‘Monster of the Week’-Week: “Die Hand Die Verletzt”

Welcome to “Monster of the Week”-Week, 2020! In honor of Halloween Quarantine, we’re bringing you an entire week of episode reviews on a thoroughly binge-able, creepy show: The X-Files! You’ll meet some of our favorite monsters, the least competent conspiracies, and some of Mulder’s most ridiculous-yet-dead on theories! Feel free to break out the pumpkin ale or mulled cider, because we’ll have a running “Drink When…” list for the entire series!

A quick thanks to the podcast Fox Mulder is a Maniac and the web comic Monster of the Week. They are far funnier and more dedicated reviewers than I. If you love The X-Files but also love mocking The X-Files, check them out!

♫ Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo-Doooooo-Doooooo ♫

Die Hand Die Verletzt || Season 2, Episode 14

[CW: This episode includes brief descriptions of sexual assault.]

We open on a meeting of the Parent Teachers Committee of Crowley High School in Milford, New Hampshire. The conference room wall features the school’s community logo: A tree emerging from a book with a serpent wrapped around it, the words “Live Free or Die” emblazoned above.

UGH. I am a lifelong Northerner now living south of the Mason Dixon, and lemme tell ya: those words get old, fast.

The Parent Teacher Committee apparently only has four members. That’s not a committee. That’s not even a Facebook Group. Anyway, the “committee” is harrumphing in earnest over Jesus Christ Superstar being selected for the school’s spring musical.

Conservative harrumphing? Fits with the stupid logo. But the script pulls the old switcheroo! Because this Parent Teacher Committee worships Dark Lords! Oh no!

“Die Hand Die Verletzt!”

Yes, they worship “Lords of Darkness”, not Satan specifically. The episode later makes a point of saying “Hey, actual Satanists aren’t actually into evil.” But the script is talking out of both sides of its mouth, because the Germanic prayer the committee launches into (which is where the title comes from), is Das Tierdrama. This is a satanic ritual prayer written by Anton Lavey…the founder of the Church of Satan himself. Insert your own joke here about how German sounds like prayers to Satan most of the time anyway.

Also, maybe the praising of the Lords of Darkness is what drove away all but four committee members?

But yeah, this is one of those episodes where the mystery is ditched almost immediately. “Here’s the premise of the episode. Let’s watch Mulder and Scully try to catch up over the next 30 minutes!”


Now you may think our cold opener is over, but no! We have a second cold open, post-credits!

Also in Milford, New Hampshire, in a patch of woods, ambient moonlight filters through ambient fog and drizzling rain. An Intrepid Group of Dead Meat Teens tromp out to a hollowed out and blackened stump. They’re here to do a little recreational black magic.

Why you would choose rainy weather for a half-assed black magic ritual that requires candles? Tis a mystery. But of course, the kids are about to mess with Forces They Ought Not Mess With. Maybe they ain’t too bright.  

80% of America, according to The X-Files.

Thus far, the scariest part of the scene is that one of the teen’s eyebrows is dangerously verging upon becoming a unibrow. The real dark forces at work here are those little black hairs.

We see that somehow one of these little snits got their paws on The Real Deal, because he’s reciting the same Lords of Darkness prayer from the Parent Teacher Committee Cult Conspiracy meeting (the group heretofore known as the PTC3).

The air around the teens fills with disembodied voices. Uh oh. Rats suddenly start to swarm over their feet. UH oh.

One of the kids, Andrea, wisely makes a break for it and starts reciting The Lord’s Prayer. One of the boys, Jerry, runs after her. But he’s cut off when fucking flames shoot out of the ground. UH OH.

Oh yeah, this is bad, bad, VERY bad.

Jerry is grabbed by someone or something in the darkness and lifted up into the air.

Jerry doesn’t make it—we cut to Scully examining his body at the scene.

Apparently, for once, the local sheriff actually wants Our Intrepid Agents here. Why? Well because of course these woods are known for being used in “dark ceremonies.”

That would be laughable, but we, the audience, know for a fact that dark ceremonies are taking place. They’re just taking place in more sensible, comfortable places like conference rooms instead of the gross woods.

The victim’s eyes and heart have been cut out, so that’s pretty weird. Good enough for Mulder to drag Scully off somewhere!

The sheriff then says that the victim, Jerry, and his known associates listen to “devil music,” so maybe some eyerolling is justified.

