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!
Sanguinarium || Season 4, Episode 6
We open on a close-up of a patient’s stomach, marked up with black marker, as she’s prepped for a liposuction procedure. The nurse attending to her, Nurse Rebecca Waite, assures the nervous patient that her procedure is going to go just fine.
Spoiler: It won’t.
Nurse Waite goes to check on the plastic surgeon, Dr. Lloyd. Dr. Lloyd is fastidiously scrubbing his hands. It seems a bit much but hey, I’d rather have a surgeon really into handwashing.
The nurse tells him that the liposuction patient is prepped and that he has two other procedures coming up, including a scalp reduction. Dr. Lloyd snaps that he wants the other two patients prepped as well.
Yeah, the doctors here don’t treat Nurse Waite well, as we’ll see.
Nurse Waite obeys, leaving Dr. Lloyd to his scrubbing. ….and it seems has taken handwashing too far. He’s scrubbing to the point that his fingers are bleeding.
The next thing we see, he snaps clean white latex gloves over his fingers. They immediately seep with blood. That image by itself made my stomach turn—and it just got worse as he readies to dig those gloves into the sedated patient.
Alone in the surgical suite, Dr. Lloyd begins the liposuction procedure. By the way, that involves shoving a long, thin tube into someone’s abdomen and sucking the fat right out of there. Props to the special effects department, because I gagged as I saw the surgical tube fill with white globs of body fat.
Dr. Lloyd is really getting into it, like going elbows deep inside this patient. You start to get the sense that surgical procedures ought not be done with such….vigor.
We cut back to the patient ward and Nurse Waite realizes that the liposuction patient hasn’t been brought into surgery yet. …well this is going from bad to worse.
It’s revealed that Dr. Lloyd is going to town on the scalp reduction patient’s body fat.
And then there’s a realllllly gross slurping noise like when you get to the bottom of a milkshake. Oh this is going to be a bad one. Do not pair this episode with lunch, kids.
The tube is no longer taking fat. It’s just sucking out bloody viscera. Dr. Lloyd stabs away at the patient like your dad with a dull electroknife on the Thanksgiving turkey. It is not pretty.
Nurse Waite goes looking for Dr. Lloyd. For no reason in particular, the plastic surgery ward has closed circuit TVs above the door of each operating room. You can see what is happening in each of the operating rooms from the hallway. …that’s insane. I mean something far more insane is obviously going on, but this is a bad starting point. Why would you do this? Once again: oh what fun we had before HIPPA.
Nurse Waite sees Dr. Lloyd tearing away at the patient. She bursts into the room. It’s a horrific bloody mess. Dr. Lloyd pulls down his surgical mask and says, “This patient is finished.” Muahahaha! ….he doesn’t actually give an evil laugh, but he should.
We see Our Intrepid Agents talking with Dr. Lloyd several weeks after the ‘incident.’ He’s been released on bond. Looks like he has a very nice house—and good thing too, because this place is going up for sale to pay for his legal defense or when he gets sent to jail.
Dr. Lloyd describes having an out of body experience when he lipo’d the patient to pieces. Dr. Lloyd’s lawyer is also in attendance and is super not pleased about this entire meeting. FAIR.
At least Our Intrepid Agents and the lawyer are able to agree that ‘I was possessed’ doesn’t hold up as a criminal defense.
Scully notes that Dr. Lloyd has been taking sleeping pills. She asks how much sleep Dr. Lloyd got the night before the incident.
Dr. Lloyd looks at his attorney, the attorney shakes his head, and suddenly Dr. Lloyd can’t recall how much sleep he got. Oh, I’m not liking Dr. Lloyd’s odds in front of the jury… Especially since the hospital conveniently recorded/broadcast the entire bloody spectacle.
Our Intrepid Agents head over to the hospital for more investigating. Scully reveals that the sleep meds Dr. Lloyd was taking are known to be addictive and affect behavior. Oh, I am really not liking Dr. Lloyd’s odds with the jury.
