Make your own free website on



An insider holds the secret to the Tobacco industry's latest deadly develpoment.


An insider helps Mulder and Scully uncover the tobacco industry's latest development in "Brand X" by former HARSH REALM writers Steven Maeda and Greg Walker. While investigating the gruesome death of a tobacco company executive, agents Mulder and Scully uncover a dangerous conspiracy that brings Mulder to the brink of death.

Episode Summary

The FBI has a man and wife in protective custody in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Skinner is supervising the scene. The husband, Jim Scobie, is a biochemist with Morley Tobacco Company, and is getting ready to testify against the company before a grand jury. During the evening, he coughs frequently and viewers see that a bug slips out of his mouth and into a water glass. After 4am the wife wakes up and Jim is not in bed. He is found in the bathroom, dead, with blood all over his neck and upper chest and the flesh in those areas seemingly eaten away.

Mulder and Scully arrive at the scene the next day. Skinner is taking heat from his superiors. From his photo it looks as is his skin had been stripped or eaten away. (Mulder: "Can't blow a whistle with a mouth like that") Mulder finds it very surprising that Dr. Scobie and his wife weren't smokers. 

Before leaving, he finds the dead bug in the water glass. While Scully does an autopsy, Mulder and Skinner go to talk to Scobee's supervisor, Dr. Peter Voss. Daniel Brimley, head of corporate security, escorts them to a conference room where Voss is flanked with corporate lawyers who won't let him talk. Skinner asks Voss to tell him what Scobie was testifying against and that he knew it has something to do with some research. Voss, identifies the bug found in Scobie's glass as a common tobacco beetle. 

Later, Voss arrives home and a man accosts him. We later learn that this man is named Weaver. He and Scobee had an arrangement and now that Scobee is gone, the arrangement slides over to Voss. Voss gives him 2 cartons of cigarettes. Weaver taunts Voss about how people are wondering how Scobee died, but Voss asks him to leave. "We'll be seeing a lot of each other," Weaver says.

Scully does the autopsy. The tissue damage goes all the way into Voss' lungs. There is no evidence of acid of chemical reaction. He had hypoxemia, the inability to transfer oxygen from the lungs to the blood stream. Scobee essentially choked to death. There was no evidence of tobacco beetles in his body, but Mulder thinks that judging from Voss's reaction, they need to investigate further.

In a rundown apartment house, Weaver has an argument with a neighbor about a loud TV after which the neighbor starts coughing and bleeding. He collapses and we see bugs all over his face, with flesh around his mouth missing.

Skinner, Mulder and Scully are at the apartment house, investigating the death. He was a transient and appears to have died of the same thing as Scobee. Mulder thinks that the beetles killed him and Scobie, however Skinner points out that even though they found bugs in that apartment they didn't find anything in Scobie's bathroom. Scully speculates that some sort of insect-carried bacteria might have done it.

They go door to door in the building and Mulder talks with Weaver. Weaver lights up as they speak and says that the dead man yelled a lot and claimed Weaver smoked too much but beyond that Weaver won't say much. Mulder goes to the Voss residence and talks him about the second victim. Voss won't talk, even though Mulder asks, "how many people have to die before you do the right thing?" As Mulder drives off, Voss takes a phone call from Brimley asking what Mulder wanted. Voss wants to come forward but Brimley talks him out of it.

Meanwhile, Scully talks with an entomologist at the university who confirms that the bug is a tobacco beetle, but with variations. It has deviations on its mandibles, antennae, and body segmentation. Scully wonders if there have been genetic changes. Scully's thinking of another possibility transgenomics. She explains that its a form of DNA manipulation alterations made on the genetic level. The entomologist tells them that it is widely known that tobacco companies have been using money for that kind of research, for things such as using less nicotine or more nicotine in cigarettes, or for making them naturally menthol flavored. Skinner asks if they mean like a form of super tobacco. Scully says yes and that it could have created some super bugs which are harmful to humans.