Jerry’s body was found alone—so the teens we saw from earlier scattered. The agents find multiple footprints, so they know more people were here—they just don’t know who and if they were directly involved with the murder.

The agents examine the supposedly Super Special Dark Stump. They are unimpressed. But they do find a scrap of the book used in the half-assed but apparently fully-effective dark ritual. It’s from the school library.

Now, why would something like that, which apparently works, be ‘allowed’ to be published? Why would the Lords of Darkness be okay with being able to be summoned by the masses? In fact, why would the PTC3, who control the town, allow that book to be freely available in their school library? This is one banned book I might support!

Scully’s ready to poo-poo this whole field trip and head back to DC, but then it starts raining live frogs. Kermit, NO!

That’s all Mulder needs. Looks like Our Intrepid Agents will be looking into this case.

We cut to Mulder looking through those old-school library checkout cards. Mulder, master detective, never makes the connection between CROWLEY high school and there being devil worshippers about.

Scully comes in with some report from the National Weather Service that could explain the frogs—nope! I’m not hearing it, Scully! Live frogs fell from the sky, dark magic is real, the devil is coming for you—get on board!

Fortunately, as Arthur says, investigations aren’t hard–when you’ve got a library card! The identify who checked out the dark magic book, a student named Dave Duran. So it seems that earlier, Mr. Duran duran outta there. Ha ha ha. Ha.

We cut to a high school bio class, where Dave Duran and the two girls from the Great Stump Spell of ’94 are trying their hardest to not look guilty.

None of the kids in class are behaving, as they have a substitute named Mrs. Paddock today. Mrs. Paddock reminds me of a human chicken, what with her stringing long neck and giant eyeglasses.

Our Intrepid Agents arrive, looking for Dave Duran. He lives up to his name once again, as Dave thinks he’ll duran out a window, trying to escape. Wow, this kid is way too dumb to be messing with the Forces Of Darkness.

For once, Mulder easily apprehends his prey. If only this kid was an alien!

Surprised Agent Mulder doesn’t accuse Mrs. Paddock of being an alien.

Later, Dave is interviewed by the agents in the principal’s office. Ugh, being called to the office on account of black magic, super embarrassing. Dave insists that he isn’t into “that stuff.”

Bruh. If you’re into it enough to check out a book, find a ritual, take some people out into the woods, and perform said ritual: you’re at least a little bit into it. I don’t look up a recipe of brownies, get the ingredients, bake them, and consume them if I’m not “into” brownies.

Dave says that Jerry, the victim, was his best friend. Well then why did you leave him to die alone in the woods, buddy? Does Dave not know what these words mean? “Into”? “Friend”?

Mulder points out that, hey, if you didn’t murder your friend, why did you try to jump out of a window when we came to question you? Yeah, Dave is not a smart guy.

Dave also ratted out the two girls that were with them, Shannon and Andrea.  And they’re right here, in the room, the whole time. Hey, Mulder, Super Detective: why interview this suspect right in front of two witnesses / possible accomplices? Just curious.

Dave explains that he’s afraid that he’s actually called up some sort of devil, and that something is after the three survivors.

Quite a theory, Dave! But good news! You and Andrea will be excused from the plot and any retribution from the Lords of Darkness after this scene!

Meanwhile, the PTC3 watches on from an adjoining room. One of them, Mr. Ausbury, says to the others: “One of you killed Jerry Stevens.”

Well (un)holy shit, dude! You can’t just say that out loud in the teacher’s lounge like that!

“Look, just admit it now, clear the air, and we’ll debrief at the next Black Mass.”

The other PTC3 members deny being involved. But Jerry Stevens’ body was displayed in a ritualistically accurate way. Mr. Ausbury challenges, “Who but one of us would know how to do that?”

Well, gee, could it also be in a that’s been mass-published and is check-out-able in your very library? This secret dark magic doesn’t seem all that secret, you know?

One of the members, Mr. Calcagni, admits that he was out at the Sacred Stump that night. He went out there to do a black mass with the group, but no one else showed, so he just went home. That’s so lame, it’s almost endearing.

“Guys? Guys? We ready to praise the Forces of Darkness? I brought chili! ….guys?” *10 minutes later* “….damn it, I’m missing Frasier. ….I’ll give them five more minutes and then to heck with it!”

