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As Agents Scully and Doggett continue their search for the truth about the missing Mulder, the skeptical Doggett is forced to acknowledge information that tests his unwillingness to believe in all things paranormal, and proves to him that no one is who he appears to be.

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Episode Summary
By Michael Marek, Jamie Ruby

Scully provides an opening narration about how we live in a darkness of our own making. Who are these beings we do not understand? If they know our secrets, why can't we know theirs? We see a UFO landing, but as the narration concludes, the image of the ship dissolves.

"We live in darkness of our own making. Blind to a habitant would, all but unseen by us. A world of beings traveling through time and space, imaginable to us only as flights of fancy. Who are these beings we dare to imagine but fear to accept? What dark work goes on inside their impossible machines, cloaked from us by invisible forces? If they know our secrets, why canít we know theirs?"

After Doggett repeatedly shouts orders, Mulder releases Gibson, who runs away. Mulder doesn't otherwise speak or react. Mulder backs away from Doggett toward the cliff. Doggett runs forward to stop him, but Mulder falls off the cliff and strikes the ground far below. In a close-up we see that Mulder almost immediately awakes with a start. Scully & Skinner drive up, but Doggett and the other the agents now present don't know where Mulder is. His body is not where it fell. Doggett can't explain it, but says cops see amazing things sometimes.

Skinner: Come on, he cant be gone.
Doggett: Yeah, he can't, but he is.

Doggett shows Skinner the point of impact a set of tracks leads down into a gully and providing clear evidence that Mulder ran away from where he fell. Scully is convinced that it may have looked like Mulder, but it wasn't.

Scully: I told you that Iíve seen things. Things that I canít explain. Well, I have seen what looks like a man, transform into another man.
Doggett: What looks like a man, but whoís not a man? [Scully sighs] So what is he?
Scully: You donít wanna know. [turns and starts to walk away]
Doggett: If heís not a man, what the hell is he?! Hey, donít turn your back on me, Iím asking you a legitimate question. [Scully turns back]
Scully: Heís alien. Heís a bounty hunter.
Doggett: Looking to collect a bounty onÖ?
Scully: On Gibson Praise, because heís part alien. Heís a human anomaly.
Doggett: So this alien bounty hunter, he disguised himself as Mulder to come out her to grab the boy?
Scully: To take him back to his ship. Where we believe Mulder is.

Doggett says she is starting to remind him of Mulder. After Doggett leaves, Skinner tells Scully that if it [bounty hunter] is true, he could become any of them. She tells him that she does think its true and possible.

Scully: "And wherever Mulder is right now, he better damn well be smiling'"

The other agents gather back at the school with the children outside. As Doggett drives up, the girl Gibson looked at earlier looks at them strangely. Gibson cannot be found, so they search the school building. The Bounty Hunter, still looking like Mulder, is inside, but he transforms to look like the principal to talk to Doggett.

Outside, Skinner wants to know how Doggett got out there and how he know where they were going. Scully tells him that they are going to turn the place upside down looking for the wrong person. Skinner asks her what happened to Gibson. She doesnít know, but she speculates that whatever happened to him, heís long gone. Wherever he is, he is three steps ahead of them.

She and Skinner see the girl get on a bicycle and ride off. While Skinner distracts an agent, Scully follows on foot, having to trot to keep up. Scully finds the bicycle abandoned, and soon finds a sand-covered trapdoor. Gibson and the girl (Thea) are there. He tells Scully that she shouldn't have come. Scully promises to protect him. They only reason the aliens want to take him is because he is special. The girl is the only one at the school he told. Gibson broke his leg while running away. Scully sets his leg but has to go get a car to transport him.

