A Rainmaker Who Doesn't Lie
"The Rain King" Plot Summary:
A woman in Kroner, Kansas signs a valentine "Love, Sheila" as the weather report continues dry. Her boyfriend Darryl comes in, demanding to know why she put an engagement announcement in the paper when they agreed to keep it a secret for as long as the drought makes business poor; then he storms out, listening to "Rainy Days and Mondays" on the car radio as he drinks and drives. Suddenly it begins to rain, then hail. The car spins off the road and crashes, leaving Darryl unconscious as giant heart-shaped hailstones crash to the ground.
Six months later, Mulder and Scully get off a plane to be welcomed by the mayor, who asked the FBI to investigate the drought and the "rain king" whom he blames for it. Darryl, who lost a leg in the accident, has reportedly acquired the ability to make it rain wherever he does his song and dance. Scully glares at Mulder but follows him to the Rain King's office where they obtain a client list, then head to the local television station to talk to the weatherman. At the station, Sheila, who works as a producer, mistakes Mulder and Scully for the married couple who won a contest, but they quickly set her straight and meet Holman Hart, who admits that Darryl appears to be a genuine rainmaker. Scully believes that desperation has led the people of the town to believe in miracles, but Mulder insists that the Pueblo Indians believed in rainmakers and it's possible Darryl is telling the truth. At a ceremony in a field, a drunken Darryl performs to cheesy music. Scully is contemptuous of the proceedings until the sky opens up, drenching them as the crowd applauds.
Holman asks Sheila if she still loves Darryl; she claims not to once Holman reminds her of how quickly Darryl dumped her when he acquired the talent which makes him money for beer, and reminds Holman that he promised to take her to their high school reunion the next day. Mulder and Scully check into a hotel, where high winds keep Scully awake and a small tornado sends a cow flying through the roof into Mulder's room. The proprietor informs Scully that she moved Scully's boyfriend's things into her room; when Scully insists that Mulder is not her boyfriend, the proprietor accuses her of being old-fashioned, and says that they have to share since the entire place is booked for the reunion. Mulder meanwhile tells Holman that he thinks the cow was aimed at him. Then a tearful Sheila confesses that it might be her fault. She'd been involved in weather disasters before: there was a tornado on her prom night, it snowed the day of her wedding, it hailed the night of Darryl's injury. Mulder passionately assures her that he's certain it's not her fault, and a grateful Sheila kisses his hand.
After she departs, a local cop tells Mulder that Darryl was drunk so the accident really couldn't have been anyone's fault but his own. Holman overhears and looks relieved. Darryl is in a field where he has just made it rain, getting a massage from his secretary/girlfriend Cindy; suddenly the rain stops. Scully believes that it's time to leave town, but Mulder tells her that in 1991, it rained rose petals on the day Holman's mother died. Mulder believes Holman Hart controls the weather - it expresses for him the feelings he can't voice. It no longer rains for Darryl because Holman no longer feels guilty about his accident. The subject of this speculation is in his office practicing a speech for Sheila when she calls him: she has realized that Darryl was never right for her, she needs a man she can talk to, and that man is...Mulder. Lightning flashes above!
Mulder goes to see Holman and asks him to get help before he kills someone. Realizing that Sheila is the key to his emotions, Mulder advises Holman to tell her how he feels, then tries to leave for the airport but learns from Scully that fog has closed it down. Mulder tells Scully that they can't leave until he gives some dating advice, at which Scully asks when Mulder last had a date and murmurs something about the blind leading the blind. Holman tells Mulder that he can't possibly understand, he spends every day with the lovely Scully, and is shocked when Mulder declares that he and Scully are just friends. "I've seen how you gaze at her," Holman says. "I do not GAZE at Scully!" Mulder insists. Holman steels himself to tell Sheila he loves her. She tells him casually that she loves him too, then announces that she is in love with...Mulder. When Holman tells him, Mulder looks frightened.
