Dee Discusses: The X-Files 1.18

Posted: March 10, 2013 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Recaps, Television, X-Files
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hello I’m a sex offender. Does that make this episode more creepy?

Creepy story. The actor who plays Samuel in this episode, Scott Bairstow, ended up being accused of sexually assaulting a twelve year old girl. He plead guilty to second degree assault and settled. He says he’s still innocent, but it was clearly a bad situation. He went to jail for a few months. I figured that out after the episode, so it didn’t in any way color my opinion of his acting in this, but wowza. This was an okay episode, although again this one falls into the trope heavy section of X-Files. I know this was almost twenty years ago so a lot of these tropes might not have been well known. But stereotype city here we come. I think it’s funny this was shot in the same place as Gender Bender, another episode which was trope heavy and dealt with cults. Recycling ideas and places already, guys? Yikes.

Anyway this is about a faith healer named Samuel who starts out the episode as a little boy. He healed a man named Leonard Vance who everyone thought was dead after a fatal fire. Samuel becomes a legend of sorts in that area and a following starts of him. People from everywhere show up in order to see if they can be healed by him. Unfortunately a woman with cancer died not long after being “healed” by Samuel, and Scully brings the case to Mulder. She doesn’t think it has any real x-file qualities, but it’s a curiosity, and Mulder’s all about the spooky curiosities. They see a show where Vance and Samuel’s father Calvin say he’s missing. No one knows where he’s gone.

They find Samuel getting drunk at a local bar, and he asks if they’re there to arrest him for murder. He does seem to genuinely think he is responsible, that his gift has somehow turned around and is hurting people instead of saving them. It’s haunting him. He shows a little prophetic quality when he talks to Mulder about his sister, that he sees Mulder’s pain regarding her and he wished he could heal it. This leads to Mulder having frequent visions of Samantha over the course of the episode, and that drives him deeper into the case. Another person is killed so they put Samuel in prison for good. Mulder is absolutely positive he’s not the killer though, and there really isn’t any spite in him, but they can’t figure out who else is doing it. During a hearing with a judge there’s all these creepy bugs that showed up and I seriously blacked this out because I’m terrified of insects.

While in prison, Samuel is beaten to death by the police. They blame it on other inmates. I wasn’t entirely sure about their reasons for doing it. The likely thing is that they did think he killed those sad and innocent people, and he deserved it. However Samuel’s spirit appears in Vance’s room and he accuses him of doing the murders. It turns out Vance wasn’t grateful to Samuel for saving him, because he’s scarred and hideous and would rather be dead. So he put that bitterness on other people. He poisoned them and the bugs trick was just his attempt to make it seem more supernatural. He confesses and he is taken in. The police chief is arrested for letting his people kill Samuel, and he looks pretty damn guilty when they come to him. Mulder sees his sister one last time and Samuel’s talk about having faith stays with him. Samuel’s body mysterious leaves and people claim they saw him walk out.

So there’s a lot of cult and faith tropes in this one. Faith healing is a big deal in some parts of the country, and in the world actually. We’ve seen movies and TV shows and whatever else about them, either for or against. The X-Files seems to lean toward Samuel having the gift after all, but I don’t necessarily think they’re for the setting of that ministry and martyrdom surrounding him. Or maybe they’re just leaving it up to us to think about how we feel. In any case I think this was a decent episode. The acting was all around good, it took me a bit into the episode to figure out who it was, and the sad twist of the police killing him was unexpected. Having him appear to be on a FREAKING CROSS was a little much though, guys. Bring it down a notch.  I like  the continual story about Mulder and his sister and his desire to believe. So overall an okay outing, not the best, but not the worst!

  1. Yeah, tropey episode but X-Files was all about taking those tropes and being “believe it or not, we’re not going to say for sure one way or another” and that was a huge part of its appeal. 🙂


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