The agents enter the still very bloody operating room. After poking around a little, Mulder notices a pattern of five rings that have been scorched into the floor. And what does Mulder do with this? Oh, you guys are gonna LOVE this…
Mulder takes a tongue depressor, dips it into the patient’s blood, and draws a star on the floor. WOW, that is some impressive tampering of the crime scene.
Mulder declares: a pentagram!
….Hey Mulder, did you know you can take any five points at random and turn them into a star? Because that’s how geometry words? It’s like any 3 random points can be made into a Magical Triangle? In fact, you could turn those 5 points into a pentagon—how about that, Mulder? You love government conspiracies!
But no, why follow logic? Clearly there is FULL BLOWN WITCHCRAFT afoot!
Scully expresses skepticism. Mulder literally says “Now I’m not a doctor, but…” Hey Mulder, did you know you’re talking to a doctor? Scully’s a doctor, like an actual real doctor, remember?
The agents encounter Nurse Waite, who’s all “Hey, why are you hanging out in the plastic surgery ward watching a rhinoplasty on our super inappropriate TVs?”
Mulder basically asks outright if Nurse Waite believes Dr. Lloyd was possessed. He even raises his eyebrows after the fact like ‘HMMM? How bout it? You into possession?’
Another doctor, Dr. Shannon, comes by. Just like Dr. Lloyd, she’s a snit to Nurse Waite, right in front of the agents.
Scully says to Mulder, “Oh there’s magic being done here, but it’s the kind with silicone and collagen and—” Yeah yeah, we get it, it’s a commentary on plastic surgery and obsession with beauty/preserving youth. Let’s move on.
We cut to a conference room. Hospital admins and the plastic surgeons discuss the bloody Dr. Lloyd incident. The conference table is inlaid with—gasp—a star! Evil must be a foot! I shall never look at innocent stars the same way again!
The set up is meant to appear like yet another dark conspiracy. And yes, there is nefarious plotting afoot here—but it’s just the mundane evil of all American healthcare. Ya’ll know what a hospital chargemaster is? You wanna see black witchcraft, start there.
The hospital staff seem most concerned about Dr. Lloyd’s claim of possession achieving ‘credibility.’ …are you kidding me? It’s the least credible claim ever.
We then see Nurse Waite prepping a patient for a face peel. Although the patient is sedated, she’s very nervous about being put under. Nurse Waite tells the patient to relax.
Nurse Waite is doing something to the patient’s belly. What would she be doing down there when her patient is getting a face peel? Oh, I see, she’s just placed 5 leeches down there—
No no, no thank you. I’m out! No leeches. No leeches ever. And those look like real honest to god leeches, not props.
I don’t see how Nurse Waite is going to get away with this one. There are going to be 5 HUGE bruises left behind on the stomach of a face peel patient. But oh well!
Nurse Waite specifically assures the patient “We’re going to protect you.” …I assume the leeches is what makes it a ‘we’?
Well, now we know that Nurse Waite is the ‘good guy’ of the episode, so thanks for giving that away super early, script.
We cut to the agents at their nondescript motel room of the episode. Mulder is alone in his room, making faces at himself in the mirror. I think this is how Mulder spends most of his free time when there are not aliens or sorcery about.
Scully interrupts Mulder’s FaceTime with himself. She has the videotape of the murder/botched procedure. While reviewing the tape, Mulder points out that the star pattern was in the room prior to when the procedure began.
Watching the viciousness of the fatal attack, Mulder declares “no man acting on his own volition” could do such a thing.
…Um. Mulder… You’re an FBI criminal profiler. The entire basis for that profession is to examine horrifically brutal, seemingly motiveless murders. …is your contention that Ed Kemper, Jeffery Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy… All possessed? …fuck I bet he does totally believe that. UGH.
Mulder points out that the pentagram (or, more factually accurate, the pentacle) is a symbol of positive power and protection. Mulder says some more stuff about how plastic surgery is a ripe place for black magic because blah blah blah, vanity, money, etc.
Mulder moves on to point out that an antacid Dr. Lloyd was taking was partially synthesized from the belladonna plant, aka deadly nightshade aka ‘witch’s berry.’ Mulder claims that clearly this medication somehow someway is connected to witchcraft.
