The X-Files

Season 5 Episode 8


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jan 04, 1998 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
266 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Pusher returns as Robert Patrick Modell escapes from the mental hospital and the FBI promptly organises a manhunt assuming that he will continue where he left off; but is he really trying to get revenge on Mulder or does he want to warn him of another evil?moreless

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  • Freaky Friday stuff going on

    Hey were back to that guy, a nice way of keeping things interesting and with only 20 episodes this season its turning out to be a tighter, interesting season overall, hope it keeps up.

    Not much of a fan of Mulder buying into the guy's ability again but that was to be expected. The idea of Robert (hmm I wonder if the casting of Robert Patrick later had something to do with this) having a relative with similar abilities was so so for me but it did end up having a neat twist at the end where she controls Mulder twice, in believing Scully kills herself and then swapping bodies with the real one, you know what I mean.

    Not too bad of an episode, always good to catch up on people from past seasons. Maybe that dark matter guy will escape and return sometime soon.moreless
  • Kitsunegari

    Kitsunegari was a perfect and extremely entertaining episode of The X-Files as Modell, a.k.a. Pusher, escapes confinement and seems to be continuing where he left off. There was a lot of great action, suspense, drama, and thrilling intrigue. I liked how the story played out and Modell was trying to protect someone close to him. It was interesting to see Scully question Mulder as it seemed he may have been compromised by Modell. I liked the ending which was awesome and well played. I also liked the line: "Where's Modell?" " He had to go." which Modell made the characters say. The ending was awesome and I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Glad that Pusher is gone... both of them

    I think this was a good way to end the Pusher storyline. It was emotional and full of drama in the end scene.

    As usual, Mulder becomes very passionate about this case and Modell knows and uses it against him. As much as I enjoy the Mulder/Scully dynamic, I also like to see the way both argue trying to proove each other's theory to a point that they get angry at each other.

    I always enjoy how Scully becomes so protective of Mulder knowing how vulnerable he can be and how much damage Modelll did to them in the past. And I loved how in the end Mulder recognizes who the real Scully... just because they know each other so well.

    Good episode overall.moreless
  • The one with a second Pusher

    A brilliant episode bringing back the pusher, and to be honest, I liked it a bit more than the original episode.

    The episode begins with him escaping but he doesn’t make the dumb guard kill himself, he just tells him to let him go.

    Everyone thinks he went out to pay his revenge on Mulder, and he’s also dying. When he goes to steal food he makes a guy think a bat is a snake but once again he does not kill the man, but instead someone who wanted to catch him in the past was under blue paint, something was written on the walls ‘Kitsunegari’ which means ‘Fox haunt’. Mulder believes that Pusher might go after the man’s wife and she indeed has an appointment with Pusher but they sve her by being on time and a cap caught Pusher but then realises it’s another cop and Pusher made him believe it was him.

    When Mulder catches the guy but listens, he is let loose but not killed and Mulder doesn’t understand it and thinks that maybe Pusher doesn’t want revenge after all but instead it’s someone else. he believes it’s the wife of the dead man. When Mulder goes to talk to a nurse she gets a phone call and she electrocutes herself and dies, making Mulder’s last lead dead.

    But Mulder turned out to be right, the woman escapes and goes after Mulder. when he arrives to a place he finds Scully ready to kill herself and she shoots herself but then the woman arrives with a gun and she says that she is Scully and then she shoots the woman who was behind Mulder after all.

    It was too bad that Pusher died, he turned out to be a great character and his death scene was very well done and emotional. His twin sister told him he was happy and his body to give up.

    The end was fantastic and so was most of the episode, I liked the second pusher. She turned out to be Pusher’s twin and the episode was very effective. Skinner was also finally back and he has respect for Mulder. a very good episode.

  • Overall, this episode was a disappointing sequel to one of the most popular episodes of the series. Bringing back Modell for this story was an ill-advised attempt to capitalize on impressions of continuity.moreless

    After an “introduction” phase that eschewed stand-alone episodes for mythology and character development (and even some “non-canon” fare), the writers return to the well for a few episodes while working out where to go next. With the series at its critical peak, especially in terms of the popular culture, there must have been some desire to touch on the themes and concepts that were popular in season past.