The agents let the three students go back to class. The PTC3 acts most displeased. They give a song and dance to the agents about being concerned about occultists in their midst.

Now keep in mind, this is in the early 90s. We are on juuuuuust the tail-end of the Satanic Panic. The Satanic Panic was very real in terms of the damage it did to innocent people. This episode takes place less than 2 years after the wrongful convictions—including a death sentence—of The West Memphis Three.

Hence why Scully cites a seven-year study that the FBI had to conduct revealing that occult conspiracies and murderous Satanic cults aren’t a thing. SEVEN. YEARS. Whole teams of people, millions of taxpayer dollars, hours of meetings, seas of coffee. All if it dedicated to proving that the Chick Track someone gave your mom was hooey.

Thank goodness we don’t have rampant conspiracies about nonexistent child abuse rings causing major disruptions to lives and liberty anymore. ….wait …damn it!

“If it were true, it would be the greatest conspiracy in the history of civilization!” Scully says.

The PTC3 nods sagely, and I have to chuckle.

“Why yes, yes it would.” PAUSE. PAUSE. PAUSE. “Well! How about some coffee!”

On their way out, Mulder stops at a water fountain. Oh, remember the days of public water fountains you could drink from? Without fear of contracting a deadly respiratory virus? Oh how we shall dazzle future generations with such tales!

Mulder is alarmed when he observes the water going down the drain counterclockwise. He explains how this is physically impossible to Scully—who has a fucking Bachelor’s of Science in physics. (Drink!)

Well you asked for it, Forces of Darkness! You’re not messing with the rotation of water on Fox Mulder‘s watch!

“Messing with the water supply? I’m coming to get you, you sons a’ bitches!”

Meanwhile, the girls Andrea and Shannon are back in bio class…somehow. Why go back to bio class? You survived a dark magic ritual, you got questioned by the FBI, etc. These are great excuses to skip class, if not the entire day.

But regardless, bio class wraps and on their way out, the girls are stopped by Mrs. Paddock. I don’t know why they don’t just keep walking, because why let a substitute stop you from doing anything?

Mrs. Paddock does everything short of sitting backwards on a chair to try to connect with the girls. Lady, I can’t talk to you about anything meaningful because your giant glasses reflect my entire soul back to me.

She expresses sympathy to the girls over the tragedy they’ve endured. Hmm, let’s check the timeline: Pre-bio class, no one knows who is involved with the death of Jerry Stevens. Mid-bio class, the girls are privately ratted out by Dave to the FBI and they are pulled out of class. Post-bio class, Mrs. Paddock suddenly knows all about it. HMMMMM…

Well if you don’t have time to do that math, no worries. After Mrs. Paddock sends the girls on their way, she opens a desk drawer, revealing a heart and set of eyeballs stashed inside! And I don’t think it’s her lunch!

Her best attempt at hiding the stolen organs is to put a stack of tests on top of them. ….is she not planning on giving those back? Is she going to grade them, return them, and when one kid pipes up about blood soaked into his quiz, she’ll just evil stare him into silence?

So yeah, we almost had an actual mystery going, but why not just show all your cards 13 minutes into the episode? Why have suspense? Let’s just watch the agents bumble around until the end of the episode.


Mulder sits down with Mr. Calcagni. Mulder points out that there are high rates of students with headaches, depression, and eating disorders. How did you know that, Mulder? How is that information you could possibly have easy access to?

Anyway, Mr. Calcagni’s response is pretty reasonable: Bruh, what part of “this is a high school” do you now understand? Have you seen a single minute of Dawson’s Creek?

Mulder’s all “meh, yeah, but WHAT ABOUT REPRESSED MEMORIES???”

Hey Mulder, I don’t know if Scully told you, but the FBI just spent seven years proving that repressed memories are bullshit. (At least as far as occultist cults are concerned, which I know is where you’re going with this, Mulder!)

Has Mr. Calcagni seen any signs of ritual abuse?

Hey Mulder, I don’t know if Scully told you, but the FBI just spent seven years proving that widespread ritual abuse of children and teens isn’t a thing.

“Agent Mulder, can you leave my office? Please?”

Well onto the next scene!

Back in bio class (what DAY is it????), Mrs. Paddock is handing out fetal pigs to the students for their final exam dissection. Since when are substitutes allowed to distribute and grade final exams? This is an outrage!

