Mulder and Scully investigate a case involving the deaths of several fathers who seem to have been murdered by their son or daughter but the agents learn that the real killer may in fact have an ability to control nature itself.
In Coats Grove, Michigan, Bobby Rich, a sixteen-year-old boy, is berated by his stepfather, Phil, for not finishing his lawn work outside the house. Bobby picks up a shovel and instructs his stepfather to keep his distance. As the dispute escalates, Bobby drops the shovel and runs into a nearby orchard. Phil gives chase. Suddenly, Phil's feet are knocked out from underneath him. A short time later, Phil's wife, Patti, makes her way through the darkened orchard. She discovers Phil's body buried in mud up to his shoulders, with mud seeping from his nose and mouth. Kneeling beside Phil is Bobby, his eyes wide with terror.
Scully performs an autopsy on Phil's corpse. She discovers over twelve pounds of mud in his stomach. Her conclusion: Phil's head was forcibly held in the mud, mostly likely by his son, Bobby. She hypothesizes that Bobby may have dug the pit that trapped Phil, and, noting a rope-like bruise on Phil's ankle, speculates that Bobby may have had help from an accomplice. Mulder interviews Bobby, who claims his father enjoyed physically abusing him. Later, Patti tells Scully that, from her point of view, it appeared as if Bobby was attempting to help Phil out of the muddy orchard pit, not cause him harm. She also reveals that her son has been undergoing therapy for his anger since 1995. Later, the agents meet with Bobby's therapist, Karin Matthews. She describes Bobby as the victim of physical abuse. But Mulder expresses his belief that Bobby may not be to blame for his stepfather's death.
Bobby tells a pretty fellow student, Lisa Baiocchi, that she must stand up to her father just as he had done with Phil. When Lisa returns home, her angry father demands that she stop seeing Bobby. An angry Lisa storms off to her room. Shortly thereafter, a window explodes, and a shadowy, arm-like appendage grabs Mr. Baiocchi by the throat. His lifeless body is discovered lying on the ground outside the house. Though Scully concludes that Mr. Baiocchi died as the result of being pushed out the window, Mulder discovers evidence suggesting he was pulled out the second story window. Later, the agents learn that Lisa is also one of Karin Matthews' patients. Karin tells Mulder her approach with victims of abuse is to encourage them to empower themselves to confront and stand up against their abuser.
With the aid of a town coroner, Mulder a small splinter of fresh wood embedded in Mr. Baiocchi's neck. Mulder matches the fragment to the living tree outside the Baiocchi home. A short time later, the agents are approached by a man named Ramirez, who holds an axe at his side. He tells the agents that the trees are all dying because of a "bad man." Karin invites Lisa to stay at her home until her aunt can pick her up the following day. As Lisa listens from her bedroom, she overhears an argument between Karin and a male voice. A curious Lisa makes her way to the root cellar, where she discovers the body of a man. Terrified, Lisa turns towards the door, only to hear it slam shut. A dead bolt turns, locking her within. She hears the unidentified man's voice refer to her as "a snoop." Later, Karin tells the trapped Lisa she must remain quiet, or the unidentified man will hear her voice.
Mulder discovers that Karin's father was pulled from the mud of an orchard twenty years earlier. He finds it strange that Karin failed to mention the coincidence. Ramirez tells Mulder that Karin Matthew's father's death brought about an end of a blight affecting the trees. Karin attributes the tale to her father's stature, believing powerful men inspire fantasy. Later, Mulder digs up Mr. Matthews' casket and finds it empty, save for roots. When Lisa's aunt, Linda, arrives at Karin's house, Karin informs her that Lisa left for a bus station. Before Linda drives off, Lisa smashes the glass of a window in the basement. Linda rushes to her niece's aid, but she is attacked and killed by an unseen force as tree branches sway in the wind above her. Later, Bobby tells Mulder that, as part of therapy, Karin made him pretend he was Phil and that, all along, he was never a really a victim.
Lisa hears the cellar door bolt slide. She stands up only to realize the unidentified male voice has been coming from Karin all along. Scully and Mulder search Karin's house, where they come upon the corpse Lisa discovered earlier in the root cellar. Mulder concludes the body is that of Karin's father. Karin locks the agents in the root cellar, but Mulder forces it open. They find Lisa frightened but unharmed in a corner of the kitchen. Mulder attempts to pursue an escaping Karin, but his car crashes into an enormous tree. Karin drives to the Rich residence, where she chases Bobby into the orchard. Suddenly, Bobby is dragged downward into the mud. While attempting to rescue the teenager, Mulder simultaneously encourages Karin to break the cycle and to fight the voice inside her head. But Karin is unable. A tendon-like root snakes out of the mud and drags Mulder downward. Ramirez appears, axe in hand, and decapitates Karin. Mulder and Bobby are released by the unseen force.
- The videogame featured in the opening teaser segment is known as MDK (Murder Death Kill) from Shiny Entertainment.
