Psychokineptic Monocle-ation

1×05 – Shadows

Episode summary:
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…

You know, lots of people call them “ATM machines”. I think it’s a government acronym coverup, to make citizens forget what the “M” stands for.
STFU, Fox.

…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–

They don’t really look all that destitute.
And yet they’re dumpster diving and looking for a place to crash. Maybe being homeless is a fad?

–decide to climb up a fire escape, but when they pull the ladder down, there’s a corpse there!

No way! Is that a body?!

They scream and run off! And it’s INTRO TIME!

Bethesda Naval Hospital

Mulder and Scully walk into a morgue.

And the morguetender says…

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:

Time of death?
Where’d you find them?
Look, at least tell us the time and mode of transport. That might help us determine why the bodies haven’t cooled.
Hey, you guys called us down here. If you want some answers, you gotta give some.

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:

I’d say you people already suffer from full denial.
They’re all wet. You know, because they’re in denial. De Nile, get it?
It doesn’t really work written down, I guess.

Is this supposed to be… a sunset?

Mulder’s intensely whispered supernatural phenomena vocab word for today:

Psychokinetic manipulation.
Ooo la la!

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?

Psychokinetic manipulation.
Oh, right.

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.

Lauren’s house

There’s a cat standing on the coffeetable, meowing.

I can has a cofee?

Lauren picks up the cat with an “oh, you” sort of reaction and tosses it on the couch.

This lady just redecorated her cat from one spot to the other just for the heck of it.

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.”

To which Lauren should reply, “person? Lady, that’s a blur.” Because that’s a goddam blur. Even Mulder shouldn’t think that looks like a person, and he’s the nutso one. WTF SCULLY.
I bet it’s an angel. You know, like in those angel photographs?

This is a many-nippled jacket, reflecting Scully’s interest in motherhood.

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…

Check out the lights.
They’re on.
They’re not. The filaments are heated due to massive levels of electrostatic charge. Just like the bodies at the morgue.
No, they’re just on. You just forgot to turn off the headlights, and now you’re messing with poor Scully’s head. You’re incorrigible, Mulder.
And isn’t it interesting that Lauren Kite was present at both incidents?
Sometimes Mulder talks like a courtroom scene in a John Grisham novel.

Mulder poses for GQ

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.

So who is Howard Graves anyway?
Who is John Galt?


ZOMG Microfilm!

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.


He loves his job.

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:

Enhance about 10
Who is that person in the photo!

Howard Graves shows up in the picture upon further enhancement.

That’s Howard Graves. He’s alive!
Not necessarily.

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!

Blood Tub VII: Dead, White, and Blue

National Bureau of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, PA

Now that we viewers clearly know otherwise, Scully suggests that Howard Graves faked his own death.

Do you know how difficult it is to fake your own death? only one man has ever pulled it off.
[bad Elvis impersonation] Elvis

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”.

Howard Graves is dead cuz Ellen Bledsoe said so.

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!

There are balloons!

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.

Hey Scully! Scientifically explainify this bullshit!

This seems like pretty incontrovertible proof of…

Psychokinetic manipulation.

An interrogation

Lauren sits at a table, staring dumbly and saying absolutely nothing while the agents ask her questions about what happened.

Worst. interrogation. evar.

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:

We believe that HTG Industrial Technologies sold restricted parts to the Istfahan.
Partial serial numbers from their manifests were recovered in the wreckage of the July bombing of a Navy transport van.
How was Lauren Kite involved?
We don’t quite know. Your actions impeded our investigation.
These are some whiny spooks.
In any case, we don’t have enough evidence to hold her. If she doesn’t talk, she goes free, and we lose our chance to break this company.

[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.

But she just did!
Ha! Take that, lady!

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:

Well we may have just sacrificed our best opportunity to observe spectral phenomena.

Busting HTG

FBI garage motorcade action

Our agents and the spooks lead an FBI team into HTG to find the damning evidence. They proceed to turn the office upside.

This is just like when they broke that kid’s piggy bank in Conduit, except for we don’t hate them this time.
And there’s no piggy bank. They’re breaking a *corporation*.
Which is sort of like a giant piggy bank.

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.

Someone better call the Merry Maids

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!

I remember those.

Happy Ending

HTG is going to get busted; Lauren is leaving town; and Mulder asks:

Hey, Scully, do you believe in an afterlife?
I’d settle for a life in this one.

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.

