Oh hell no. ‘The X-Files’ delivers the first truly scary episode of the season with some sick ‘IT’ and ‘Goosebumps’ hybrid. Warning: you won’t be able to sleep tonight after reading this recap.
May we repeat ourselves? Oh. Hell. No. Look, you’re not tuning into The X-Files every week for a cheerful, fuzzy hour of television. But the series revival hasn’t really brought on the scares, more focusing on Scully’s quest to find William and some jarring extraterrestrial clues. This episode was pure horror, and it was clear from the first minute. It’s obvious that they’re sourcing from a few horror staples for this murder spree, and it somehow, gruesomely comes together.
A small town is rocked when a little boy named Andrew, clearly modeled on Georgie from IT, down to the yellow raincoat, is murdered in the forest. The toddler is lured into the forest by a life-sized version of his beloved toy (and children’s show mascot), a ventriloquist dummy named Mr. Chuckle Teeth. It’s horrifying. The dude is a mix between Pennywise and Jigsaw, and gives us anxiety-inducing flashbacks to the days of reading “Goosebumps” books. Thanks to R.L. Stine and a particular dummy named Slappy, we’re forever scarred by anything involving them.
The police later find little Andrew’s body in the woods, mutilated beyond belief. While local police conclude he was killed by a coyote or wolf, Scully can’t rule out murder. It’s a small town, but these things happen. BTW, she has jurisdiction because Andrew’s the son of a police officer. Let’s pause this story for an important update: Scully’s bob is back.
Anyway…She’s taking the practical approach and assuming he was killed by someone in the town, perhaps a child molester. Mulder, of course, immediately goes to the fact that this Connecticut town experienced witch hunts in the 1600s. And maybe it was a hell wolf that killed him. Best line of the episode? Scully to Mulder: “as we’ve discussed before, people don’t just spontaneously combust.”
Andrews father, Officer Eggers, freaks out at the funeral after learning about Scully’s profile. He rushes to the house of a convicted sex offender, vowing to kill him. He’s thankfully stopped — we have no idea if the dude even did it. What they do find at the home is a room full of balloons, clown shoes…and a Mr. Chuckle Teeth mask. Coincidence? Actually, it might be. Too bad that Eggers later shoots him point blanc.
Mulder goes to the Chief of Police’s house to speak to his five-year-old daughter, Emily, who was in the park with Andrew that day. She tells him that she saw Andrew walk into the forest, and that our old buddy Chuckle Teeth was with him. Turns out he’s one of the stars of a bizarre children’s show that’s a blatant ripoff of Teletubbies, but Fox couldn’t get the rights since the episode is about straight up murder. Later, after Mulder leaves, Emily sees one of the off-brand Teletubbies outside, and follows him into the forest. She’s found dead in the same spot where Andrew was discovered.
Shouldn’t Scully trust Mulder after 20 years to know that he’s always right? Witchcraft is involved here. Mulder uncovers a ring of salt around the ground where the bodies were found. It’s a Magic Circle, a ground for practicing witchcraft. There’s a stone skull in the dirt, too — Puritan graveyard. Oh, and Mulder sees a hell hound. NOPE. BIG NOPE. They initially suspect it’s the Chief, considering he had a bookshelf full of texts about the town’s witch hunts. But why his own daughter?
The remaining 15 minutes of the episode were a doozy. We learn that the Chief was having an affair with Officer Eggers’ wife, Diane. There’s a deeper connection between Andrew and Emily than first thought. After Egger murders that dude, Diane storms out and says she’s leaving him. She winds up flipping her car by the forest when she sees Andrew’s spirit on the road in front of her. Again, IT vibes. Georgie’s brother saw him, yellow raincoat and all, down in the sewer before facing Pennywise. Yikes.
While this is happening, Eggers has gone to the chief’s house, gun drawn, to confront him about the affair. He’s not there…but Mr. Chuckle Teeth is. Seriously, this guy is the stuff nightmares are made of. Like Pennywise, he has a sh*tty theme song and does a somehow terrifying jig. Then murders you. Eggers is tormented by Chuckle Teeth in the dark home. His body is later found in the doorway, surrounded by a ring of salt. Meanwhile, the chief is on his way out of town and discovers Diane’s flipped car. She’s already dead, but he thinks he sees her wandering into the forest.
All he finds, though, is HIS WIFE in the Magic Circle, surrounded by candles and reciting a spell from one of the books from their library. She tells him that she only meant to curse him and Diane for the affair. The spell then took away what they loved the most — not each other, but Andrew and Emily. Before he can say anything, he’s mauled and killed by the hell hound! Of course, this is the point where Mulder and Scully show up. To be honest, they’re really off their games in this episode.
Anna screams that she has to stop what she’s started, and finishes her spell. She goes up in flames! And Mulder and Scully don’t even try to help her. WTF? Perhaps they were going off the assumption that witches don’t burn? Well, this one does. The only thing left is the spellbook. Mulder and Scully just casually leave town after that. Case closed, apparently.
The X-Files airs Wednesdays at 8:00pm on Fox.