|Die Hand Die Verletzt||Credits||Gallery||Transcript|
"Die Hand Die Verletzt" is the fourteenth episode of the second season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on January 27, 1995. This would be the last episode Glen Morgan and James Wong would write before leaving the show to create Space: Above and Beyond. It was also the first X-Files episode which Kim Manners directed.
After a teenager is ritualistically murdered in a small town, Mulder and Scully are caught up in a secret occult practice within the local PTA and a substitute teacher with odd powers.
In fictional Milford Haven, New Hampshire, a 4-person high school parent teacher committee meet to discuss various social events. The adults initially appear to be socially conservative, debating whether students should perform the musical Grease or Jesus Christ Superstar because that former uses the "F" word and the latter is not "appropriate for this high school." However, when the group ends the meeting in a prayer, they light a candle and recite a black magic chant to the "lords of darkness."
Later, a group of students go out into the woods at night to play with black magic at a "witches altar," an attempt of the two boys to "score" with the two girls in the group. Their reading from a black magic book causes unexplainable things to happen, causing all but one of the teenagers to flee. The remaining teen, Jerry Stevens, is choked to death by an unseen force. His mutilated body is discovered the next day, leading Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) to investigate. Locals, including the PTC faculty members, claim that the children have unleashed a demonic force with their rituals; a theory which is given validity by strange occurrences, such as frogs falling from the sky and water in the drinking fountain draining counter-clockwise, contrary to the Coriolis effect. The agents find a scrap of the black magic book in the woods, which they're able to trace to a book from the school library. The check-out card for Witch Hunt: A History of the Occult in America was last checked-out by Dave Duran, the surviving boy from the woods. When they enter the science class to speak to him, a clearly nervous and scared Duran tries to flee through the window, but is restrained by Mulder. He retells the fateful night's events to the agents. One of the faculty members, Jim Ausbury (Dan Butler) suspects one of his colleagues killed the boy, but the others believe it was an outside force. Unknown to the agents, substitute teacher Mrs. Paddock (Susan Blommaert) is behind the murder, keeping the eyes and heart of the victim in her desk. Ausbury's stepdaughter, Shannon (Heather McComb), one of the girls in the woods, suffers a breakdown during science class while dissecting a pig fetus, where the dead animal appears to begin to reanimate.
Meeting with Mulder and Scully, Shannon tearfully tells them that Ausbury and the other PTC faculty repeatedly raped and impregnated her as part of their rituals, sacrificing her babies and burying them under the dirt basement floor. She also tells them of her younger sister who was killed in a ritual at 8 years old. When the agents confront Ausbury with the accusations, he is shocked and denies them. Shannon's mother, who was not implicated, denies the pregnancy stories, but does admit to the sister's death. However, it was a natural crib death at 8-weeks, not ritualistic as described by Shannon. Shannon stays after school to make up her assignment of dissecting the pig. Mrs. Paddock takes her bracelet and uses it as part of a spell that causes Shannon to slit her wrists with the dissection scalpel.
When Ausbury learns that the other faculty members plan to use Shannon as a scapegoat for Stevens' death, he admits the sect's existence to Mulder. He confirms that rituals did happen while Shannon was present, but said that exposure to sensational media coverage led her to falsely "remember" the sexual abuse. Meanwhile, Scully researches Mrs. Paddock and finds that no one knows anything about her or her background or even how she was hired. During a sudden power outage, Mrs. Paddock steals Scully's pen and uses it to impersonate her in a call to Mulder, pretending to be in trouble. Mulder handcuffs Ausbury in the basement to prevent his possible escape, then leaves to help Scully. Soon after, a giant constrictor snake appears and devours Ausbury.
Mulder arrives at the school, where Scully claims that she never called him. They find Mrs. Paddock seemingly attacked by the remaining faculty members, and go to search for them. The faculty members capture the two agents, convinced that they need to perform a sacrifice to regain favor with the Devil and make up for their diluted faith before it is too late. As they are about to kill Mulder and Scully, Mrs. Paddock's remote control causes them to instead kill each other, confirming that their attempt was indeed too late. The agents escape their bonds and find Mrs. Paddock missing, with only a parting message on the chalkboard stating, "Goodbye. It's been nice working with you."
- The episode title, "Die Hand Die Verletzt", is German for "the hand that wounds." Ironically, the German title of the episode was (translated) simply "Satan."
- The high school where much of this episode takes place is named Crowley High School, presumably after Aleister Crowley, whose theories on "magick" shocked his contemporaries and heavily influenced modern Wicca.
- This was the last episode written by Glen Morgan and , who left the series to produce Space: Above and Beyond. The closing scene of Mulder and Scully looking at a chalkboard with the words "Goodbye. It's been nice working with you." had a double meaning as their parting aside to the cast and crew. They later returned to write four episodes for the fourth season, before taking over as show runners on the second season of Millennium.
- Conversely, this was the first X-Files episode directed by Kim Manners, who went on to be the series' most prolific director.
- The idea of satanic cult abusing schoolchildren is likely inspired by the satanic ritual abuse hysteria that swept the US in the 80s and 90s. For example, in the well-publicized McMartin preschool case the preschool staff faced bizarre allegations from the children such as sexual abuse as part of satanic rituals, secret tunnels under the school, and children being flushed down the toilet.
- Mulder's statement, "Coriolis force in the northern hemisphere dictates that it [water] should go down clockwise," and how the opposite of this would be an indication that something magical was afoot cannot be indiscriminately taken for the truth, as a complex number of factors is responsible for the way water drains off. Scully, the scientist, reacting with a shocked expression and a comment on how such a thing would be "impossible" makes the statement even stranger.
Cast and Characters
- P. Lynn Johnson (Deborah Brown) previously played Dr. Sheila Braun in The X-Files episode "Born Again".
- Michele Goodger (Barbara Ausbury) previously played Sister Abigail in The X-Files episode "Gender Bender".
- Doug Abrahams (Paul Vitaris) previously played Patrolman #1 in The X-Files episode "Pilot" and Agent #2 in "Gender Bender".
- Michele Goodger as Barbara Ausbury
- Larry Musser as Sheriff John Oakes
- Frank Czinege as Jerry Thomas
- Laura Harris as Andrea
- Doug Abrahams as Paul Vitaris
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