"Oubliette" is the eighth episode of the third season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on November 17, 1995. The episode was written by Charles Grant Craig and directed by Kim Manners, and is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, independent of the series' mythology arc.
A young girl is kidnapped and appears to have a psychic connection to a woman who was kidnapped many years before that manifests in mirrored actions miles away.
Carl Wade takes a photograph of 15 year-old Amy Jacobs during school picture day. He becomes obsessed with her following the event, eventually kidnapping her. Her younger sister is the only witness to the incident, which takes place in their bedroom in the middle of the night. At exactly the same time, fast food worker Lucy Householder collapses with a nosebleed. Agent Fox Mulder investigates Amy's disappearance, drawn to the case because his younger sister was kidnapped in a similar situation. The investigation leads Mulder to Lucy, who was taken from her bedroom at age eight and held in a dark basement for five years before she escaped.
Dana Scully suspects that Lucy may be connected to Amy's disappearance, based on her long criminal record and the fact that her nosebleed contained not only her blood type but Amy's as well. In her room at a halfway house, scratches appear on Lucy's face and she experiences temporary blindness—injuries identical to Amy's, who is being tortured in the basement of Wade's cabin. The two develop an unexplainable psychic connection; everything that happens to Amy physically also happens to Lucy. Mulder tries to convince Lucy that she can help them find Amy, but she is too afraid to assist. Scully informs Mulder of a new lead in the case, the school photography assistant Wade, who was recently fired. Lucy admits to Mulder that Wade was the one who kidnapped her, although she never knew his name. Mulder is adamant that Lucy is not working with Wade and snaps at Scully when she suggests that Samantha's disappearance is causing him to become too involved with the case.
The investigation team receives a tip concerning Wade's location, which corresponds to the area where Lucy was found years ago. They find Wade's cabin in the woods, discovering Lucy in the basement with no clear indication of why she came there. Lucy begins to feel cold and wet; Mulder deduces that because of Lucy's connection to Amy, she must be at the local river. Mulder and Scully arrive there to find Wade attempting to drown Amy. Back with the police, Lucy begins to drown despite not even being near water. Mulder shoots Wade while Scully attempts to perform CPR on Amy but because of the connection, it resuscitates Lucy instead. Suddenly, the process is reversed; Amy recovers and Lucy dies before Mulder returns. Overwhelmed by Lucy's sacrifice and his inability to save her, Mulder breaks down sobbing over her body. He later speculates that she died not only to save Amy but to forget what Wade did to her years ago.
- An "oubliette" was a medieval dungeon in which prisoners were placed and then forgotten about. The term derives from the French oublier, "to forget."
- Fox was concerned about this episode because of its parallels to the then-recent Polly Klaas case. As such, the abduction and subsequent torture of Amy Jacobs was heavily downplayed, and Amy was said to be fifteen years old (though Jewel Staite was only thirteen at the time of filming).
- Due to heavy rains, the climactic sequence had to be shot a week later than planned and in another location than originally envisioned. Kim Manners was said to have hated directing the episode because of all the outdoor shooting, characteristically stating that it "couldn't be fucking worse."
- The halfway house in which Lucy Householder lives strongly resembles the care home in which Roland Fuller lived in the Season 1 episode "Roland".
Cast and Characters
- David Lewis (Agent Kreski) previously played Young Officer in The X-Files episode "The Jersey Devil" and Vosberg in "Firewalker".
- Tracey Ellis as Lucy Householder
- Michael Chieffo as Carl Wade
- Jewel Staite as Amy Jacobs
- Ken Ryan as Walter Eubanks
- Dean Wray as a Tow Truck Driver
- Jacques LaLonde as Henry
- David Fredericks as Larsen
- Sidonie Boll as Myra Jacobs
- Robert Underwood as a Paramedic
- Dolly Scarr as a Fast Food Supervisor
- Bonnie Hay as a Woman
- David Lewis as an Agent Kreski