With Scully on maternity leave, Doggett is assigned an inexperienced new partner who is obsessed with the X-Files. Together, they are trapped in an underground tunnel by a creature that can assume a human appearance and uses snake venom to blind its victims.
In Ellicott, New York, Arlen Sacks is killed by an unknown reptilian creature that sprays venom on his victims while his son, Gary, microwaves dinner. In the meantime, at the FBI headquarters, Dana Scully packs up her belongings at the X-Files office. Among her various keepsakes, she finds a medallion commemorating the Apollo 11 space flight. Scully gives John Doggett the medallion, explaining that it symbolizes teamwork. Scully then leaves the office, and Special Agent Leyla Harrison turns up. She tells Doggett that she is his new partner. They are to investigate the Sacks' murders in upstate New York City.
Doggett and Harrison make their way to the crime scene where they search for clues. Doggett finds some sort of slime which is sent to an FBI lab for analysis. Harrison than explains to him that she processed Fox Mulder and Scully's travel expenses during their time on the X-Files, and as a result she knows everything about the X-Files.
Doggett follows a wooded trail away from the crime scene to an upscale mansion. As he makes his way inside, unbeknownst to him, the strange creature is clinging to a wall, observing what he is doing. Sensing something is wrong, Doggett pulls out his gun and instructs Harrison to stand by the door while he flushes the creature out. Harrison is sent outside, where she hears a noise directly above her and opens fire. Doggett rushes onto the front lawn, where he falls through a trap door into an underground tunnel.
From an autopsy of Arlen Sacks, Scully discovers that Arlen was blinded by a kind of reptile venom. In the cave, the creature sprays their eyes with venom slowly blinding them. The agents find Gary Sacks nearby in need of medical attention.
Mulder searches the area around the mansion for clues and encounters the owner, Herman Stites, who identifies himself as a biologist. He leaves the area after finding no evidence to back up his claims. Mulder returns to the FBI, telling Scully that he found the Apollo medallion near Stites' estate, and is convinced Doggett is somewhere nearby.
Again, Mulder returns to the area were Doggett and Harrison went missing. This time he spots the creature and chases it to the mansion where it climbs up to a second floor. Mulder bangs on the front door, until Stites opens the door. Mulder warns Stites that the monster is in his house. Stites lures Mulder into the catacombs, where Harrison and Doggett are being kept. Mulder goes in, without realizing that Stites has locked the door. Mulder finds Doggett and begs the still-blinded Doggett to open fire. Doggett hesitates saying that he can't see. But he shoots blindly and hits the monster. As it dies, the monster morphs back into Stites.
Later, in the hospital, Mulder returns the Apollo 11 key ring to Doggett in a gesture of goodwill. Doggett, however, has a suggestion; Scully and Mulder gift the key ring to a grateful Agent Harrison.
- The episode would be the last Monster of the Week episode to feature an appearance by David Duchovny as Fox Mulder until the Season 10 revival.
- Before it was televised, this episode was also known as "The Dream Whose Sleep...".
- The book The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind by famous paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey appears in this episode. The choice of this book could also be seen as a reference to the Season 7 episodes "The Sixth Extinction" and "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati".
- This episode marks the first appearance of Leyla Harrison, who would later return in Season 9's "Scary Monsters".
- Leyla Harrison was created and named in memory of an X-Files fan and writer of X-Files internet fanfiction of the same name, who tragically died on February 10, 2001 due to skin cancer.
- Like many fans of the series, Agent Harrison is full of information about the X-Files and makes references to several cases that Mulder and Scully worked on. These include a liver-eating mutant that produced bile and died under an escalator (Eugene Victor Tooms, who was killed in "Tooms" and first appeared in "Squeeze"), aliens that shed their skin and leave behind a residue similar to mucus (from "The Beginning") and subterranean men in Florida who took people underground (seen in "Detour"). In the episode's final scene, Harrison asks Mulder how he and Scully managed to return to America after escaping from a spaceship in Antarctica (an event that took place in The X-Files Movie).
- When Scully is cleaning out her desk, we see the fused penny/dime from "Dreamland" and "Dreamland II", Queequeg's dog tag, and the Apollo 11 key ring from "Tempus Fugit".
- As Scully is holding the fused coins the camera shows a closeup shot of her hand. This is clearly not the same hand as the mid-shot of Scully holding the coin as in the mid-shot Gillian Anderson appears to have painted or fake nails on, whereas the closeup shot shows shorter, unpainted nails.
Cast and Characters
- David Duchovny as Former Special Agent Fox Mulder
- Gillian Anderson as Special Agent Dana Scully
- Robert Patrick as Special Agent John Doggett
- Jolie Jenkins as Agent Leyla Harrison
- Jay Caputo as Salamander Man
- Tony Ketcham as Gary Sacks
- Zach Grenier as Dr. Herman Stites