“Conduit” – 1×03
A girl disappears in the woods in Iowa. Scully and Mulder’s investigation generates friction with local law enforcement, as well as with the NSA after the girl’s younger brother mysteriously transcribes satellite transmissions. After chasing some dead ends, meeting a biker bartender, and turning up an incidental murder, they find the girl in the woods under mysterious circumstances.
The woods! A campfire. Kids sleeping. A camper trailer thing. A cup of coffee. Idyllic.
Wait, the coffee is shaking!
The whole RV is going crazy, and there’s a bright light! And then a little boy named Kevin tells him mom that “Ruby’s gone!” Mom starts yelling her name — AT THE SKY!
In Blevins’ office
A disapproving Blevins fills Scully in on Mulder’s latest travel request (aka a “302″), for Sioux City, Iowa. On a flimsy tabloid lead about alien abduction. Because of…SAMANTHA?
Expositorily, Scully recaps the Samantha abduction story. Blevins wants to reject the travel request, but Scully convinces him to let her talk to Mulder about it.
But what makes this case any more credible than…
[gestures to tabloid]
…the hundred year old mother of the lizard baby?
Lake Okobogee is apparently a hotbed of UFO sightings. In 1967, a troop of girl scouts saw a UFO — one even took a picture — and among that troop was a young Darlene “my daughter Ruby got abducted at the beginning of the episode” Morris.
The agents take a trip out to visit Darlene (so the 302 got approved!). Mulder has a weird little emotional moment with a picture of Ruby.
It’s pretty clear that Darlene thinks aliens took Ruby. She also reports that Kevin has been acting strange.
Mulder spends some quality time with Kevin, a cute little Village Of The Damned kid who is spending his time transcribing binary code from a staticy dead TV channel. Back in the office, Mulder bribes a “Danny” back at FBI headquarters with Redskins tickets to decode the binary.
A sheriff with really intense forehead wrinkles knows Darlene pretty well, and is deeply skeptical of Darlene’s story. He doesn’t think much of Ruby, either; he thinks she ran away.
As the agents are exiting the Sheriff’s office:
They find a note on the windshield of their car: an appeal to follow someone across the street. They tail a mysterious young woman into a library. She knows something about Ruby! She says that Ruby’s boyfriend was Greg Randall, that Ruby was pregnant, and that the two were supposed to meet in the woods the night she disappeared.
A clumsy librarian drops a book and scares off Mystery Girl, so the agents follow her tip to the Pennsylvania Pub, where Greg apparently works. Mulder inquires about Greg, and the barkeep asks who’s asking.
Greg hasn’t been in to work in three weeks, and is so fired, they learn. And then:
The bartender also makes a joke about getting a suntan at night, and then…
At the motel
Scully sees silhouettes outside her motel room door! She eyes her gun on the nightstand, but then the door gets kicked in! Men with guns, looking for…Mulder!
And they find Mulder (though it’s not clear where they find him), and…
The gov’t spooks are curious about the binary code drawing. Mulder wheedles some info out of them: it’s a snippet of a defense satellite transmission! The spooks are NSA!
They sack the kid’s room! THEY RIFLE THROUGH HIS PICTURE BOOKS! And haul Darlene and Kevin off into custody.
Searching for answers
They drive right past the Sioux City exit on the freeway.
Mulder’s theory: the boy is a “conduit”, affected by whatever force took Ruby that night.
The agents check out the campsite where Ruby disappeared. The treetops are messed up, and Mulder finds some…GLASS!
And then a white wolf (coyote?) leads Mulder into the woods. Where a whole pack of ‘em are stalking a shallow grave. He fires his gun in the air to scare off the wolves. This double as a secret signal for “Scully, come running because you have no idea why I just fired my gun”.
Greg is dead
The grave: Greg Randall. In his wallet: a note with the name of Dr. Jack Fowler. The handwriting matches the handwriting on Mystery Girl’s note! They haul her in for questioning! Her name is Tessa. She’s the one who’s pregnant! By Greg! Dead Greg! Mulder employs a clever interrogation technique where he pretends to be Emeril Lagasse.
[slams fist on table]
ASCII Art at Chez Morris
Nobody seems to be home, but they were recently — Scully takes off the whistling tea-kettle. And then discovers, from the upstairs balcony, the real patterns in Kevin’s ones and zeros:
Return to Lake Okobogee
They find the camper parked by the side of the road, and hear shouting in the woods. It’s Darlene! She says “it’s here”, and that Kevin ran ahead.
You wanna bet?
True, but nope! It’s the glow of a bunch of bikers’ headlights.
Scully and Darlene find Ruby in the woods and take her to the hospital. She’s in a coma, and her white blood cell count is crazy high.
They talk to Ruby, ask where she’s been. Kevin tells her it’s okay to talk to them, that “they know”. But then DARLENE INTERRUPTS. CRAZY ALIEN ABDUCTION GIRLSCOUT LADY DARLENE. WTF.
Scully reads Samantha’s file and listens to Mulder’s DEEP REGRESSION HYPNOSIS tapes. The audio carries through a cut to Mulder looking at a photo of him and Samantha and crying…in a church pew? Mulder goes to church? Ever?
And as we fade out to the credits, Mulder describes a reassuring voice in his head, telling him not to be scared at Samantha’s abduction, that everything will be okay. The hypnotist asks, “do you believe the voice?”