- “Anyone who can appease a man's conscience can take his freedom away from him”
- — Cigarette Smoking Man
"Talitha Cumi" is the twenty-fourth episode and the third season finale of The X-Files. David Duchovny and series creator Chris Carter developed the script, with Carter also creating the teleplay. The episode first aired on May 17, 1996 on the Fox network, and helped explore the series' mythology arc.
Talitha Cumi is the first installment of a two-part episode, which continues on in the fourth season premiere, Herrenvolk.
While Scully researches a man with extraordinary healing abilities named Jeremiah Smith, Mulder finds evidence of a deadly alien bounty hunter.
At a fast food restaurant a man pulls out a gun, taking everyone inside hostage. An older man tries unsuccessfully to get him to calm down, but he shoots three people that he notices trying to escape before being shot himself by snipers outside. The older man tells the shooter he's not going to die, and with the palm of his hands heals his wounds.
Mulder and Scully arrive on the scene to investigate, but find that the healer, named Jeremiah Smith vanished while talking to an investigator on the scene. Meanwhile the Cigarette Smoking Man meets with Mulder's mother at her former summer home in Rhode Island. The Cigarette Smoking Man tells her he called her to ask her to remember something, causing the two to argue while someone photographs them from a distance. Mulder and Scully later watch a video of Smith and the Detective, finding that someone else suddenly appears in Smith's place after the Detective looks away. Mulder is notified by Assistant Director Skinner that his mother has suffered a stroke and heads to the hospital, where she writes down the word 'PALM'.
Smith meanwhile is taken captive by the Cigarette Smoking Man at his place of work, the Social Security Administration and is locked up in a high security prison. Mulder heads to the house in Rhode Island where he meets X, who shows him photos of his mother arguing with the Cigarette Smoking Man. X believes that they argued over something very old and very important. Meanwhile Jeremiah Smith appears at FBI headquarters and turns himself in, saying he has no memory of healing anyone or leaving the crime scene. Mulder searches through the house and after rewording 'PALM' to 'LAMP' finds an alien stiletto weapon (previously seen in the episodes Colony and Endgame) in one of the lamps.
At the prison, the Cigarette Smoking man interrogates Jeremiah Smith, who has lost faith in the project. When the Cigarette Smoking Man tells him people no longer believe in miracles, but authority and science, Smith morphs into Deep Throat. Mulder goes to see Skinner, demanding the Cigarette Smoking Man's whereabouts, blaming him for what happened to his mother. After hearing that Smith came in and gave a statement, Mulder heads to the Social Security Administration to take him in for questioning. Smith flees into a crowd, morphing into someone else. The Cigarette Smoking Man once again meets with Smith, who this time morphs into Bill Mulder, then reveals that the Cigarette Smoking Man is dying of lung cancer. The Jeremiah Smith that fled from Mulder and Scully heads to the prison and is revealed to be the Alien Bounty Hunter. He heads to Smith's cell in order to kill him, but finds it empty.
Mulder once again goes to see his mother at the hospital and runs into the Cigarette Smoking Man there who tells him that she contacted him about the whereabouts of his sister. Scully meanwhile looks into Jeremiah Smith and finds many other Jeremiah Smiths with the same appearance working at Social Security Administration offices across the country. Mulder is encountered by X in the parking lot, who demands the alien stiletto. The two fight to a stalemate. Scully arrives at her home and Jeremiah Smith arrives at her door soon, telling her the man they met before was an impostor sent to kill him. Smith tells her that he knows of an elaborate plan, a project and Mulder's sister. Scully brings Smith to an abandoned site off the interstate. Mulder wants to take Smith to see his mother, but the Alien Bounty Hunter arrives seconds later.
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
- It would seem that the Cigarette Smoking Man has had a history with Teena Mulder, as he declares in one scene that he was "better at other things as well", possibly meaning their affair.
- The conversation between the Cigarette-Smoking Man and Jeremiah Smith echoes that of the Grand Inquisitor and Jesus Christ in The Brothers Karamazov's parable "The Grand Inquisitor" by 19th century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
- "Talitha Cumi" comes from The Gospel of Mark, chapter 5, verse 41: "And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise."
- The choice of the name "Jeremiah" for the Jeremiah Smith character could be a reference to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah who was imprisoned and feared for his life for telling God's inconvenient message that shed light on Jerusalem's wicked ways and announced a coming captivity. Jeremiah Smith also acts as a kind of prophet in the X-Files.
- William B. Davis' favorite line of dialogue from the third season finale, "Talitha Cumi", involved the Cigarette Smoking Man referencing William Mulder, when the CSM tells Teena Mulder, "He was a good water-skier, your husband. Not as good as I was, but then... that could be said about so many things, couldn't it?" Davis was amused and aware that this reference to Bill Mulder additionally implied that the CSM was a lot better in bed than Mulder had been. The statement was also an inside joke, as – at the time the episode was produced – Davis was actually a championship-level water-skier in reality.
Cast and Characters
- Hrothgar Mathews (Galen Muntz) previously played Jack in The X-Files episode "The Jersey Devil", Man on Phone in "The Host" and Creighton Jones in "Our Town".
- Bonnie Hay (Night Nurse) previously played Field Doctor in The X-Files episodes "Colony" and "End Game" and Woman in "Oubliette".
- William B. Davis as Cigarette Smoking Man
- Peter Donat as William Mulder
- Jerry Hardin as Deep Throat
- Roy Thinnes as Jeremiah Smith
- Brian Thompson as Alien Bounty Hunter
- Angelo Vacco as Door Man
- Steven Williams as X
- Stephen Dimopoulos as Detective
- John MacLaren as Dr. Laberge
- Cam Cronin as Paramedic
- Bonnie Hay as Night Nurse