Mulder and Scully investigate possible faith-healing-related murder, discover faith-healer isn’t a murderer, discover faith-healed faith-healer assistant is a murderer, faith-healer gets murdered by sheriff, sheriff’s wife doesn’t get faith-healed, murdering faith-healed faith-healer assistant murders self. Also Fox thinks he sees his sister Samantha like four times and Scully briefly reminds us that she’s Catholic.
Some kid named Samuel lays hands on the crispy corpse of a guy who burnt to death in a fire. The corpse promptly hold the kid’s hand!
The scene is a Jesus rave.
Or really, a videotape of a tent ministry. The ministry of, and Mulder KNOWS this already, one Reverend Calvin Hartley, whose star attraction is that same Samuel who faith-healed as a kid, but now all grown up. And now it sounds like maybe he killed a lady he was supposed to heal?
Let’s go to Tennessee and find out!
So our agents sit in on a tent ministry show, but after much fanfare, the Rev. Hartley reports that Samuel can’t be here today, and then blows ‘em off when they try to talk to him afterward. But local law enforcement personage Sheriff Daniels, who called in the agents to check things out, shows up to debrief ‘em a bit and discuss the ministry and such:
Anyway, we’ve got dead bodies of people the kid was supposed to heal, and those were never autopsied because the reverend objected on religious grounds and also the city official responsible for that stuff is also a ministry member and so basically the only thing to do now is to order:
But this wouldn’t be much of an exhumation without a confrontation by angry dissenters, and this time it’s a whole mob, led by the freaky burn-victim-zombie guy Vance that young Samuel brought back to life those many flashbacks ago. He’s all like:
And apparently showing up as a mob and being creepy and angry is enough to convince law enforcement to just be like “okay, fuck it, we won’t exhume these”.
Turns out Samuel was drinking in a bar and lost a bar fight and was genuinely feeling grumpy about his whole apparently-killing-folks-with-his-hands thing.
And then, because why not pull in another subplot, Samuel starts talking about how he can see Mulder’s pain:
In the courtroom of Judge Hamish Purdy
So Samuel tries to get himself held in jail, but nobody goes for it, and then the courtroom fills up with locusts.
Which later in a hotel room gives Mulder an excuse to read some choice Exodus quotes while Scully rolls her eyes. But more to the point: Mulder thinks the kid is for real, and that he’s using electromagnetic fields to heal (and kill!) people.
They have a chat with the good Reverend, who insists that Samuel’s the real deal and that the Sheriff is a big jerk, and he’s trying to sell them on coming to see the night’s show when Mulder’s sees A LITTLE GIRL IN A RED DRESS OUT THE WINDOW OH MY GOD IT’S TOTALLY HIS SISTER SAMANTHA.
And so Mulder goes looking for his dead sister and kind of makes a jackass out of himself, and then makes meaningful eye contact with Samuel through a window.
In the tent
Free Koolaid for everybody! Or Pepsi. Whatever: free drinks. Drinks that certainly are well meaning and wholesome and not suspicious at all.
Vance glad-hands some wheelchair-bound girl named Margaret Holman; Samuel continues to be all emo, but the show must go on; Mulder, Scully and the good Sheriff snag some seats near the back. Go time!
But then Mulder sees Samantha again and goes wandering around the tent while Samuel gets his heal on, laying some hands on that nice Margaret girl who promptly proceeds to die so hard she kicks several buckets, as verified by pulse-taking Doctor Scully. So that’s kind of a bummer.
Scully guilts poor dead Margaret’s dad (the Margaret is dead, not the dad) into okaying an autopsy (while Vance preaches to the choir outside about desecration of the body and so on), and then makes weird cryptic remarks to Mulder about God and the Devil and how she was raised Catholic and how she likes The Exorcist and how Mulder is a nutter to think he sees his sister and that’s all great but now it’s time for…
Scully squicks Mulder out by flashing a lung at him…
…and then explains that Margaret probably died of oxygen deprivation. Probably from being poisoned with cyanide.
And then Mulder goes to the jail and presses Samuel on the whole Margo-dying-of-poison-not-of-healing thing:
And then he gets in a useless argument with Samuel about Samantha, and butts heads with the Sheriff, and then a deputy type lets a couple guys into Samuel’s cell to beat him to death for who knows what reason. Cheery!
But so anyway they go check out the judge’s office because they need some, as Mulder says,
And Mulder finds a clue with his foot! By killing it. It is a locust! From earlier when there were a bunch of locusts? In the courtroom? So they go up to the roof and Mulder finds a rock!
The potatoes were, Mulder surmises, used as locust bait. By someone other than God, we the viewers are left to surmise.
Vance is sleeping in his four-poster bed when, amidst dramatic lightning, a fucked-up bloody-ass Samuel appears and freaks him the hell out.
And Samuel’s ghost is all, boo, and:
And Vance is all like:
And then the agents show up just in time to discover that Vance has had a taste of his own medicine, in the sense where medicine means “deadly poison”.
Also, a night nurse at the morgue mentions that Samuel sort of walked out of the morgue on his own two dead feet. And! The sheriff’s wheelchair-bound wife sort of figures out that maybe she should have tried that faith-healing shit after all. And the sheriff gets arrested for maybe ordering the murder of a dude. So pretty much it’s a happy ending all around.
And Mulder sees Samantha in a reflection, and is so taken aback by it that when Scully says:
–he doesn’t even bother to treat it like the blatant opportunity for a HURF DURF I’M COMING ALRIGHT joke that it so clearly is.