The X-Files

Season 8 Episode 5


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Dec 03, 2000 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
214 votes

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Episode Summary

Having been kidnapped for ten years, a little boy mysteriously reappears in the same place as he was kidnapped but somehow has not aged one bit while he was away. Doggett and Scully investigate the case further but find that something is definitely not right with the child.moreless

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  • Small wonder

    I wasn't into this one sadly because it seemed like they were doing too much with this story, I thought it would have been much more interesting to simply having a ghostly child that can appear anywhere it pleases. I was just scratching my head at the end wondering what the heck the deal was with this kid anyway.

    One good thing is that we get a scratching of Doggett's backstory, it's fairly obvious what happened to him but they don't write too much about it in this episode which is smart, save it for a later episode.moreless
  • Invocation

    Invocation was a perfect episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was well written, touching and full of character development. I loved how agents Scully and Doggett interacted and learned more about and from each other. It was great to see another unexplainable case for Doggett and to watch how he handled it. I liked how every thing played out and look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • More Missing Kids

    Not so much hard to understand as it is half-baked and poorly constructed. The old "dead child's spirit returns to protect the living/avenge his death" chestnut is dusted off for another go, only a few episodes since "Closure."

    It's revealed that Doggett himself has had some past involvement with a missing child, presumably his son. Hmmm, where have we seen that before? Hint: starts with "S" and ends with "amantha."

    There continues to be zero chemistry between Scully and Doggett. Scully seems strangely detached and clinical in her investigation of Billy's reappearance, which is incongruous given the strong bond she developed with Emily (in Season Five), as well as her state of pregnancy.

    In fact, this is a very poorly written episode, with terrible characterization. For example, when the family first returns home with their son who has been missing for TEN YEARS, the mother barks at her husband to take Billy inside while she goes next door to pay the sitter. I suppose that after paying the sitter she proceeds to take out the trash, perhaps water the lawn, maybe run to the store for some milk and, oh yeah, THEN go inside to be with her son, who has been missing for TEN YEARS.

    Another clunker moment occurs when Billy's nine year old brother leaves the car while his father is pumping gas to chase down a pony across a dark, deserted street. Hey, it could happen.....

    And exactly how is Billy kidnapped from a very busy playground in broad daylight? From the teaser, one is led to believe that he simply vanishes into thin air since his empty swing continues arcing through the air as though he had only just left it. As it turns out, the writer rather conveniently never explains Billy's magical disappearance, which is typical of the level of writing to be found here.moreless
  • Despite how much I completly love this show I hated this show because it made 100% no sense at all

    A boy goes missing and returns 10 years later and has not aged a day. He went missing at a fair at his school and supposedly was kidnapped by a guy who was forced to take him by his mother\'s boyfriend. The boy refuses to speak and is supposedly trying to kill his brother, but his mother defends him all of the time. Then his brother gets kidnapped by the same people but is luckily found in time and it leads them to the skeleton of his brother who was supposed to have come back and the boy\'s ghost is put to rest.moreless
  • An X-File which provides physical proof of the paranormal.

    John has obviously worked child abduction cases before, he is very good with Billy and though his taking the backpack away might seem cruel, John's desire to get Billy talking is understandable. Billy was just either returned or escaped and the faster the police move, the better. Seems John has a secret of his own, was his own child abducted?

    Billy's father, Josh and the dog all sense something is wrong with Billy. The mother is so grateful to have Billy home that she refuses to see the strangeness in him. But Billy meant his brother no harm, instead was a death omen, warning of the danger threatening his brother and finding justice at the same time. Certainly explains why 'Billy' wouldn't talk.

    This case is one of the very few X-Files which leave behind physical and scientific proof of a paranormal event, proof that is undeniable: blood samples, photographs, various medical tests, and a multitude of witnesses who saw and interacted with 'Billy' before his grave was discovered. This case should be very convincing to Doggett since he cannot deny the volume of evidence.moreless
Robert Patrick

Robert Patrick

Special Agent John Doggett

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson

Special Agent Dana Scully

Kim Greist

Kim Greist

Lisa Underwood

Guest Star

Jim Cody Williams

Jim Cody Williams

Cal Jeppy

Guest Star

Rodney Eastman

Rodney Eastman

Ronald Purnell

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • During the final scene where Billy's father is standing up from the grave with a look of utter despair on his face, you can see a police officer in the background laughing with his colleague. Fairly inappropriate for a time like this, and surely not intended to be visible in the final edit.

