Reyes discovers she is somehow connected to a series of murders in which each victim is skinned alive.
SummaryAt a church meeting in Novi, Virginia, ex-cons talk about getting their lives back on track with Dr. Lisa Holland. Terrance Pruit is talking about how the tattoo on his arm was once a badge of honor for the kind of life he was living but now he’s turned a corner. Ed Kelso sneers at that and talks about how they are all going to Hell for what they did the in past. “Our kind of lives go one way. You can’t change any more than you can undo the crimes you’ve done.”
Ed’s friend Victor Dale Potts nervously lights a cigarette as the doctor asks him about how he is doing. Victor explains he’s been having nightmares about seeing people skinned alive. Pruit says that the fear plagues them even in their dreams. As Victor and Ed leave, Ed asks Victor if he gets tired of that group and all its crap. Does it make the nightmares go away? Victor turns and sees Ed as a skinned man walking around with him. “No, it don’t.”
Agent Monica Reyes meets Agent John Doggett and Agent Dana Scully at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia about the murder of Victor Dale Potts. Victor was a career criminal murdered five days earlier but the way he was killed is what is special. Scully shows Doggett the body, skinned alive, the blood vessels kept intact to prolong the agony of death. Reyes explains that Potts had been having dreams about being skinned alive and then it actually happened suggesting an X-Files case. Neither Doggett nor Scully are entirely convinced but Reyes asserts that she has to solve this case. It is just a feeling.Doggett and Reyes encounter Detective Van Allen at the Calvary church where they are meeting Dr. Holland. Van Allen is indifferent about the man’s murder and says there isn’t much to say about the case. They go in and talk with Holland who explains how she tries to help these people. She mentions that Victor was driven there by a man named Ed. Doggett learns that Reyes kept the case going rather than Holland.
Reyes goes back outside and sees Van Allen again. He says that she is familiar to him somehow.
Ed Kelso and Terrance Pruit have an argument at the Maneri Meat Packing plant where they both work. Pruit accuses Kelso of killing Victor Potts and explains how the FBI will ask them both questions given how Victor died. Kelso threatens Pruit but leaves when the buzzer sounds the end of the work day. Terrance Pruit yells after him, “Yeah, that’s right; walk away. But just like you said you can’t run from what you are.” Ed Kelso responds with, “Yeah, and I’ll see you in hell.” As Pruit follows, walking parallel among the pig carcasses, he sees Ed Kelso skinned and walking around like its normal. Pruit follows the man all the way outside to see him, normal again, driving away with a woman; he can’t believe what he has seen.
Scully receives some cases about skinning victims from an FBI cadet. The one that matches and stands out is from 1960. Scully goes to investigate at a retirement home where the doctor who performed the autopsy, Bertram Mueller, lives.
Bertram Mueller recounts that the victim was a John Doe and that they never found a suspect or anything. The local Sheriff didn’t follow up because he had others things on his mind. He committed suicide not long after the murders. He tells Scully it was a string of murders.Terrance Pruit is hosing the blood of the slaughterhouse into the drain when the lights go out. He draws his knife but is ambushed among the hanging pigs. When he comes to, he is hanging upside naked while a man approaches with a skinning knife. He begs but finds no mercy.
Reyes is woken from a nightmare, about searching for Dr. Holland and finding her skinned, by Doggett who received a phone call about a new murder. They arrive and Van Allen shows them the body of Pruit hanging there skinned. Reyes freaks out at the sight of another body and runs outside. Scully arrives with information about the string of murders in 1960.
Doggett realizes that Terrance Pruit is still alive! Doggett asks him who did this to him but Pruit can’t say anything coherent in his state.
Ed Kelso packs up his things while his girlfriend Roxanne asks him if they are going somewhere. He tells her that he is going somewhere but she isn’t and tells her to get out. He is terrified. She walks right into the FBI and police outside but remains silent. Doggett catches Ed Kelso.
Reyes goes in to talk with Ed Kelso and admits that she has been having nightmares just like Kelso and just like Victor. Doggett calls her out in the hall and tells her that telling him that could blow their case against him. He wonders what she isn’t telling him about this case. Van Allen arrives to release Ed Kelso since the girlfriend vouches for him. As he leaves he sees Dr. Holland skinless.