Also Mrs. Paddock keeps referring to the pigs as pig ‘embryos’—which shows that she does not know anything about developmental biology and should not be teaching this class, let alone grading the final exam! THIS is the stuff the Parent Teacher Committee should be focused on instead of musicals!

In the very back of the classroom, there’s a fucking anaconda just hanging out in a glass cage. Mrs. Paddock feeds it one of the fetal pigs. Once again, this proves that she should be nowhere near a bio classroom: animals used for dissection are preserved in formaldehyde. You don’t feed snakes formaldehyde. On account of how it would kill them.

Also, the cage is woefully small and lacking in enrichment. Not even a log? Bitch, you can get a log! I hope the student newspaper gets all over your ass about this, Mrs. Paddock!

All of the students look absolutely horrified. Possibly because this final exam has seemingly been sprung on them with no warning. Also they only have until the end of the period to dissect a fetal pig for 25% of their grade. Also also, this woman clearly doesn’t know shit about biology.

Shannon looks especially unsettled and sick to her stomach. We hear disembodied chanting, so we know this is about to go very, very bad. I’m so excited!

After opening up the little unborn piggy, Shannon sees its heart start to beat. Shannon stares in horror as the opened fetal pig starts to move its head and squeal. Fortunately, it does not kick up its heals and sing “Hello, my baby! Hello, my honey! Hello, my ragtime gaaaaaal!”

But legit, I would be screaming my head off. This is a HUGE nope. And this stupid teacher is probably so incompetent that she did bring in live piglets!

But no one else is seeing what Shannon is seeing. So she is taken to the principal’s office on account of ‘having a cow’. …or a pig, if you will.

Yeah, don’t eat lunch with this episode.

Our Intrepid Agents, fortunately, are there here even though it MUST be a different day and there’s no reason they would still be poking around the high school, but oh well! The plot must go on!

It’s revealed that Shannon’s stepfather is Mr. Ausbury, the member of the PTC3 who was super casual about accusing his fellow conspiracy members of being murderers. Shannon is informed that her stepfather will be called to pick her up. She starts to full-on panic and runs from the room.

Mulder follows after her. He basically puts the idea into her head that she is reliving repressed memories. Damn it, Mulder, this is how daycare workers wind up falsely imprisoned for decades!

Moments later, Mulder and Scully talk to Shannon at an outdoor picnic table. Shannon provides a really long prelude before revealing why she’s so update. “Well, you know, my real dad he ran away.” OK, what does that have to do with the occult stuff? “And my mom was a teacher—well she used to be a teacher.” OK, is that related to the occult stuff? “And she met Jim at a seminar…” Was it an OCCULT seminar or can we move on?

Shannon then confesses that her stepfather, Mr. Ausbury, molested her as a child.


Well, seems we’ll be putting a pause on the Jokes Button.

Shannon says that when her mom was away, Mr. Ausbury would invite men and women over to the house. The group would take Shannon and her sister down to the basement, tie them up, and abuse them.

The men and women would wear black robes and would chant.

Shannon then says that the occultists have impregnated her three times, murdered all of the babies, and buried them in the basement.

…also Mr. Ausbury murdered her little sister as a sacrifice.

Now, spoiler: the script later tells us that the sexual abuse and child murder did not happen–Shannon is experiencing false memories. This is a phenomenon frequently observed during the Satanic Panic, when incompetent psychologists hypnotizing kids and teens was all the rage.

What we’re seeing is a great example of how the Satanic Panic was so contagious. It’s easy to dismiss that phenomenon as hysteria, naïveté, or religious mania in retrospect.

But consider how Shannon’s memories start. They begin with a horrific but reasonably believable scenario: my stepdad put me in his car and molested me. Then the scenario ramps up: my stepdad was a part of group of people who molested me and my sister. The memories then go to places that, out of context, seem ridiculous: black robes and sacrifices in a suburban basement.

Our base assumption, when it comes to sexual assault, should always be to believe victims. It is only in the most extreme situations (on the level of human sacrifices in basements) that believing a victim without additional evidence is no longer responsible. Even then, when faced with a teenager who appears genuinely traumatized by something horrible, it is impossible for a person with any empathy in their body to say “That didn’t happen.”

