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With Agent Scully in the hospital for reasons she does not disclose to her partner, Agent Doggett investigates the mysterious deaths of 20 cult members and two FBI agents, all of whom died in identical fashion

|Via Negativa|

Episode Summary
By Michael Marek & Jamie Ruby

A man is sleeping in a car - he is FBI agent Stebben, on a stakeout. Another agent, Leads, wakes him up. The front door of the house they are watching is wide open and the lights are out. They go to check it out and find bloody footprints in the front hall of the house. Over the door an eye is painted. The officers find multiple bloody dead bodies on cots in a bedroom. Leads follows the footsteps further, and Stebben hears him discharge his gun. Following to assist, Stebben finds Leads dead of a wound to the head. The agent turns and behind him is a man with a axe. The man has a third eye in the middle of his forehead. The man brings the blade down fast into the agent's head.

At his home in Falls Church Virginia, Agent Doggett gets a call from Scully. An FBI agent, sent to surveil a religious occult in Pittsburgh, is dead but Scully can't go due to something unexpected - she doesn't tell Doggett she is at the emergency room seeing a doctor. Doggett arrives at the crime scene with Skinner. Skinner briefs Doggett that they had a tip that the cult - the Avagon Template was dealing drugs. In the officer's car they find James Leads body - sitting dead as if he never left. The patrol cop found him in the car, with the doors locked from inside. Doggett thinks the murder happened someplace else, however Skinner says that the blood splatter on the seat says that it did. Doggett tells him its too narrow, there's no room to swing a weapon. Leads' gun is still holstered and keys are in the ignition. Doggett wonders whether Leeds feel asleep?

Doggett: This is damn weird.
Skinner: It gets weirder

Inside the house they look at the other bodies, all dead of a single wound in the forehead, but the leader of the cult, Anthony Tipet, is missing. Skinner tells Doggett that Tipet was a convicted murderer who claimed to have found God. Doggett tells Skinner that he doesn't care how devoted the Cult was, he knew that they wouldn't just lie there and let their leader bash their brains in. There are insignias of the eye around the house. The other agent, Stebben, is missing. Doggett happens to know that Stebben is from Pittsburgh but keeps a condo in DC that belonged to his parents. They go to the condo where they find Stebben, dead of a wound to the fore head.

Doggett & Skinner watch a videotape of Tipet, a convicted criminal who became a cult leader. Tipet believes that bodies are clay shells made by God to hold the twin aspects of the Holy Spirit - light and dark. Tibet tells his followers that if they have the courage to see into darkness, they see into god, free and clear of the clay that binds them. Tipet had served 12 years after the bludgeoning death of his wife. After his release he became a minister preaching of hybrid of evangelical and eastern religions. He claimed a higher level of being could be reached by the via negativa, the path of darkness, a plane closer to God. Once reached it would let the spirit travel unhindered. Tipet believed that hallucinogens would lead him to that plane, specifically compounds of the bark of an African tree. However, Nothing in FBI research suggests that Tipet was ready to kill his followers. There were no traces of drugs in the blood of any of the victims.

Skinner and Doggett brief Kersh that there were no fingerprints and doors of the car, the cult house and Stedman's condo were all locked from inside.

Kersh: That’s impossible.
Skinner: Unless Tipet took the drug and succeeded. Unless his consciousness was there but his body was somewhere else.
Kersh: The X-File explanation. I take it this theory comes from Agent Scully.
Doggett: Agent Scully has yet to reach any conclusion, Sir.

Kersch grumbles that he is not hearing conclusions, and he puts Doggett on the spot to come up with answers. After leaving Kersh's office, Doggett tells Skinner that if he's working on the case, he'd appreciate a head's up before Skinner tells Kersh any more science fiction stories. Skinner tells him he doesn't have any other explanation.

In a rundown area of Pittsburgh that night, Tipet is stopped by a homeless man asking for change. Tipet tells him he doesn't have any but the man says that he had heard a jingle in his pocket. Tipet grabs him by the collar and pushes him against a payphone and tells him "You don't wanna know me". He phones Andre. Andre listens as Tipet leaves a message on the answering machine. Tipet claims that Andre is responsible for the deaths. Andre is in a lab with cages of rats and many concoctions around him - he was making drugs. Andre picks up a raiser blade and presses it into his forehead.

Doggett receives the coroner's report - all the victims were killed with an axe blade, six to eight inches long, in a single blow to the forehead. Readings required for Tipet's followers include reference to a ceremonial axe, used thousands of years ago to cleave the skulls of unbelievers, but it is on display in a museum in Calcutta, India. Doggett tells Skinner that he's a good investigator, but he knows as well as he does he's not the one who should be investigating the case. Skinner tells him that Scully had told him that she is taking some "personal time." Doggett tells him that 22 people are dead and questions her taking some 'personal time'. Doggett picks up the phone to call her, but Skinner grabs his hand and tells him that he's not listening to what he's telling him. He says to do his best without her.

In Pittsburgh, the homeless man is sleeping on the street. He sees Tipet again, with a third eye in his forehead. The pavement turns to quicksand, as Tipet brings down the ceremonial axe.

Skinner goes to Doggett's house to tell him about the similar death in Pittsburgh, with Tipet seen making a pay phone call nearby. Skinner speculates that maybe the drug Tipet was promoting finally allowed him to reach another plain of reality. Doggett asks that if Tipet is looking for god, why is he killing people? He says that just because he's assigned to The X-Files, Skinner expects him to think like Mulder & Scully would, but he's got the wrong guy. Unlike them, he needs facts - not wild ideas. Skinner tells him that Tipet's phone call was traced to Andre Bormanis, a convicted drug dealer.

