Season 1, Episode 2 (because 'Pilot' is ep 0, unusually)
Writer: Chris Carter, Glen Morgan and James Wong
DIR: Harry Longstreet
Blurbing: Mulder and Scully search for a humanoid killer whose savage murder spree reoccurs every 30 years. Spoils ahead.
Scene 01: We open on a pan across Baltimore, MD at dusk.
Scene 02: We swap views for a closing shot onto a man in a business suit as he leaves work for the day. We follow him walking down the block, but creepy music and a close up of a sewer drain gives us a bad feeling [well, that and the fact that we're following somebody we don't know and it's the opening scene].
Between the business man's slo-mo pace and the tight shots of the sewer opening, we're expecting the worse now.
Commentary: Get on with it, in other words.
Gentleman makes it to his car, but we can see a pair of eyes watching from the darkness of the draining opening.
Scene 03: Okay, I'm totally mistaken... the guy must have been leaving a business meeting, because he's back in an office tower now. He goes up the elevator and into his office.
But behind him, we see the elevator doors open - without the car - implying something is hauling itself up the cable.
Scene 04: In business guy's office, he calls home and leaves a message for his wife. We find out he was at a presentation that didn't go well, so he's working late. He goes to get coffee, as we see the screws of an air vent grate being undone from inside the ductwork. The duct seems far too small for anything with hands to be unscrewing it (um, the episode is called 'Squeeze').
We see fingers poking through from the vent, as Business Guy returns to his office... slowly....
As he reaches his office, it is dark, but he doesn't notice. The door slams shut behind him and we hear a human voice growl-pant and some horrible yells. We see the door knob rattling fiercely, but then there is a blow hard enough against the door to split the wood.
Blood pools on the carpeting inside the office. We also get signs of a struggle, blood being flung around in spatter and the reflection of dead Business Guy.
Commentary: And yet, the scene keeps going... Alright, already! We get the sequence of events.
We get a slow pan back up the wall to the air duct vent grating, which is being replaced and screwed back up. We hear heavy breathing from within.
Scene 05: We return joining Dana as she has lunch with a friend from the FBI academy. He's getting her caught up on mutual acquaintances. He turns attention to Dana's partner, and mentions a weird case that he's caught out of Baltimore. He tells her (and us) that Business Guy is the third victim. All of them were found in circumstance where the point of entry cannot be determined, as they were in locked rooms. And, all of them had their livers violently torn out of them.
Agent Colton invites her to look over the case files, and while he doesn't object to Fox also being brought in, he wants it made clear that he's the case agent. With any luck, he'll earn a promotion if he can solve this weird one. He also makes the usual disparaging remarks about her being stuck with 'Spooky Mulder'.
Scene 06: Later, Dana and Fox meet with Tom Colton at the victim's office. Agent Colton makes fun of Mulder's "little green men" fixation, and Fox plays along for a bit. He points out that the Reticulan Galaxy supposedly has a lucrative liver and onions market.
Tom has little sense of humor.
Commentary: Plus, he's being played pretty awkwardly. By Donal Logue, by the by.
Scene 07: As Tom discusses things with Dana in the background, Mulder finds what appears to be metal shavings on some of the documents that the victim dumped on the floor during his attack. This leads him to the duct grate directly above. Colton points out how small it is, but Fox ignores him as he dusts for prints and finds one.
The print is very plain, but it is also weirdly elongated.
Scene 08: Later Mulder is explaining that the fingerprint he took a photo of in the office is a match to an X-File, in which prints were also found. This earlier print is associated with 10 disappearances in the Baltimore area. As the camera pulls out, we find he's - naturally enough - explaining this to Scully.
When Dana tells him that Colton didn't mention previous cases, Fox explains that he may have not known about them. According to Fox, some of the older prints were taken about 5 years-ish before Tom Colton was even born. Another set of prints were collected about 5 years-ish before his mother was probably even born.
