season 2, episode 13, “irresistible”
this episode really shows how well the show is written, that it doesn’t use the paranormal aspect as a crutch. if they wanted to do straight procedural, they could and they would do it well. “irresistible” is an example of this. the only supernatural thing going on is that what donnie pfaster does is pure evil causing one to envision him as a demonic figure. these are the types of stories that the crime shows of today do to death (no pun intended). “the x-files” did it back then and used it as just a slight departure from their unexplained phenomena formula to tell an interesting story and to further develop their strong characters and their equally strong partnership.
donnie pfaster is a death fetishist, collecting nails and hair from the deceased. mulder figures he’s an escalating fetishist meaning that he will start to kill in order to feed his obsession. mulder’s skill of profiling comes in handy in this case, especially once agent scully is captured by pfaster. pfaster is just a super creepy dude with a fixation on women, women as things. he’s virtually undetectable as a predator in society because he is so average and even polite. this adds to the creep factor, that danger can come from the seemingly ordinary strangers in our lives.
the real story here is about scully, though. scully is immediately affected by this case. she deals with heinous crimes and violent murders everyday, but for some reason this particular case has her rattled. mulder is just going along, business as usual, having prepared himself to face the desecrated grave and the fact that it wasn’t an x-file. when mulder surmises that the suspect will start to kill to satisfy his urges, he tells scully that he’s going to cancel their flight back. scully hesitates when he tells her. she desperately wants to be let off the hook on this one. her extreme unease is confusing to her and she doesn’t want to confront it. but, scully would never shy away from protecting people, from the opportunity to save lives and to catch a murderer. that’s why she became a doctor and joined the FBI, to help people, to make a difference. she fights off her own fears and gets to work. she tries to exhibit the clinical detachment she normally has no problem with during the autopsy. she fights through it, but its effects are unavoidable.
they seem to be getting nowhere in the case and scully volunteers to take the body back to DC to try and get a print. this makes total sense and is a good plan. scully is using it as a reason to take a step back, but it does end up giving them the identification of the suspect. mulder is concerned. he’s noticed her hesitation on this case. he doesn’t fault her for it, he just wants her to know that he has her back when it comes to the psychological stuff, too. that she can talk to him about her fears and her reservations about having them. she doesn’t want to ever seem weak in his eyes. she’s had to struggle being a woman in a boy’s club her whole career and she has prided herself on the fact that she can hold her own in every situation.
she can’t fight the feelings of fear she’s having, so she sees the FBI psychiatrist while she’s at the bureau. she’s such a rational person that she can recognize that she needs to get some help. but getting that help from mulder is not an option to her. she would rather fix it on her own than have mulder doubt her abilities. not that he would, though, that’s her assumption stemming from her fears that this case is bringing out. she tells the psychiatrist that she trusts mulder with her life, but can’t go to him about this. “i don’t want him to know how much this is bothering me. i don’t want him to feel like he needs to protect me.” his confidence in protecting her was tested when she was abducted. she knows that giving him any reason to worry will spark his own fear of something happening to her again. she’s trying to protect him from that. but, she’s struggling with the same issues now. “my job is to protect people. i have counted on that fact to give me faith in my ability to do what i do. i want that faith back. i need it back.” her experiences on the x-files have tested this faith and the abduction really shook it.
she feels that talking to the psychiatrist did the trick. she got the print and she’s going back to minneapolis to catch pfaster and close this case. mulder gives her an out, asking her if she’s coming back. she has a sense of self-assurance that she’s good to go now. “you can use my help,” she says. he responds with a definite, “always.” she beams a relieved smile, knowing that he says it that way because he wants her to know that she is needed and that he means it. well, pfaster gets to her first and mulder’s fears are realized again, so soon after she’s been back, too. with a combination of the print and mulder’s profiling they are able to find scully in time. he’s searching her face as he helps untie her hands. she’s keeping it low and behind her hair. she still feels she needs to keep a brave front for him. he lifts her chin so he can make eye contact with her. she breaks down immediately. she realizes that the only person she needed to talk about her vulnerability with in order to overcome it was him.
i can’t decide if i find field agent bocks totally annoying or so far past annoying that i kind of like him.
does donnie really ever expect a straight answer when he asks what shampoo to use for their hair?
omg, that woman telling donnie that they leave their back door unlocked. jeez, shut up lady.
did you know? behind the scenes facts:
the story was originally about a necrophiliac, but fox nixed the idea. they changed it to an escalating death fetishist and it really kind of hurt the whole story. it’s a testament to the writers and the actors that the story still worked and was such a gripping hour of good television despite that setback.
the football game on the tv shows a shot of vikings player, cris carter.
“vikings versus redskins. forty yard line. you and me.”
the embrace at the end. mulder comforting scully and scully finally giving in to it.