Skinner and Doggett go to see him and find that Andre has cut marks in his forehead. His home includes a science lab with caged rats and Andre claims to be a doctor. Andre says hallucinogens were Tipet's route into other realms. Nobody took the trips but Tipet, because only he was strong enough. Andre hopes that the cut on his forehead is protection. The agents take Andre in for questioning, leaving him in a jail cell in spite of his protests that he needs the drugs he was working on.

In a dream sequence, Doggett sees bloody footprints in the jail hallway and sees Tipet floating, with a third eye in his forehead. Doggett realizes that the footprints are his own. He sees Scully's head dripping blood. Skinner wakes him up - Doggett was sitting on a bench in the hall, dozing. Scully is on the phone for Doggett. She appreciates his discretion, even though he still doesn't know what is going on. Scully has asked Skinner to contact some friends of Mulder's and she encourages Doggett to get some rest, because she has heard that has been working around the clock on this case. Skinner and Doggett realize that the drugs Andre was cooking up were to keep him from going to sleep. In the cell, Andre wakes up. Tipet is there. A plague of rats enters Andre's cell. When Doggett and Skinner run up to the cell, Andre is on the floor, dead.

Doggett finds the Lone Gunmen in the X-Files office. They dont realise that he's there at first as Frohike goes through The X-Files telling Byers that Mulder wouldn't mind as they had practically helped him solve half of those cases. Langly meanwhile is spinning around in Mulder's chair aiming a rubber band at the ceiling. Doggett has heard of them from reading the files. They show him a slide show, depicting the eye image seen at Tipet's house - is it an eastern symbol representing opening of the soul. Doggett says that placement of the wounds on Tipet's victims suggests that he has opened his eye but he is trying to keep his victims from opening theirs. The Gunmen relate CIA efforts to create psychic assassins and speculate that Tipet has apparently accomplished that. The Gunmen suggest that Tiper has reached a condition of higher consciousness, using his mind as a weapon against his victims - he makes his victims think that they're being hit by an axe through a series of nighmares. Doggett doesn't believe it, but thinks Tipet may, and concludes that Tipet will need more drugs so that he can keep killing. When Doggett leaves, Frohike quips that he's not bad for a beginner.

Doggett and Skinner go to Andre's lab. Tipet is there, hiding. Tipet apologizes for what is about to happen. He says that Doggett understands and knows what will happen unless he stops it. He slams his forehead into a laboratory saw. They rush him to the hospital, where Doggett happens to see that Scully was admitted for acute abdominal pain. She is in a hospital room, but he walks by her room without letting her know.

Doggett reports to Skinner and Kersh about Tipet's beliefs. He tells them that Tibet believed that the drugs took him inside the subconscious minds of anyone he knew, making the most horrific, irrational dream imagery of their nightmares come true. That's why he tried to kill himself - to make it stop. Kersh pats a confused Doggett on the back and commends him on an excellent job, but Doggett feels that the case isn't over yet. There is no murder weapon and no forensic evidence and no way to know how Tipet killed his victims. Kersh is firm that the case is over and tells Doggett that he doesn't need every 'i' dotted or 't' crossed to know that they got the killer.

Doggett leaves a message on Scully's answering machine that they caught the guy but that the case doesn't add up. There is part of him that asks what if this guy is right? What if he would have let him die? Doggett needs some sleep. He concludes his message, saying that when Scully gets the message, she should give him a call, if she feels up to it. As Doggett goes upstairs to bed, viewers see a man with an axe watching him.

In the morning, Doggett awakes and dresses for work, but in a mirror sees himself with a third eye in his forehead. When he blinks, the image in the mirror also blinks. When cameras show him in reality, the third eye is not there. At FBI HQ, Doggett visit's Skinner's office. Doggett is disoriented. He's not sure he is awake. Last night he dreamed that Tipet was inside his house, holding an axe. The dead FBI agents may have experienced the same thing - they thought that the dream was real, but it resulted in their death. A terrified Doggett deduces that Tipet knew Doggett now and could enter his dreams in spite of being in a coma. Skinner thinks Doggett is just tired and sends him home to rest. It becomes clear that it is a dream sequence. The ends of the hallways retreat and Tipet approaches Doggett. "She" is going to die, Tipet says, but it is Doggett who is going to kill her. Doggett finds himself in Scully's apartment, holding the axe. He enters Scully's bedroom where she is sleeping, raises the axe as if to strike her, then lowers it and prepares to slam it into his own forehead.....and Scully wakes him up.

She is at his home and his door was unlocked. He tells her that she saved his life. She tells him that Tipet is dead, having never regained consciousness. Scully is feeling OK.

Doggett: Tipet thought he’d find God by looking in the darkness inside himself.
Scully: You don’t think he succeeded.
Dogett: [shaking head] In my dreams I saw…I saw terrible, violent images. Scared the livin’ daylights out of me. These things are a part of me, I can’t deny that, but, maybe…maybe they didn’t come from me.
Scully: Then where’d they come from? It was a bad dream, Agent Doggett, but that’s all it was.

Episode Cast & Information

Gillian Anderson Special Agent Dana Scully
Robert Patrick Special Agent John Doggett
Mitch Pilleggi Assistant Director Walter Skinner
Tom Braidwood Frohike
Dean Haglund [Richard] Langly
Bruce Harwood Byers
James Pickens, Jr. Deputy Director Alvin Kersh
Kevin McClatchy James Leeds
Lawrence Lejohn Angus Stedman
Mary Ostrow Nurse
Kirk B.R. Woller FBI Agent Gene Crane
Keith Szarabajka Anthony Tipet
Wayne Alexander Senior Agent
Wayne A. King Homeless Man
Grant Heslov Andre Bormanis
Christopher Jacobs E.R. Doctor

Written by Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Tom Wharmby

Aired on: 17th Decemberr 2000


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