- The Ich Bin Ein Auslander poster is for the band Pop Will Eat Itself, which gained some fame in the mid 90s due to their dance/industrial single of the same phrase.
- Quoting John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a Berliner"), Mulder claims Kennedy said that he was a "cocktail sausage". In actual fact this is a myth, and the phrase he used is perfectly standard German. Mulder's translation of the Kennedy quote is wrong. He says the following: "You know when Kennedy told the Germans 'Ich bin ein Berliner' he was actually saying 'I am a cocktail sausage'?" A "Berliner" is not a "cocktail sausage", that would be a "wiener" (which has a similar double meaning - as it could also mean "a citizen of Vienna"). Rather, a Berliner is a German deep-fried, jam-filled dough, similar to a doughnut (without the hole). What Kennedy meant to say was "I am a citizen of Berlin", which, in German, is "Ich bin Berliner".
- Schizogeny is generally considered by fans to be one of, if not the worst, X-Files episode.
- In the opening scene we see a kid playing a game and listening to music. The song he's listening to is Rob Zombie feat. Alice Cooper - Hands of Death.
- This is the second episode that makes reference to Thrash Metal band Megadeth (the first one being Die Hand Die Verletzt, with Mulder saying to Scully: "Better hide your Megadeth albums"). About 6 minutes into the episode camera centers on a wall covered in posters two of them being the cover of Megadeth's 1990 album Rust in Peace and 1992 album Countdown To Extinction.
- There is also an unedited black and white picture of a woman lifting her shirt and exposing her breasts.
- One of the posters on Bobby's wall is of Chrissy Steele, a Canadian hard rock/metal singer whose only album, "Magnet to Steele" was released in 1991. The poster is the same as the album cover.
- Sarah-Jane Redmond (Karin Matthews) also starred as Lucy Butler in Chris Carter's Millennium and as Inga Fossa in his short lived drama series Harsh Realm.
- Katherine Isabelle, who played Lisa Baiocchi, is the daughter of X-Files production designer Graeme Murray. She was also the star of the werewolf trilogy "Ginger Snaps".
- Scully's line about the town getting "400 inches of rain a day" (5:30) is a reference to a comment David Duchovny jokingly made about Vancouver during his appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Mulder's response "Now that's a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think" made the reference particularly humorous.
- 'Schizogony' (with a slightly different spelling from the title) means reproduction by multiple asexual fission.
- When Mulder and Scully are talking at the car after Mulder has dug up the grave, you can hear it raining and thundering. Yet, you can't see raindrops hitting either them or the top of the car between them.
- When Mulder steps closer to the dead body to discover the root in the man's neck, you can clearly see the dead man's pulse through the base of his neck.
- After her father is pulled out of the window, Lisa leans out and there is no glass left on the sill, she even places her hands on it. Later when Mulder and Scully look at it, there is all sorts of jagged edges on the sill.
- When Mulder says the line (5:45) : "A 16-year-old kid who's classmates lovingly refer to as Dorkweed", it is obvious that "Dorkweed" is dubbed over. From Mulder's mouth movements the original word looks like "Dickweed" or "Dickwad".
- How did the police or the medical examiner miss that rather large root in the man's neck that Mulder used all of his investigative techniques to discover?
- Just before Scully enters the classroom to take Bobby out of his Chemistry class, the teacher makes a mistake in the formula for hydrochloric acid, writing down HCl2 instead of the correct formula – HCl. NaCl^(2) written just above it simply makes no sense. The equations on the board which she slides over are mostly incomplete or incorrect and one of them includes a symbol of a non-existing element – "A" (most likely an error while writing "Al(OH)3").
Cast and Characters
- Sarah-Jane Redmond (Karin Matthews) previously played Young mother in The X-Files episode "Aubrey" and Lucy Butler in several Millennium episodes.
- Laurie Murdoch (Coroner) previously played Lydon in The X-Files episode "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" and Father Schulz in the Millennium episode "Kingdom Come".
- Kate Robbins (Linda Baiocchi) previously played Mrs. Oswald in The X-Files episode "D.P.O.", Marilyn in the Millennium episode "The Judge" and Mrs. Coblenz in "Beware of the Dog".
- George Josef (John Ramirez) previously played Căluşari #4 in The X-Files episode "The Căluşari" and Mr. Bolow in the Millennium episode "Gehenna".
- Chad Lindberg as Bobby Rich
- Sarah-Jane Redmond as Karin Matthews
- Katharine Isabelle as Lisa Baiocchi
- Bob Dawson as Phil Rich
- Cynde Harmon as Patti Rich
- Laurie Murdoch as Coroner
- Myles Ferguson as Joey Agostino
- Kate Robbins as Linda Baiocchi
- George Josef as John Ramirez
- Gardiner Millar as Eugene Baiocchi
- Christin Anton as Teacher