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"Young at Heart" is the sixteenth episode of the first season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on February 11, 1994. It was written by Scott Kaufer and Chris Carter, and was directed by Michael Lange. The episode is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, independent of the series' mythology arc.


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Mulder must stop an elusive stalker who he captured in his youth, but who seems to have remained the same age.


In 1989 in Tashmoo Federal Correctional Facility , a prisoner, Joe Crandall, hears screaming from the doctor's office. Inside, he finds prison doctor Joe Ridley operating on fellow prisoner John Barnett. While Ridley tells Crandall that Barnett is dead and threatens to kill him if he talks about it, Barnett blinks at him.

In the present, agent Fox Mulder is notified by his former supervisor Reggie Purdue about a note from a jewel store robbery stating "Fox can't guard the chicken coop". Mulder recognizes the message as being from John Barnett, the man whom he helped catch on his first case. While Barnett supposedly died in prison four years earlier, the note appears to definitely be from him. Purdue shows Dana Scully a video of Barnett's capture years earlier. Mulder had a clean shot on Barnett but couldn't fire on him due to him having a hostage, a violation of FBI regulations. Mulder's hesitation resulted in Barnett killing both the hostage and a fellow agent. Mulder flashes back to testifying at Barnett's trial. Scully looks into his cause of death and finds that despite it being listed as heart attack, he went to the doctor due to an infection of his hand (from the underlying wound he received when Mulder shot him) and had no history of heart problems. Later Barnett leaves Mulder another note in his car along with photos of him and Scully.

Mulder and Scully visit the prison where Barnett died and meet with Crandall, who tells them that Ridley cut off Barnett's hand, but he wasn't actually dead. Mulder receives a call from someone who appears to be Barnett. Later, Barnett strangles Purdue with his deformed hand. Scully looks into Ridley and finds that his medical license was revoked in 1979 due to malpractice and performing medical experiments on patients without permission. Ridley was experimenting on children with progeria, a disease that causes premature aging. Mulder believes that Ridley found a way to reverse the aging process. That night Scully suspects someone is in her house; however, Barnett retreats when Scully finds Ridley waiting at her door.

Once Mulder arrives Ridley explains that he found a way to reverse the aging process with Barnett. To test his theory, he cut off Barnett's hand and grew him a new one from salamander cells. While sponsors within the government appeared, Barnett ended up stealing all of his research. Mulder meets with Deep Throat, who admits to this, and says that the government is negotiating with Barnett to purchase the research. Scully hears someone dialing into her answering machine and has the FBI fingerprint lab check it, only to find Barnett's fingerprint on it. After Barnett calls again, Mulder decides to set up a sting at Scully's friend's cello recital which Barnett learned of from his access to her answering machine.

That night agents wait at the cello recital for Barnett's arrival. Barnett, who goes completely unnoticed due to his young age, is posing as a piano tuner. Barnett shoots Scully in the chest then flees, taking the cellist hostage. This time Mulder doesn't hesitate and shoots, killing him. Scully is revealed to be wearing a bullet-proof vest, and was unharmed. In a hospital, doctors unsuccessfully attempt to keep Barnett alive while a mysterious CIA agent, which turns out to be the Cigarette Smoking Man, grills him for information. Barnett takes the location of the research to the grave. A closing shot reveals it to be in a storage locker in a transit station, waiting to be found.




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