The X-Files (1995) – Irresistible, and Die Hand Die Verletzt

Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Mulder (David Duchovny) find themselves investigating a death fetishist who elevates his obsession to kidnapping and murder with the introduction of Donnie Pfaster (Nick Chinlund) in Irresistible.

Written by series creator, Chris Carter, the show demonstrates how the human monster can be the most terrifying, though in a moment of fear, Scully, who suffers an abduction in this episode (poor Scully, still recovering from the Duane Barry incident) she sees a demon – though that may be her fear and own religious beliefs projecting.

First airing on 13 January, 1995, the story stepped away from the paranormal scares of the show,to explore a human villain who is just as terrifying.

I’m a little bothered by Mulder’s behaviour at the beginning of the episode, he tells Scully that he prepared himself before they came to investigate the case, but he didn’t warn her about what they would see at all.

Of course, when she gets kidnapped by Pfaster he can blame himself a little more for getting her into trouble. Anderson plays Scully’s fear with a horrifying authenticity, and when she breaks down at the end of the episode, you feel it.

It’s a dark and troubling episode, smartly written and produced as the best of the series is, and lets us glimpse the terrors that stalk the streets, and they aren’t aliens, ghosts, or creatures. They are us, and the dark things we hold in our souls.

A great episode, that shows that things don’t have to be supernatural to be scary, and that the series can do a straight forward procedural and still scare you.

Die Hand Die Verletzt (‘the hand that wounds’) takes us to New Hampshire in an episode written by Glen Morgan and James Wong (there last episode for the series for a few years – which allows for a gag at the end of the episode). Debuting on 27 January, 1995, the episode takes our stalwart pair of FBI agents to a town populated by devil worshippers in an attempt to solve a murder, that the sheriff believes may be the work of a cult.

Everything seems to be centred around the school board, and a new teacher, Phyllis Paddock (Susan Blommaert), who may be more than she appears.

Steeping the events in a small town, and right at its heart, the school, makes things a little more scary, and Padock is a bit of a frightening character because she seems so benign, but the viewer gets to see a scarier side to her. One that Mulder and Scully don’t realise until they can do nothing about it.

And there are so many familiar high school moments in this episode all given that X-files twist. Spooky.

There are more investigations to come this week, because, as we know, the truth is out there…

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