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"Gender Bender" is the fourteenth episode of the first season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on January 21, 1994. Written by Larry and Paul Barber, and directed by Rob Bowman, the episode is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, separate from the series' Mythology arc.

Synopsis

Mulder and Scully investigate a closed community called the Kindred, who appear to have the ability to switch gender.

Summary

In a dance club, a young man is picked up by a young woman for an anonymous sexual encounter. The young man retches and dies in a post-coital fit. The young woman disrobes and dresses in the man's clothes, transforming into a man in the process.

FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are called to the scene by Detective Horton, and Mulder later explains that this is one in a series of similar murders, with cause of death attributed to an overdose of incredibly powerful pheromones. There is also ambiguity in the other murders as to the sex of the killer. Evidence from the crime scene leads the duo to an Amish-type community in Massachusetts which Mulder calls The Kindred.

Mulder approaches some of the Kindred as they shop near a local store, only to be rebuffed. Scully has better luck befriending Brother Andrew, a shy member who is left tending to the group's horse, Alice. He tells her they are not meant to talk outside. Whilst shaking hands, she experiences an intense feeling of what seems like pleasure.

Kindred Table

The Kindred invite FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully to share their meal.

The pair of FBI agents head up to the remote community and, whilst lost in the woods, are surrounded by a group of the Kindred who demand they give up their weapons before they will be allowed to enter the village. Mulder and Scully are invited to a community dinner. Scully is distracted during dinner by Brother Andrew, seated beside her. A sick man at the table is denied medical attention from Scully, as it is suggested that the Kindred "take care of our own."

In another club, a man convinces a reluctant young girl to dance with him by touching her hand in a similar experience to that of Scully earlier, and a young woman does the same thing to a man named Michel.

Kindred Barn

The Kindred gather at the barn for a mysterious ceremony.

Mulder notices the lack of children in the community and states that he recognizes some of the same faces from photographs taken in the 1930s. Curious, he and Scully return to the village under the cover of night. A droning chant can be heard across the village as a lamp-lit procession of the Kindred moves to a barn. They seem to be in a trance-like state. The sick man from earlier is being carried, naked, with a mark on his forehead. Mulder sneaks into the barn to see what is in the cellar, whilst Scully is met by Brother Andrew, who claims to be able to give her information about the murderer, apparently named "Brother Martin." Scully learns that Martin found some magazines and was entranced by the trappings of the outside world, eventually fleeing the Kindred community.

In the cellar, the group can be seen bathing the body in a fat-like substance which also coats the wall of the tunnels. Mulder is nearly caught but hides in a crevice, where he discovers the sick man has been buried alive. Meanwhile, Andrew uses his power to seduce Scully, who is eventually rescued by Mulder. While attempting to leave, they are confronted by the Kindred, who rebuke them for their prying but do not stop them.

Kindred Secret

Mulder finds a glowing substance in the Kindred's tunnel.

Michel is fooling around with the girl in a parked car when a patrol office breaks them up. Michel begins to wretch and watches in shock as the woman attacks and beats up the officer. When she turns around, Michel sees a man instead. This is what he tells Mulder and Scully later, when they interview him.

A credit card belonging to one of the earlier victims is used at a hotel downtown, and Mulder and Scully move in. Marty (in female form) is shown in a hotel room talking to a dead body, claiming that "the day is coming and they won't leave without me." Mulder and Scully burst in, and Marty/Martin fights off both of them before trying to escape.

In a dark alley, Scully corners Martin, but a large group of the Kindred appear and capture him. Scully is confronted by Brother Andrew, who knocks her out as the Kindred take Martin away.

Crop Circle

A crop circle left by the Kindred.

The local police raid the Kindred village and find it completely abandoned, the underground tunnels blocked off entirely. Horton calls Mulder's attention to something found out in the fields. There, Mulder and Scully discover what appears to be a large crop circle, suggesting that the Kindred are aliens.

References

SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)

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