Welcome back for another week of weirdness, X-Philes! We've got a good old fashioned creeper this week, so let's dive right in to this circle of salt.
Previously on The X-Files
Two bourbon drinks of her choosing to Kandis for covering for me last week. Her recap was ::chef's kiss::, especially since I didn't get around to watching last week's episode. I KNOW, I KNOW, major recapper faux pas, but it's been a crazy week and I do not have time for cranky Chris Carter get-off-my-lawning about technology, or whatever last week's episode was about. Read the full recap here.
This Week's Case File
(Ouch That's) Cold Open
Eastwood Connecticut: a couple of moms are side-eyeing each other on a foggy playground while their kids play. The boy is playing with the world’s most horrific doll while singing a song about “Mr. Chuckleteeth” when his mom gets a call from someone she clearly doesn’t want to talk to. While she’s turned away trying to get off the phone, the boy, Andrew, sees a real life version of Mr. Chuckleteeth over in the woods. Andrew chases Mr. Chuckleteeth into the Vancouvery Weird Woods (yes, this is CT but all woods in The X-Files are Vancouvery Weird Woods). This of, course, ends badly, and later that night, when the cops - including Andrew’s father - search the woods, they find Andrew’s mangled body.
It's Just a Bunch Of Hocus Pocus
Mulder and Scully are on the scene! Police Chief Strong is, natch, skeptical of FBI agents all up in his jurisdiction, especially when Scully quickly jumps to the conclusion that Andrew’s body has all the telltale signs of murder--not an animal attack. She delivers the profile like she’s Agent Spencer Reed in a particularly grisly episode of Criminal Minds: male, aged 19 to 42, has a criminal record, lives nearby, knows the boy’s schedule and would most likely be aroused by the killing. Thanks for fully skeeving us out right off the top, Scully! The cops don't believe her, but Mulder is quick to jump to her defense, pointing out that they better damn well take her seriously because (all together now) SHE IS A MEDICAL DOCTOR.
Happy #InternationalWomensDay! Did y'all know the influx of women in STEM careers is called the Scully Effect?
Despite his defense of Scully, Mulder isn’t so sure. They're a stone's throw from Salem, after all, and Goody Bishop was hung for witchcraft not two miles from the scene. Scully’s autopsy doesn’t reveal a whole lot, since the body was mauled so badly, but Mulder finds a bit of salt on the boy’s foot, which seems out of place in the Vancouvery Weird Woods.
The whole town turns up for Andrew’s funeral, and it’s pretty clear that something fishy is going on between Andrew’s mom Diana and Chief Strong. After the funeral, Andrew’s dad, Eggars, asks Officer Winters what’s up, and Winters tells him what Scully said - that it was probably a pedophile, and most likely one that lives right there in Eastwood.
Chief Strong's wife Anna is NOT about the FBI talking to her daughter, but Strong says she has to, so Mulder goes over to their house. Emily, the girl, is more interested in the nightmare version of Teletubbies she's watching. Mulder looks around the living room and finds a book called The Grimoire of Eastwood Witchcraft. As he's leaving, the song Andrew was singing comes on TV: "Mr. Chuckleteeth won't you play with me..."
"Mommy!" Emily says, pointing at the TV, "He was in the woods!"
Meanwhile, Scully is trying to eliminate Eggars as a suspect, but Chief Strong is pretty defensive about Eggars' innocence. As they look for him to question him, Eggars speeds off in a squad car, so a quick chase ensues. He leads them to a house on the edge of town that belongs to a convicted sex offender, one who failed to tell the local police of his creepy history. The townsfolk have already surrounded his pedo lair with their metaphorical torches and pitchforks. Inside, they find your usual creepo pedo lair paraphernalia: photos of the offending with little kids at birthday parties, balloons and teddy bears by his bed, clown costumes, a caged monkey (!), and *dun dunnn DUNNNNN* a Mr. Chuckleteeth mask. Mulder’s like “Yeah...no, this is all a little TOO on the nose.” But it doesn’t matter - the townspeople have found their guilty party.
