1×05 – Shadows
Our agents get called in by some mysterious, tight-lipped spooks to check out some twitchy corpses, but soon find themselves embroiled in deep weirdness tied to a woman named Lauren Kite and her dead (OR IS HE?! [yes, he is]) boss Howard Graves. After chasing some dead-ends, they eventually manage to bust Lauren’s corrupt new boss — with some help from Ghost of Howard. Later, Scully shares her thoughts re: the Liberty Bell.
Desk of a dead dude
We open on…the desk of Howard Graves! A woman is crying. Her name is Lauren. She hasn’t known a lot of people who died, or anyone whose killed themselves…meaning Howard?
And then a plaque on Howard’s desk suddenly shifts several inches ALL BY ITSELF.
Then Lauren is at an ATM…
…depositing her paycheck, when she’s attacked by two men! They drag her into an alley — fade out to her screams.
Two hours later, a couple of, uh, street kids–
–decide to climb up a fire escape, but when they pull the ladder down, there’s a corpse there!
They scream and run off! And it’s INTRO TIME!
Bethesda Naval Hospital
Mulder and Scully walk into a morgue.
A couple of inexplicably creepy people in suits greet them and tell the agents that they’ve been assured of their cooperation by Chief Muckymuck Blevins. It turns out that the corpses our heroes are checking out have been corpses for several hours, but are still really warm AND ARE ALSO TWITCHING. The agents ask some questions, but get mostly blank stares from the spooks:
Anyway, what we do know is that the corpses had their throats crushed in a mysterious fashion. The spooks completely refuse to share any information, and when Mulder tells them that his X-files have nothing similar to this, they ask Mulder and Scully to deny having ever had this meeting. At which point Mulder can’t avoid a really stupid zing:
Mulder’s intensely whispered supernatural phenomena vocab word for today:
HTG Industrial Technologies
Here’s that girl Lauren. She apparently didn’t get mugged to death after all — she’s in the office and feeling chipper-ish and giving her two weeks notice to her new boss, Howard’s partner for the last ten years, Mr. Dorland. He’s also a weird pushy jerk — he gets all up in Lauren’s cornflakes, but then his bracelet starts…strangling his wrist? Snuh?
Scully IDs one of the dead guys — a member of an extremist group called The Istfahan. And Mulder, visiting the scene of the corpse-finding, gets the idea to check the ATM video log. There’s Lauren, and the Istfahan guys, and…A MYSTERIOUS BLUR.
Scully is all “who’s that other person” in reference to the blurry crap in the top left corner, which is a little bit weird considering that it’s blurry crap and not a person.
There’s a cat standing on the coffeetable, meowing.
Lauren picks up the cat with an “oh, you” sort of reaction and tosses it on the couch.
The agents pay Lauren a visit at home and call her on being all muggified and stuff. She can’t really deny it when they point out that there is a video. Scully shows Lauren the screengrab with blur and asks, about said blur, if she’s “ever seen this person.”
Lauren denies everything. The agents leave — AND THEN THEIR CAR FLOORS IT’S OWN GAS PEDAL OMG. They T-bone some guy’s car, but nobody gets hurt I guess! Mechanic can’t find anything wrong, but…
Scully and Mulder stake out HTG- Lauren shows up and chews out the painter guy for trying to replace the name Howard Graves on a reserved parking space.
Turns out Lauren Kite was HG’s secretary. Again, M & S are stalking her- now she’s at a cemetery. How did they know that she was there? I sense a confrontation — but no, they just go check out the grave of Graves.
The grave digger is a pretty creepy old dude, but he’s darned helpful all the same. He tells the agents about Sarah Graves, daughter of Howard, who drowned at age 3. If she’d have lived, she’d be Lauren’s age.
Since this episode may confuse the feeble-minded, Scully gives us a little update on how the plot is going as she types up her case file. Mulder looks for ghosties in some other Lauren-stalking pictures he took, with a little help from a lab tech and a magical computer:
Howard Graves shows up in the picture upon further enhancement.
