He Had To Go
"Kitsunegari" Plot Summary:
In a high-security prison, Robert Patrick Modell returns to his room after physical therapy and whispers something to his guard. The next morning the prisoner is gone, and the guard says only, "He had to go." At the police briefing, Mulder, Scully, and Skinner explain Modell's history as a cop-killer and explain that he can force people to kill by the force of his will. Meanwhile, Modell steals some snacks and sports clothes and calls Mulder, begging the agent to talk to him. Mulder refuses to listen but stays on the line long enough to trace the call.
When they arrive at the source of the call, the agents find the body of Nathan Bowman, who prosecuted Modell; he was apparently tricked into drinking toxic paint, though first he painted "Fox Hunt" in Japanese on the walls. Mulder calls the man's wife's office and learns that she had an appointment to meet "Fox Mulder" in an unoccupied building. Modell is at the site but escapes, yet does not kill the policeman tailing him ("He had to go"). When Linda Bowman arrives, Mulder learns that she knew about Modell's case from her husband. Mulder then pursues and traps Modell, who orders him to listen. This time Mulder does, and by the time Scully arrives, Modell is gone. "He had to go," says Mulder.
Mulder claims that this time, Modell is not playing a game, but Scully suspects that her partner is being influenced by mind-control. When he questions Linda Bowman, Mulder abruptly concludes that she herself murdered her husband. Skinner, thinking Mulder out of his right mind, takes him off the case. Mulder goes to question Modell's physical therapist; when he is about to ask her to identify Linda Bowman, she receives a phone call and abruptly electrocutes herself with the fuse box.
Modell talks his way past guards to Linda Bowman. Skinner enters her room, finds Modell there, and shoots him when Modell tells Skinner that he's holding a gun...though there's no gun to be found afterwards. Mulder claims that Modell drew Skinner's fire to protect Bowman, but she is sent home. Pretending to be a nurse, she enters Modell's hospital room and tells him to let his heart stop beating. He dies, and Mulder realizes belatedly that her nurse's ID was fake. There is an address on the back, and he follows her there.
Mulder sees Scully inside the warehouse at the address: she says Bowman is controlling her, and shoots herself in the head. Then Mulder turns to see Bowman, but she claims to be Scully, and names his family members to prove it. He is about to shoot her, but as the body rises from behind him, "Bowman" shoots it and suddenly she becomes visible to Mulder as the real Scully. It's Linda Bowman who's dying on the floor. She has the identical kind of brain tumor as Modell, her fraternal twin. Skinner congratulates Mulder on figuring out who the real threat was, but Mulder feels like they lost.
Oddly enough, I liked this episode better than its prequel. The suspense was terrific, and the tension between Mulder and Scully sparked some of the old believer/skeptic debate. I don't understand what converted Pusher into a guy with a social conscience; as we learn from Scully early on, he was nearly paralyzed by Mulder's bullet and is still dying of a brain tumor (something Scully has apparently forgotten she shared with him a few weeks ago). Modell's not precisely protecting his sister, since he's all too willing to put Mulder on her trail, so it's never clear what motivates his actions.
But Mulder came off very well in this episode, despite being too stupid to shoot Modell on sight, which is something they all should have learned to do after the last encounter with him - who CARES whether he really had a gun or not when Skinner shot him?! I was inclined to believe that Bowman was guilty long, long before we had any evidence to indicate it: Mulder's concluding that she was the killer on the basis of her describing her dead husband as "true blue" and saying Modell's case was his "brush" with greatness, after not inquiring about how he died, really seemed farfetched.
As a result, it was possible to see Mulder, Scully, and Skinner as each being competent in the episode, instead of wondering as so often happens why one of them was too stupid to follow the other. Once again I wished there were some hint of scientific explanation for the mind-control, and I'd like to know why the bureau was dumb enough to let Modell's main target become his pursuer, as Scully pointed out early on. But the fast-paced directing was smooth and suspenseful, and the show did a good job of not playing its hand too early with explanations. Reminded me of some past-season episodes.
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