Rats, It's Blind Man's Bluff
"Surekill" Plot Summary:
Realtor Carlton Chase leaves a panicked message on exterminator Dwight Cooper's answering machine. Chase tries to hide in a police station, but is shot to death through the ceiling of his cell. The next morning on the roof, Doggett finds a piece of a towel wrapped around a gun to silence it. Scully thinks it's incredible that a blind shot killed Chase. She wonders if the killer could have used thermal scanning technology to see through the ceiling, but Doggett says such equipment weighs too much to sneak onto the roof of a police station.
At Chase's office, Doggett finds evidence that the realtor did lots of business with AAA-1 Surekill Exterminators. An FBI lab discovers traces of an industrial insecticide on the cloth from the murder scene. Meanwhile, secretary Tammi enters Surekill Exterminators and hears Chase's dying message, calling her a thief. Her boss Dwight Cooper comes in but misses the message. Dwight goes out back to ask his brother Randall what happened to the money Chase had stolen. Randall claims he forgot about it after killing Chase. The brothers go to a gang hideout, where Dwight demands money and drugs. When the dealers threaten him, Dwight says "Bang bang" as he aims his finger; the dealers drop dead.
At the scene later, Scully comments that the killer must have stood behind a solid wall to shoot. She notes that infrared, gamma, and x-rays can pass through solid objects; Doggett scoffs at her suggestion that the killer could see those wavelengths, and tells her to call Clark Kent. At Surekill, Dwight takes Tammi in the back for sex while Randall tries not to watch through the wall. Doggett and Scully interrupt them to ask about the insecticide on the cloth. Dwight, who demonstrates that he is legally blind, says he did extermination work for Chase's realty, denying any illicit dealings. He also denies knowing why Chase called his office just before he died. After the agents leave, Tammi claims she accidentally erased Chase's message before listening to it.
From their previous arrest records, Doggett learns that Randall and Dwight are twins, which bothers him -- "twins never rat each other out." Tammi hurries to work to retrieve her ledger, but Dwight catches her taking the locked box in which she keeps her records and safety deposit box key. Doggett arrives with a search warrant; while he questions Dwight about the box, which turns out to be empty, Scully finds suspicious invoices. At the station, Scully asks Randall why Surekill billed $700,000 to Chase Realty in the past year. Randall looks through the wall at his brother, reads his lips, and repeats Dwight's statements to Scully. "You can see through that wall," she realizes.
In the outer room, Randall looks through the wall as Scully questions Tammi, who claims she just kept the books. Scully says she doesn't understand why Dwight wanted Chase dead if the realtor was his fence; she guesses it was personal, but Tammi won't talk. At home, the secretary spots Randall spying on her and asks him for more help, while Doggett shows Scully phone records of late night calls between Chase and Tammi. Scully suddenly realizes that Randall, not Dwight, might have been the one with a personal interest in Tammi.
In the morning, Tammi asks Randall to buy them bus tickets out of town while she goes to the bank. He returns her missing ledger book. Tammi gets her money from the bank, but when she returns to her car, Dwight is inside with a gun. Meanwhile Scully and Doggett search Tammi's apartment, finding her clothes gone. Doggett uses her auto-redial to learn that she made a bus reservation. He and Scully arrive at the station just after the bus departs.
Tammi tries to explain herself to Dwight, but when a dejected Randall returns, Dwight asks his brother to kill her: "She used you! I'm the one who loves you, not her." Randall wraps his towel around the gun as Tammi insists she was coming back for him, which Randall knows isn't true. Yet he shoots past her, through the wall, hitting his brother between the eyes. Later Scully watches him in prison, telling Doggett that Randall watched Tammi every day, though he could have looked at anything. "He must have seen something in her she didn't see in herself." Doggett says his partner is out of FBI territory if she thinks Randall could see into Tammi's heart.
"Surekill" is a fine episode of The X-Files. But switch the lead characters, change the mystery to something a little more conspiratorial or a little more occult, and it could have been a fine episode of La Femme Nikita or even Freakylinks. Scully, whose personality is as absent as the pregnant belly that should be showing by now, sniffles over the sweetness of Randall seeing Tammi's inner beauty in their dark, dingy world. I'm sure film noir aficionados are thrilled.
But as an X-Files fan, I would like to ask a stupid question. Where the heck is Mulder? I don't mean where have his abductors taken him. I understand that David Duchovny will only appear in a few episodes this season, so that storyline needs to be dragged out, and that's fine. I like Doggett. I respect the decision to tone down the extraterrestrials, the government conspiracy, the various familial storylines. None of which explains the fact that Scully no longer thinks about Mulder, frets that she's unable to devote herself to searching for him, wonders what he would contribute to new cases. She put his nameplate away early on in the season; apparently she put her memories in the same desk drawer. Plus her passion. And her intellect. I wish Doggett would go look for them, too.
Sure, it's cool Randall can see through walls. Yes, I'm relieved that at least we didn't have to watch him watching Scully undress -- the previews suggested that she would be in the sights of a serial killer. Cute, Scully can explain medically how Randall's talent might be possible, though in the end they leave it as One Of Those Twin Things. I won't bother to belabor the redundancy of the storyline, done with more panache in older episodes where a carnivalesque twin tried to protect his deadly Siamese double and where a blind woman could "see" through the eyes of her murderous father.
Like I said, "Surekill"'s a fine episode, with moving performances from the guest stars. I just want The X-Files back.
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