The X-Files

Season 2 Episode 14

Die Hand Die Verletzt

1
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 27, 1995 on FOX
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
354 votes
16

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The ritualistic murder of a teenager in a small town gets Mulder and Scully caught up in a secret occult practice within the local school's PTA and a substitute teacher with strange powers.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Similar to Doctor Who's "Midnight"

    8.5
    Really good episode. SPOILERS below.



    You can compare this to Doctor Who's equally spooky and unresolved episode Like that of "Midnight," the monster under investigation here is a demonic, birdlike female intruder (which must be a trope, but couldn't find it). Like in "Midnight," we have people whose authoritative knowledge on monsters fails them and who get used as pawns: the Doctor in that episode, the Satanists here. Unlike "Midnight," this episode doesn't confine you to a claustrophobic space. It gives Scully and Mulder more to investigate, so it works as a whodunnit. And indeed, the monster here is a skilled and precise assassin, unlike the instinctively predatory Midnight entity. Both monsters are creepy. The similarities must say something.moreless
  • "Goodbye its been nice working with you"

    8.5
    This was a very creepy X File episode but was good when a teenager is murdered why performing a ritual and strange things seem to be happening at the school since then including the appearance of a strange substitute teacher who has some kind of ability to control people when she has one of their items and uses it to kill the girl from the woods doing the ritual making her slit her wrist with her own knife when she was dissecting a pig.Mulder and Scully find a secret occult practice and when Mulder arrests one of them but is phoned by who he thinks is Scully and the man from the cult is ate by the snake from the class that the teenager died in.The substitute teacher Mrs Paddock also saves Mulder and Scully from the rest of the cult making them kill themselves.But when Mulder and Scully went to her classroom she wasn't there but left a last message which says "Goodbye its been nice working with you"moreless
  • Die Hand Die Verletzt

    10
    Die Hand Die Verletzt was a perfectly entertaining, horrifically creepy episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was complex, dark, and seemed plausible compared to other stories. It was interesting to see a small community of people being manipulated by a few who fell to darkness. The story played out well and was scary in many parts. The ending was good. I look forward to watching the next episode and getting the horrifying image from this one out of my mind!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Way too creepy

    7.5
    This is one of the XF episodes that I always skip when I rewatch the series. Satanic rituals and cults are not my favorite plot and this episode was very creepy.



    The story the girl told about the rape and the rituals was just too awful. Never understood if it was true or if she was trying to frame her stepfather. Mrs. Paddock... Creepy too. So no one remembered hiring her. She got rid of some of the bad guys and in the end, she was the one who saved Mulder and Scully from a horrible death.



    It was nice to see Mulder being worried about Scully and trying to protect her in the showers scene.moreless
  • Morgan and Wong don't get it wrong.

    7.3
    Marking Glen Morgan and James Wong's last X File before disappearing off into Space: Above and Beyond (only to return in Season 4 after the cancellation of that show), "Die Hand Die Verletzt" is also noticeable as being Kim Manners' first directorial effort for the series. And it's easy to see why he became probably the show's most popular (and most used) director. There's a fluidity to the camerawork that we haven't really experienced before, a lot more invention (dizzying overhead shots, clever use of background and foreground focus) that really ups the ante in making this series feel less like a series and more like a mini-feature film. And one rather important fact that Manners brings to the table is an appreciation and awareness of how the characters of Mulder and Scully have started to become media currency. He uses a lot of close-ups of the two, almost in reverence to – and an acknowledgement of – their newly found iconic status. By doing this, of course, he only helps to perpetuate the myth.



    Once again, "The X Files" explores a seemingly normal facet of our lives and places an evil subtext over it. As always, it's the very normalcy of the situation that makes it so fearful, and in this case, we're talking school PTA meetings with a bit of devil worship thrown in. We are naturally suspicious of black magic so it was quite a clever conceit to mix it in with the authoritarian dealings of a school, and even more so to find that the teachers have summoned up something a lot more powerful than they. Mulder sums it up nicely (and lays out the theme of the episode) when he says "Did you really think you could call up the devil and ask him to behave?"



    And Satan is here apparently incarnated in the rather amusing form of Mrs Paddock, a seemingly nice and concerned supply teacher who also does a nice line in masochism and casting spells. Generally, this episode is largely remembered for her and the frogs falling out of the sky moment (which seems to be there for effect only and has little bearing on the action in the plot). But the episode's finest moment involves an open door down to a basement, a suspect handcuffed to a banister and a very large python slithering down the stairs for a spot of dinner. Potentially ludicrous, director Manners has made this a thoroughly creepy experience through judicious use of lighting, framing, sound effects and absolutely no music whatsoever. It works a treat.