Scully’s all “Mulder there must be hundreds of medications with belladonna in it…”
…Okay, so here we must call bullshit. No, there are not hundreds of medications with belladonna. IN 2020, there are exactly zero FDA approved belladonna-derived medications.|
While it is prescribed in “alternative medicine” circles (a realm as reliable as “alternative facts”), science says that belladonna only worsens any given medical problem. Why? Because it’s called DEADLY NIGHTSHADE. It’s poisonous AS FUCK. Scully, you are a doctor, remember?
But don’t worry, this thread goes nowhere!
Moving on, we cut back to the hospital. Dr. Shannon is getting prepped for that face peel and says hi to Dr. Ilaqua. …unfortunately, Dr. Ilaqua is looking a bit stiff and is scrubbing his hands awful hard…
Nurse Waite, apparently the only nurse on the entire plastic surgery ward, heads over to the OR with Dr. Shannon for the face peel. But the door to the room is locked. Only just then do they see on that helpful TV screen that Dr. Ilaqua is already in the room with the unconscious patient.
Inside the room, Dr. Alacuqa’s eyes are wide with madness. He handles the laser used for the face peel procedure. We see smoke. Oh this is not looking good.
Dr. Alaqua is boring into the patient’s skull with the laser. We see the laser has pierced through the patient’s head. It’s everything Goldfinger dreamt of!
With every one of these grisly murders, I gain fear of being put under for a medical procedure. And now it’s in your head too—enjoy!
Shortly after the incident, Dr. Ilaqua is being interviewed by Scully. He seems pretty stiff and cold for someone who has just lost control of himself and murdered a patient. He too describes an out-of-body experience.
We cut to Mulder fucking around with a computer, seeing what he would look like with a nose-job. Mulder, people are dying. Focus.
Scully comes in and interrupts his fun with MS paint. Mulder already has the videotape from the latest gruesome surgery. The patient’s belly is exposed, as are the giant leech bruises. Because I guess Nurse Waite is out of fucks to give.
We cut back to the conference room, where the doctors and admins are having another “what the fuck is going on?” meeting. Dr. Jack Franklin leads the meeting and he definitely isn’t the villain this week, guys.
Our Intrepid Agents invade the conference room. And Mulder is already in ‘smells like conspiracy in here’ mode.
But weirdly, Dr. Franklin says “We are very concerned about the appropriate person being brought to justice.”
…why would anyone who isn’t Fox Mulder assume that someone else is responsible for these doctors attacking their patients?
Dr. Franklin reveals that 10 years ago, there was a similar series of deaths on the plastic surgery ward. Oh but don’t worry—they were all ruled accidental.
Hey, I’m just curious: why would you tell anyone that? You’re worried enough about these recent deaths, why dig up old skeletons?
Well, it’s finally time to pin it all on the only nurse in the entire plastic surgery ward: Nurse Waite. And to be fair, she’s the only person who’s been connected to every violent death so far. …well yeah, because apparently you have no other nurses on the ward!
In fact, Nurse Waite was also on the plastic surgery ward during the deaths 10 years ago.
Also also, seems Nurse Waite is currently MIA. Maybe because, oh I don’t know she saw the second doctor in less than a week butcher one of her patients?
Nope! She must be a witch!
We cut to Nurse Waite at home, just doing some ritual magic while totally naked. …okay, she might be a witch. She’s not playing any Stevie Nicks music, so she must’ve lost that CD.
Our Intrepid Agents arrive at Waite’s home. Ugh, having your awesome feminist witchy ritual being interrupted by the FBI must be the biggest buzzkill.
Spotting a pentagram etched into the front door is enough for Mulder to take out his firearm. I’m not kidding—that alone, for Mulder, is enough reason to take out a lethal weapon before kicking the door in. As one podcast already knows: Fox Mulder is a fucking maniac.
Mulder, much like how possession is not a legitimate legal defense, it hasn’t been legal to use deadly force on witches for a few hundred years now.
The agents come upon Waite’s ritual room. She’s gone, but the candles have bene left burning. Well that is just downright irresponsible, madam!
