The X-Files (1997) – Leonard Betts, and Never Again

Both episodes this week are important to Dana Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) arc for the season, and the series. First up is Leonard Betts, written by John Shiban, Frant Spotnitz, and Vince Gilligan, which first aired on 26 January, 1997.

Leonard Betts (Paul McCrane) is a superior EMT, he has a unique gift of diagnosing patients and is doing his job brilliantly when a vehicle accident involving his ambulance decapitates him. When the body goes missing from the morgue and the video footage is iffy at best, Mulder (David Duchovny) is intrigued and presents an idea that not only makes Scully scoff, but roll her eyes.

Betts has a unique ability to regenerate himself, and has made an evolutionary leap that includes cancer cells as part of his genetic makeup, its also something he needs to ingest to keep himself alive.

So the end of the episode has Scully confronting Betts instead of Mulder, and as he closes on her he tells her she has something he needs, which suggests, something that is further cemented into a belief, that Scully has a form of cancer caused by the removal of her implant.

I dig this episode, and it must bother Betts, he’s spent so much time helping others, and finding an alternate way to get the tumours he needs to ingest to stay alive, and to be pushed to murder just to protect himself must have been trying for the character, which isn’t as focused on as much as it could have been, though you do hear the regret in his voice when he confronts his victims.

Never Again was written by Glen Morgan and James Wong and introduces some friction into the Mulder/Scully relationship as she begins to wonder what her purpose is, and how Mulder’s obsession has become her life. And why doesn’t she have her own desk?

First airing on 2 February, 1997, Mulder is sent on a forced vacation, and goes to Graceland, asking Scully to run some background checks on a couple of contacts he’s been meeting (and lets Scully show her pop culture knowledge with a Rocky and Bullwinkle reference). Scully is less than happy with the idea of doing the assignment, and through the course of the episode meets Edward Jerse (Rodney Rowland), a recent divorcee, who in an act of rebellion has gotten his first tattoo.

Unfortunately, something in the tattoo, perhaps the special ink the artist has gathered, causes it to have its own voice (supplied by Jodie Foster) who pushes Ed to violence, and makes him increasingly unstable.

Scully is slightly attracted to him, and lets herself have a night of release, and poor decisions. She gets her own tattoo, but happily doesn’t succumb to the same problems that Ed seems to be having.

Betty, the tattoo, pushes Ed further and further putting Scully in danger (she has a real problem finding the right guy, or even the right one night stand) and the episode ends on a troubling moment as Scully and Mulder are sitting alone in the office, after she’s told him not everything is about him.

I remember how that hit me when the episode first aired, and I was worried about the future of their friendship/relationship. So I came back the next week for more, and I will do the same thing, because the truth is out there… in The X-Files!

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