"Elegy" is the twenty-second episode of the fourth season of The X-Files. It originally aired on the Fox network on May 4, 1997. The episode was written by John Shiban, and was directed by James Charleston.
Ghostly harbingers of death begin appearing to people who themselves are not far from death's door...
Angie Pintero, the working-class owner of a bowling alley, tells one of his employees, a mentally-disturbed, compulsive man named Harold Spuller, to go home for the evening. Shortly thereafter, Angie discovers a badly-injured blond girl wedged inside a pinspotter carriage. The girl attempts to speak, but no words come out of her mouth. Angie notices police in a nearby parking lot and rushes outside to get help. He realizes a crowd has gathered around the dead body of the same girl he saw only moments earlier in the bowling alley.
Angie relates his bizarre tale to Mulder and Scully. Mulder suspects that Angie encountered the dead girl's ghost, a spirit that was attempting to communicate with the living for reasons unknown. Three similar encounters, and three similar murders, were reported in the area in as many weeks. The agents discover the words, "She is me" written on the bowling lane where Angie saw the spirit. But its meaning remains a mystery.
Detective Hudak tells Mulder and Scully that an anonymous caller phoned 911 with a message regarding Penny Timmons, one of the killer's victims. The caller claimed that Timmons' last words were "She is me." But Hudak notes the victim's larynx was severed, making it impossible for her to utter dying words.
The agents trace the source of the 911 call to a payphone at the New Horizon Psychiatric Center. Mulder notices one of the patients, Harold Spuller, avoiding his gaze. After viewing photographs of the murder victims, Scully comes to the conclusion that Spuller fits the killer's profile: a compulsive person consumed with the desire to organize, clean and reorder.
Scully uses a rest room to attend to a nose bleed. There she encounters the spirit of another blond girl. Moments later, Mulder relays word that the body of yet another victim was found nearby.
Mulder discovers Harold holed-up in a dimly-lit room accessible from the bowling alley. The walls of the room are covered with score sheets, including those of the victims. Mulder realizes that Harold met each of the murdered women at the bowling alley. Suddenly, Harold lapses into a strange seizure. From his point of view, he sees Angie's ghost standing behind Mulder. He rushes out of the room and makes his way to the bowling alley, where Angie lies dead, the victim of a heart attack. Mulder tells Scully that every person who saw the apparitions was about to die, implying that Harold may be next. Scully, who also saw a victim's ghost, is struck by the implication.
Harold is transported back to the psychiatric center. There, he is tormented by Nurse Innes, who ridicules his intellect and physique. Later, Mulder finds Innes lying on the floor, half-conscious. Innes claims Harold went berserk and attacked her. One of the other patients, Chuck Forsch, tells Scully that Nurse Innes was trying to poison Harold. Scully slowly realizes that Innes, not Harold, was responsible for the murders. When Innes attacks Scully with a scalpel, Scully draws her weapon and fires, striking her in the shoulder.
While summarizing the case with Mulder, Scully explains that Innes has been ingesting Harold's medication, triggering violent and unpredictable behavior. Scully hypothesizes that Innes committed the murders in order to destroy the love Harold felt towards the young women. Later, Harold's body is discovered in a nearby alley, the apparent victim of respiratory failure. But Scully suspects Harold died from what Innes took away from him.
Scully admits to Mulder that she saw the ghost of the fourth victim shortly after she was murdered. Later, Scully sees Harold's spirit sitting in the back seat of her car.
The term "elegy" was originally used for a type of poetic meter (Elegiac meter), but is also used for a poem of mourning, from the Greek "elegos", a reflection on the death of someone or on a sorrow, generally - which is a form of lyric poetry. Steven M. Porter, playing Harold Spüller, is a college friend of The X-Files co-executive producer Frank Spotnitz.
Mulder asks Harold Spüller about one of the victims, a woman named Risa Shapiro. The real Risa Shapiro is David Duchovny's agent.
This episodes name changed from 'Tulpa' to 'Revenant' before becoming 'Elegy'. A 'Tulpa' is a ghostly manifestation of a thought-form produced by the mind. 'Revenant' is one that comes back following an absence or one who returns after death.
An elegy is a poem expressing grief for someone who is dead.
Although there are many actors who have played several different parts on the show within its 9 seasons, Christine Willes is one of the few to have a small recurring role as the same character. She returns in this episode playing FBI counsellor Karen Kossoff, who previously appeared in season 2's 'Irresistible' and 'The Calusari'.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest The scenes in the mental hospital are reminiscent of the film especially since the actor who portrayed Chuck Forsch also played Charlie Cheswick in the famous movie, and the character of Nurse Innes is similar to that of the sadistic Nurse Ratchett.
In the scene where Harold recites the bowling scores, one of the sets is 122 131 166 178 201. How did that bowler jump from 131 to 166 when you can't score more than 30 in a frame?
In Scully's discussion with Innes in the restroom, the nurse reveals that her husband left her for a younger woman. Given the similar appearance of each of the murder victims, it seems likely that the young woman looked similar to the victims, and that Innes' actions are motivated by a sense of revenge. However, Scully does not mention this when discussing Innes' motivations for the crimes.
Cast and Characters
- Alex Bruhanski (Angelo Pintero) previously played Dr. Bugger in The X-Files episode "War of the Coprophages".
- Lorena Gale (Attorney) previously played Ellen Bledsoe in The X-Files episode "Shadows", Nurse Wilkins in "One Breath" and Dr. Patricia Moss in the Millennium episode "Sacrament".
- Michael Puttonen (Martin Alpert) previously played Motel Manager in The X-Files episode "Deep Throat", Dr. Pilsson in "Sleepless", Conductor in "731" and Pathologist Curt Massey in the Millennium episodes "Pilot" and "The Judge".
- Ken Tremblett (Uniformed Officer) previously played Dyer in The X-Files episode "Darkness Falls" and Agent Riley in the Millennium episode "The Thin White Line".
- Steven M. Porter as Harold Spuller
- Alex Bruhanski as Angelo Pintero
- Sydney Lassick as Chuck Forsch
- Nancy Fish as Nurse Innes
- Daniel Kamin as Detective Hudak
- Lorena Gale as Attorney
- Michael Puttonen as Martin Alpert
- Christine Willes as Karen Kosseff
- Ken Tremblett as Uniformed Officer