Meanwhile, we see Dr. Franklin arrive to his home. It’s a modernist house that’s the total opposite of cozy. Why would you spend all day working at a hospital and then come home to a house that seems designed to look like a hospital?
Ah, but it seems someone has cut off Dr. Franklin’s power. He goes upstairs and finds a message written in blood on his bathroom mirror (“Vanitas Vanitum”). And his nice jacuzzi bath has been filled with blood—straight from the tap, no less.
If this room doesn’t scream “RUN”, I don’t know what does.
Then HOLY FUCKING SHIT, Nurse Waite leaps out of the pool of blood with a knife. She attacks Franklin.
Ugh, for some reason, I can’t get over how that would feel. Everything would smell like copper pennies. The blood is going to be thick as it dries between your toes, in your eye, behind your ears, in your hair, under your fingernails… *shudder*
For some reason, Waite backs off mid-attack and Franklin is able to call for help. She attacks again, and they grapple for the knife.
Our Intrepid Agents arrive on the scene just as Waite is being taken into custody, still drenched in blood and raging. She yells out, “He’s too powerful! Someone has to stop him!”
Suddenly, Waite starts choking and gasping, gagging on something. I mean, I think anyone would do that after being submerged in blood for God knows how long.
Then she starts puking pins… Ugh there are so many horrible tactile moments in this episode.
Turns out having pins all in your insides is not good for you and she collapses.
Scully jumps into the ambulance to accompany Waite to the ER. Mulder stays behind. The agents split the party! Drink!
Mulder looks at the pile of freshly vomited pins on the ground with a sort of tsk tsk expression.
He speaks with Dr. Franklin, who’s getting stitched up in his bedroom by Dr. Shannon. Mulder questions why Nurse Waite would have targeted Dr. Franklin. The good (by that I mean evil) doctor plays dumb.
Mulder and Dr. Shannon depart. Dr. Franklin collapses on his bed, still in his bloody clothes. Ugh, I would think you would want to change out of those? Like immediately? Maybe take a shower?
But then we see—oh no! It seems that Dr. Franklin‘s favorite way of relaxing is to levitate! …somehow this makes him evil! I guess? Although, I bet that is super relaxing.
We cut to 3:40 AM, where Mulder is back to looking at himself in the mirror, like a bored parakeet. This is supposed to a joke that Mulder is being tempted by the whole plastic surgery thing. But I’m choosing to believe that Mulder spends a lot of his time like this.
Scully arrives and Mulder says to her “You look tired.” Well it’s 3:40 in the fucking morning, Mulder.
Alas, Nurse Waite has died from an OD of hundreds and hundreds of pins. Scully just says that like it isn’t freaky as all fuck.
Mulder says that this sounds an awful lot like a phenomenon called allotriophagy. Mulder defines this as “the vomiting or discouragement of strange or foul objects usually a sign of possession.”
That word sounded so weird that I had to Google it. …yeah that isn’t a thing, no one uses that word for that phenomenon.
This script is making stuff up left and right! Including the title, which is not a word!
Mulder also stole a book and a calendar from Nurse Waite’s home. You’re a goddamn vulture, Mulder.
Mulder says that Nurse Waite marked certain dates on the calendar, each coinciding with pagan/witch high holidays. These same dates were the birthdays of the victims so far. And what are the days in question? Oh, you know, Roodmas and Lammas and— *buzzer noise* Nope, stop, hit the brakes.
These are traditional Catholic holidays. The days all end in ‘mas’ as in ‘this is a day you have a special mass.’ Like Christmas, Candlemas, Michaelmas? Mulder is so full of shit this week.
Mulder says that he thinks Nurse Waite was trying to protect the patients from Dr. Franklin. Well, they better find out what’s going on and how to stop him before Dr. Franklin returns to working on patients.
Cut to Dr. Franklin scrubbing up for surgery.
Damn it, Mulder!
Dr. Franklin looks exhausted, like maybe he’s returning to work too soon after being attacked in his home. Or he’s tuckered out from all the evil magic he’s been doing. Tomayto, Tomahto.
Another doctor, Dr. Kaplan, volunteers to take on Dr. Franklin’s chemical peel patient and encourages him to go home to get some rest. Dr. Franklin feigns protest, but gives in. And then he smiles to himself devilishly.
