So far, there’s no sign of Tooms escaping through that small meal slot in his cell after the end of the last episode. In fact, Scully and Mulder seem to be over each case as soon as the episode ends. I suppose when you encounter eeriness all the time, the aftereffects don’t linger.
Speaking of eerie encounters, once again, it’s nighttime in a woodsy area, and people are sleeping outside of a trailer while one woman sleeps inside. Already, things are going wrong because when you have a place to sleep inside, that’s where you should be. I don’t get camping.
Anyway, the woman inside the trailer gets rocked, literally, as the trailer shakes so much that she falls out of bed and dishes fall out of the cupboard. The rocking stops, and she yells, “Kevin!” as she grabs the door and gets burned by it. When she gets it open, a little blonde boy—Kevin, I assume—yells, “Mom! Mom! Ruby’s gone!” That’s what happens when you sleep outside, see?
Over at FBI Headquarters, a higher up hands a file over to Scully that Mulder wants to investigate. He wants the bureau to assign a case to a tabloid headline, which is strange, “even for Mulder.” Because he’s spooky, remember?
The higher up hands Scully a second file. It’s about Mulder’s sister who disappeared 21 years ago when he was 12. He’s convinced she was abducted by aliens. The higher up thinks Mulder’s personal history clouds his judgment, and he causes friction in the bureau. Then he disallows the request even though he asks Scully her opinion and ignores it.
X-file: Ruby has disappeared in the same way Mulder’s sister disappeared — with bright lights.
Down in the X File dungeon, Scully asks Mulder why this tabloid headline is more believable than a lizard baby. Mulder breaks out his film projector and gives a UFO show, narrating about Girl Scouts. One of the Girl Scouts has grown up to be Darlene Morris, Ruby and Kevin’s mother.
The duo head over to the Morris household—wait, they have a house. Why were they in the woods with a trailer if they own a house? Also, if Darlene Morris has witnessed abductions before, why was she anywhere near the same place it happened to her? These questions are my X-File.
Darlene didn’t expect the FBI to listen to her. She introduces them to Kevin who will not look up from his doodling at the dining table. Mulder creepily touches a photo of a young girl on the mantle. I know, I know, he’s thinking of his sister, but it’s creepy if you don’t know that and you’re in a stranger’s house.
Over coffee in the kitchen, Darlene explains how Ruby’s disappearance is exactly like what happened to her Girl Scout troop. Mulder wants to talk to Kevin even though Darlene says he was asleep and didn’t see anything. How he could have slept through the whole thing is puzzling.
Kevin has moved to the living room to watch static on the television. Mulder asks him about nightmares, which is exactly what every kid wants to talk about. He then gives Mulder the best “get out of my face and stop annoying me” look when Mulder asks what he’s writing. The pad is filled with numbers that Kevin is getting from the tv static.
At the sheriff’s office, Mulder faxes the numbers to some guy named Stan. The local sheriff tells Scully and Mulder that Ruby probably ran away. Mulder accuses him of ignoring Darlene’s statement. The Sheriff says Ruby was a drunk slut (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what he’s saying), so this was bound to happen. What a terrible sheriff.
The two agents find a note on their windshield to go across the street. They go into the library and find a blonde girl who talks to them through the bookshelves about Ruby, who didn’t have friends, but had people she liked to hang with. And I suppose get drunk and bone. She had a boyfriend named Greg, who got Ruby pregnant. The plan had been to leave town. A librarian drops a book which distracts Mulder and Scully. When they turn back around, the blonde girl is gone.
They did find out from her that Greg works at a pub, so the agents head there where they talk to Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds, who is tending bar. He hasn’t seen Greg but wants to fire him. Mulder asks Ogre about his flying saucer tattoo. Mulder tells him UFOs are for crazy people—he’s got mad reverse psychology skillz. Ogre tells him to go down to the lake and then reveals a burned-off ear that he got from a flash of light in the middle of the night.
During that night, men in suits basically break into Scully’s room where she’s wearing oversized purple pajamas, asking her where Mulder is. So instead of breaking down Mulder’s door, they break down Scully’s door as if she’s his secretary to find out where he is. They found her but couldn’t find him. This makes no sense other than wanting to show Scully in her pjs.
In Mulder’s room, they’ve turned on one dim light and Mulder has no shirt on as they ask him where he got the number sequence. He puts a shirt on as he tells the suits he doesn’t have to tell them anything. They reveal that the numbers are a highly classified defense satellite transmission. Mulder gets angry at Scully, no longer in purple pajamas, because she told the suits about Kevin who cannot possibly be a threat to national security because he’s 8.
The suits ransack Kevin’s room, ripping crayon drawings of clouds off the walls because those are clearly classified, too. The suits drag Darlene and Kevin out of the house, putting them in separate cars, which does not seem to be legal, but I guess the NSA can do whatever it wants.
Inside, another suit finds an entire book of numbers Kevin transcribed as Mulder picks up a broken piggy bank. From Kevin’s window, they see the trailer from when Ruby disappeared. Mulder climbs up and scrapes residue from the top of it. Again, very forensics-like with no gloves or evidence bags. He smells it, too. That’s science.