    About 1/3 of the way through this devil worship at school episode though it takes a very dark turn with the introduction of child abuse. And really horrific child abuse at that. As young Shannon regales the agents with some dreadful stories about what has befallen her, our two agents are deeply troubled by what they're hearing. And it's very interesting to see how they deal with the parents about these accusations. Scully sympathetically listens to the mother, while Mulder's approach is a bit more direct. "Did you do it?" he asks the father outright. Just as disturbingly the whole child abuse angle is dropped as quickly as it appeared, bar a not entirely satisfactory explanation from the father that also doesn't seem to convince Mulder too much. Nice to see that her experiences in "Irresistible" have hardened her some, as Scully doesn't seem too perturbed by the body desecration at the start of the episode. And the first thing the school in question should do when it finds replacements for virtually all of its teaching staff is buy a back-up generator. It was sure dark in there for the duration of much of the storm. Although "Die Hand Die Verletzt" is dealing in some dark themes, it's actually not that dark an episode. Compare it with the intensity of Morgan and Wong's highpoint in the show "Beyond the Sea" and it seems remarkably light. But it covers a lot of interesting ground in an economical fashion. And when Mulder and Scully discover Mrs Paddock's parting words "Goodbye. It's been nice working with you", it's a little in-joke from the writers. And yes, it was been nice working with Morgan and Wong. They've produced some outstanding episodes. However, with the confidence that "The X Files" is demonstrating in its second season, you feel secure knowing that Morgan and Wong's departure will not spell an end to some great episodes to come. 7/10moreless
Susan Blommaert

Susan Blommaert

Phyllis Paddock

Guest Star

Dan Butler

Dan Butler

Jim Ausbury

Guest Star

Heather McComb

Heather McComb

Shannon Ausbury

Guest Star

Doug Abrahams

Doug Abrahams

Paul Vitaris

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (10)

    • When Mulder walks over to look at the snake, after the girl's death, there is a visible reflection of the base of the crane-camera in the glass.

    • When Mrs. Paddock is handing out the dead pigs, there is a reflection of the boom-mic operator in the glass of the snake's tank.

    • "Paddock" is an Old English word that means "toad."

    • After the toad shower in the woods, Mulder is shown walking away from Scully twice. The second time, he looks back as he leaves the shot.

    • Another example of Mulder and Scully's seeming ability to travel at warp speed: Jerry Stevens is killed in New Hampshire in the evening and at 8:55 AM the following day the local sheriff is telling Mulder and Scully at the crime scene that a hunter found the body "early this morning." How did Mulder and Scully show up for work, get assigned the case and travel from Washington to New Hampshire in such a short amount of time?

    • The Coriolis effect is actually too small to affect the direction of water in a drain; water can drain either way in both hemispheres and is due mostly to things like the shape of the drain and the direction in which the water hits the drain, and not to the negligible influence of the Earth's rotation. See http://www.snopes.com/science/coriolis.htm

    • Also concerning the python's eating habits: if the python was going to swallow Jim Ausbury entirely it would have started eating him head-first rather than from one of his feet (as it appears about to do in the scene), otherwise it would have had serious logistical problems when it reached the crotch area.

    • Mrs Paddock feeds an embalmed pig embryo to the python. While snakes do eat live and/or dead prey, it certainly wouldn't eat something that was embalmed. The fluid used would have made it sick and probably even killed it.

    • Mulder and Scully didn't seem overly concerned about a man-eating python being loose.

    • If the python ate Jim Ausbury's body whole, how did it get his hand out of the handcuffs?

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Mulder: Hide your Megadeth albums.

    • Ausbury: My religion, my family, Agent Mulder, goes back in this town seven generations. They fled persecution from people being persecuted, all in the name of religion. I was raised to believe Christianity was synonymous with hypocrisy. Man's natural tendency was to do as thou wilst, not do unto others. We believe... Man is nothing but an animal, no better, no worse, than those who walk on four legs. And though I believed our faith kept us powerful in the community, wealthy, good health, I... I came to see hypocrisy in the others...in myself.

    • Vitaris: She cut out his eyes, because she couldn't stand to have him look at another girl. And his heart, because she was heartbroken.

    • Mulder: Even the Devil can quote scripture to fit his needs.

    • Mulder: Modern witches, known as Wicca, are a religion. They have a great reverence for all life in Nature, they do not cast harmful spells, they don't worship Satan. Even the Church of Satan has renounced murder and torture. Their influence here wouldn't account for the frogs, or the water draining backwards, or most importantly, the murder.

    • Mulder: Your records indicate a high incidence of students complaining of depression, headaches, eating disorders...?
      Calcagni: This is high school. It's normal for students to display abnormal behavior.

    • Mulder: The water...
      Scully: What's wrong with it?
      Mulder: It's going down the drain counter-clockwise! Coriolis force in the Northern Hemisphere dictates that it should go down clockwise.
      Scully: That isn't possible.
      Mulder: Something's here, Scully. Something is making these things possible.

    • Scully: The FBI recently concluded a seven-year study and found little or no evidence of the existence of occult conspiracies.
      Calcagni: And J. Edgar Hoover never admitted to the existence of the Mafia.
      Scully: Look, if the number of murders attributed to occult conspiracies were true, it would mean thousands of people killing tens of thousands of people a year, without evidence, without being exposed... it would be the greatest criminal conspiracy in the history of civilization.