Form a Circle of Salt to Protect from Zombies, Witches and Old Boyfriends
Emily is watching the nightmare zombie Teletubby show again. One of theseTelemonsters appears outside her door, and when Anna comes looking for her, Emily has followed that bitch into the Vancouvery Weird Woods.
No happy endings here: we cut to Mulder and Scully looking at the body out there in the woods while Anna yells at Chief Strong that it’s all his fault. Mulder finds a big fat circle of salt under the leaves - a Magic Circle, used to protect a spell’s caster from the demons it summons. Back in the day, witches would conjure “familiars” which took the likeness of animals or sometimes human. Possibly even favorite TV characters, Mulder ponders. He pushes some leaves aside to find that they’re standing on a Puritan graveyard. Mulder blames Chief Strong, who swears that though he hath sinned against God and broken a sacred commandment, he hasn’t killed anyone. He’s just committed a touch of adultery with Andrew’s mom Diana, and now he thinks he’s being punished for opening the gates of hell. Okay, settle down there buddy.
While this is happening, Pervy McPerverson arrives home to find the whole town freaking outside his lair. Officer Eggars pulls him out of his car and starts kicking his ass right there in the street. The cops manage to pull him off, but then the townspeople just go full Shirley Jackson on his ass.
By the time Scully and Mulder arrive, Pervy is covered in blood. Scully tells Eggars to call an ambulance. Instead, he takes out his gone and shoots Pervy square between the eyes.
Eggars' trial goes about as expected: my dude goes free on a $5,000 bail because he’s a “good cop” and Pervy McPerverson was a Pervy McPerverson.” Mulder, who came back to town with Scully for the trial (or this was an exceptionally speedy court case?), smells a witch hunt, and his suspicions are confirmed when they find Officer Winters waiting outside the courthouse for them. He did not become a cop to watch this lack of justice take place in his town, so he did some digging and found that Pervy was actually at a birthday party forty miles away while Andrew was killed.
Eggars heads home, where he confronts his wife about the affair with Strong and calling her a witch. She’s had enough of his shit and leaves him anyway, but as she’s speeding away, she sees a vision/familiar of Andrew and swerves to miss him, crashing her car off the road as a coywolf looks on. Eggars, meanwhile, has completely lost his shit at this point, grabs a gun and heads to Chief Strong’s house to take care of his toxic masculinity business. As he goes inside calling for Strong, he hears a boy singing, and follows the voice, only to see Mr. Chuckleteeth ducking around the dark, empty house. The show comes on the TV in the living room while Chuckleteeth chases Eggars around the house and it’s honestly ALL SO TERRIFYING. Chuckleteeth leads Eggars to a stand off with Chief Strong, and a shot is fired.
A Virgin Lit the Black Flame Candle
When Mulder and Scully arrive, Eggars is dead, surrounded by salt, and Mulder notices that the Grimoire is missing from the shelf. Strong has sped off into the Vancouvery Weird Woods and come across Diana’s car on the side of the road. He sees her in the trees and follows her into the woods, only to find his OWN DAMN WIFE doing witchcraft in the middle of a circle of candles. She says she only meant to curse Diane for the affair (double standard much?) and like, accidentally opened the gates of hell instead, as one does. And because karma's a real witch, Strong ends up getting eaten by the coywolf, and Anna literally bursts into flame, leaving nothing but the Grimoire behind.
This Week's Top Ranking Agent
My man Mulder spent the whole episode singing "it's witchcraaaaaaaft" and turned out to be absolutely correct.
This Week's Loser/Human Hybrid
Four-way tie between those small town adulterous drama queens, who all ended up dead AND got their kids killed, all because they never bothered to get real hobbies.
From The Bureau Surveillance Files
"This is a Magic Circle." - Mulder, unironically.
"I mean, you couldn't dream up a more perfect suspect. He's basically John Wayne Gacy, with a monkey." - Scully
Scully: That woman went up in flames.
Mulder: Maybe it was the candles.
Scully: Maybe it was the gates of hell.
- Skinner gets his own episode then we see hide nor hair of him for two whole episodes?
- And we've got two episodes left! This week and last week did not really reference the mythology of the show, so we have two eps left to wrap everything up. Can they do it?
- Did Mr. Chuckleteeth star in your nightmares last night?