The X-Files

Season 2 Episode 3


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Sep 30, 1994 on FOX
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Episode Summary

When several violent deaths in a small farming community are connected by the destruction of digital devices, Mulder believes that people are being driven to kill by the use of subliminal messages in the digital readouts.

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William Sanderson

William Sanderson

Edward Funsch

Guest Star

John Cygan

John Cygan

Sheriff Spencer

Guest Star

Kimberly Patton

Kimberly Patton

Mrs McRoberts

Guest Star

Bruce Harwood

Bruce Harwood


Recurring Role

Dean Haglund

Dean Haglund


Recurring Role

Tom Braidwood

Tom Braidwood


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • This episode appears to have aired out of order. Either that, or there's a date goof: At the blood drive (36 minutes 24 seconds), there's a banner visible that says Blood Drive Sept. 30, 11am - 5pm. However, in episode 5, the text giving us date and location says August 7th (the beginning of the "Speedo scene").

    • Plot Holes: Some of the subliminal messages would have taken an almost impossible amount of effort to arrange. Altering a wristwatch or microwave so that it can send a message at the right time would require completely rebuilding it. The level of planning and observation required to set up some of the messages would also be difficult to achieve, and it all adds up to mean that you can kill someone indirectly with a huge amount of work. Note that in the autopsy of Mrs. McRoberts, Scully reports finding traces of a compound containing lysergic acid (the active component of LSD). This allows for a reasonable supposition that the messages "delivered" by the electronic displays were the result of hallucinations, not reprogramming or rebuilding. Lingering effects from Mulder's exposure to the LSDM could also explain his seeing the message on his phone at the end (although this could have been an ordinary text message). It's interesting to note that of all the different forms of LSD that have been created, only one has been shown to be psychoactive.

    • Continuity: In the investigation scene following the mechanics murder, Mulder is wearing rubber gloves but when he scans his finger down the clipboard, his hand is bare.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Mulder: Yeah, he's probably one of those people that thinks Elvis is dead.

    • Mulder: (looking at destroyed doorbell) Frustrated Jehovah's witness?

    • Mulder: Hey, Frohike, can I borrow those?
      Frohike: If I can have Scully's phone number.

    • Spencer: I played softball with this guy over Labor Day. He was one of those nice guys... couldn't play and didn't bitch about being stuck in right field.
      Mulder: What's wrong with right field?
      Spencer: Always the first one to shake hands at the end of the game. Didn't matter whether they won or lost.
      Mulder: Got to have an arm to play right field.
      Spencer: Bought a round of beers afterwards, even though he didn't drink.
      Mulder: I played right field.

    • Mulder: They've done it before. D.D.T. in the 50's, Agent Orange, germ warfare on unsuspecting neighborhoods.
      Scully: Yes, but why, Mulder? Why would they intentionally create a populace that destroys itself?
      Mulder: Fear. It's the oldest tool of power. If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above.

    • Mulder: Scully. Are you familiar with subliminal messages?
      Scully: You mean like... sex in ice cubes in liquor ads? That's paranoia.
      Mulder: No, it's a fact that some department stores use subliminal messages in their ambient music to deter shoplifting. And the Russians have been using advanced electroencephalographic techniques to control behavior.

    • Frohike: So, Mulder, where's your little partner?
      Mulder: She wouldn't come. She's afraid of her love for you.
      Frohike: She's tasty.
      Mulder: You know, Frohike, it's men like you that give perversion a bad name.

    • Mulder: Have you ever come across this chemical compound?
      Langly: L.S.D.M. Obviously, you haven't read our August edition of "T.L.G."
      Mulder: Oh, I'm sorry, boys. It arrived the same day as my subscription to "Celebrity Skin."

    • Byers: In our April edition of "The Lone Gunman," we ran an article on the C.I.A.'s new CCDTH-twenty-one thirty-eight fiber-optic-lens micro-video camera.
      Langly: Small enough to be placed on the back of a fly.
      Mulder: Imagine being one of those flies on the wall of the Oval Office.
      Frohike: Been there, done that.

    • Mulder: I'm convinced an outside factor is responsible, but I must concede frustration as to a determination of the cause. A residue discovered on the fingers of the most recent perpetrator was analyzed and reported to be an undefined but non-toxic organic chemical found on plants...perhaps remaining from gardening. There have been reported abductee paranoia in UFO mass abduction cases...
      Scully: I was wondering when you'd get to that.
      Mulder: I find no evidence of this to be the case.

    • Spencer: No. Since colonial times, there's only been three murders in this area. In the last six months, seven people have killed twenty-two. Per capita, that's higher than the combined homicide rate of Detroit, D.C. and Los Angeles. This town is not any of those places. In Franklin, you'll never have to pull off the road to make way for a celebrity driving with a gun to his head.
      Mulder: In each incident, the suspect was killed?
      Spencer: Suicide by cop. Each incident occurred in a public place. The suspect went crazy and refused to desist when ordered. Officers used deadly force in order to save lives.

    • Spencer: Things like this aren't supposed to happen here.
      Mulder: A forty-two year old real estate agent murders four strangers with his bare hands? That's not supposed to happen anywhere.

  • NOTES (3)


    • The scene in which Edward Funsch (William Sanderson) climbs the campus tower for his shootings is based on an actual incident. On 1 August 1966, Charles Whitman went to the observation deck on the 27th floor of the clock tower on the University of Texas - Austin campus and began a 92-minute shooting spree leaving 16 dead and many wounded, ending when Whitman was shot by police. That incident and nine other deaths, seven of them suicides, led to the deck's closing in 1974. After installing heavy security and safety measures, the observation platform was reopened in 1999.

    • Scully: I'd love to tell you that I flew three-hundred miles in the middle of the night to perform tests that prove that you're about to become the next Charles Manson...

      Charles Manson was the leader of a cult called 'The Family' who ordered several of his members to carry out mass murders. One of his most prominent victims was the actress Sharon Tate. Manson was sentenced to death in 1971 but this verdict was automatically commuted to life in prison.