With Scully hospitalized, Mulder is offered a deal to join the Cigarette-Smoking Man and is told by Section Chief Blevins to name Assistant Director Skinner as the man responsible for Scully's cancer at a forthcoming FBI hearing. When Mulder instead names Blevins, both the Section Chief and the Cigarette-Smoking Man are shot, before Scully begins to recover.
A distraught Fox Mulder sits in his apartment, he receives a phone call from Michael Kritschgau, who tells him that 'they' may be listening. Mulder, spotting a small hole in his ceiling rushes upstairs and bursts into the apartment above his and kills government employee Scott Ostelhoff. He tells Dana Scully about the incident, telling her that Ostelhoff had numerous calls made to the FBI.
The next day Scully identifies Ostelhoff's body as Mulder, she is then met by A.D. Walter Skinner who tells her that Section Chief Scott Blevins is looking for her. She meets with them, and tells them about the previous incidents leading to Mulder's apparent suicide. Meanwhile Mulder has broken into the Department of Defense.
While Mulder is gone, the "Cigarette Smoking Man" searches Mulder's apartment, believing he is not dead. Scully does some research into the phone record to the FBI, coming to the conclusion that Ostelhoff was calling Skinner. Mulder meanwhile continues through the Department of Defense Headquarters finding more fake alien bodies inside. He heads through a tunnel to The Pentagon, where he finds an elaborate filing system and warehouse of evidence, ultimately tracking down a small metal vial that he believes may contain Scully's cure.
Scully debriefs the FBI panel, and explains that Mulder was a victim of an elaborate conspiracy and that she was given a fatal disease by someone in the room. As she's about to present her evidence her nose bleeds and she collapses. Mulder brings the vial he found to the Lone Gunmen, who tell him its not a cure, only deionized water.
After hearing of Scully collapsing, Mulder arrives at the hospital where Scully is being contained. Before he is able to make contact with her, he is detained by Skinner and two FBI agents. Mulder is then brought to Blevins and a Senior Agent who demand information on why Scully lied about Mulder's death. After the meeting, Mulder tells Skinner that a traitor in the FBI gave Scully her cancer. Meanwhile, the Cigarette Smoking Man has a meeting with the Elder, trying to convince him that Mulder will join their side if he is given a good reason to do so. After the briefing with Skinner, Mulder travels to the hospital to see Scully. Mulder tells her that he wants to reveal the conspiracy to the public. As he's leaving, he meets with CSM who tells him he can cure Scully's cancer, if Mulder joins his quest. Meanwhile Michael Kritschgau goes before the FBI panel, denying any knowledge of Ostlehoff's murderer, also revealing that his son died that morning. Kritschgau claims to work for not only the Department of Defense but a congressional lobbying firm known as Rousch. Mulder sees Scully and her doctor about the chip. Scully's family is skeptical, particularly her brother Bill, who is quite upset with Mulder. Scully decides to go ahead and have the chip inserted in her neck.
The Smoking Man contacts Mulder, arranging a meeting at a nearby diner. There Mulder meets his sister Samantha, who calls The Smoking Man her father. Samantha claims to not remember anything about her abduction and is reluctant to stay or tell Mulder where he can find her. The next day, The Smoking Man offers Mulder the truth if he quits the FBI and comes work for him; Mulder refuses.
Mulder later meets with Blevins, who now has the evidence Skinner was withholding. Blevins tells Mulder he can help him if he names Skinner as the traitor in the FBI. Later Mulder meets with Scully, telling her he was going to make the deal with the Cigarette Smoking Man but now won't after his meeting with Blevins. Despite Scully's pleas he refuses to name Skinner as the traitor in the FBI. As a PET scan performed after the insertion of the chip shows no improvement, Scully is dismayed and expresses her spiritual struggle to her mother who had previously tried to help her by arranging a meeting with Father McCue. Scully decides to turn to prayer and asks for the priest. Mulder witnesses their meeting and Scully tells him he will be in her prayers.
Mulder meets with the FBI panel while Quiet Willy follows the Cigarette Smoking Man with his sniper rifle. Mulder tells the panel of the conspiracy against him and Scully. Questioned by Blevins and the Senior Agent about whether he killed Ostlehoff, Mulder instead names Blevins as the traitor in the FBI. The "Cigarette Smoking Man", looking at a picture of Mulder and Samantha is shot by "Quiet Willy". Blevins is killed by the Senior Agent in his office, who makes it appear like a suicide. At the hospital, Skinner meets with Mulder, telling him that the Cigarette Smoking Man is dead, although his body wasn't found. Mulder admits that he guessed when he named Blevins, who Skinner reveals was on the payroll for Rousch. Mulder tells Skinner that Scully's cancer has gone into remission. Ambiguity remains as to what caused the remission, the prayer of faith or the chip.
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
- At least two actual U.S. Senators appear in this episode - Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who is shown after Mulder's confrontation with A.D. Skinner, and then Senator Ted Kennedy.
- Mulder's threat to CSM, "I don't care whose father you are, I will put you down", is a poignant piece of foreshadowing as we are introduced to Agent Jeffrey Spender later this season in 'Patient X', who we learn is CSM's son. It may also be significant in that many believe that CSM is Mulder's real father. In response to the above, It might be that this is a reference to Samantha's claims that CSM is her father, and to Mulder's previous questioning of his mother's relationship with CSM - in other words, Mulder believes CSM is the father of his sister.
- Rousch may be a misspelling of "Rauch", German for "smoke".
- This episode marks the final appearances of Section Chief Scott Blevins and the Third Man.
- This was the 100th episode of the series to be filmed in the production order.
Cast and Characters
- Charles Cioffi as Section Chief Scott Blevins
- Sheila Larken as Margaret Scully
- Pat Skipper as William Scully, Jr.
- Megan Leitch as Samantha Mulder
- Tom Braidwood as Melvin Frohike
- Dean Haglund as Richard Langly
- Bruce Harwood as John Fitzgerald Byers
- John Finn as Michael Kritschgau