Reyes meets Scully back at Quantico. Scully had previous victims exhumed and found the same exact tool marks in the same way as the current victims, suggesting the same killer despite the length of time that had passed. Also she points out something that she believed Reyes suspected: That the date of death for the original victims corresponds with the date of birth for the new victims. When Reyes calls Doggett to ask about Ed Kelso’s DOB, he tells her that the protection detail isn’t there and he goes to investigate the house. He finds Ed Kelso tied to a table, with a gag in his mouth, skinned alive just like the other two.
Doggett yells at Van Allen and his incompetence in protecting Ed Kelso but Reyes calls him inside to the crime scene. Reyes explains what Scully showed her and while Doggett believes the killer chooses people with the same birthday as the death date of the other set of victims out of some psychological reason, Reyes believes it is reincarnation. That the souls of these men come back only to be destined to die in the same way over and over again. It won’t let them rest.
Doggett doesn’t believe her but she looks down at the body of Ed Kelso covered by a white sheet. “A rag is stuffed in his mouth. A dirty rag. Black with soot.” She lifts the sheet and reveals the rag that only Doggett had seen. “Coal dust from a coal mine.” Doggett asks how she could have known that but Reyes doesn’t know herself.They travel to an old coal mine. Reyes checks out the mine itself while Doggett searches the shed. Reyes finds a series of old newspaper articles pinned to the wall in the mine. They mention various skinned victims going back earlier than the 1960s. They also mention lawmen who failed to find the killer committing suicide. One article mentions a Sheriff disappearing while Doggett finds a skeleton in the same clothes with a gun still in the hand. Reyes finds the earliest articles from back in the 1860s where four men are reported as having skinned a man alive in a mining claim dispute. They were acquitted and never punished for their crimes.
She goes deeper into the mine and finds the skins of the victims pinned up against plastic sheeting. Behind her a man says, “You shouldn’t have come here.” Reyes pulls her gun and heads out through the plastic sheeting into the mine. The man slips up behind her and holds the skinning knife to her throat. “You can’t stop it. You never do.” He moves closer and reveals himself as Van Allen. “You always fail. It’s your lot.”
Doggett enters the mine and finds Reyes. She explains that Van Allen is the reincarnation of a man skinned alive in the 1860s and that he comes back as a police officer every time to avenge his own death and make sure the crimes are never solved. He won’t kill himself yet though, he has one victim left to take and Reyes suspects who it is.
As they drive back to Novi, Reyes calls Dr. Holland and explains that Van Allen is coming to kill her. Her group has just left and now she sees the silhouette on the glass door. Van Allen enters but can’t find her. “Time’s come! You’re the last.”He moves through the room and as he moves to the far side, Holland leaves her hiding place and runs through the door. Van Allen pursues her but encounters Doggett and Reyes on the way out of the church. He pauses for just a moment and then comes at them. Reyes shoots him.
On the ground, Van Allen chokes out, “You always fail.”
Reyes watches Van Allen in the ICU as Doggett walks up to speak with her. He doesn’t really believe in the reincarnation aspect of the whole event but he realizes that Reyes knew key details somehow and used that to save a woman’s life. Scully shows up as Doggett leaves. Reyes asks her if she believes in second chances and explains that is what the victims were trying to do, atone for what happened in 1868, but this man wouldn’t let them. Scully asks Reyes who she was in the past. Reyes doesn’t know but just that it was someone who failed each time to save them and that her deepest fear is that she will fail.Van Allen flatlines while a new baby boy is born elsewhere. To start it all again one day.
Cast and Characters
- Katy Boyer (Dr. Lisa Holland) previously played Attendant Woman in the Millennium episode "The Innocents" and "Exegesis".
- 300 slaughter pigs as well as 200 rubber pigs were brought in for the slaughterhouse scenes.
- Gillian Anderson as Special Agent Dana Scully
- Robert Patrick as Special Agent John Doggett
- Annabeth Gish as Special Agent Monica Reyes
- Don Swayze as Terrance Pruit
- James McDonnell as Detective Van Allen
- Cyril O'Reilly as Ed Kelso
- Katy Boyer as Dr. Lisa Holland
- George D. Wallace as Dr. Bertram Mueller
- Kari Whitman as Roxanne