Voss goes to talk to Weaver - Voss wants him to leave town and gives him $4000 but Weaver says he has a good thing going here - cash, cigarettes - and he sends Voss away. As Voss leaves, we see that Brimley has followed Voss.

Scully finds insect larvae filling the lungs of the transient. Scobee's lungs were apparently empty because the bugs exited the lungs, getting out the bathroom window. Mulder begins to cough and spits up blood. Mulder undergoes an operation using special equipment to suck the larvae out of his lungs, but there is concern because for every larva they get there are probably dozens of eggs still in his lungs. He must have inhaled the eggs originally. Scully explains that the tobacco beetle lives out its life cycle on a tobacco plant where it lays its eggs. If the genetically altered beetles that they saw did that, then maybe the eggs survived the processing into cigarettes. They were carried into Mulder lungs through smoke, by spores or pollen. Skinner says that Mulder, nor Scobey, were smokers. She tells him that maybe they were around someone who was.

Skinner serves a search warrant on Morley Tobacco. Against the lawyer's advice, Voss confesses. They thought they were doing a good thing. Why not genetically engineer a safer cigarette? In doing so, they had altered the beetles also. They had tested out the cigarettes and everything was working fine until a few months ago when three out of four of the test subjects in a focus group died. That is what Scobee was trying to testify that happened. Scobee was monitoring the focus group and got infected. Weaver was the fourth focus group member, who somehow survived. 

Skinner leads a team that breaks down Weaver's door and finds Brimley bound, with bugs coming out of his mouth. Weaver has Brimley's car. He lights up before entering a convenience store. A sheriff's car stops to check out the stolen car and Weaver disappears from the store.

Scully talks with Mulder in recovery. Scully hopes that when they find Weaver they will be able to figure out how to treat Mulder. As they talk, Mulder has trouble breathing again and quickly becomes critical, with a bug crawling out of his nose. 

After a commercial break, Mulder is stable again, but they can't maintain him for long. His lungs are still filled with larvae and they are beginning to block the flow of blood. The doctor wants to do surgery. But Scully thinks he is too weak and wants to wait. 

Skinner arrives at Voss's house to protect the family, but Voss is not there. Skinner tracks him down at his office, but Weaver is there. Voss says Weaver took the test cigarettes. Weaver claims Skinner won't shoot him because he needed him. He lights up (although this is apparently a regular cigarette and not one of the infectious "test" cigarettes) and after delaying to the last moment, Skinner shoots Weaver, wounding him. Skinner arrives back at the hospital as Weaver is brought in by paramedics. Scully looks at Weaver's hands and promptly orders that Mulder be injected with a drug that has a high nicotine content. 

Some time later, in Mulder's office, the two talk. Mulder is well, but is hoarse from the lung suction treatment. When Scully looked at Weaver's fingers, she saw that they were stained yellow with Nicotine. He apparently already smoked much more than the other test subjects. Nicotine is actually one of the oldest known insecticides. A high level of nicotine in the body protected Weaver, and it was essentially a kind of chemotherapy that killed the larvae in Mulder's lungs. Scully tells Mulder that nicotine saved him, but Mulder tells her that its not all that the nicotine did to him. He takes out a pack of Morley's and tells her that the addiction is worse than heroine. She doesn't want him to smoke so he throws the pack into the trashcan. Scully leaves as Mulder looks at the pack of Morley's in the trashcan .. 

Episode Information

David Duchovny Special Agent Fox Mulder
Gillian Anderson Special Agent Dana Scully
Mitch Pileggi Walter Skinner
Dennis Boutsikaris Dr. Peter Voss
Tobin Bell Ashman/Daryl Weaver
Richard Cox Daniel Brimley
Arthur Rosenberg Lead Counsel
Pat Destro Joan Scobie
Rick Deats Dr. Jim Scobie
David Sawyer Security Man
Shannon O'Hurley Anne Voss
Matthew Wilson Manager

Written by Steven Maeda and Greg Walker
Directed by Kim Manners

Air Date: 16th April 2000
Shooting Started: 17th March 2000


Rohan's X-Files Realm
Visit: Rohan's X-Files Realm