Darryl, who has broken up with Cindy to win back Sheila and her money, comes to the studio and takes a swing at Mulder when Sheila shows him off as her new man. Mulder pins Darryl, for which Sheila kisses him in gratitude just as Scully and Holman walk in. As he stands coated in lipstick, Mulder notices a hurricane forming on the weather map on the television screen. At the high school reunion that night, buckets catch drops from the leaky ceiling while Scully reports that it has rained seven inches in six hours. Mulder convinces Sheila to dance with Holman, who tells her he has been in love with her since high school. When she flees to the ladies' room, Scully goes after her as Mulder jokes that he'll build the ark if she'll gather the animals.
Scully tells Sheila that while she doesn't believe Mulder's theory, she thinks Sheila should know that Mulder believes Holman's passionate feeligns for her cause the town's erratic weather. Sheila at first accuses Scully of being in love with Mulder and trying to divert Sheila's attention from the chemistry they share, but calms down when she learns Scully and Mulder have never even kissed - "The man knows how to kiss!" she proclaims. Scully suggests that Sheila think about Holman, pointing out that the best relationships are rooted in friendship - one day your friend may become the only person you can imagine yourself with. Just then the sinks overflow because the drains are full.
On the dance floor, Darryl - who has come without his artificial leg, since Cindy took it - is trying to beat up Mulder, but the power shorts out. Sheila asks Holman whether it's true that he controls the weather because of his feelings for her; when he admits that he does, she says it's the most romantic thing she's ever heard, and kisses him. The power comes back, the rain stops, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" comes over the speakers as couples all over the room begin to smooch - even Darryl and Cindy. Holman tells Mulder he should try kissing sometime. One year later, Holman is covering the weather on the news while Sheila cuddles their baby against a technicolor sky with a giant rainbow.
I must be a sap, because I really liked this episode, for all the loser relationshipper reasons which the producers were undoubtedly counting on. It was so thoroughly un-subtle as to be quite amusing: every single person Mulder and Scully met assumed they were romantically involved if not married, every speech Mulder and Scully made to Holman and Sheila could have been about their own relationship...it was a cop-out that they didn't kiss at the end, which the episode seemed to be leading towards. I actually thought Mulder was going to HAVE to kiss Scully just to convince Sheila of his unavailability, but having Scully talk to her was more satisfying since Scully didn't get to say much all episode that made any real sense.
Once again we're back to Scully the Skeptic, in which what would be perfectly sane and sensible assertions on any other series make her sound rigid and conservative on this one. Scully has met a boy who could control lightning; how hard can it be for her to believe in a man who can control rain? Darryl was admittedly implausible for all the reasons she pointed out, but even in his scientific guise, Holman admitted that no one could explain Kroner's weather. It's an inexact science even for highly trained professionals. I find telepathy as good an explanation for how a cow could crash through a roof as a mini-tornado; they both sound like uncanny acts of nature.
I wish this show would acknowledge that romantic happiness doesn't have to be predicated either on the supernatural or on being in denial; it's possible to laugh at romance novels and still believe that there's a right person out there to settle down with. The good news is that I don't think we're supposed to take anything about Mulder or Scully's views of dating seriously, as this episode points out. I mean, who would you rather be? Drippy Holman who wants and gets the traditional bimbo and baby, or Mulder who hasn't been kissed in how long? Sappy Sheila who gets the sunny hubby and house, or Scully who hasn't made love in how long? I'm don't think many women want to have an exciting FBI career badly enough to live Scully's very dry life, and I don't know ANY men who want to be Mulder.
So why did I like this episode, which tossed us a drippy romantic woman who dreamed of stodgy suburban bliss and a drippy Scully who encouraged her, along with a Mulder who seemed to think Sheila had a civic duty to love Holman back? Maybe because I like both The Carpenters and Judy Garland, and while there was a definite element of parody in the use of the schmaltzy love songs, they wouldn't have been playing if they weren't archetypes. It's a fact that lots of people really LIKE schmaltz, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's kind of scary if Chris Carter expects most of us to be relating to Mulder and Scully rather than all the goofy but genuine people making out on the dance floor at their reunion.
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