Fox explains to Scully that fingerprinting was just being developed in 1903, so there aren't prints from that far back, but he did find a single case involving a missing liver. He further explicates that they're looking at five murders, every 30 or so years with all of them involving 'locked door' mysteries and a liver being violently extracted. He suspects they'll have two more murders and then an utter disappearance of the killer again.
Scully suggests a copycat, but Mulder tells her the fingerprints are an exact match. She then asks if he wants her to tell the Violent Crimes section that there is an alien involved, but he corrects her again, stating seriously that he doesn't find any suggestion of alien involvement in these crimes. Obviously this leads to a conclusion that they have a murderer who is over 100 years old, and yet could overpower a perfectly healthy and much younger man... with 10" long fingers. Fox wants to take over the case as an ongoing X-File, but Dana nixes this, as Colton was clear on that point -- his case, and he doesn't want Mulder as an integral part of it.
Fox suggests that they have two investigations... Tom Colton's and theirs more secretly....
Scene 09: We cut to a photo of the latest victim and Scully writing up a standard profile of their killer. She blithely ignores the weird fingerprint and Mulder's X-File information. Instead, we fade into her meeting with the Violent Crimes taskforce where she continues to give a standard serial killer profile. She also suggests targeting previous sites for surveillance, as a serial who cannot find a convenient victim may return to the site of a previous success to recapture the emotional high they obtained.
With this completed, Tom's supervisor (and the colleague they spoke of earlier, I believe) invites her to join them in a stake out... assuming she doesn't mind a case that is 'more down to Earth' *laugh-laugh* around the room. Dana looks uncomfortable, although this does play right into her and Mulder's plans.
Commentary: I like the way, in the earlier season one, how Scully's future as an agent may be being damaged by her association with Fox. It adds a layer of tension between her and Mulder and gives her an excuse to possibly betray him at some point and decide the X-Files are actually a waste of resources in order to advance herself. Unfortunately, this entire scene is otherwise not very interesting and it goes on a bit long. Also, surely the Violent Crimes section have their own profilers who have suggested everything that her report stated, already? She doesn't give them anything that would justify her official involvement. It seems to me like this profile should have been presented to Colton as a pair of fresh eyes, he could then have told her that it matches what their own profiler is theorizing, and then he could ask her if she'd like him to arrange with his supervisor for her to remain with the case, since it is so interesting and unusual.
This would allow her and Mulder's side investigation to continue as scripted, but more logically since as of this point in the story, there just isn't any reason for her to be "brought into the fold" on this case by the task force boss. She isn't providing anything fresh, and there was no mention of being shorthanded for surveillance detail.
Scene 10: That evening, Dana is in an undercover sedan in the parking garage. She hears mysterious banging, pulls out her gun, and runs off on the echoing concrete to investigate without reporting in that she's leaving her station to investigate an odd noise.
Thankfully, she doesn't end up pointing her gun at some poor executive leaving late. She just ends up pointing her weapon at Mulder. Apparently, he just dropped by to tell her she's wasting her time... and then leave.
This time, it appears that Fox may be wrong though. As he's leaving, he hears banging inside an air shaft where there shouldn't be anyone working. He rushes back to Dana and has her call for backup and join him at the vent entrance.
Commentary: And, yes, his appearance for this scene is as deeply contrived as you think.
Out of the vent, comes a sweaty man who is immediately arrested. Fox admits to Dana she was right... although, how they immediately decide he's a psycho seems like they're really shorthanding here.
Commentary: But, it is interesting that they've already taken him into custody only 15 minutes into the episode. And... this isn't a fake-out... he isn't just a maintenance worker or anything. It's also satisfying to have Fox be mistaken, while Dana is correct in her profile.
Scene 11: Sometime later, at the FBI office, we find out that our suspect is Eugene Victor Tooms. He's being issued a lie detector test. Eugene's questioning is being overseen by Tom, his supervisor, Fox, Dana and anonymous local police chief guy. As they watch, the lie detector administrator lady starts asking weird questions like "Are you over 100 years old?" which Fox helpfully tells the others he requested she ask. This obviously annoys Colton, since Fox couldn't just let him think it was a control question... because Mulder goes out of his way to maintain his reputation as a loon and an unserious FBI agent and apparently wants to continually damage his future employment prospects.