The agents are on their way to the hospital. They find out that although Dr. Franklin’s gone home, his last procedure for the day will be performed by Dr. Kaplan. The patient for that procedure? Her birthday corresponds to one holy days Mulder was talking about. And the Evil Force at work has preferred working through substitutes so far…
We cut to Dr. Kaplan alone with the chem peel patient. She’s sedated, drifting off, and asks for reassurance about the procedure. He answers stiffly as he reaches for a bottle of Phenol.
…Now, Phenol is the primary compound used in chemical peels. And lots of other completely routine medical procedures. However, as per our promise to keep up with a “Drink when…” list, it ought be noted that Phenol was used by Nazis.
WHY does The X-Files seem to go out of its way to link itself to fucking genocide? (Drink.)
The agents arrive on the plastic surgery ward just in time to hear a horrified scream coming from the chem peel OR.
Oh shit, oh shiiiiiiiiiit… That woman is gone now. She is goo. Her head is straight up goo. What’s left of her face is just a pink frothy mess. This is the most gnarly episode. I love it.
Later, the agents are speaking with Dr. Shannon, who seems the only surviving member of this little hospital conspiracy. She’s talking about plastic surgery and its importance to the hospital and blah blah profit, vanity, something.
Dr. Shannon brings up the deaths from 10 years ago. There were five deaths: four patients, one doctor.
That dead doctor’s name? Dr. Cox. Insert your own Scrubs joke here.
Mulder reviews the files on the dead patients and Dr. Cox with Dr. Shannon. Mulder asks Dr. Shannon to run Dr. Cox’s personnel photo through their plastic surgery reconstruction software. Dr. Shannon makes some adjustments to the photo, at random. This gets the magic result Mulder wants.
The photo now looks like Dr. Franklin. Scully and Dr. Shannon are amazed. Mulder is smugly satisfied. Amazing how you can turn something into something else with Photoshop and somehow call that ‘evidence.’
We cut to Dr. Franklin, who is stark naked back at home. He’s breathing heavily and sweating. …uh, do I even want to know where this is going?
We hear a weird scraping sound as well. Dr. Franklin has a pentagram inlaid into his floor. He’s carving names into the tips of the stars. Including Dr. Shannon’s.
Back at the hospital, Mulder launches into his Theory of the Episode That is Magically Correct.
10 years ago, Dr. Cox killed the four patients and faked his death as a blood sacrifice so that he could become the younger more handsome. Oh, Mulder. Even when you’re out on a ledge, you’ll always find a way to hop, skip, and jump even further out on the ledge.
“What if a man, having reached the limit of medical miracles, decided to stage a miracle all his own?”
Um…. Look, if this transformation counts as “a miracle”… miracles have more mediocre results than I would’ve expected. Dr. Franklin’s face is not “blood sacrifice” quality, I would say. He isn’t bad looking, he just isn’t the “really really good looking” face I would expect to pay four brutal deaths for.
Also, wait, Dr. Shannon said that Dr. Cox died. Did he fake his death? Did he come back from the dead? Oh, the script took a nap and forgot about that plot point? Drink!
Elsewhere in the hospital, Dr. Franklin has snuck into one of the plastic surgery ORs. …how do you sneak into any of these ORs? They’re being videotaped and broadcast at all times!
He starts compiling some scalpels and surgical tools. This includes an instrument that looks disturbingly like a surgical dildo…
Dr. Shannon enters, stumbling upon Dr. Franklin. …again, how? Why bother to have those stupid TVs if you won’t use them!
Dr. Franklin gives an apparently magical nod of the head. Dr. Shannon seems seized by something, pain wracking her body.
“I hope those instruments were properly sterilized…” Dr. Franklin mocks.
UH OH. Oh dear… Oh I think those surgical tools have suddenly been moved, folks… Like into Dr. Shannon’s guts!
UGH I can feel them in my insides!
Our Intrepid Agents are, of course, completely the wrong place. They are at Dr. Franklin‘s house. To arrest him on suspicion of being a shapeshifter, I suppose.
