The sewer in Maryland has eyes! Yellow eyes peer out from the opening right under the curb. The businessman who passed by enters his empty office building and arrives in his empty office. It’s nighttime, of course. This man winds up dead, of course. We don’t see the murder, but we do see a screw on an air vent turning itself shut.
Scully lunches with academy buddy Agent Tommy Colton where they chat about his fast-track success and her close encounters with Spooky Mulder. Immediately after jibing her, Colton reveals he’s got a case he can’t crack about a murder in a locked room with no point of entry apparent, and it’s not a suicide. This is one in a pattern of cases of victims who have had their livers ripped out with bare hands. When she says it sounds like an X-File, he’s all like, no it’s not! Immediately, he asks for her help so that he can solve it, meaning it actually is an X-File and he wants Mulder’s help. Spooky Mulder. As long as Mulder knows it’s Colton’s case, dammit!
X-file: People are getting killed and losing their livers to someone who can get in and out of rooms without needing a door or window.
Mulder feigns surprise at having a reputation and then asks if everyone thinks he’s spooky. Neither of the previous episodes described him as spooky, and now they’ve said it eight times in two minutes. He then asks Scully if she thinks he’s spooky. No time to respond as Colton arrives on the scene of the office where the businessman was killed the night before.
After schooling Colton on all-things-liver, Mulder finds the tiniest thread of metal on the floor near the vent. He’s not crawling around looking for anything; he simply spots the minuscule shred from a standing position. He must have some sort of supersonic eyesight, the same mad detective skillz he used when he saw the tiny red dots on the back of Billy Miles, Alien Abductee.
Mulder dusts the vent, revealing elongated fingerprints along its edges.
Back at the office, we learn that these fingerprints match prints at five of ten previous murders in an X-File Mulder. These murders? Circa 1930s and 1960s. Every thirty years, five murders occur, and fingerprints never lie, so it has to be the same guy with really long fingers.
Scully explains to Mulder that they’ve put him in the basement because no one wants to hear his theories (even though they ask him for help). Mulder asks her to continue with their own investigation, not crossing over into the actual bureau investigation. Now, this is teamwork!
Later on, Scully makes a field report to explain the killer understands vents and how livers regenerate. So, all kinds of ductwork. The roundtable of agents agrees to look for a male wearing a uniform and welcomes Scully to join them in their more down-to-earth investigation. Then they chuckle as idiots will do.
Finally, it’s dark out again so things will now happen! In a parking garage, Scully hears a noise and almost shoots Mulder, who claims the killer isn’t coming back here. Then why is Mulder there? Mulder doesn’t go home because he hears noise coming from the large ducts also located in the parking garage. Scully calls out orders for whoever is inside to proceed down and out the vent.
A sweaty young man wearing a uniform emerges and gets arrested. Mulder tells Scully she was right. Case closed.
Well, not really. There’s a lie detector test for Eugene Victor Tooms. He works for animal control. He was up in the vent catching animals because that’s his job. Oh, and Mulder has the lie detector lady ask Tooms if he’s over a hundred years old. The lie detector lady tells everyone Tooms didn’t kill anyone.
Scully insists Tooms is the guy. Mulder shows everyone how Scully is right by pointing out how Tooms lied when asked if he was over a hundred years old. The agent in charge decides to let Tooms go. Colton asks Scully to come with him, but Scully stays with Mulder, whom Colton calls insane before leaving. Teamwork!
The bushes have yellow eyes! Tooms sneaks around in the dark outside a house, and his eyes are yellow. Not jaundice yellow. The irises are yellow. Using his elongated fingers, he scales the side of the house and contorts his entire body to fit down the very narrow chimney.
The unknowing man inside the house lights a fire. Ahh, he’s unknowingly saved himself. Only, he hasn’t! Tooms is already inside and attacks him from behind!
The next day, Colton turns Mulder and Scully away from his crime scene, but Scully scolds Colton because they’re allowed to be there. Mulder immediately finds an ashy fingerprint on the fireplace. It’s Tooms.
Mulder finds the 1903 address for Tooms. Scully thinks the 1903 address is Tooms’s grandfather’s and the prints match because of DNA. Mulder thinks they still need to find Tooms because only one liver is needed to complete the five murder cycle.
Then they scour through microfiche. Microfiche makes Mulder sea sick. Ha ha ha ha ha. For anyone who has never loaded up and scrolled through microfiche, do it right now. There’s gotta be some back room in a library somewhere that’s got a bunch of these machines collecting dust. Fun times with technology!
The agents visit the sheriff from 1933 to ask about the murders that happened then. He gives them his tale of cold heart, numb hands, Bosnians, death camps, and all kinds of horrible acts that gave birth to a human monster. He’s got a box of evidence; he knew the murders in ’63 were by the same guy in ’33 but had no power to do anything about it. He reveals that the murderer took something personal from each victim. Then he shows them pictures of Tooms from the past. He hasn’t aged at all! Dun dun dun!
Scully and Mulder head to Exeter Street, the address where Tooms has lived for a hundred years. They enter and get the same cold, numb feeling the old sheriff described. The room is in decay, dusty with no furniture except for a mattress against the wall. When they move the mattress, they find a hole in the wall! Dun dun dun!
They climb down into the dark pit to find a collection of trinkets on a small bench, one of which is from the morning’s crime scene. Against the wall, they see a kind of goopy nest made of rags and newspapers. Mulder gets the goop on his hand just as Scully says it smells like bile. Mulder suggests that it’s a hibernation nest for Tooms who has mutated genes that allow him to survive forever as long as he sustains life from livers every thirty years.
On her way out, Scully thinks she’s stepped on something but then says she’s not stuck. A hand appears from above. It’s Tooms! With the yellow eyes! He has a necklace wrapped around his fingers.
Later on, backup shows up to relieve Mulder, whom they call spooky again.
Colton finds Scully in the office to yell at her for using his men to relieve Mulder. He regrets asking her for help and insists on calling Mulder himself to tell him he’s called off their investigation. Colton gets Mulder’s machine as Scully storms out.
Over at Scully’s place, yellow eyes are watching from the dark!
Mulder returns to Exeter to find the stakeout is gone. He realizes that Tooms has not been watched. Tooms could be anywhere in any vent!
Scully runs a bath as a blurry figure of Tooms climbs outside her window.
Meanwhile, in the liver den, Mulder finds Scully’s necklace hanging among the personal artifacts.
Back in her bathroom, Scully gets bile dripped onto her hand from the ceiling. She looks up and sees bile dripping from the vent. She grabs her gun and points it at all the vents she can find.
Then BAM! From a vent comes a hand. It’s Tooms! He climbs through the tiny vent and attacks! He gets Scully on her back and poises his hand above her liver. Mulder busts in! Scully flips over! The two agents handcuff Tooms to the bathtub.
In a cell, Tooms rips and licks some newspaper, balling it up to create a new nest against a new wall. Scully has ordered genetic tests that reveal abnormal results. Mulder ruminates about how all the security we have will never be enough.
An orderly delivers Tooms his meal through a slot. Tooms stares at the meal slot. Then he smiles. Then Yellow Eyes! He’s totally going to escape.
X-File Type: Genetic mutation
The Award for Better Agent: Mulder. Simply because he helps save Scully, and that’s why Scully got the award last time. Plus, he gets bile on his hand without gagging.
Believability: Meh. It’s really not Believable except that Mulder makes us Believe. He’s not being as snarky anymore, and his personality seems to have leveled off since the first episode, so now he’s more Believable.