Scene 12: After the test, the administrator tells them that Tooms nailed his lie detector results with flying colors. Worse for the FBI, they're able to confirm Tooms' story of being called to the scene due to a bad smell in the air ducts, which turns out to have been a dead cat. Although, it is weird that he'd enter the shafts without alerting security to his arrival, they simply have no reason to hold him or to think that he's their guy.
Meanwhile, Mulder is reviewing the printout of the lie detector test. Mulder tells them that Tooms did, in fact, fail two of the questions he was asked. Supervisor Guy is immediately sure that it was the "stupid" 100-year old question, which could have easily been explained by Tooms' not understanding where that was coming from. The other question was in regards to Powhatan Mills, where a set of the previous murders occurred.
Naturally, Fox can't wait to blab on about his theory of the old-man-who-looks-like-a-young-man murderer, even though Scully was pretty clear about them not wanting to hear his wild X-Files theories. And, naturally, he doesn't give a thought to the fact that he's now making her look like an idiot for bringing him onboard even though she knew that Colton really didn't want his involvement (beyond his profile expertise, anyway).
Commentary: I actually find myself cringing during this scene... for Dana. I mean, c'mon... Mulder can't just tell Scully all of this later? Did he actually think that the FBI Violent Crimes Unit was going to be open to this idea?! Doesn't he get by now the position he's just put his partner in for no gain? He's being a really inconsiderate and obtuse ass.
And HE KEEPS DOING IT!
Supervisor orders Tooms released. Tom Colton tells Scully that Mulder is insane and he's going to help her get reassigned before she destroys her career. And, who can blame him?
Scene 13: Scully asks Mulder why he pushed his insane-sounding theory, knowing he wouldn't be believed. He suggests that sometimes his need to push against the doubting and the hostile outweighs the bit of humiliation he knows he'll get [nice for you... how about a thought for your partner?], but Scully suggests he's just being territorial. He agrees with this interpretation as well, and tells her that if she wants to be transferred from the X-Files, he'd understand that and not stand in her way.
She refuses. She tells him that he must have something beyond the simple polygraph test results to support his bizarre theory and she intends to see what it is. They share mutual amusement.
Scene 14: Back at Mulder's office, he shows Scully Tooms' prints from his arrest. But using the computer, he manipulates them into an elongated shape matching the length of the print lifted from the recent murder. Naturally, the prints are a perfect match, even though Tooms' fingers were human looking when he was arrested.
Scully is stunned.
Scene 15: Meanwhile, we follow another business man as he arrives home after dark. From nearby shadows, a pair of yellow eyes watches him enter his home. It is Tooms, and he watches the man (in slo-mo vision). He jogs to a set of windows and spies on another-business-man in his living room.
As another-business-man is going through his mail, Tooms reveals another power beyond yellow eyes, elongated fingers, and tearing out livers bare-handed (though presumably the fingers thing is helping) - he can also wall crawl. He goes up the side of the house, using the chimney brick.
Once Victor reaches the roof, we see that the entrance by fireplace is far too tight for a person. Obvs, Eugene doesn't have an issue. He Stretch Armstrong's his way down the chimney. With sound effects of his shoulder's popping and his grunting... it's about as charming as you imagine.
Other-business-man takes a quick trip to the kitchen for a drink and then wanders to his den.
Commentary: Okay, so we do have a minor pacing problem as far as these cuts to scenes we don't really need in an attempt to build tension which would have been better served if they sped things along a little bit. While Tooms may be a great creation of the series, this is still a S1 episode.
Other-Business-Guy goes to the fireplace and lights up some newspaper to start a fire, giving him a bit of hope not to be butchered for his liver. Alas for him, Tooms is already inside at that point and steps out of a cinema-heavy-shadow. Other-Business-Guy goes the way of Business Guy... only with slow-mo, stuttery camera trickery and a better sound track.