And worse, when we look at the false memories that propagated the Satanic Panic, the purported victims weren’t knowingly telling falsehoods. They were manipulated into full believing that these horrible, bizarre things had happened to them. That’s creating trauma in innocent people.

Wanna know how bad this stuff can get? Read about the McMartin Preschool Trial someday when you want to feel terrible about your fellow Americans.

Mulder and Scully appear disturbed by what they’ve been told. Scully consoles Shannon as she sobs. To investigate further, the agents decide to get Shannon somewhere safe and talk to the parents.

Welp, time for an extremely awkward conversation with Mom and Dad….

So the agents sit down the Shannon’s parents—the mom who shall remain unimportant and Mr. Ausbury of the PTC3.

Shannon’s parents deny their daughter’s accusations, shocked and pained by them. While Shannon did have a younger sister, that sister died in infancy from SIDS. Also, don’t you think people in town would notice an adolescent having 3 full-term pregnancies? So there are some problems confirming Shannon’s memories.

Mulder talks to Mr. Ausbury in the kitchen. Detective Extraordinaire, he casually asks “Did you do it?”

Mr. Ausbury, Conspiratorial Occultist Extraordinaire, squeezes the glass in his hand so hard that it shatters. Did the Lords of Darkness bless you with being so smooth?

Mr. Ausbury adamantly and sincerely denies the accusations of abusing Shannon.

While Mulder totally illegally opens the basement door and peers in, Mr. Ausbury quotes the Bible about God being a god of vengeance. Mulder quips that even the devil can quote scripture to suit his needs. Well the Forces of Darkness are having none of Mulder’s sass today! The basement door slams shut on him.

Mr. Ausbury is pissed at Mulder’s sass as well and kicks him out. Getting kicked out of places for sass, however, is kinda Mulder’s thing. If it hasn’t happened at least once during his investigation, has he really investigated at all?

“It’s all about the sass, Scully.”

Later, we see Shannon has returned to bio class afterschool to make up her final exam. She’s certainly dedicated. I would think that remembering you were abused by an occultist cult would put any thoughts of exams out of your mind.

Mrs. Paddock generously offers to hang on to Shannon’s jewelry while she gets elbows deep into the fetal pig. Why, that’s so helpful, Mrs. Satan!

Shannon hasn’t even started the dissection before Mrs. Paddock is up to black magic shenanigans in the back room. She holds Shannon’s jewelry over a candle while making strained grunting noises. …how Shannon isn’t distracted by the bestial noises emitting from the back office is a mystery.

Shannon picks up the dissection scalpel. Oh, I don’t think this is going to end well…

Using her most vigorous grunting, Mrs. Paddock makes Shannon slice open her wrists.


Alas, the next we see of Shannon, her body is being removed from the classroom. Our Intrepid Agents are on the scene, interviewing Mrs. Paddock. Mrs. Paddock puts on a pretty good performance, but not good enough.

Mulder and Scully confer. Somehow neither of them are like “if Shannon was going to slit her wrists, why snap on latex gloves first?” Greatest detectives the FBI has ever found, these two.

Mulder says he found Shannon’s bracelet in the back office…which also smells of incense! Oh no! What if Mrs. Paddock is trying to open an illegal New Age shop on the premises?

Scully has discovered that the teacher whom Mrs. Paddock has been substituting for came down with a bad case of necrotizing fasciitis. Rather than googling that term, I’ll just assume it’s like the devil’s athlete’s foot or something horrible.

Oh, and no one can even recall hiring Mrs. Paddock. It’s as if she appeared out of thin air. Dark thin air.

Mrs. Paddock totally overhears the agents discussing how suspicious she is. I dunno, guys, but if you’re going to ponder if someone is an agent of darkness, perhaps do so in another room? At least not a mere yard away from them?

With the agents’ backs turned, Mrs. Paddock snags a pen from Scully. Wouldn’t a pen be one of the weakest possible totems to use for a ritual? I mean how many times do other villains snatch Scully’s necklace for nefarious purposes? Surely this top agent of darkness can do better.

Given that no one can account for who this woman is and that she was the sole witness to a student’s suspicious death, will the agents arrest her or at least bring her in for questioning?

Of course not!

“Hey, can we get a log for this snake? Or a fern? Something!”

Meanwhile, the PTC3 gets all conspiratorial outside in the rain under their conspiracy umbrellas.

