"2Shy" is the sixth episode of the third season of The X-Files. It first aired in the United States on November 3, 1995 on the Fox network. The episode was written by Jeffrey Vlaming, directed by David Nutter, and is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, independent of the series' mythology arc.
Several women disappear after meeting someone in Internet chat rooms.
Cleveland, OH. Night. A man and woman talk in a car, against a romantic skyline. Lauren MacKalvey is a plain-looking, somewhat overweight woman; her date is an attractive, charming man she met online three months earlier. When he kisses her, she gags up a gelatinous substance.
Morning: A cop finds a grotesque, goo-covered skeleton in the car. Detective Alan Cross contacts Mulder and Scully, recommended as FBI experts in the unusual. A few months earlier in Aberdeen, Mississippi, four women who'd answered personal ads had disappeared in less than a month. The sole body found was too decomposed for an autopsy.
The killer, going by the alias Virgil Incanto, chats online with overweight Ellen Kaminsky, whose computer handle is "Huggs". His is "Timid", and he wants to meet. Incanto is interrupted by his landlady, who, thinking him a novelist or editor, asks him to critique her poems sometime.
Cuyahoga County Morgue, same day (Aug. 29), 4.15 p.m(When looking closely at the clock behind her it is actually 1:20PM).: Scully discovers Lauren's remains have decayed into a skeleton and a pool of red glop.
Mulder, in the meantime, learns the man Lauren had dated last night had been communicating with her online, handled "2Shy"; Lauren's roommate gives Mulder copies of the romantic letters 2Shy had sent Lauren. Mulder calls Scully to say 2Shy's their serial killer - he'd opened his online account with one of the Aberdeen victims' credit cards.
Morgue: Scully tells Mulder the crime-scene goo is mostly hydrochloric acid, similar to stomach acid; it also contains traces of the digestive enzyme pepsin. The red glop is composed of normal body chemicals, except for extremely low amounts of adipose - fatty tissue.
Night: Ellen is nervous about meeting "Timid" - all the more so when her friend Joanne reminds her about the general warning the FBI has just issued. Ellen rationalizes that she's been chatting with "Timid" every day for a month - but ultimately doesn't show up at a French restaurant where he waits. Incanto find a chunky streetwalker, Holly McClain - who scratches him savagely before he kills her in an alley. Incanto runs when another hooker and her john come by.
Morning: Scully finds all air passages in McClain's body blocked with viscous hydrochloric goo. Mulder tells Cross that "2Shy's" e-mail to Lauren quoted from obscure 16th-century Italian poems found only in controlled circulation academic libraries; he asks Cross to compile a list of literary professors and such. Incanto - a translator of Italian literature - signs for a package at his apartment house, running across the landlady and her blind pre-teen daughter, Jesse.
Cleveland P.D., 1st District 10:13 a.m.: Mulder arrives with an FBI analysis of the killer's skin, found under McClain's nails. There's no match in the DNA database of known offenders - but the report does note the samples contained no oils or essential fatty acids. Mulder thinks the killer is (in Scully's sardonic words) "a fat-sucking vampire". Cross arrives with a list of 38 names . Ellen e-mails Incanto asking for another chance. Cross, canvassing, questions Incanto.
Night: Ellen gives Incanto a lift home after dinner. The landlady, with her poems, has let herself into Incanto's apartment - where she finds Cross' body. Incanto, seeing the light on, leaves Ellen to investigate. Later, Jesse comes by, looking for her mom; Incanto lies, saying he hasn't seen her. But Jesse, who's smelled her mother's perfume, calls 911.
When the agents and police burst in they find Incanto gone, and Cross and the landlady dead. FBI Regional Office, Computer Crime Section: An agent restores the erased files on Incanto's hard drive, annd breaks the password and encryption to retrieve a list of Incanto's online chat-room women. Incanto, in the meantime, talks his way into Ellen's apartment. The agents e-mail a warning and a sketch to everyone on Incanto's list, then go to check on two women unreachable by phone - including Ellen, who's excused herself to excitedly e-mail Joanne. Doing so, she finds the FBI sketch in her bin; Incanto sees it too and attacks.
The agents break in and when Ellen doesn't answer, the neighbor Joanne confirms she's home. Ellen's injured but alive; Mulder chases a man he sees fleeing down the street - who turns out to be just a graffiti-tagger. Incanto, hidden, attacks Scully in the bathroom - but Ellen shoots him with the gun Scully left behind in the bedroom.
Cuyahoga County Jail, one week later: Incanto, his skin mottled and curdling, confesses to 47 murders in five states. He insists he's no monster, that he gave them what they wanted and they gave him what he needed. In Italian he adds, "The dead are no longer lonely".
- The dock at which Lauren MacKalvey's car is discovered appears to be the same one used in the opening of Season 1's "The Erlenmeyer Flask".
Cast and Characters
- Glynis Davies (Monica Landis) previously played Nelson in The X-Files episode "Tooms" and Ellen in "Irresistible".
- William MacDonald (Special Agent Dan Kazanjian) previously played Dr. Oppenheim in The X-Files episode "Fallen Angel" and Federal Marshal in "The Host".
- Suzy Joachim as Jennifer Workman
- Glynis Davies as Monica Landis
- Randi Lynne as Lauren Mackalvey
- William MacDonald as Special Agent Dan Kazanjian
- Beverley Elliott as Holly McClain