As Doggett tries to keep an open mind, he and Scully piece together evidence of a murdering Indian mystic who hides in the stomachs of his victims.
SummaryAt the Sahar International Airport in Mumbai, India, an obese man, Hugh Potocki makes his way past the beggars as he heads back to the United States. One grubby beggar, with no legs dragging himself by his hands on a little cart, approaches Potocki after he gets past check in. The wheels squeak with every move forward. Handing him some money, Potocki says “Buy yourself some WD-40.” Later, sitting on the toilet, Potocki hears the squeaking again as the man appears in the bathroom. “Look I already gave! Do you even speak English?” Potocki is pulled out of the stall violently by the feet.
Potocki checks in at the hotel not saying a word to the bellhop. He sits down on the bed and blood streams out of everywhere.
Scully arrives late to the crime scene and Doggett tells her that Potocki’s blood all drained abruptly in the hotel. A child’s bloody print is found. Or so Doggett suggests, but Scully doesn’t believe that a child did this. She thinks he should keep an open mind.Meanwhile a man applies for a janitorial job. It is the beggar man but somehow the woman running the school sees him as an ordinary looking Caucasian man and hires him as their janitor.
In the morgue, Scully describes the massive stomach damage of Potocki which leads Doggett to the idea of drugs being forcibly cut out of him. The man showed no sign of drugs though in the blood tests and Scully tells Doggett that his time of death was 24 to 36 hours ago, long before he left India.
7th grader, Trevor, knocks down 6th grader, Quinton and takes his scooter. Before it can continue further, Quinton’s father intercedes and drives Quinton home.
Doggett talks about another dead man in India and Scully notices the weight discrepancy between the victim’s weight in life and when he was in the morgue. She believes that there was a passenger in these people. Doggett points out that even if that was true, Potocki was already dead so how could he have made the trip?
Quinton calls for his father after he sees the legless beggar man in his room. His father tells him that he just imagined it. His father goes back downstairs and then screams. Quinton rushes down to find his father dead, his eyes turned red with blood.
Doggett and Scully investigate this latest death after the police told them about the strange man the boy saw. Doggett found more handprints. While discussing the lack of any damage to the body except the broken blood vessels in the eyes, Scully comes to the conclusion that maybe that’s the first stage and that the man is still inside the latest victim.She rushes to the morgue and finds the boy’s father with a distended belly. She cuts into him and then sees a hand emerge from the scalpel incision. Surprised by this, she knocks over the table with the instrument tray and her gun. Scrambling for her gun, she returns to the body with no one there. Following a bloody trail, she opens a door at the end of the trail and finds no one there. She turns and leaves to answer the phone, while a bloody little man sitting right there watches her. The principal tells the legless man’s janitor guise that she was very worried when he didn’t show up this morning. Trevor, the bully, sees partially through the legless man’s janitor form for a moment.
While Agent John Doggett checks his watch, Dr. Charles Burks explains that Siddhi mystics could do the things Scully described. They have powers of the mind and can alter people’s perceptions of reality. Make themselves invisible or appear as a different person. Doggett mocks it all before leaving and Burks tells Scully, “It’s hard to believe in something when you don’t understand it.”
Trevor shows up at Quinton’s home to say he is sorry and says he thinks he knows who did it.
Burks returns to the office and Scully explains that she is trying to see it the way that Mulder would. Something she doesn’t understand is why a holy man would commit murder. She theorizes that a mystic is acting out of revenge since an American plant inadvertently released a gas cloud that killed 118 people in Vishi, outside of Mumbai. One of the victims was the 11 year old son of a holy man of the beggar caste. Burks agrees to the possibility but wonders why he’s killing these specific people if he’s out for revenge.
Trevor runs home after hearing the squeaking wheels. He runs outside after encountering his mother. She follows him outside to find him face down in the middle of the pool. She dives down to get him and it turns into the legless man.
Doggett questions why they are at the new crime scene. He thinks the whole case is a stretch and that Scully is just reaching since there is no pattern. Trevor jumps the fence and returns to his home. When he asks where his mom is, Scully doesn’t answer so Trevor realizes what happened immediately and tells them it was the “little man.”Burks shows up to film the Siddhi mystic they captured, but Doggett says the only thing extraordinary about the janitor is that he doesn’t speak. He starts filming and calls Doggett over to look at it. Though they see a man in the room, the video camera does not see a man. Burks tells him that he could be anywhere.
Scully arrives at Trevor’s home to talk to him and Doggett calls Scully to tell her the man isn’t there anymore. Trevor’s father can’t find his son there.
Quinton and Trevor hunt the legless man in the school. When he goes into the janitor’s closet, Trevor tries to get him with a big glass container of lye from his perch on a high shelf. The man is nowhere to be found until Quinton encounters him in the hall and starts running. Quinton retreats into an empty classroom but the windows are locked and he can’t get out. Trevor appears at the window just before the legless man enters the classroom.Scully and the principal enter the classroom and find Quinton by the window and Trevor approaching him. Quinton says it’s the little man, Trevor turns and starts walking towards Scully. She draws her gun and tells him to stay where he is.
Doggett arrives at the school and hears gunshots. He rushes in and finds Scully standing over the body of the legless man. Scully exits the classroom in a rush while Doggett and the principal stare at the body in confusion.Agent Doggett comes outside to talk with Scully. She says “I shot a young boy.” Doggett tells her that she didn’t but she says isn’t what her eyes told her. “Then why did you shoot him?” Scully said it’s because that’s what the boy saw and that she realized it’s what Mulder would have seen. She breaks down and cries, telling Doggett that Mulder would have seen the man because he would have come to the case without prejudice or judgement. Doggett says it has been a long night and she should go home. “This whole thing doesn’t make any sense.” “No…it did. In some way, it did.”
Two weeks later in Sahar International Airport… the legless man watches another fat American man pass by…
- David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) does not appear in this episode. However, Mulder is mentioned and, for the only time in The X-Files television series, Duchovny is erroneously credited as appearing, despite being absent. For the Blu-Ray release of Season 8, this error has been corrected by removing Duchovny's credit from the opening titles.
- Badlaa also means Revenge in most Indian languages (Punjabi, Hindi etc.). This would fit in with the story. It might as well mean "suit" in Arabic (Badlah: بدلة), which is exactly what the episode was about. A man wearing a suit of human flesh.
- This is the last appearence of Bill Dow as Dr. Charles Burks on the show.
- David Duchovny as Special Agent Fox Mulder (credit only)
- Gillian Anderson as Special Agent Dana Scully
- Robert Patrick as Special Agent John Doggett
- Michael Welch as Trevor
- Jordan Blake Warkol as Quinton
- Deep Roy as Beggar Man
- Bill Dow as Dr. Charles Burks
- Andy Hubbell as Quinton's Father
- Jane Daly as Mrs. Holt
- Maura Soden as Trevor's Mother
- Christopher Hutson as Mr. Burrard
- Calvin Remsberg as Hugh Potocki
- Jacob Franchek as Red-Headed Kid
- Mimi Savage as Teacher
- Winston Story as Bellboy
- Tony Adelman as Trevor's Father
- Kiran Rao as Customs Agent