Scene 16: The following morning, the FBI is doing their CSI stuff at the site. Agent Tom Colton is clearly reaching for some sort of hint at what they're dealing with... which is Fox and Dana's cue to turn up. Tom shows his contempt by apologizing to Scully that he only wants qualified agents to be near the crime scene, with a very clear stare down at Mulder. Colton tries to block Fox' access to the death room, but Dana uses beauracracy and Colton's careerism against him.
He's pissy at her and storms out.
Scene 17: As Dana is updating Mulder on the victim's details (which you'd think would have been covered in the car ride over already), he points out a smudge on the fireplace mantle that appears to be an elongated fingerprint. He also points out another mark on the mantle where something had rested... Eugene has taken a trophy in addition to Other-Business-Guy's liver.
Commentary: I mentioned in a previous 'Best of/Worst of' that this was my next review. In that, I mentioned that this was probably the best of X-Files' S1 episodes. I was mistaken and have corrected the original entry. While I do still think that Eugene may be the best monster of S1, this episode's pacing issue is quite large with it taking up screen time with repetitive scenes of Dana Scully's FBI friend being snotty and the agent's finding clues that are boringly written. Also, Donal's acting is rather... colorless, as well.
The monster is swell, the story may have been interesting, but its presentation has turned out to be quite pedestrian, flat and workmanlike despite attempting to jazz things up with a bit of slo-mo.
Scene 18: Later, Mulder digs through old Census records in order to find Tooms' address, as he is indeed (or his name anyway) listed there from the 1903.
Scully comes in from her own digging and reports to Fox that Tooms' current address was fake. No one lives where he claims.
More digging is required however to trace Tooms' movements since 1903 that may give insight into where he is currently before his final murder can derail stopping him until the next century.
Scene 19: Extended time going by with lots of microfiche.
Nothing is located to help figure out where Tooms' might be hidden out (uh... how about starting with the original address to see what is there currently). Scully does find the current address of the investigator from 1933, however. With him still alive, they go to see the retired detective about the case from then.
Scene 20: This is the case that never let the detective go. He lives in a retirement home, now, but he kept all of his case notes hoping that someone would be able to pick up where he left off eventually.
Commentary: Yeah, okay. Henry Beckman does a nice job with his dialog as the haunted detective, but that dialog is really OTT and overwrought over one murder (he specifically talks about walking into 'that room' ... meaning the room of Tooms' first 1933 victim and compares it to the world's evil being focused on creating one human monster to embody it).
Retired Detective shows them his box of evidence which includes some work he did unofficially on similar murders in 1963, while he was assigned to desk duty and wouldn't be allowed near the then-current case. He shows off the work he's done, and when Mulder mentions Tooms, the detective is aware of the name and isn't surprised to find he'd be the suspect they're after... whatever he really is. Among his items is a photo of Tooms in '63 which looks exactly like the Tooms of 1993.
Scene 21: Mulder and Scully's next move is to go see what is at Tooms' former address where the first murder of the '63 grouping happened. They find an abandoned building.
While investigating the apartment of that murder, Fox finds a hole broken through the wall behind an old mattress. There is a hidden iron stair in the alcove and they head down deeper into the building behind the walls.
This ends up leading into the old coal cellar - where they find Tooms' stash of memorabilia collected from his previous victims. They also find a huge wall built out of paper, which Mulder guesses is some type of nest. The paper is covered in a green slime, so Mulder immediately reaches out and rubs his fingers in it. By the smell, Dana identifies the substance as bile. Perhaps this will teach Mulder a lesson about touching weird substances.
With this weirdness, Mulder makes one of those intuitive leaps of his and arrives at the conclusion that the set up may be because Tooms is a genetic mutant and uses the nest as a place of hibernation, only awakening every 30 years to collect five livers to slowly digest over that time frame. They agree that this place will, at the least, need a surveillance team. Scully heads out to arrange this, leaving Fox to watch over the site for the eventual return of Tooms.