It’s a big bell with a big crack and you have to wait in a long line.
I think he’s trying to pick her up.
“Hey, baby, let’s go to the Liberty Bell, IYKWIM.”
“It’s got a ‘big crack’ amirite.”
I have no idea what that actually means.
Me neither.

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.

God, that whole ending thing is so cheesy.
You think maybe we should skip that bit?
Yeah, probably.

The End

Oh, wait, the DEAD guy was named Howard GRAVES.


  1. Chelly Said,

    June 10, 2008 @ 8:22 pm

    The homeless thing must’ve been the follow-up to flannel shirts and ripped jeans.

    That is a helluvalotta audible dot-dot-dotting.

    Are said cornflakes related to any grills, by chance?

    The Istfahan? …Gesundheit. Hmmm, doesn’t seem to work as well when I do it.

    I always thought her pointing out the blurry crap was odd, because it wouldn’t be in the normal range of a person. It’s like…up in the air? Are people flying now, Scully?

    And that cat is scaring me.

    Thank you for mentioning the blur thing! That never made sense to me….another Folie A Deux? This time led by Scully?

    Might I add that Scully’s many-nippled jacket looks VERRRRY manly.

    Microfilm…Please tell me there aren’t going to be any more Microfilm-related walks down memory lane…

    Old-Man-Gravedigger…ahhh, the X-Files has some great minor characters. This guy always reminded me of someone I knew…maybe I should be concerned about that…NAH.

    I’ve noticed that Mulder has a creepy man-crush on Elvis.

    Scully always misses it. It’s the pilot allll over again. Story of her life, I guess. And that hit-woman had REALLY weird hair if I remember correctly.

    That was some damn menacing hand-from-pocket-removing.

    Mulder is sort of missing a big (actually “legitimate”) thing here…but what else is new?

    HE SAID “BITCH”! It always sounds weird to me when people cuss on TXF. I get some sort of perverse enjoyment out of it, though, not gonna lie.

    Annnd Scully misses it again.

    Howard Graves? NO. WAY. I think that guy was my sixth grade math teacher.

  2. Ashley Said,

    June 11, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

    “This is a many-nippled jacket, reflecting Scully’s interest in motherhood.”

    How do you come up with this crap!? LMAO.

  3. Rebecca Said,

    June 12, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

    I think you two have the funniest fan commentaries since MST3K.

    Please, please, please, never stop; I can’t wait till you get to the Bruce Campbell episode.

  4. Heather Said,

    June 12, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

    “Blood Tub VII: Dead, White, and Blue”

    I positively love the commentary on every picture that you post (especially the one from The Pilot where Mulder knocks on Scully’s door, only to be caught revealing a tiny measurement between thumb and finger — hilarious).

    Oh, and if voting has anything to do with this, I completely agree with Rebecca, you should NEVER stop. The later episodes will offer crazy amounts of laugh riot sessions, ESPECIALLY Terms of Endearment. I’m presonally looking forward to Little Green Men, The Host, and Teso dos Bichos.

  5. Nate Said,

    June 13, 2008 @ 7:40 am

    “This is a many-nippled jacket, reflecting Scully’s interest in motherhood.”

    No, she was just being fashionable. Leprachaun blazers were the big thing in the early 90s. S’truth.

  6. Shalora Said,

    June 17, 2008 @ 2:02 am

    …dude. I’ve read this through twice, and I still have only vague memories of this particular episode. Must re-watch when I get home from work (yes, I am at work at 2 am). Though watching after having read this will be a much more amusing prospect, I’m sure! :)

  7. Esmeralda Said,

    June 17, 2008 @ 2:17 pm

    You guys are so goddamned funny it’s not even funny.
    I snorted earl grey tea into my sinuses several times throughout.

    I check this website every damn day to see if you’ve made a new one.

    Don’t you dare stop. Ever.

  8. calraigh Said,

    June 18, 2008 @ 2:09 pm

    ” Mrow ”. My favourite bit. Scully’s comment, ” Who is the other person? ” always bothered me. Like, wtf? Do you have a magic scrambler located in your retinas, woman?!

  9. cam Said,

    June 24, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

    you are my new GODS!

  10. gosh Said,

    July 31, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

    Poor Lauren. She has a ghostly guardian angel, and still she’d rather be “normal” and work in a shitty job for some shitty woman that gets all uppity and bitchy when it takes 25 minutes to get her typing done. Lauren should get the hell out of that job, hit the casino and travel the world in luxury having adventures with her ghostly sugar daddy.

  11. Katie Said,

    October 26, 2011 @ 5:41 am

    You should come up with a “Scully misses out on Paranormal Activity” icon…haha

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