Kersh phones Doggett. Doggett says he saw Mulder, but does not have him in custody. Kersh can't understand how Doggett could find Mulder then lose him. Kersh orders Doggett to do the job he put him out there to do. Doggett and Skinner talk -

Doggett: You think I was spying on you?
Skinner: No, but I think our new Deputy Director was. Youíre being made a pawn in a rigged game. [Doggett nods to Skinner and they move a little bit away from everyone else]
Doggett: All right, you painted me the picture, now put it in a frame.
Skinner: All right. You got a good rep. Agent Doggett. You donít compromise; you donít quit. Youíre a damn good FBI agent, best of the best. Lot of guys put you in the directorís chair one day. Which is why youíve been set up to fail. Thereís no amount of search and rescue, or rolling cordons, or eyes-in-the-sky that are gonna turn up Mulder. Itís just the wrong approach.
Doggett: Itís not a question of approach; itís the only approach I got.
Skinner: The only way youíre gonna find Mulder is to give into the truth, to listen to Scully. But even then, say you do find him, even then you lose. You put anything about aliens, or UFOs, or alien bounty hunters in your report, Kersh will ruin you. Iím betting that was his plan.

The Bounty Hunter is inside the school, now looking like Scully, but the real Scully also walks up to Skinner and Doggett, who are standing outside. They are bemused to see Scully in person at the same time that an agent radios that she is inside the building. The Bounty Hunter attacks the agent indoors. The real Scully and company rush in and chase the Bounty Hunter, but they are eluded. Doggett can't deny that he saw two Scullys. Scully realizes that the Bounty Hunter is masquerading again, as someone in the room. The deaf girl knows which it is as she notices the blood dripping from one of the Agent's hands, but slips away and does not tell anyone. As Gibson sleeps in his underground hiding place, he has a vision of Mulder, still in the alien's medical examination restraints.

An ambulance arrives to transport the injured agent. Scully wants to sneak away in a vehicle to get Gibson, but Skinner intercepts her. Paranoid, Scully thinks that its the Bounty Hunter and gets in her car. She looks around for her car keys as Skinner danges them outside the window.

Scully: Who are you?!
Skinner: Who am I?! [Scully pulls out her gun, then Skinner pulls his]
Scully: Drop your weapon and turn around!
SkinnerIím not gonna turn around.
Scully: Just do it! I know how it works. Kill shot to the back of the neck.
SkinnerScully, youíre pointing your weapon at a friend.
Scully: Turn around or Iím gonna assume that youíre not who you say you are.
SkinnerScully, itís me! Skinner! [Scully doesnít budge, so Skinner drops lowers his gun and turns around] I can prove it. I know your secret, who else knows it?
Scully: Okay. Tell me.
Skinner*You* tell me. How do I know itís you? [Skinner quickly spins around and grabs Scully's gun] I donít like pointing guns at pregnant women, any more than I like them pointing guns at me. [Scully believes him finally] This has gone too far, Scully.
Scully: No, thatís whatís wrong here. It hasnít gone far enough. I need those car keys.
SkinnerAnd what to you think youíre gonna do?
Scully: Look, we are being hampered here, by the FBI, by John Doggett, by doubt, by our own mistrust. Whatever it is, it is working, as long as we let it.
SkinnerYou told me Mulder wouldnít allow it. Wouldnít let me ruin my career over this, over him. But what about you, Scully? I mean, my God, youíve got even more at stake.
Scully: (almost crying) I canít take the chance that Iím never gonna see him again.
SkinnerMulder could just come walking out of the dark, we donít know.
Scully: Look, Iíve got one last chance here. Waiting for us out there in the desert. Gibson Praise. It may just be who gets to him first.

Skinner tells Scully to get in the car, he'll drive. The deaf girl (or is it the Bounty Hunter?) has observed their conversation. When they get to Gibson's hiding place, he is not there. They find him several yards away.

Gibson: Heís here. I hear him.
Scully: What are you talking about [checking his forehead for fever]
Gibson: Mulder. Somewhere out there.
Scully: Heís got a really bad fever. I think his leg might be infected.
Skinner: All right, we gotta get you to the hospital, okay Buddy? [Skinner goes to pick him up]
Gibson: (to Scully) Youíre so close now.

Skinner picks Gibson up as Scully looks on. He turns back around, and Scully tells him to take Gibson to the hospital. He questions what sheís going to do, but she doesnít answer him. He understands and walks away with Gibson.

Skinner delivers Gibson to a hospital. Later, in his room with Skinner watching over him, Gibson wakes up. Gibson senses something looking out of the door. Skinner looks and no one is there. Suddenly, Thea enters the room and shuts the door.