    According to Tim Minear, the story editor for the most acclaimed period in the series’ history, the original story concept was something more in tune with “Millennium”: a serial killer who escapes prison, supposedly on the “word of God”, to stop someone else from committing murders. The idea was to have Mulder go against his own instincts and believe in the killer’s conversion, because the evidence would suggest that the “word of God” was in fact real. Scully, on the other hand, would find herself denying something that her faith insists as possible and miraculous.

    That episode could have fit rather easily into the mythology of the series, especially since divine intervention has been on the agents’ side since the very beginning. Instead, Vince Gilligan suggested that the character of Robert Modell, the antagonist from “Pusher”, be cast in the role of the killer. Thus his motivations change dramatically: it’s not the “word of God” that matters, but rather, his knowledge of a sibling who has decided to kill in his name.

    Right away, this introduces complications. Modell was supposed to be dying and permanently out of commission. He was also completely unrepentant. It’s interesting to note that the writers avoid this little problem by giving no explanation whatsoever for Modell’s change of heart. Nor is it at all clear how Modell learned of his sister’s plans to exact revenge. Since the episode begins with Modell’s escape from prison, there’s not even an indication that Linda Bowman contacted Modell with hints of what was to come.

    Character motivation is everything, so when the writers force Modell into the mold that Minear originally cast, it doesn’t fit very well. As the meeting with the marshals suggests, Modell’s mindset was firmly established in “Pusher”. Referring to that gives the audience reason to suspect Modell and thus generate conflict when Mulder believes differently, but the seeds of Modell’s motivations should have been intact. They are not intact, and as a result, the episode never quite comes together the way it should.

    It also seems odd that Mulder would emphasize the dangers of dealing with Modell, only to ignore his own advice several times over the course of the episode. Mulder is used to placing his own life on the line for his theories, but this is a bit ridiculous.

    The plot is so thin that there’s no hidden meaning in Modell’s desire to contact Mulder. He’s trying to warn everyone about his sister, apparently out of a desire to get to her first and convince her to stop the killing. That’s literally the extent of the story. All of the important and ground-breaking character work in “Pusher”, the real reason that episode was so popular, is missing. Instead, the writers place Mulder and Scully at odds, apparently on the hopes that the episode will culminate in a compelling confrontation.

    There are some interesting images along the way. “Death by house paint” is a particularly memorable image, and one must admit that “kitsunegari” is inspired, never mind Scully shooting herself in the head. Bowman’s slow and methodical use of the “push” to induce Modell’s death is a great use of the ability.

    But then there’s the list of things that aren’t so impressive. Bowman’s hint-laden conversation with Mulder is somewhat silly, since Mulder is forced to pin his suspicions on those hints and it only serves the purpose of getting him off the case. Even after Mulder’s theory becomes more tenable, the writers make sure that Mulder and Scully are at each other’s throats.

    The worst flaw of the episode is the final confrontation. Mulder is lead to the address where Bowman is apparently waiting for him. Bowman has apparently staged this little event to ensure that Mulder kills Scully, under the belief that Scully is Bowman and that Scully has already been “pushed” into killing herself. There’s just one problem with that. Why would Scully have gone to the building where Bowman is waiting for Mulder? Scully doesn’t believe Mulder at all, and there’s nothing to indicate that Mulder shared the address that he found on the back of the “Nurse” badge.

    More importantly, this is the easy way out. Instead of having Mulder and Scully threaten each other against their will, like in “Pusher”, it comes across as a random act of revenge. Nothing that happened up to that point in the episode was building to that confrontation. It’s just a bit too conveniently staged and there’s not enough explanation surrounding the whole event. In the end, Bowman’s existence doesn’t have the same impact as Modell’s.

