of kindliness like Deep Throat did. "I'll attend to this," he tells Mulder, and walks away. Again I say: DAMN.


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