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"Born Again" is the twenty-second episode of the first season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on April 19, 1994. The episode was written by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, directed by Jerrold Freedman, and is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, independent of the series' mythology arc.


The agents investigate an eight-year-old girl who is associated with the killings of two policemen that Mulder suspects murdered her past incarnation, police officer Charlie Morris.


When New York Detective Rudy Barbala is thrown through a second story window to his death, the only person in the room is an eight-year-old girl, Michelle Bishop, whom he was interviewing alone in an interview room. She claims to have seen another man in the room; the description she gives matches Charlie Morris, a policeman who was murdered by Triad gang members nine years earlier.

Mulder and Scully head to the girl's home, interviewing her mother Judy Bishop. Michelle's mother tells them that Michelle is disturbed and under psychiatric care She also relates a story that when her father previously tried to teach her to swim, she would scream upon approaching the water. Michelle's only hobby seems to be the origami figures she makes.

Mulder visits Michelle's psychiatrist, where she reveals that during the sessions, the girl would repeatedly mutilate baby dolls in the exact same method: by removing the left arm. Later, from the police report on Morris' death, Scully finds that his left arm was brutally severed by a chainsaw.

Mulder and Scully question Tony Fiore, Charlie Morris' former partner, he is not very helpful and acts nervous. He tells them he wants to speak outside, not letting them in to the house, because his wife is sleeping inside. He does't go into detail about the murder, saying merely "They just wanted a cop. Any cop." leaving it at that. Hearing them outside, his wife comes out. There is baking flour on her hands, indicating that he lied about her being asleep. With his wife outside Fiore rushes them to leave, raising suspicion with both.

When Mulder and Scully leave, Fiore goes to insurance salesman and former policeman Leon Felder and tells him about the FBI agents' visit. Fiore is anxious that the FBI are connecting the dots; he wants to go to the bank to collect a safety box. Fiore wants to dump it, but Felder is not willing; he wants to keep the money, but Fiore is reluctant. Felder threatens Fiore, pushing that Charlie Morris' death was an accident and that they had merely been trying to scare sense into him. Fiore is clearly uneasy.

Later that night as Leon Felder gets off a bus, an invisible force lifts the back of his scarf trapping it in the bus doors. He yells for the bus driver to stop, but finds the controls unresponsive. The bus continues to drive against his will, with the driver watching Felder get dragged to his death. He exits the bus in horror, hurrying to the body. As the camera pans in, sitting on the bus directly behind the door is Michelle.

Scully and Mulder talk to Michelle's mother in the police station, who is crying, insisting that Michelle is merely a child and cannot possibly be involved. Mulder, while at the police station, is informed of Felder's past as Barbala's partner when still an officer. Connecting all four police officers to the drug bust, Mulder and Scully dig into their history.

Scully realizes a page is missing from Morris' case file; it was checked out by Fiore that afternoon. They head to his home, where his wife reveals he never came home, before letting the agents in. They ask his wife if she knows Felder or Barbala, but she doesn't recognize the names. Mulder asks about the origami figures he noticed upon entering her home. She reveals that her first husband, Charlie Morris, is the one who made them. The only animal he hadn't finished in his collection was a giraffe.

As they leave, Mulder muses that Michelle was conceived around the time of Morris' death, Scully interrupting him to sarcastically suggest reincarnation. She is not convinced, even with the origami figures, nor the deaths she was witness to. Mulder believes Morris came back to avenge his death, suggesting that she is able to use telekinesis.

Michelle is put into hypnosis, revealing that she is twenty four, before having an attack. She can only get out, "we can't do this, it's wrong" and "they're killing me" before her therapist insists they stop, convincing Michelle's mother that she's in danger of full withdrawal. Mulder wants to push forward, but Scully is still unconvinced. She reminds him that even if they get a full recounting from Michelle, nothing she says would be admissible in court.

Reviewing the video tapes of the hypnosis session- that night, Mulder sees an anomaly on the tapes, rewinding it and studying it closer. Upon replay, he can hear a distortion over Michelle's voice, as well as something unusual on the tape itself. Meanwhile, Fiore's wife is at home, waiting for news of him when she hears a knock on the door. After rushing to answer it, she finds that an origami giraffe is waiting for her on the porch.

Mulder takes the tape to an FBI analyst to be studied closer. The analist studying the tapes say whatever image is over Michelle's was with her in the room. Scully receives the autopsy report on Morris' body, revealing that he was actually drowned first and mutilated post-mortem. The lack of evidence of drowning around his body, except the head and shoulders suggests perhaps he was drowned in a toilet or tub. Scully, looking over his toxicology, deduces that he was actually killed in sea water.

Fiore goes home, calling for his wife frantically. He tells her to pack her bags so they can leave, believing that someone is trying to kill him. Outside of their home, looking into a window is Michelle. Meanwhile, the analyst has cleaned up the image on the tape, eventually revealing the image to be small figurine of a hard-hat diver, which puzzles Scully and the analyst. However Mulder recognizes it from the fish tank in Fiore's house, suggesting that Charlie was murdered at home.

Fiore's wife shows him the origami figure, begging to know where it came from when the power suddenly goes off. He tells her to stay in the bedroom while he searches; when he leaves, the door locks, trapping her inside. As he's searching through the house, a lamp wire wraps around his legs, knocking him down. He reaches for his gun, but a force drags it away—Michelle appears from the darkness.

Mulder and Scully arrive hearing shattering glass and screaming as they come up to the house. Michelle is using telekenesis to shatter objects around the house, all while remaining expressionless. The agents break into the house through the back door. Fiore tries to speak to Morris, explaining that Felder and Barbala just wanted to talk to him, and that he should have just taken the money.

Michelle attacks, but is stopped by Mulder, who tries to reason with Morris. Morris' wife comes downstairs, hurrying to the fallen Fiore—the man confesses that he knew all along what had been done to Morris, but that he couldn't reveal it. He tells the woman that he just wanted to take care of her; Michelle begins to glow, the fish tank lighting up and shaking as the house starts to break apart.

Morris' wife begs him not to hurt Fiore. The fish tank explodes and the lights come back on.

Mulder narrates as the camera pans to Michelle playing in the pool with her friends. Fiore has gone to jail, charged with Morris' death and extortion. Barbala and Felder's deaths are unsolved, but closed—Michelle is not charged with any crimes, and no longer has any memory of her past life.


New York; Charlie Morris


Main Cast

Guest Starring


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