"Blood" is the third episode of the second season of The X-Files. It premiered in the United States on September 30, 1994 on the Fox network. The teleplay was written by Glen Morgan and James Wong from a Darin Morgan story, and was directed by David Nutter. The episode is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, independent of the series' mythology arc.
Apparently prompted by messages from digital appliances with instructions to kill, several residents of a small farming community suddenly turn violent and dangerous.
At a postal center in Franklin, Pennsylvania, Edward Funsch sits at a conveyor belt entering the zip codes of envelopes as they run by him into a mail sorting machine. The machine jams and he cuts his finger on an envelope he tries to dislodge. He seems mesmerized by the small drop of blood. His boss calls him in to inform him that he losing his job due to downsizing. He explains that it's a decision the boss wishes he didn't have to make, since everyone gets on well with Ed, a somewhat simple man who is "new to this area." His boss recommends he stay on for the rest of the week. When Ed gets back to the machine, he sees the word "KILL" on the machine's digital display, that progresses to "KILL 'EM ALL."
At the Franklin Civic Center, a middle-aged man in a crowded elevator sees "NO AIR" displayed on the elevator's LCD display. He seems to be the only one to notice the message. Sweating and obviously nervous, he glances at the LCD screen again. It flashes the words "CAN'T BREATHE" and then "KILL 'EM ALL."
FBI Agent Mulder arrives at the civic center, after what looks like a massacre. Bodies lie on the sidewalk and in the foyer, where Sheriff Spencer explains that the suspect murdered four people from the elevator with his bare hands before a member of security took him down. Spencer is mystified because Franklin is a quiet farming town, but in the last six months, seven individuals have murdered twenty-two people. Mulder inspects the elevator and notices the electronic display has been damaged. He examines the suspect's body, noting a green residue on the man's fingertips.
Scully reads Mulder's initial report back at Quantico. Mulder believes the Franklin incidents are spree killings, but the suspects all seem to be healthy people, outwardly normal and unlikely to fit a criminal profile. The only connection he can see is that an electronic device was found destroyed at each crime scene.
That night, Bonnie McRoberts drops by an auto-repair garage to pick up her car. She is visibly unnerved by the mechanic, whose behavior she interprets as hostile. A message on an engine diagnostic display warns her that the mechanic is going to rape and murder her. She becomes hysterical and attacks, stabbing him to death with an oil funnel. When Mulder and the Sheriff question McRoberts the next morning, her kitchen microwave instructs her to kill them. She grabs a knife and slashes Mulder's arm, prompting Spencer to shoot and kill her.
At Quantico, Scully performs an autopsy on McRoberts' body. She discovers high levels of adrenaline, signs of psychological trauma, and the same green substance found on the elevator killer. She speculates that the substance, when combined with other neurochemicals, produces an LSD-like reaction.
While Mulder and Scully build a case, Ed Funsch becomes more and more unhinged. He continues to see violent messages on electronic gadgets, and blood is associated with each incident. First, an ATM displays "KILL THEM ALL" after Ed notices a child with a nose bleed. After making attempts to find a new job and failing, a volunteer at a department store asks Ed to donate for the Franklin Community Blood Drive. Distressed, he walks away and ends up in Domestic Appliances, where he sees violent images flash across a sales display of televisions, followed by a message to buy a gun from the Sporting Goods department.
While jogging, Mulder sees a city worker dump dead flies along the roadside. He takes a sample to The Lone Gunmen, who suggest that the flies have been sprayed with LSDM, a pesticide that invokes a fear response in insects. Mulder returns to Franklin that night to investigate an orchard, where he gets sprayed by a crop-dusting helicopter and has to be taken to the hospital. After an awkward debate with city spokesman Larry Winter, Mulder sees the message "DO IT NOW" in a fitness commercial. He proposes that when people exposed to the pesticide see subliminal messages relating to their phobias, their paranoia is heightened enough to make them kill. Mulder believes this to be evidence of a controlled experiment in the Franklin area. Under pressure from Spencer, a reluctant Winter agrees to stop the spraying and perform blood tests on the community, which will be done under the guise of a cholesterol study. Neighborhoods are canvassed and several names show up on a list of untested people; Ed Funsch is one of them.
Mulder and Scully arrive at Ed's house to find it strewn with smashed electronic devices. A nurse collecting blood samples visited Ed's house earlier in the day, but left when nobody answered the doorbell. Mulder realizes that blood is Ed's phobia and that he's been seeing the subliminal messages. An empty rifle case indicates that Ed is going to act on his delusions.
Funsch gets on a bus that stops at the local hospital, but is curiously warned by the fare meter that the police are waiting for him and screams at the driver to be let off. When the bus arrives, the driver tells Mulder he let Funsch off at the college, where the community blood drive is being held. Scully stays at the hospital while Mulder, Spencer and other officers rush to the college. Funsch, clearly conflicted and distressed, begins firing randomly from inside a nearby clock tower. As Mulder races up the tower's stairs, he trips and lands on his arm wound. He reaches the top and confronts Funsch, who tells Mulder "they" won't let him put the gun down, but maybe Mulder can make him. When Mulder reaches for the gun, Funsch notices blood from his arm wound seeping into his shirt and freaks out, allowing Mulder to knock the rifle away and overpower him.
Funsch is taken away on a stretcher, to be examined by Scully at the hospital. When Mulder tells Spencer he wants access to Funsch for questioning, Spencer replies that Mulder probably knows more about Funsch's episode than he does. Mulder calls Scully, but the reception becomes fuzzy; when he looks at the phone, the display shows him a message: "ALL DONE. BYE BYE" The call goes through and Scully calls to Mulder repeatedly as he stares at the message in shock.
Franklin; Pennsylvania; subliminal message
- William Sanderson as Edward Funsch
- John Cygan as Sheriff Spencer
- Kimberly Ashlyn Gere as Bonnie McRoberts
- George Touliatos as Larry Winter
- Bruce Harwood as John Fitzgerald Byers
- Dean Haglund as Richard Langly
- Tom Braidwood as Melvin Frohike
- Gerry Rousseau as Mechanic
- Andre Daniels as Harry
- William MacKenzie as Bus Driver
- Diana Stevan as Mrs. Adams
- David Fredericks as Security Guard
- Kathleen Duborg as Mother
- John Harris as Mr. Taber
- B.J. Harrison as Clerk