    • When Josh is reaching into the horse trailer to pet the pony, Cal grabs his hands and holds him from inside the trailer. How exactly then does Cal complete the abduction? At some point he has to get Josh in the hidden compartment in the trailer's floor, but he would have to let him go to then exit the trailer to grab him. Josh could then simply run away. Even if he somehow tied his hands to the inside of the trailer and walked around to him, he then has a, one would assume, screaming boy hanging on the outside of his trailer.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Doggett: I don't believe it.
      Scully: Okay, the clothes, the age and condition of the bones, the location of the grave. There is no doubt that that is Billy Underwood's skeleton that is in that grave.
      Doggett: We spent time with this boy. Doctors took Billy's blood. You examined him yourself. Now, I can't accept it. I can't believe we're asking them to.
      Scully: I know, but the forensic evidence is going to come out, and what then? What if I'm right?
      Doggett: Well, what then, Agent Scully? What we do? We move on, let it go, case closed?
      Scully: Look, I know where you are with this. I have been there. I know what you're feeling-- that you've failed and that you have to explain this somehow. And maybe you can.
      Doggett: Not if that's Billy's body, I can't.
      Scully: But maybe that's explanation enough. That that's not Billy's brother lying in that grave, too. That that man who did this is never going to be able to do it again. Isn't that what you wanted, Agent Doggett?
      Doggett: Agent Scully, don't ask me to believe that this is some kind of justice from beyond the grave.
      Scully: All I'm saying is that maybe you succeeded... whether you're willing to see that or not.

    • Scully: Well, they've got her stabilized and it looks like she's going to be okay... if you're at all curious about her condition.
      Doggett: I'd be more curious if I believed it.
      Scully: Believed what?
      Doggett: The act.
      Scully: You think that was an act?
      Doggett: It's pretty standard fare, isn't it? Float a few choice revelations, as if they came from on high, roll around on the floor.
      Scully: You saw that symbol appear on her forehead.
      Doggett: It's a damn good trick. Don't ask me how she does it.

    • Ronnie: You're a trip, man. You know that?
      Doggett: This has nothing to do with you being stoned or violating your probation. All I'm asking is that we go see Billy. See what he says.
      Ronnie: See what he says where?
      Doggett: Where? Wherever. Wherever you want. I'll make sure he's there.
      Ronnie: You're not making sense, Dude. Just leave me alone.

    • Scully: These are juvenile records. These are sealed by the court, Agent Doggett. We're not supposed to have these.
      Doggett: And we're at a stand still here.
      Scully: Yeah, and you're breaking the law.
      Doggett: Look, I want to catch this guy, Agent Scully, whatever it takes.

    • Scully: There are X-File cases that describe similar paranormal findings. Alien abductees who came back with anomalous medical stats.
      Doggett: You know, these words: "Anomalous," "supernatural," "paranormal..." They purport to explain something by not explaining it. It's lazy.
      Scully: I'm not saying that I can explain it, Agent Doggett, but this is definitely not normal.

    • Scully: You going to sleep here, too?
      Doggett: What time is it?
      Scully: I spoke with the doctors who treated Billy. I looked at his charts.
      Doggett: And what, did you find something?
      Scully: Yes and no. What showed up is that Billy is the same boy who was taken ten years ago.
      Doggett: We know that.
      Scully: No. I mean the –same- boy. He has no cavities. He has no tooth decay. He still has four baby teeth that he's never lost. He had a routine blood test six weeks before he disappeared in 1990. His cell counts, his enzymes, his hormone levels, they are all exactly the same as they were ten years ago.
      Doggett: Now how can that be possible?
      Scully: It's medically impossible.

    • Scully: You are ignoring the fact that he is still seven years old.
      Doggett: Failure to thrive. Isn-isn't that the term? I mean, aren't there diseases that delay puberty and so on?
      Scully: I told you... he's not sick.
      Doggett: Good. Then he can talk.

    • Scully: You think this is a game?
      Doggett: A serious game; one we have to win.
      Scully: Have you really worked kid cases before, Agent Doggett? Child abductions?
      Doggett: I worked the child abduction task force. I know the horror stories, but this kid can help us.
      Scully: This isn't just a horror story. This is a biological impossibility.
      Doggett: Well, that's your area of expertise. I just want to put the person who did this out of business. Billy just didn't show up. He got away or was let go. And if he can talk, he can tell us by who. Or he can look at photos in the files and point to the man who did this so this doesn't happen to some other little boy.

    • Scully: Well, what we've got here is a... uh... healthy 7 year old boy, who was born 17 years ago

  • NOTES (1)

    • The symbol found on the knife, the one Billy was drawing on the paper, the mark which appeared on the forehead of the psychic, and the symbol on the horse trailer, all appear to be of the 'horse-run' shown at the end of the episode, at the start of the scene where the FBI agents are arriving at the trailer to find Billy's brother.