As they head back toward the upper level in the dark, Scully is caught on something, but is able to get free. She and Mulder don't realize that she was actually snagged by Tooms as they walked under the rafters where he was hiding. He snatches her necklace without her realizing it.
Scene 22: Late the following morning, Fox is relieved by two agents that Dana arranged.
Scene 23: Dana herself is at the Baltimore office, where Tom Colton reams her out for using his man power to watch an abandoned property. He then reports that he went to his regional blah-blah and had the stakeout she arranged called off. He seems very pleased at calling Mulder to inform him his lame manhunt is going nowhere. Scully snits at him and storms out.
Commentary: Okay. Isn't the 'nest' still a scene of interest? Wouldn't they be able to take photos of the weird shrine of items and begin identifying them as items taken from the latest victims, at the very least? Would they not find a collection of clean, shiny items left in an old coal cellar at least worth that much detective work?
Scene 24: That night, Scully arrives at her apartment from Baltimore (and all day, she was doing what) and we get the slo-mo effect as Tooms is shown spying on her.
Commentary: Actually, this scene could have been supremely creepy if we hadn't gotten that shot of Tooms. If it had just been Dana walking to her building entrance in Tooms-vision, without our actually seeing him.
Scene 25: Meanwhile, Mulder arrives at the stakeout site to find no agents on duty.
Comments: Which means, that he and Dana haven't talked all day? That he didn't get any messages from Colton, yet? That he didn't call the agents to check on whether they'd seen Tooms at all, even though he's now on one of his crusades over it?
Not bloody likely.
Fox is suddenly panicked over no one being there, but since he says Dana's name, I think he's worried she was left without backup. He rushes into the abandoned Tooms hide out building.
Scene 26: Meanwhile, back at Scully's, she's trying to reach him but gets his voicemail, or um, his answering machine... which were devices that used cassette tapes before you could leave digital voice messages. (OHGODOHGOD, I'M SO OLD - WHERE'S MY METAMUCIL!)
She's all "I'm furious at Colton for calling off our stakeout!" and "We need to make him pay... by stabbing out that little drama queen's eyes!", except where she doesn't sound all that tiffed even, and she uses terms like "file a complaint".
Meanwhile, she decides to run a bath and try to wash that morning's unpleasant business from her mind, 'cause I guess the rest of the day was fine and she's still obsessing on being countermanded and has been all day.
As Dana leaves the bathroom while the tub is filling, we see Tooms climbing up her building through the bathroom window.
Scene 27: Back at Chez Cannibal Mutant, Fox goes into the building and looks around. He finds Dana's jewelry added to his little collection.
Commentary: WHAT? And, then we just cut away... we don't get "OH SHIT" face?! Hmmph.
Scene 28: Back at Scully's apartment, she's in her bathroom getting ready to add bath oil to her water. From above her, slimy bile drops down onto her hand, which she immediately recognizes.
She makes a mad dash for the living room, where her gun is and draws it, pointing it at the bathroom.
Scene 29: Back with Fox, he's in his car racing toward Dana's apartment... in DC, while he is starting in Baltimore where Tooms' old apartment building has been well established to be. He tries to call her on his cell, but it just rings and rings. He has a minor freak out.
Commentary: Which really just underscores the ridiculous conceit that he hasn't retrieved his messages all day and that Dana didn't speak to him... at all... for the whole day, after Colton pissed her off. Clumsy scripting, that.
We get a very quick cut to Scully's apartment building phone junction box, so that we can see her phone lines have been cut.
Scene 30: Scully wanders her dark apartment [Look ladies, I really hate this - I want you to just leave the apartment from now on, okay? Don't look for the killer. Just don't make a blind, mad dash for it either, 'cause the killer is hiding in one of those cinematic shadows that makes them invisible, so go with caution -- but go. Oh, also, make sure that you're constantly looking over your shoulder and around you as well. Killers always move like silent ninjas. And, never walk backward -- they're behind you. Oh, and always keep your head moving, because I've learned over the years that you also lack peripheral vision in a fatal way.]