Well, we’ve got five minutes left in the episode, so when is Scully going to get attacked or kidnapped or whatever?
Mulder realizes that there is an INVERTED pentagram in Dr. Franklin’s floor! A sign of EeeeeeeVIL!
…well, wait a minute. It’s a star without a point of reference. The angle at which you happen to look at it will appear as inverted or not. STOP making things up, Mulder!
The agents see that Dr. Franklin has carved five names, including Dr. Shannon’s, into the points of the star. Finally, the agents run off to the hospital.
We see Dr. Shannon on a gurney, being rushed into emergency surgery. Blood is seeping out of her mouth.
Back in the plastic surgery ward, Dr. Franklin is alone. And we know Dr. Franklin’s alone time can get wild, so buckle in.
He’s taking a scalpel to his own face. Yeah, this is not a great episode for the squeamish…
Dr. Franklin begins to peel his face the fuck off. Hey! A literal face peel! Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha.
The agents arrive and see Dr. Shannon being taken into emergency surgery. Mulder tells Scully to not let the surgical team operate on her.
I guess that’s to prevent more possession shenanigans, but how are you going to stop the surgical team? The woman has blood seeping out of her mouth, her guts probably look like something out of Hellraiser. This hospital is already going to be drowning in lawsuits. Can you imagine what’ll happen if the FBI orders a bunch of doctors to not operate on this woman???
This is insane. It is utterly bananas for Mulder to expect to be able to do this. ONLY Fox Mulder would ask this and get away with it.
Well actually, he’s gonna leave this impossible and illegal task to Scully while he goes to find Dr. Franklin. Great team work, Mulder!
Meanwhile, Dr. Franklin’s continuing his reenactment of Face-Off. Oh, lawd, he’s taking some kind of surgical fork to it and just…ugh…. You don’t wanna know, Dear Reader. You do not want to know.
We cut to Scully bursting into ongoing emergency surgery, asserting that she’s FBI! Also a doctor!
Well then, doctor, you would know how incredibly fucking dangerous it would be to burst into an operating room, unsterilized, while the patient is open on the table. Scully! Don’t become Mulder!
Mulder arrives on the plastic surgery ward and, again using those very helpful TVs, notices something very odd in one of the ORs. There’s a bloody pentagram on the floor with a bloody, fleshy pile in the middle of it.
Yeah, you better believe it’s Dr. Franklin’s face. If you get through this episode without getting queasy once, you get a gold star.
Mulder returns to the emergency OR. Seems Scully failed in her mission to stop the lifesaving surgery. Fortunately the OR team, you know, saved Dr. Shannon’s life. See, Mulder, you idiot?
But does this mean that Dr. Franklin failed to get his last victim?
Alas no– suddenly there is a kerfuffle in a nearby OR. Well, ‘kerfuffle’ might be too gentle a word for a different surgeon ripping a patient apart.
Scully grabs the murdered patient’s chart. That patient’s birthday? October 31! Halloween! Cue the Cryptkeeper appearing in a corner, cackling.
We fade to black, then open on someone in a very nice sports car driving up to a different hospital. The car is parked askew, and in what is probably a handicapped spot.
Wow, whoever this person is, they’re probably evil! Perhaps even a vanity-obsessed, blood sacrifice-making, shapeshifting doctor…
We see this doctor being interviewed for a position at the hospital’s plastic surgery ward. We assume this is the new face of Dr. Cox/Dr. Franklin. And to be honest, the new face doesn’t seem much of an improvement over his last face. Seriously, much like his face, this guy is getting ripped off. You should be getting serious upgrades for all the carnage you’re causing, my dude.
Our wicked doctor says something about “If God doesn’t bother to create people in his own image, then we will re-create it.”
Props to Mulder for one of his most “how did you make that leap?” theories. How did he even pick Dr. Franklin as the transformed Dr. Cox? Just…how?
It was certainly fun to have an episode with so much to Google (and find incorrect!).
This episode stands out for how much it makes viewers squirm through its violent murders. Props to the crew for coming up with so many terrible ways to die in a hospital! Yeah, that’s just what I needed during COVID. Awesome.