Meanwhile, Scully walks the desert in he night, calling for Mulder. She sees the lights of what seems to be a UFO flying in the distance. It illuminates her, but it is a helicopter. It lands and Doggett gets out.

Scully: For someone who claims heís not following me, you sure have a knack.
Doggett: Hey, youíre where the action is.
Scully: What does that tell you? That Iím crazy or that Iím right?
Doggett: Well, wondering around in the dead of night? You call it.

She tells him that he said he wanted to find Mulder, but he wonít do what it takes. Heís afraid that sheís right. He tells her that heís not afraid of anything, except that maybe Mulderís got even her believing in this "crap" now. She tells her that heís seen the crap for himself, and asks how he can explain what happened earlier.

Doggett: Let me ask you something, hypothetically. If you were to find him out here, or this ship, or this alien bounty hunter, what would you do then?
Scully: I know what Agent Mulder would do. Heíd do whatever it took.

Doggett asks her if she means lying like sheís been lying to him, and like she didnít tell him about the boy. She denies she ever saw the boy. Doggett knows that Skinner took Gibson to the hospital. Doggett's men followed Skinner to the hospital. Scully is concerned that the Bounty Hunter may have infiltrated Doggett's men? They get into the helicopter and fly to the hospital. Unseen by them, there is a cloaked UFO nearby. Mulder is inside and senses Scully's nearness.

Scully arrives at the hospital. Doggett is now ready to question his own security. Scully pulls out her gun and remarks sarcastically - "Hey, if something tries to rip your throat out, I got you covered". Doggett and Scully go to Gibson's room and Gibson is gone. Scully runs out and quickly begins a search. Still in the room, Doggett realizes that the only way they could have gotten past the security is to crawl through the suspended ceiling. Above the ceiling they find Skinner, unconscious and his eyes covered from infection from the bounty hunter's toxic blood.

Down the hall, the Bounty Hunter, posing as Skinner, flags Scully down. She is again suspicious, but he shows her that Gibson is there. Gibson shakes his head "no" to Scully. As she tries to move away, the Bounty Hunter attacks Scully. She ends up shooting him at the back of his neck. Green blood fizzes out and the body quickly dissolves. Doggett bursts in and Scully cries as Gibson looks on. Doggett pulls her over and conforts her as she cries.

Back in Washington, Kersh reviews the pictures of the injured Skinner and the green slime. There must have been hazardous chemicals that caused the body to dissolve, Kersh muses. Kersh belittles many of the facts of Doggett's report as Science Fiction but Doggett counters that the report reads like an X-File. Doggett accuses that it's what Kersh intended when he assigned Doggett to he case. Kersh says he assigned Doggett to give him some answers and that Doggett should not come back until he has those answers.

Doggett visits Scully in her hospital room with a Get Well Soon card.

Doggett: My dad always said itís not who wins or loses, itís who takes the worst beatiní that counts.
Scully: Thatís supposed to cheer me up?
Doggett: I thought so.

She doubts that he believes her, but he provides her several bits of information on case. Gibson is a ward of the state and Doggett has asked for special protection for him. Doggett tells Scully that keeping her apprised of the case is his job now. Scully tells him that its not his job, but he tells her that its his officially - he is assigned to the X-Files. Scully is surprised. Doggett promises that no mater what their differences, he will find Mulder. In the final scene, we see Mulder, still in the alien medical facility, surrounded by Bounty Hunters in the nearby darkness.

 


Episode Cast and Credits

David Duchovny Special Agent Fox Mulder
Gillian Anderson Special Agent Dana Scully
Robert Patrick Special Agent John Doggett
Mitch Pileggi Assistant Director Walter Skinner
Jeff Gulka Gibson Praise
James Picken Jr. Assistant Director Alvin Kersh
Arlene Malinowski Teacher
Marc Gomes Agent Danny Mosley
Kirb B.R. Woller All Business Agent/Gene Crane
Sal Landi Agent Landau
Brian Thompson Alien Bounty Hunter
Jonathan Palmer Principal
Christine Firkins Thea Sprecher
Jo-Ann Dean Secretary

Written by Chris Carter
Directed by Kim Manners

Aired on: 12th November 2000

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