Dana looks real quick into her bathroom, and then at the air vent covers in her hallway. This does her no good. He really is in the air vent that she just looked at, but he made it look like the grate was still attached to the wall. As soon as she turns her back, he punches the grate out violently and grabs her ankles!
She falls heavily onto the floor, and yes... she drops her gun... again.
Tooms yanks at Scully's pantleg from within the air vent.
Commentary: Unfortunately, it is far too humorous looking for the emotions that the scene wants to engender. I couldn't stop chuckling at it. It's also about the stupidest attack plan I've seen in a while from a villain.
She yanks away and back-scuttles into the bathroom as Tooms growls at her from within her wall.
Scene 31: Meanwhile, Mulder is driving like a madman. He pulls up on a residential street that looks nothing like the street that Dana's apartment building sits on in the establishing shot. Oops.
Scene 32: Meanwhile, Tooms comes jetting out of the air vent like grease through a pig ... or something....
Anyway, she's left with having to try to fight him off, since he isn't trapped in her wall. How exactly he flew out of there like he had a spring in his... y'know, never mind. I just thought a moment about it and can explain it. He'd already mushed his shoulders in and then he used his incredible, spring-like penis to leap forward with a sproinging erection.
Commentary: When did this episode turn into a comedy? I totally miscalled this episode, and I think it is because I got so many of the details confused with Tooms' return appearance (uh, future spoiler - he comes back later). Anyway, this isn't the 4-star episode I thought I remembered, but I think the sequel episode is.
He straddles Scully in preparation for her liver donation, but she punches him across the jaw [which was very cool].
Scene 33: Mulder dashes through Scully's lobby, racing for her apartment... without apparently requesting assistance. Even though he's had to drive in from Baltimore and she lives in DC (and I thought that maybe Scully was staying in a suite in Baltimore, but no... because the cut phone lines were conveniently labeled with names on them).
Scene 34: Dana tries to claw Tooms' eyes, but he gets the upper hand and is able to hold her hands pinned above her head. He gets ready to punch through her gut for the liver!
Commentary: Yeah, and it does look very 'sexual violence threat', too, which is always icky.
Thank goodness that Mulder kicks in her door, which forces Tooms to retreat. He tries to escape from the window, but Scully grabs him distracting him long enough for Mulder to make it into the room. There is a general wrestling match. Fox is able to cuff his wrist, and Scully is able to get the other end attached to her bath faucet. I fail to see how this could hold him, but maybe Fox' large gun pointed at his head causes him to rethink resisting further.
Scene 35: We skip forward to the next day, where we rejoin our retired detective. He sees a newspaper article revealing the arrest of serial killer suspect, Eugene Tooms.
He gets... choked up? Sure, let's say he's choked up with emotion.
Commentary: Uh... thank goodness that they remembered to wrap up that dangling character arc? I guess? Wouldn't this time have been better spent with a scene of Colton either apologizing to Scully or having to admit to Mulder that he was right all along instead of wasting this scene?
Scene 36: We see the article ripped from the paper, but it isn't retired detective scrapbooking. We're now with Tooms in his cell, where he's tearing bits of newspaper and licking them with... eccchhh... bile. We pan across his cell, where we see him building a new nest.
Scene 37: From the hallway, Mulder is watching him as Scully arrives looking for him. She tells him that genetic tests run on him reveals Tooms has unusually weird blah-blah... obviously, since y'know, he's a mutant, liver eating, bile spitting, human-looking serial killer. They leave.
Commentary: This is interesting, simply because Tooms is so tangible at the end of the episode. He doesn't get away. He doesn't disappear. Tests have been run to confirm his unique genetic changes, and those test results aren't made to vanish by the government conspiracy. This is actually an X-File that manages to be closed! A real rarity.
Scene 38: After they go, an orderly arrives with a tray for the prisoner. He slides the tray through a door slot, but makes sure to close and lock it before going about his duties.
