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"El Mundo Gira" is the eleventh episode of the fourth season of The X-Files. It was written by John Shiban, directed by Tucker Gates and premiered on the Fox network on January 12, 1996. The episode is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, separate from the series' Mythology arc.


The agents investigate strange phenomena in a border town that the locals blame on the legendary chupacabra...


In a migrant workers' shantytown in California's San Joaquin Valley, Eladio Buente flirts with pretty Maria Dorantes, while his brother, Soledad, watches jealously. Flakita, a nosy neighbor, bemoans the age-old story: "Two brothers. One woman. Trouble." Suddenly, three ear-splitting booms come from the sky, followed by a painfully bright flash, and a brief but torrential downpour of hot yellow rain. In its aftermath, Flakita discovers the mutilated corpses of Maria and one of her goats, their faces partially eaten away. Eladio is missing.

Mulder and Scully arrive at the shantytown to investigate Maria's death. According to Mulder, the strange occurrences preceding Maria's demise are called Fortean events. They are "an unusual or highly infrequent meteorological phenomenon. Fortean events have been linked to alien encounters, and cattle mutilations". Scully greets Mulder's information with her usual skepticism. She can not tell much from the goat's corpse, and Maria's body is at the morgue.

According to Flakita, Maria was killed by El Chupacabra (the Goatsucker), a gray hairless creature out of Mexican folk tales, with a small body, large head, and bulging black eyes. Scully notes the amazing similarity between the descriptions of El Chupacabra and a gray alien. Soledad angrily refutes Flakita's story. He accuses his brother, Eladio, of killing Maria out of jealousy. This lover's triangle convinces Scully that Eladio is the killer, until she examines Maria's remains at the morgue. The state of Maria's corpse shocks even Scully. It is hardly visible beneath mounds of greenish fungal growth. Meanwhile, Mulder locates Eladio with the help of Conrad Lozano, a cynical Immigration agent. Eladio is in INS custody, segregated from fearful prisoners who think he is El Chupacabra. Eladio denies killing Maria, claiming something or someone unknown mutilated Maria during the yellow rain. Mulder believes Eladio did not kill Maria, and Scully must agree. Scully's autopsy of the body revealed that Maria succumbed to a massive fungal infection. No one, she says, could deliberately do such a thing.

Eladio escapes from INS custody, and the agents discover the driver of the INS deportation bus dead from a different fungal infection. Mulder thinks there may be a connection between the fungi and the missing immigrant. Lozano and Mulder track Eladio to a construction site where he has found work, but the vengeful Soledad is also on Eladio's trail. Both brothers escape before Lozano and Mulder can take them into custody. The site's foreman is dead, his body ravaged by a myriad of fungi. Scully calls Mulder and warns him against touching or inhaling the lethal lichen. During a meeting with a mycology professor, Scully is informed that the professor has isolated an enzyme that acts as a catalyst, accelerating fungal growth. If it escapes into the environment, there could be a biological hazard of frightening proportions.

Scully believes that Eladio is inadvertently responsible for deaths by spreading the enzyme which he is somehow carrying. Mulder now thinks the Fortean events could have been caused by something falling from space, which would mean the enzyme is alien. Scully, on the verge of losing patience with Mulder's theories, just wants to find the man who seems to be spreading it.

Now quite ill, Eladio begs his cousin Gabrielle for help. She reluctantly agrees to lend him money. Flakita, the village gossip, warns the agents that Soledad is planning to kill Eladio. Eladio eludes them again, but Lozano arrests Soledad.

When Eladio sees his own face for the first time, he cannot believe the horror of it. He no longer looks human. Eladio has indeed transformed into El Chupacabra. Gabrielle tells Scully and Mulder that Eladio has run away to Mexico. However, Mulder realizes it is a lie. Speeding on their way, he alerts a hazmat team to meet them at the shantytown where it all began. This is the place where the two brothers will finally settle their dispute over Maria.

What really happened that night? According to Flakita, Lozano brings Soledad to the camp, and orders Eladio to face his brother like a man. However, Eladio is no longer a man; he is El Chupacabra. Flakita hides as gray aliens, whom she calls Chupacabras, descend on the village. They kill Lozano, and take Soledad up in the sky with them.

Gabrielle weaves another tale. Lozano orders Eladio to face Soledad. In the horror of realizing his brother is El Chupacabra, Soledad cannot shoot. He and Lozano struggle over the gun, and Lozano takes a bullet. The two brothers, now both Chupacabras, run away to Mexico.

The story Mulder and Scully report to Skinner is not much clearer. All they know is that by the time they got to the camp, both the brothers were gone. Lozano was dead, brought down by two bullets and the fungus. The Chupacabras? The Buente brothers, their faces luridly disfigured, may have hitchhiked off into the Mexican night.


El Chupacabra

Background Information


This episode aired the same day as the Simpsons episode "The Springfield Files", featuring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

This episode had some delays during production. The migrant worker's camp was built from scratch in the middle of a large waste ground, unfortunately a storm dumped several inches of snow onto the sunbaked 'San Joaquin Valley'. Crew members had to scurry ahead of each camera setup, melting down the snow with hot water and blow dryers.

The references to El Chupacabra are based on urban legend, myth or true story, depending on which version of the tale you believe. First sightings were in Puerto Rico in the late 1980s and it seems to be a creature mostly confined to Latin American communities. Literally meaning 'goat sucker' it is supposed to be a creature that preys on livestock. Descriptions vary widely, from a doglike form to a lizardlike being with spines.

It is highly unlikely that both brothers were able to carry a fatal fungal enzyme across the border and slip away from the F.B.I. and everyone else, simply because 'nobody cares'. It is difficult to believe such a potentially massive outbreak would be left alone by the entire United States government.

'El Mundo Gira' is Spanish for "The World Rotates" -- possibly a play on the soap opera title As the World Turns, since Scully described this case as a "Mexican soap opera."

"Maria ... Maria ... I just met a girl named Maria". This is a reference to the musical West Side Story, written by Arthur Laurents with music and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. It is a modern day re-telling of Romeo and Juliet set in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Instead of rival families, it involves two rival gangs the Jets and the Sharks.


In the episode, Scully consults with a doctor. She says that the Athlete's Foot fungus had help with an enzyme. She then goes on to explain that it is a catalyst. Technically, all enzymes act as catalysts throughout our bodies.                             

Not a goof as such, but about 29 minutes in, when the old women gets out of the police car she smacks her face on the car door, and reacts to it by putting her hand to her mouth. but carries on with the scene.

Cast and Characters



Also Starring

Guest Starring


External Links

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