At the FBI office, they find out that there’s nothing of a security risk from the numbers Kevin wrote down. The agent in this local office explains that the patterns of ones and zeroes can be from anything from DNA to Shakespeare’s sonnets, as if someone’s switching channels.
Darlene and Kevin get released, and Darlene is angry at Mulder and Scully because they’re supposed to help her. Mulder insists that Kevin has seen something, but Darlene tells them to stay away. She takes Kevin and storms off.
Mulder drives himself and Scully out of town because Kevin is the key to finding Ruby. He calls Kevin a conduit to who or whatever took Ruby because Kevin was likely touched in some way during the abduction. Scully tells Mulder she knows about his sister, and then reminds him there’s no evidence of abductions.
They arrive at the lake where Ruby and Kevin had been sleeping. Scully notes that anyone could have come out of the forest to grab Ruby. Mulder shows her the tops of the trees as they are singed, and Scully attributes it to an electrical storm. Mulder finds a piece of glass that has come from heating up sand. Scully has no answer to that because a white wolf emerges from the woods and then goes back inside.
Mulder quickly chases the wolf into the trees where he finds two more pawing over a pile of stones. He fires his gun to chase them away as Scully runs up after him. I have no idea why it took her so long to catch up. Mulder starts to move the rocks, indicating it’s a grave that smells (science again). Scully grabs his hands to make him stop, but he needs to know if it’s Ruby. The linger for a moment, crouched down with their faces extremely close together. I think this is supposed to be sexual tension, but since he already said it’s a smelly grave, I’m not feeling it.
The local police force uncovers a male Caucasian, so it’s not Ruby. They find a wallet in which is the ID of one Greg Randall. Mulder finds a note in the wallet that says Dr. Jack Fowler, Aug. 7. The two agents compare the handwriting to the note left on their car earlier and decide that it’s exactly the same. Handwriting experts be damned.
They bring the blonde girl to an interrogation room after finding her through Dr. Fowler. They’ve concluded that she’s the pregnant one and Greg’s the father and it’s all very serious. Blonde girl has waived the right to an attorney because she prefers whispering through library shelves. Blonde girl—Tessa—claims she wasn’t at the lake that night, but Mulder tells her she was lying in wait for them at the lake because she was angry and jealous. He accuses her of shooting Greg in the back and then killing Ruby. She yells that she didn’t kill Ruby because Ruby wasn’t there that night. Mulder has caught her in a lie about not being at the lake. The whole shouting thing isn’t the greatest acting in the world, so this scene thankfully ends.
Scully is convinced that Ruby is dead, and the body will be found once the lake gets dragged. Mulder calls that a waste of time because something is out there in the woods. Scully reminds him they have a confession to one murder and a statement of intent for another, but Mulder won’t budge. Instead, he wants to talk to Kevin. Scully tells him to stop running after his sister. Whoa! Mulder will not give up on that girl. Meaning Ruby but also subliminally his sister at the same time.
Scully goes with Mulder and they find a seemingly empty house but tea is heating up on the stove. Pages and pages of numbers are spread across the coffee table. When she goes upstairs, Scully looks down and—omigod! Look! The pages form the image of Ruby’s face.
The agents head back towards the lake in the dark. Mulder confesses to dreaming about finding his sister. Then he exclaims, Scully!, as he points ahead at the trailer parked near the lake. No one is inside, so they take their flashlights to the trail that goes deep into the woods. They find Darlene crawling in the dirt. Scully stays with her as Mulder runs deeper to find Kevin who is walking towards a warm glow coming from beyond the trees. Mulder gets to him right before a group of motorcycles come plowing through. Quite loudly. Yet there was no motorcycle noise until they appear which makes no sense because that’s not how sound works. This is my second X-File.
Then there’s a yell from Darlene. When Mulder and Kevin come back, they see Scully doing CPR on Ruby. She’s back and alive.
Over at the hospital, Scully reviews Ruby’s file, which indicates levels of something or other that indicate prolonged weightlessness. They introduce themselves to Ruby who tells them she’s not supposed to tell where she was. Darlene appears in the doorway to tell Ruby she doesn’t have to tell them anything. Then she asks the agents out into the hallway where she tells them to put everything behind them. Mulder wants to come back in a few days or weeks so Ruby can tell her story, insisting that Ruby will remember and will need to talk about it. Darlene tells him that the truth has caused her only heartache.
In her office, Scully listens to cassette tapes (fun with technology!) from Mulder’s sister’s X-File. It’s of Mulder’s regression therapy: he hears his sister calling out his name, asking for help, but he can’t move.
Cut to Mulder looking at a picture of his sister while crying alone in a church pew.
The cassette goes on: He heard a voice telling him not to be afraid. The voice claimed that one day she’d return. The doctor asks, “Do you believe the voice?”
Tween Mulder’s answer: “I want to believe.”
Getting into Mulder’s past helps to establish his character more as well as establish the entire show. It doesn’t explain why he was joking about basketball when a coffin fell open at a grave site, but it does explain some stuff.
X-File Type: Alien abduction (or motorcycle ride if you Believe Darlene)
The Award for Better Agent: Kevin the kid who acts at the conduit because he’s the only one who keeps a level head. Maybe one day he’ll be an actual agent.
Believability: I can’t Believe I’m saying this, but Yes, mostly because of all the background stuff about the sister.