Scene 39: We focus in on Eugene as his entire focus is on that food slot.
[His focus is so intense, in fact, that the food tray has utterly vanished under his uncanny and creepy stare.]
Commentary: The simple, repetitive tune playing over this and the way that the camera focuses on Tooms, intercut with the closing focus on the tray slot in the door is nicely done. I like the way that this one ended. I also want to say that the way Doug Hutchison was filmed throughout was also nicely done. They managed to take a quite attractive man and turn him into something mildly nauseating with nothing more than contact lenses, some sweaty oil on his face, and the thought of him vomiting/spitting up bile. I also like the way Doug really managed to unnerve with nothing more than his unblinking stare and creepy half-grin.
The Good: Doug Hutchison did a nice job of making Tooms creepy without his even attacking people and doing weird stuff. I also really like this 'creature of the week' in general.
The Bad: The pacing of the opening scene is really off and it makes the stalking of the business guy slow moving, rather than tense.
Sorry to say, but I just didn't like Donal Logue as Agent Tom Colton. His delivery was really flat and awkward throughout his dialog and there wasn't any chemistry with Gillian Anderson that would make you think that these "friends" knew each other particularly well.
Dana's involvement in the case at all has problems, too. First, Mulder is the expert at profiling so why is Dana creating it? Second, it seems like Violent Crimes would already have such a person in their unit for this sort of thing so the explanation to get her and Mulder involved doesn't track.
That set-up scene in the garage in order to discover Tooms in the building's air shaft was exceptionally clumsy -- especially the part where Dana hears a noise and immediately runs around waving her gun in the air. It's an office building! They have people leaving late from work. And, Mulder's dropping by just to tell her she's wasting her time and then leaving was pointless... why couldn't he have told this to her over the phone and have Dana be the one to discover Tooms, with Mulder coming to the realization she was right and apologizing to her later. In fact, why was that needed at all?
Other Thoughts: I think the amount of screen time given to Tooms was unfortunate, actually. Despite liking Doug's work, this could have been much more creepily atmospheric if we hadn't seen him immediately, until after Mulder's collection and identification of the fingerprints. And, I would have skipped finding that evidence after the first murder and saved it for the second murder, instead.
They really need to do something about the way they handle Fox' zeal, as well. He's too insistent on not even bothering to try to get along with his fellow agents, and it's only script protection that has kept him from being ordered to see a department shrink already. Now, Dana's career is also being impacted and you'd think that his trying not to torpedo her future prospects by insulting and alienating everyone around him would seriously be brought up and discussed.
I liked the slo-mo, focused hearing when Tooms was honing in on his target, but the use of the stutter-shot during Other Business Man's attack was a touch too much. It only emphasized how flat the direction was when the camera tricks weren't being used. The dialog scenes, of which there were many, all seemed to be so dull and pedestrian.
The last quarter of the story just sort of falls apart with the most glancing of inspection: The collected items receiving no scrutiny by anyone but Fox and Dana, Tom Colton never being brought up again once Mulder is proven right, Fox not getting any messages or speaking to Dana all day even though they're both supposedly working this case in Baltimore - so you'd think there wouldn't be a lot else to do but actually talk to one another about it and that wasted scene checking in on the retired detective after Tooms' arrest... but not with an actual dialog scene with Mulder, or anything. And Fox racing from Tooms' old haunt (established as being in Baltimore) to Scully's apartment building (which is in DC) without calling it in for back up to her home was ridiculous. I almost think that Dana's apartment was supposed to be a hotel in Baltimore and Tooms stalked her there... but the stupid cut to the unnecessary phone wires being cut, labeled with her name, ruins that easy fix.
The Score: I had high hopes for this one, but then I realized I was thinking of the sequel episode. This one isn't bad, and Tooms is a great monster of the week. But, it does have story logic problems and a pacing that isn't urgent enough for the story. Kinda a bummer, actually, 'cause it could have been really exciting and tense.
3.25 out of 5 stars