The only woman member of the PTCC (whose name is Deborah, I guess, but who cares) says that perhaps the Dark Presence in town wants a sacrifice. Oh, and it turns out that they totally used to do human sacrifices. Well, holy (or rather, unholy) shit, script! That’s super important! ….oh? It’s never going to come up again? …well okay.

The PTC3 members wonder if they are being punished because they haven’t kept up with their prayers and black masses. Are they only paying occultist lip service? Have they not kept the faith?

Mr. Aubsury isn’t very engaged with the discussion given, you know, the horrific death of his daughter. He demands if anyone in the group is responsible for Shannon’s death. …buddy, if your default move is to accuse your friends of murder, maybe they aren’t the best crowd to be hanging out with?

Mr. Calcagni suggests that Shannon’s death is actually a big plus for them. She can be blamed for everything, and the police / FBI will go away. Win-win all around guys, right? Right? Oh, Ausbury, are you not happy about this? Whatever for?

“Oh, NOW you care about human life. How convenient.”

Meanwhile, Our Intrepid Agents decide to split the party. Mulder will get a search warrant for the Ausbury house and Scully will look into Mrs. Paddock’s background.

The next thing we know, Mulder is in the seemingly empty Ausbury house, descending into the dark creepy basement. Wow, that search warrant must’ve been issued lightning fast! …but why do I get the sense that Mulder just skipped that step?

Mulder suddenly turns and is confronted by Mr. Ausbury!

We cut back to Scully doing primitive internet searches for Mrs. Paddock. She stares at the blue screen, perhaps wondering “Boy, I hope Mulder doesn’t need any back up right this second….”

Back in the basement, Mr. Ausbury explains to Mulder that, for seven generations, his family has practiced their Religion That Shall Not Be Named in this town. Again, the religion in question is never named, but Ausbury does discuss some of its tenants. “Do as thou whilst.” “Man is nothing but an animal.” Hmm, maybe we could call it The Church of GOPism?

Ausbury says that the group’s faith gave them power and wealth. But he started to see hypocrisy in the group, and that’s challenged his faith. Of course, Aubsury doesn’t divulge that some murder here and there wasn’t enough to challenge him. But now that the group wants to pin Jerry Steven’s death on Shannon, Ausbury’s out.

Mulder asks about Shannon’s memories. Ausbury says that the group did not sexually abuse children. ….they just used them in their ceremonies against their will. But don’t worry! After the ceremonies, they gave the kids posthypnotic suggestions to repress their memories. Oh! Okay! So you still totally abused them.

Now, does that mean that when parents drag their kids to church on Sundays against their will that they’re abusing them? I guess the question is: are you dragging your kids to church because “the blood of the young is considered especially powerful”? And did you then hypnotize the kids to make them forget they went to church? Then you just might be ritualistically abusing your kids.

And that might mean that later, your kid accidentally mixes up false repressed memories and real repressed memories (just like Shannon). If that happens, as it does to Mr. Ausbury, then it is all your fucking fault.

Mulder is understandably unimpressed by Ausbury’s claims that his faith was “harmless.”

“Did you really think you could call up the devil and ask him to behave?” Mulder demands.

…well maybe the devil is into power exchange? You never know.

“We just want to worship traditionally, by ritualistically abusing our kids and occasional human sacrifices. Is that too much to ask?”

We cut back to Mrs. Paddock, who’s up to her grunting and candle shenanigans again, this time with Scully’s pen. The magical shenanigans, however, only go so far as to provide a legitimate background check. …Seriously?  The same effort required to get someone to kill themselves is the same needed for a clean Google search?

Mrs. Paddock proceeds by stiffly dialing a phone. So scary! So evil! She uses her demon magic to call Mulder and imitate Scully’s voice, saying he needs to return to the school.

Back in the basement, Mulder’s ready to yet again rescue Scully, but first he places Ausbury under arrest. He handcuffs Ausbury to the basement railing and departs. UM, is this legal? Oh well. That’s what you get for ritualistically abusing your kids. …and murder.

Mulder even closes and locks the basement door. Hilarious. What if there’s a fire, Agent Mulder? Or a demonically controlled anaconda?