    • All: In the name of the Lords of Darkness, rulers of the Earth, kings of the Underworld, I command the forces of darkness to bestow their infernal power upon me.
      Deborah: Sein ist die Hand die verletzt. (His is the hand that wounds.)
      Others: Sein ist die Hand die verletzt.
      Deborah: Sein ist der Ort genannt Hölle. (His is the place called Hell.)
      Others: Sein ist der Ort genannt Hölle.
      Deborah: May the black powers of our forefathers make us strong.
      All: Hail. Hail the Lords of Darkness.

    • Mulder: Did you really think you could call up the Devil and ask him to behave?

    • Oakes: This stump here is supposed to be the ceremonial altar. What do you think?
      Mulder: I think with a few turquoise chips, a picture of John Wayne and three cans of shellac it'd make a pretty nice coffee table.

    • (The PTC is discussing the drama teacher's plans to mount "Jesus Christ Superstar" for the school's spring production.)
      Ms. Brown: Um...I don't think that play is appropriate for this high school.
      Vitaris: Well if he wants to be young, I have no problems with, uh, "Grease", or "Annie", or -
      Calcagni: Doesn't "Grease" have the F word?

    • (Mulder and Scully are in the basement looking at Ausbury's skeleton)
      Mulder: There are tracks in the dirt... like from a snake.
      Scully: That's impossible. It would take a large python hours to consume and weeks to digest a human being.
      Mulder: You really do watch The Learning Channel.

    • Mrs. Paddock: (after using Calcagni's keys to cast a spell causing him to shoot himself and his cohorts) You're right. It is already too late.

    • Scully: I mean, there's nothing weird about...
      (toads start falling from the sky, then stop)
      Mulder: So, lunch?
      Scully: Mulder, toads just fell from the sky!
      Mulder: Guess their parachutes didn't open. What did you say about this place not feeling odd?

  • NOTES (6)

    • The snake scene proved to be the most difficult sequence for the production crew of this episode as Dan Butler (who plays Jim Ausbury) was immensely terrified of snakes. In the original script, Jim had some lines right before he notices the snake, but those had to be cut because Butler just couldn't bring himself to deliver them. In addition, the snake kept falling down instead of gently sliding down the staircase.

    • The characters Paul Vitaris and Deborah Brown were named after prominent online X-Philes.

    • The high school, Crowley High, is named for Alistair Crowley; whose theories laid much of the groundwork for early- to mid- 20th century occult practices.

    • In homage to Super Bowl XXIX (to be played two days after the airing of this episode) writers Morgan and Wong changed their names in the opening credits to James "Chargers" Wong and Glen "Bolts, Baby" Morgan. The San Diego Chargers ended up losing to the San Francisco 49ers, but Glen Morgan declared he wasn't superstitious enough to believe that he had jinxed his team.

    • 'Die Hand die Verletzt' is German for "The Hand that Wounds", which is part of the satanic prayer spoken in the teaser by the members of the PTA. Interestingly, the German version of this episode is called 'Satan', and not 'Die Hand die verletzt'.

    • Writers Glen Morgan and James Wong left the show to create the sci-fi series Space: Above and Beyond. The message left behind by Mrs Paddock, "It's been nice working with you." served also as their goodbye to the cast and crew. The pair returned to co-write several season 4 episodes starting with "Home."

  • ALLUSIONS (6)

    • Jim Ausbury: She must have confused reality with that crap that's on Geraldo and the tabloids.

      Geraldo Rivera's talk show has done some extremely sensationalistic reports about the rumors of Satanic conspiracies.

    • Biblical Name: Azazel

      When the teens hold their "ritual" in the woods, they call upon Azazel. In the bible, Azazel is both the name of a cliff from which sacrificial animals were thrown and the name of a fallen angel.

    • Mulder: Better hide your Megadeth albums.

      Megadeth is an American thrash metal group that was formed in 1983. The band was led by Dave Mustaine. Megadeth was, in turn, named after a fictitious band that appeared in the National Lampoon's 1971 stage play Lemmings, a parody of the Woodstock music festival. Although referenced here in the context of devil music, Dave Mustaine is now a born again Christian.

    • Oakes: I know he and his friends listened to devil music!
      Mulder: "The Night Chicago Died"?

      "The Night Chicago Died" is a song by the British band, Paper Lace.

    • Calgagni: Yeah, I got wind that for the spring drama productions, Howard Roberts intends to put on "Jesus Christ Superstar".
      Vitaris: If he wants to be young, I have no problems with "Grease" or "Annie" or...

      "Jesus Christ Superstar" is a rock opera by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber that premiered in 1970 and deals with the last week of Jesus' life. "Annie" is a musical which premiered in 1977 and tells the story of an 11-year-old orphan girl. "Grease" is a musical which premiered in 1972. The musical was remade into a movie in 1978 starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

    • Physics Reference: The Coriolis Effect

      This episode claims that the Coriolis effect should make water drain clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. The Simpsons episode "Bart vs. Australia" has it the other way, the water should drain counterclockwise. They're both wrong -- the Coriolis effect isn't strong enough to counteract other factors, like the shape of the drain and the angle at which the water falls.

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