The episode helped explore the series' Mythology arc, and is the second part of a two-part storyline, continuing on from the events of the season 3 finale, "Talitha Cumi".
In a rural part of Alberta, Canada, a telecommunications technician gets stung by a bee. Five identical boys crowd around the telephone pole he is working on. The technician begins to shake violently, so that his harness is detached. The man loses his grip and falls down on the road to die soon after. The children appear untouched by this and walk off silently.Meanwhile, Mulder is still begging Jeremiah Smith to heal his mother. The Alien Bounty Hunter pulls up in a silhouetted car and Jeremiah explains that he was sent to kill him. Mulder begins to run with Jeremiah. Hidden under a pile of wood chips, Mulder sneaks up after the Alien Bounty Hunter and stabs him with the stiletto in the back of his neck. Mulder and Jeremiah escape on a boat, leaving Scully alone with the Bounty Hunter's body. As she approaches to check his pulse, the Bounty Hunter wakes up and begins to choke her. He asks where Mulder and Jeremiah headed off to. Scully tells him she is unaware of their intended destination. As they reach the dock, Mulder and Jeremiah debate whether or not it would be too risky to go to the hospital to save Mulder’s mother, at the risk of Syndicate Elders and Men in Black awaiting them. Mulder ultimately agrees that it's too dangerous to head to the hospital right now and they head north towards Canada, where Jeremiah says Mulder can see his sister.
Back at the hospital, the First Elder and Grey-Haired Man meet with the Cigarette-Smoking Man possessing the photographs that X took of him when he met with Mrs. Mulder. They realize that they have an information leak and will attempt to find out who it is by releasing false information about Mulder's mother being in danger. The Alien Bounty Hunter learns of where Mulder is heading when he listens into a call Mulder makes to Scully while she is held captive by him. Scully is called into Skinner’s office where she is informed that the other Jeremiah Smiths have all disappeared. Scully and Agent Pendrell investigate some of the data that the men were working for, and Scully contacts X who tells her it is related to a Small Pox Eradication program. X also tells her that he believes Teena Mulder's life is in danger.
Meanwhile, Mulder comes across the day-old corpse of the telecommunications technician, grossly disfigured and covered in ants. Jeremiah takes Mulder to the Alberta valley where an unknown flowering shrub is cultivated for pollen. Mulder sees a series of children - the girls all identical to his sister and no older than she was when she was abducted. Jeremiah informs Mulder that these children are agrarian drones, chattel kept to tend the fields, and that they have no language. They go to the nearby colony where the children live and Jeremiah goes to find gasoline.
Mulder tries to take a clone of his sister with him, but before Jeremiah can protest, a car driven by the Alien Bounty Hunter chases the trio. The three, led by the clone, head into a secret bee hive, only to discover that they are trapped. After entering the apiary in pursuit of them, the Alien Bounty Hunter is crushed by a large honeycomb wall.
Meanwhile, Scully and Pendrell report to Skinner and the Office of Professional Responsibility on the data being tracked by the Jeremiah Smiths, which appear to be a cataloging of human beings. Mulder calls Scully from a phone booth to tell her he is on his way back when the Alien Bounty Hunter arrives at the wheel of the technician's van, plowing into the booth and Mulder's car, knocking him unconscious. Jeremiah Smith runs away and the Samantha clone shrieks in fear of the bounty hunter. What then becomes of them is not revealed. Mulder manages to return to the hospital to see his mother, resigned to the fact that he won't be able to heal her.
Meanwhile an 'X' is placed on Mulder's apartment window. When X arrives, he realizes he has been led into a trap, but is shot by the Gray-Haired Man as he heads towards the elevator. He crawls to Mulder's apartment, writing the words 'SRSG' with his blood before dying. X's message leads Mulder to Marita Covarrubias, the assistant to the Special Representative of the Secretary General. Covarrubias tells Mulder that the fields in Canada have been abandoned, but shows him a picture of the children tending to the plants. At the hospital, the Cigarette-Smoking Man convinces the Alien Bounty Hunter to heal Mulder's mother, telling him that the fiercest enemy is the one with nothing to lose.
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
- Chai Na Ta ginseng farms near Kamloops, British Columbia (relocated in Ontario in 2011) served as a filming location for the Alberta plantation seen in this episode. Location Manager Todd Pittson recalled, "Chris [Carter] was intrigued by the enormous, oddly-tented expanses of land under ginseng cultivation, a somewhat serendipitous discovery since I was familiar with the ginseng farms and had not thought them worthy of mention." (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), p. 119)
- Vanessa Morley, who played the young Samantha clones, was stung on the hand by a bee, which can be seen in the shot of the apiary doorway. She did not react to the sting until the shot had been completed, earning her praise from Frank Spotnitz. After the shoot, Gillian Anderson presented her an award for 'bravery beyond the call of duty' that had been made up by the props department.
- "Herrenvolk" is a German word which was used by the Nazi Party, meaning "master race". Here, it presumably refers to the Colonists' efforts to create a race of hybrid clones, or to the Colonists themselves. The identical blond boys appearing in the first scene certainly evoke the Nazi concept of the Aryan race, and David Lovgren, the actor who later played this series' adult hybrids, is Swedish; the Nazi Party considered Scandinavians to be the purest type of Aryans. The "Herrenvolk" concept is part of The X-Files' tendency to retell history through the Colonization project. Parallels are often drawn between the Syndicate-Colonist collaboration and the Nazi Party.
- The tagline to this episode is "Everything Dies", spoken by the Bounty Hunter during the second confrontation with Mulder. Near the end of the episode, Marita Covarrubias tells Mulder, "Not everything dies."
- When Mulder encounters the dead body on the road, he pulls a work order from the dead man's pocket. The work order is for a company named Telus, which is an actual phone company in Canada, where the show filmed its first five seasons. At the beginning of the episode the Telus van's Alberta license plate is shown as PNR-5N8 however Alberta license plates at the time had a configuration of three letters and three numerals.
- In this episode, X becomes the second of Mulder's informants to be shot and killed. Like Deep Throat, he too leaves a dying message for Mulder, scrawling 'SRSG' in his own blood. We later learn that this stands for 'Special Representative to the Secretary General' of the United Nations. This information leads Mulder to his third informant Marita Covarrubias.
- It is revealed in the Season 8 episode This is Not Happening that Jeremiah Smith had managed to escape from the bounty hunter chasing him in Herrenvolk. Smith had gone into hiding but was still involved in the resistance movement.
- When the Bounty Hunter is trapped in the barn and stung all over by the bees, how come their piercing his skin doesn't release any toxic vapors? Bees can draw blood, especially in those numbers and if a person is fighting and dislodging the stings violently, but none is evident. For that matter, how come when he gets back and attacks Mulder again his skin is covered in RED spots, which would be a normal human's reaction to a sting? And why, given these guys' ability to repair themselves so quickly from gun shots, would a few pesky stings be particularly bothersome?
- The shape of the X that Scully makes with masking tape on the window changes from scene to scene - from the X she actually makes to one that is presumably what the prop team did. Hers has a much longer left to right top to bottom diagonal.
Cast and Characters
- Roy Thinnes as Jeremiah Smith
- Brian Thompson as Alien Bounty Hunter
- Steven Williams as X
- Laurie Holden as Marita Covarrubias (First appearance)
- Morris Panych as a Grey-Haired Man
- Rebecca Toolan as Teena Mulder
- Brendan Beiser as Agent Pendrell
- Garvin Cross as a Repairman