We cut back to Mrs. Paddock, who is upping her game. She snaps open her eyes, which have taken on an animalistic look, becoming amber colored and the pupils reduced to slits. Ominous disembodied chanting picks up. Shit is about to get reaaaaal.

Oh speaking of which: here comes that anaconda, slithering down the stairs. Closed doors and locks mean nothing to The Lords of Darkness!

The man-eating snake does as man-eating snakes are want to do, especially when Evil Forces are involved. Bon Appetit!

Well, you helped kill a man, Mulder. I hope you’re happy with yourself. I know The Lords of Darkness are.


Mulder arrives at the school and finds Scully, who’s all “I didn’t call you to come rescue me…for once.”

Too late, the agents realize ‘twas a ruse! They rush back to the Ausbury house.

Our Intrepid Agents arrive back at the Ausbury House. They discover all that’s left of Mr. Aubsury: his blood-stained bones and the handcuffs. Mulder is at no point struck with guilt over how he set a man up for a gruesome death.

Instead, he’s somehow able to identify “snake tracks” on the basement dirt floor. The snake even helpfully left behind some shed skin. …well that’s just silly. Why not leave a neon sign that reads “SNAKE SAYS NOM NOM”?

Scully recalls the giant ass snake in Mrs. Paddock’s classroom, so the agents are headed right back to the school.

“If only something could’ve been done to prevent this…”

Unfortunately, the school is where the surviving members of the PTC3 have gathered. They have wisely decided that the best move to get the FBI off their backs is to kill two FBI agents. Yes, brilliant plan.

Well it looks like their prey is available for delivery, because the agents have just pulled up to the school.

The agents enter the bio classroom, which is in total disarray and yet not a single glass beaker is broken! Almost like it was staged! Badly! Anyway, Mrs. Paddock is on the ground, seemingly incapacitated.

She says the Parent Teacher Committee beat her up and stole her snake. Le gasp! Also they told her that they killed that boy, Jerry! Double le gasp!

Now, that seems awfully sloppy for a cultist conspiracy that has thrived in this town for generations… But as we’ve seen, ‘sloppy’ is kinda this group’s thing.  

The agents leave an (as far as they know) concussed Mrs. Paddock on the floor there while they leave to go do other things.

The agents search the teachers’ conference room for cultist conspiracy materials. Oh hey, there’s a jar of Jerry Steven’s eyeballs just sitting on a table. Yeah, that’s not a set up at all.

Suddenly, our agents are attacked by the PTC3! Scully is, once again, the worst FBI agent and loses her weapon almost immediately. (Drink!) Both agents are subdued, tied up, and dragged into the high school gym’s showers.

Mr. Calcagni holds a shotgun on the agents while Deb gets ready to ritualistically murder them with a fancy dagger. Honestly, this makes murdering a pair of FBI agents look super easy.

Mr. Calcagni also turns on the showers to make the murders easier to clean up. What slacker occultists! You wanna impress the Lords of Darkness? You need to get blood all over the place! This better be an orgy of blood if you want to get back into the Forces of Evil’s good graces! But noooo, all you care about is not getting any stains on your JCPenney slacks.

“This is the best team building activity ever!”

But Mrs. Paddock is back to her shenanigans! As she does her grunting over a candle routine, she gets Mr. Calcagni to kill the other PTC3 members and then himself. Apparently, it was too late for our slacker occultists. Drink for another classic “I know the devil ate faces, but I never thought he would eat my face!” moment.

Our Intrepid Agents free themselves. They go back to the bio room. Mrs. Paddock is nowhere to be found. But she did leave behind a very nice goodbye note on the chalkboard: “It’s been nice working with you.”

Oh! 14-year-old me got such chills!

Did the agents just assist The Forces of Evil? Are they in debt to The Lords of Darkness? What the hell happened to Dave and Andrea? Is Mulder going to be disciplined for helping a snake eat a man?

Well we’ll never know! Credits!

“We lived, and yet somehow we’re still soooooo fucked.”

This episode’s remembered as a fun one…even with the accusations of molesting children and murdering babies.

The ‘fun’, I think comes from two big points. First, the satire of the occultist PTC3 only paying lip service to the devil. Second, and better, that there’s this villain pulling all of the strings this entire time, putting one over on our agents and the lesser antagonists.

Also it’s remembered by the ending where, apparently, Scully and Mulder owe their souls to The Forces of Darkness now. 

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