"Demons" is the twenty-third episode of the fourth season of The X-Files. The episode premiered on the Fox network on May 11, 1997. It was written by R.W. Goodwin, directed by Kim Manners, and helped explore the series' mythology arc.
Mulder wakes up in a room alone, only to find out that he is in Providence and he cannot remember any of his activity of the last 48 hours.
Mulder experiences a dreamlike vision, apparently a memory from childhood, in which he sees his mother and father reacting as if some terrible tragedy has entered their home. Mulder awakens in a motel room, sweating profusely, his hands and shirt stained with blood. He telephones Scully, who drives to the motel to offer assistance. Suffering from a mental blackout, Mulder cannot recall how he got to the motel. Scully discovers that two rounds were fired from his gun. She also traces a car parked outside Mulder's room to a David and Amy Cassandra. The agents travel to the Cassandra residence, where they speak with a house-keeper. Inside the home are dozens of paintings of a white clapboard house. Mulder realizes he was inside the home, but cannot remember why.
The housekeeper gives the agents the address of the home depicted in the painting. As Mulder approaches the dwelling, he is suddenly struck by a flashback in which he encounters a young Cigarette-Smoking Man inside his parent's home. When the seizure subsides, the agents walk inside the cottage, where they find the dead bodies of David and Amy Cassandra.
Blood from both victims is found on Mulder's shirt. Detective Curtis places Mulder under arrest. A toxicology report reveals traces of the anesthetic ketamine in Mulder and Amy Cassandra's blood. Scully realizes the drug could account for Mulder's memory loss. A short time later, Michael Fazekas, an admitting officer, steps inside a bathroom at the police station and shoots himself in the head. Scully discovers a small scab on the man's scalp, similar to one found on Amy's hairline. Detective Curtis reveals that Fazekas was a believer in UFOs. Inside Fazekas' apartment, Scully discovers a UFO magazine featuring a photograph of Amy, who believed she was an alien abductee.
A forensics report reveals that the blood spatter pattern on Mulder's shirt does not correspond to the point of entry detail. Curtis concludes the Cassandras died as the result of a murder-suicide. Further research reveals that Amy had been seeing Dr. Charles Goldstein, a psychiatrist, in an effort to recover suppressed memories. Goldstein admits he used unconventional therapy to stimulate electrical impulses in the brain.
Mulder suffers another seizure. During the attack, he experiences a vision in which a young Cigarette-Smoking Man pulled Mrs. Mulder close to him, as if to kiss her. Mulder and Scully drive to Mrs. Mulder's Greenwich home. There, Mulder confronts his mother. He accuses her of lying to him about having been forced to choose Samantha over him. He also accuses her of being unfaithful to his father. Mrs. Mulder angrily denies the allegations. Mulder storms out of the house and drives off.
Mulder goes to Dr. Goldstein and forces him to finish his treatment — to make him relive what he believes to be to his past. Goldstein drugs Mulder, then slowly lowers a spinning needle towards his hairline. Police arrive at the scene and place Goldstein under arrest, but Mulder's whereabouts are unknown. The psychiatrist tells Scully that Mulder left his office "to exorcise his demons." Scully finds him at the house in Quonochontaug, balled up on the floor, a gun in his hand. Jolted by seizures, Mulder aims his gun at Scully. She attempts to convince him that the powerful hallucinogen injected into his body has affected his mind and that his visions and apparent memories cannot be trusted. Mulder fires a shot, but the bullet shatters a wall mirror behind Scully. Breaking down into tears, Mulder lowers the weapon. Scully's fear changes to sympathy as she comforts her partner.
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
- This is the only episode that Vancouver producer R.W. Goodwin wrote.
- At one point, Mulder asks Scully if she is familiar with the words "Orenthal James Simpson". This is a reference to O.J. Simpson, who was famously placed on trial for the murder of his wife but claimed he had no recollection of the night she died.
- Like Cassandra Spender, Amy and David Cassandra were named after the Greek prophetess Cassandra, who was given a gift to see the future by the god Apollo. However, when she did not return Apollo's love, he placed a curse on her that would prevent other people from believing her prophecies, even though she was telling them the truth.
Since when did Quonochontaug suddenly become the place where Mulder's sister was abducted instead of Martha's Vineyard? Response It wasn't actually stated that Samantha disappeared the night Mulder remembers here, only that it was the night that his father and the CSM told his mother about it.
This episode contains a significant inconsistency in dates. Act 1 is clearly labeled as happening on April 12. April 12, 1997, was a Saturday, however Scully tells Mulder that April 12 is a Sunday. Other episodes this season clearly include the 1997 date, leaving the inconsistency almost impossible to resolve.
During the scene between Scully and Det. Curtis in the apartment of the police officer who committed suicide, a moving shadow of a crew member can be seen on the wall behind Scully (24:36).
Scully says the blood splatter pattern on Mulder's shirt is not a match to the crime, but she should have said blood spatter. A scientist should know this.
According to the time stamps, Scully took 1 hour and 40 minutes at best to dress, pack, catch a flight from Georgetown to Providence, Rhode Island, rent a car and drive to Mulder's motel.
Cast and Characters
- Andrew Johnston (Medical Examiner) previously played Lt. Colonel Robert Budahas in The X-Files episode "Deep Throat", Special Agent Barrett Weiss in "Colony" and "End Game" and Coroner John Tasini in the Millennium episode "Weeds".
- Eric Breker (Admitting Officer) previously played Howard Rothenburg in Millennium episode "The Thin White Line".
- Jay Acovone as Detective Joe Curtis
- Mike Nussbaum as Dr. Charles Goldstein
- Chris Owens as Young Cigarette Smoking Man
- Rebecca Toolan as Teena Mulder
- Andrew Johnston as Medical Examiner
- Terry Jang Barclay as Officer Frank Imhof
- Vanessa Morley as Young Samantha Mulder
- Eric Breker as Officer Michael Fazekas
- Rebecca Harker as Housekeeper
- Shelley Adam as Young Teena Mulder
- Dean Aylesworth as Young William Mulder
- Alex Haythorne as Young Fox Mulder