    The final scene is meant to bring the events into some kind of focus, as if Mulder’s near-killing of Scully was somehow his responsibility. Granted, he went hunting after Bowman on his own, and that led to the confrontation, but that was largely Skinner’s fault for isolating Mulder in the first place. It would have been more logical, however, for Mulder to wait for Bowman to come for him. If he really believed that Bowman wanted revenge, then he would have realized that Bowman only killed when it served that purpose. Mulder could have waited for Bowman to make a move out of impatience, and it would have been over.

    What this episode lacks is a sense of depth. The story is relatively thin, and the events just happen as one would expect. Sure, the writers make Modell out to be the villain, but once Mulder draws his conclusion, it’s rather obvious that Bowman will be the true enemy. The character work of “Pusher” is completely absent, and that makes all the difference. Add to that a few plot conveniences, and this is an episode that doesn’t quite match the potential of either writer.

    Ironically, Tim Minear would move on and begin working with Joss Whedon, who would use a very different storytelling method with “Buffy”, “Angel”, and “Firefly”. Minear would deliver some of the best episodes of his career while working on those series, and his post-“Mutant Enemy” work has been equally impressive. One can only assume that he learned what not to do when working with Chris Carter and 1013.

Scott Oughterson

Scott Oughterson

Older Orderly

Guest Star

Ty Olsson

Ty Olsson

Younger Orderly

Guest Star

Kurt Evans

Kurt Evans

Sports Store Employee

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Mulder calls Linda Bowman's office and gets the name of her client and the address of the appointment without even having to give his name or a reason why he wants the information!

    • How was Modell tried and convicted in 1996 if he only woke up six months ago? 6 months before this episode would be at least mid 1997.

      You can be tried in absentia if circumstances require it. In this case, they had no way of knowing when he'd wake up. So that's probably what happened.

    • The time stamp when Modell enters the sports store reads 9:13AM and yet when Mulder and Scully get to Bowman's apartment the clock reads 9:10AM. Also, Mrs. Bowman's secretary says that she is headed to her 12:15PM appointment; at ten past nine in the morning? She must have had a long distance to travel since she was late for it anyway and they all arrived before her.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Mulder: (on the phone with Modell) Yeah.
      Modell: Two words. It's alive. (laughs)
      Mulder: I don't feel like playing your game right now Modell.
      Modell: Touchy. Look Mulder there's something I need you to hear.
      Mulder: Tell it to me in person Modell.
      Modell: No, seriously. Listen to me.
      Mulder: No. You listen to me. Either you come back here on your own or I drag your sorry ass back on the bumper of my car.

    • Scully: That's one hell of a plan, Mulder. A serial killer makes us believe that he's guilty in turn diverting the suspicion away from the real estate lady? Well, he had me going.

    • (Mulder is briefing assembled Marshalls on dealing with Robert Modell)
      Mulder: Okay, look. This is all you need to know. Do not trust this man. Do not talk to him. Do not engage him in conversation. Even if he is unarmed, approach him with extraordinary caution and then only with adequate backup.
      US Marshall: So what's adequate backup?
      Mulder: Adequate backup? Every cop you can lay your hands on.

    • Young Orderly: So what's this guy's story?
      Old Orderly: Cop killer. Regular people killer. General all around waste of skin.
      Young Orderly: So, what are you scared of? Guy's a freaking vegetable. I mean, what's he going to do, run over you with his big plastic wheel?

    • Skinner: I just want to say you did a good job.
      Mulder: How's that?
      Skinner: Nobody could have figured this out but you. You knew it was Linda Bowman and not Modell. You were way ahead of me.
      Mulder: I almost killed my partner.
      Skinner: Mulder, despite that, you prevailed. You won her game.
      Mulder: Then how come I feel like I lost?

    • Detective: I think its supposed to be kitsunegari... Fox Hunt.
      Scully: Fox Mulder.
      Mulder: Well, that's a little on the nose, don't you think?

  • NOTES (1)

    • As mentioned in the episode, 'Kitsune-gari' is Japanese for "Fox hunt" (with "Kitsune" meaning "fox", and "Gari" meaning "hunting").