Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop To Drink
"Agua Mala" Plot Summary:
Hurricane Leroy hits Goodland, Florida. A panicked woman and her son attempt to dump over the washing machine as the son screams that his father is missing. When he moves behind the washer, something with tentacles grabs him; when his mother leans over to see what is happening, it grabs her too. Arthur Dales, who is a neighbor of the family, calls Mulder to report that he should get down there for an X-file.
Mulder and Scully arrive three hours before the storm is expected to make landfall and go to Dales, who is disgusted by Scully's skepticism about the sea monster. He informs them that Sarah and Jack Shipley were marine biologists, not given to hysterical reports of tentacled creatures, and warns Scully not to sneer at the mysteries of the deep, which are as dark as the imagination. At the Shipley's, Mulder finds the house boarded up against the storm but no sign of the family, leading him to wonder how they got out. There's slime on a pipe and something hiding in the washing machine, but that turns out just to be the family cat.
While Mulder and Scully attempt to break into the bathroom, a local cop comes in and tries to arrest them despite their claims of being FBI agents, saying that for all he knows they could be from the Manson family. Mulder knocks the man's gun away and demands his help breaking into the bathroom, but they find no sign of Jack Shipley inside, just slime in the tub and water on the floor. Afterwards, when Scully suggests Dales must have been drunk, Mulder says that Dales discovered the x-files and has seen things the two of them have only read about. Rolling her eyes, Scully suggests that Mulder really might be a member of the Manson family.
Inside the house, the policeman sees water coming up from a floor drain, but when he puts his hand inside he finds only a large shirt. Driving his vehicle, Car 54, to the Breakers Condominium (and unaware that the Shipley's cat hitched a ride), the cop looks for people who need to be evacuated, only to find the remains a body on a toilet encased in slime. Mulder and Scully meanwhile have gotten lost on the way to the airport, which is now closed, so they pull over at the Breakers when they see the flashing police lights. They recognize first the car and then the cop, who is unconscious on the floor near the bathroom with tentacle marks on his neck. While Scully prepares for an emergency tracheotomy, Mulder finds slime in the bathroom.
Looking for other people in the building, Mulder encounters a looter stealing his neighbors' televisions, a meek Mr. Suarez with a very pregnant wife, and a Mr. George Vincent who thinks Mulder is part of a Cuban conspiracy to take over Florida. The latter is armed to the teeth and insists that nothing can get into his home which he can't get rid of. When Mulder brings the other three to Scully, the pregnant woman demands to know where the slumlord of their rat trap has gone. As Mulder tells Scully they're stuck inside until the roads reopen, a tentacle appears in the waterlogged light fixture of Vincent's apartment. Scully removes a tentacle from the policeman's neck as the creature breaks through, attacking Vincent, who shoots at it.
Though it is now apparent to all that the creature moves through the plumbing, Scully tells them that they must get the injured cop into a bathtub of cold water or he will die anyway; his fever is very high. While the crowd goes to Vincent's apartment to assess the damage, the looter steals the cop's wedding ring, knocking Epsom salts into the tub by accident. The pregnant woman desperately needs to empty her bladder and demands to be allowed in the bathroom alone, but seconds later she runs out screaming, saying she saw the creature in the tub with the deputy. Yet when Mulder checks, the tub is completely empty save for the cop's clothes and the empty box of Epsom salts.
Mulder hypothesizes that they are dealing with a sea creature pushed into the city's waste reclamation system by the storm, which exists as water except when it needs to feed. Scully says that it makes no sense that she was then able to pull one of its tentacles from the policeman's body, but Mulder believes it needed the bodies to spawn in; there will soon be more creatures. Suddenly they realize the looter is gone, and Mulder goes to look for him. In the hallway he sees a tentacle in a light fixture and returns gasping for air, showing Scully tentacle marks on his neck. A panicked Vincent locks Mulder outside. Scully says she's a doctor and can save him but just then the pregnant woman says it's a good thing Scully's a doctor, because her water has broken.
With Vincent's gun trained on her, Scully agrees to deliver the baby rather than pursuing Mulder. As Mulder spots the cat outside in the rain, Scully prepares to deliver the baby. But just as it arrives, the creature drops into the chandelier, grabbing Vincent at the precise moment of birth when everyone's hands are busy. At Scully's order, Mr. Suarez shoots the sprinkler system, which springs into action.
At Arthur Dales' home, Scully announces that Leroy Walter Via Real Suarez Jr. weighed in at 10 lbs, 10 oz. Dales congratulates her on delivering the baby and saving her partner's life. Mulder insists that Scully did not save his life - he figured out on his own that he needed to be outside in the rain from looking at the cat which had hidden in the washing machine, but Scully says she was the one who figured out fresh water would kill the organism. Dales tells Mulder to admit that he owes Scully his life and adds that if he had had someone as savvy as her by his side all those years ago, he might never have retired from the x-files. He offers them both a drink of water, but they adamantly tell him no.
If you knew that an alien conspiracy to colonize the planet had been underway for decades, how upset would you get about a sea monster in a small town in Florida? OK, maybe that's unfair. This was really a highly enjoyable episode with a good sense of humor and a relatively innovative monster from the deep - it's no Fluke-Man, but it'll do. But all I could think about was that if I were Mulder or Scully, none of this would matter. Either I'd be spending every waking moment trying to do something about the imminent alien invasion, or I'd be living in denial, not wanting anything to do with anything that even smelled like an x-file.
For all of Dales' creepy talk about the mysteries of the deep, I wish we'd gotten to see a little more of them; the quickie explanation for what the creature was and how it got into the pipes was not very satisfying. The people side of the story was much better done; I loved the red herrings at the beginning, the cat in the washer and the shirt down the drain, as well as the cop reading M&S their Miranda rights while they tried to explain that really, honestly, they were FBI agents. Mulder's sense of humor was in full force, especially when he noted that someone already had Mr. Suarez by the nuts so he didn't need to worry about the creature getting him there. The furious pregnant woman brought some nice life to the episode...and I don't mean the baby.
"Agua Mala" was directed by Rob Bowman of Fight the Future and featured some terrific storm sequences, with excellent timing on the "here it comes" jokes which invariably referred to something other than the creature yet ended up with the creature's appearance. Still, for people like Dales and Mulder and Scully to be wasting time on one sea monster feels frivolous. The world is coming to an end! Unless they think they're going to find an antidote to the aliens in sea creatures like this one, they might as well let someone else worry about them...yeah, Spender's not around for that, but there must be SOMEONE else to evacuate innocents and take tentacle samples.
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