At Lauren’s house
It’s night. There are sounds:
hallway: “thump thump thump”
The mysterious thumping wakes Lauren up. She snags a baseball bat from her closet and creeps down the stairs toward…a bathroom? Where an upset voice is saying things like “No! No!” Now a slow slow slow reveal of…
Lauren pulls aside the curtain to reveal a bathtub, full of water, with a spreading bleed of BLOOD for NO REASON. Lauren flips out. The truth is revealed: Howard was kilt!
National Bureau of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, PA
Now that we viewers clearly know otherwise, Scully suggests that Howard Graves faked his own death.
Scully totally doesn’t dignify this with a response. They check with the coroner who dealt with Howard body; she reports the he is “very dead”.
Highlights: 4 out of 6 liters of blood down the tub, and the positive ID on the body came from Lauren Kite!
Howie got cremated, but the agents still find a way to double-check the ID on the body: he was an organ donor. He’s in 5 different people’s bodies, but according to tissue samples it was really his corpse after all. Sorry, Scully, but your theory = butt.
HTG party! Lauren is leaving!
She heads into Howard Graves’ office. And then…the door closes behind her. It’s that jerk Dorland again. He threatens her vaguely about secrets. She calls him on killing Howard, and then gets out of there and calls Mulder and asks the agents to meet her at home.
Return to Castle Kite
Somewhere, a dog barks. And some sketchy people drive up and park in front of the house. The doorbell rings, and paranormality ensues as the door tries to lock itself when Lauren unlocks it.
The sketchy folks just kick the door down — they’re assassins! They’re going to bathtub Lauren to death, JUST LIKE HOWARD! But then some lightbulbs explode and furniture starts flying and assassins start dying. Mulder and Scully arrive in time to hear screams; Mulder walks in on the male thug HOVERING IN MID-AIR and being choked to death.
This seems like pretty incontrovertible proof of…
Lauren sits at a table, staring dumbly and saying absolutely nothing while the agents ask her questions about what happened.
Then the spooks show up and give M&S trouble about “obstructing” their investigation. There is some bickering about who is obstructing what, and then after the spooks staunchly refuse to talk for like the billionth time, they suddenly change their mind and tell Mulder and Scully absolutely everything:
[Removes hands from pockets...menacingly?]
I can make her talk.
So the spooks “talk” to Lauren and apparently get nowhere. Then our agents head back in, and she tells them she won’t talk to THEM either.
Mulder hits her with the Howard-as-guardian-angel thing, though, and it stops her dead and gets her talking. Apparently Mulder is actually good at this sort of thing.
Lauren paints a picture of Howard as a good man undergoing a crisis of conscience after a company-saving series of sales to the Istfahan terrorist group was followed by some, you know, terrorism. Scully guilt-trips Lauren — with her hands LITERALLY ON HER HEART — into helping bust HTG. After Lauren goes off to “wash up”, Scully points out that while she doesn’t believe in ghosts, she’s willing to use Lauren’s belief to solve the case. To which Mulder is all yeah yeah yeah but:
Our agents and the spooks lead an FBI team into HTG to find the damning evidence. They proceed to turn the office upside.
After the briefest searching-the-office montage in television history, our dispirited friends get ready to bail, when a gloating Dorland confronts them in his office. Lauren breaks some stuff, Dorland calls her a stupid bitch–
–and she charges Dorland with a LETTER OPENER–
–and then Howard’s ghost starts choking Dorland and all hell breaks loose. Stuff exploding, lots of screaming, Scully trying (and failing) to bust through the door, paper flying all over the damn place.
Finally, Invisible Ghost Howard threatens Dorland with the letter opener, but then relents and sends the letter opener flying at THE WALL! Where Mulder finds A 3.5″ FLOPPY DISKETTE!
HTG is going to get busted; Lauren is leaving town; and Mulder asks:
Notes: (1) Scully is a lapsed-ish Catholic, although I’m not sure this has really come up yet, so that’s actually kind of a touchy question, and (2) she apparently thinks the Liberty Bell sucks.
And Lauren has a new job with a new cranky old woman yelling at her. And when old lady yells at Lauren, old lady’s coffee cup starts vibrating–
–but old lady points out it’s just the damn train going by.