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Agents Scully and Doggett investigate a series of bizarre and unexplained deaths in a small Midwestern town. The killer appears to be a man who was previously thought dead.

|Salvage|

Episode Summary
By Michael Marek

Nora and Carl mourn for Nora's husband, Ray, who recently died. Carl was a co-worker and they say that Ray got sick because he fought in the Gulf War. As Carl drives off, he is surprised to find a man standing in the middle of the street. The car hits him and seems to split around him, as if the man was an immovable mass of metal. Ray is injured but through the broken window, he sees Ray, who he thought was dead. Ray reaches for Carl and Carl screams.

Scully and Doggett are at the scene. The engine compartment of the car is split, but the body of the driver is not in the car. The object hit by the car would have to be hundreds of times as sense as steel, the agents indicate. As the car is lifted up by a wrecker, there are what appear to be footprints under the engine compartment. Nora comes up and is distressed. Doggett talks with her until Scully calls him over - she has found Carl's body. It has holes in the forehead that look like finger holes poked in clay. The autopsy shows that the body was pulled through the windshield and that there are five holes in the skull that match up with the positions of five fingers of a human hand. Meanwhile, a fingerprint and blood are found at the scene that are identified as Ray's and were clearly not left before Ray died.

Ray wakes up in a halfway house. He goes to a mirror and uses nail clippers to remove individual hairs of his beard. When they fall into the sink they are like little bits of wire. Doggett goes to Nora's home. Harvey is also there. He owns a salvage yard and was both Ray's and Carl's employer. Ray's body was to be cremated, but Doggett's research found no record of the cremation. Doggett wonders if Ray might possibly still be alive. Harvey says that Ray was a good man who couldn't walk or even lift his head just before he died. Meanwhile, Ray is eating in a common room of the halfway house. Larina approaches, saying that she helps out at the halfway house and offers to talk, if he wants. He rebuffs her, but not before she notices that he is eating the aluminum foil wrapping, along with the sandwich inside.

In the auto salvage yard, Ray spray paints some waste barrels blue, then goes inside his office to feed several invoices through a shredding machine. Ray enters the room. Harvey fires a gun at him and Ray is propelled backwards through a glass door. Harvey finds a severed hand with what appears to be metal growing out of the stump. Ray, missing an arm, walks up and Harvey screams.

Doggett studies Harvey's body. There is blue paint around Harvey's fingernails. He sees that Harvey was shredding papers, and it is clear that someone "took a hit" from the shotgun. It is hard to imagine that someone injured by the shotgun that way could then kill Harvey. Doggett finds that one page in the shredder is only partially shredded, allowing him to read the invoice. Ray is back at the halfway house, cleaning himself. The wounds of the shotgun pellets look like metal rather than injured skin. Larina enters his room - people saw blood on him when he came in and she wants to help, but he orders her out. Doggett visits Chamber Technologies, the company on the partially shredded invoice. Dr. David Clifton, whose name is on the invoice, is no longer employed there. A scientist who is Clifton's successor says that all of Clifton's work was conceptual, developing "smart metals" that can rebuild themselves. They certainly always dispose of waste legally.

Scully concludes that Ray's entire cellular structure had been transformed by being exposed to something. Doggett says that a "metal man" only happens in movies, to which Scully says, "does it?" Norina hears the news report about Harry's murder and telephone's Ray's home. Scully gets blood tests back. It was certainly Ray's blood, but it has enough metal alloy in the blood to kill an elephant. It doesn't make sense to Doggett. Ray had been treated for substance abuse but turned his life around, met Nora and got married. He's the kind of guy you want to cheer for, not a murderer. Scully counters that even if they can find him, who is to say that they can stop him.

The scientist is at his computer at Chamber Technologies. Ray enters and the scientist lures Ray into a test chamber. The door slams shot and locks, and Doggett and Scully rush in with a SWAT team. It was a setup to trap Ray. Ray begins pounding on the four-inch metal walls, but soon the pounding stops and the agents realize that Ray has escaped through another wall. Scully looks closely on blood left on the jagged metal where Ray escaped. The blood is turning itself into metal. As they take the scientist away to safety, Doggett notices that several hazardous waste barrels at Chamber Technologies are painted blue.

Ray returns to his room and Nora is waiting for him. She can't understand why he didn't contact her, but he says, "I'm not me." He shows her that his body is turning to metal and he wants to make the people who did it to him pay. At the salvage yard, Doggett examines some blue waste drums he noticed earlier. You can still see some of the Chambers company logo that Harvey painted over. Doggett tips over a barrel and a body spills out, looking strangely metallic. It is Dr. Clifton. Questioning Clifton's replacement at Chamber Technologies, they learn that Clifton had been working on an alloy that had genetic material in it, to give it memory and allow it to repair itself. He knew he was dieing but nobody knew what would happen to his body. The waste barrels were supposed to go to a proper disposal facility. Doggett sees Nora down the hall and c hecks to see what she is doing at the office of her supposedly dead husband. She is on the phone to Ray, but Doggett interrupts her. She confesses that she was looking for the name of who was responsible but says she didn't have time to give the name to Ray.

A swat team raids the halfway house. Ray suffocates Larina in order to keep her from giving him away. Later, Doggett and Scully tell Nora about Ray killing Larina. They take Nora home and watch the house, but Ray slips in. When he leaves, Nora runs outside saying that Ray made her give him the name she found. The name is Owen Harris. Ray intercepts Harris' car, as he did with Curt, except that Harris gets the car stopped before hitting Ray. Ray pulls Harris outside and Harris pleads that he's just an accountant, why is Ray doing this. Harris' children in the car cry in terror.

Later, Doggett and Scully drive up. Harris is being treated by an ambulance team. Harris authorized sending the hazardous waste to the salvage yard, so he is responsible for Ray's condition. The agents don't understand why Ray ran away but it is clear to the audience that the fear in of the Harris children caused Ray to back off. Scully sums up that Ray's body died and what was left was not really a man, but maybe what saved Harris and his family was a flicker of humanity. In the final scene, we see a car being dropped into a crusher at a junk yard. Ray is inside the car, choosing to be crushed, too.

Notes: A newspaper mentions George Bush succeeding Bill Clinton as President, probably placing this episode in December or January. The reference to "Metal Men" is an in joke about Robert Patrick's role in the movie Terminator II.


Episode Cast and Information

Gillian Anderson Special Agent Dana Scully
Robert Patrick Special Agent John Doggett

Written by Jeffrey Bell
Directed by Rod Hardy

Aired on: 14th January 2001

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