The X-Files (2002) – Hellbound, and Provenance

Reyes (Annabeth Gish) brings an unusual case to Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) in Hellbound. She also has a strange connection to it that she can’t quite figure out.

Written by David Amann and first airing on 27 January, 2002, the agents find themselves a series of deaths involving ex-cons who were skinned alive. While Reyes and Doggett investigate, and track down leads, Scully delves into bureau files and reports of skinning, and comes to an unexpected conclusion…

This has all happened before.

Reyes begins to believe that those ex-cons being skinned and murdered are paying for some past guilt, from a previous life. And Scully finds some anecdotal evidence that may support that supposition, but what is Reyes connection to it all?

It’s a dark little thriller of an episode, well-executed, that features some nice makeup and effects work on the bodies, and features Patrick Swayze’s brother, Don as one of the ex-cons.

It also feels a little familiar, almost in line with The Field Where I Died, the season four episode of the series. So the idea definitely isn’t new to Scully, whether she chooses to completely believe or not, Doggett makes his viewpoint clear, and Reyes is left to worry over what her original role in the event that caused this cycle to occur was.

And as the episode ends, we are reminded that cycles always begin anew…

But how many times will be enough for vengeance? And at what point do souls grow, on their journey, to encompass forgiveness and change?

Provenance was first broadcast on 3 March, 2002, and was penned by series creator Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz, which tells us we’re headed into mythology arc territory with this one… Which also means we’re probably going to get a To Be Continued before episode’s end.

This one ties in not only with the ongoing drama around baby William, but the strange craft that Scully investigated at the end of season six, and took some rubbings from, as well as the strange metallic shards with inscriptions on them.

An undercover FBI agent, Comer (Neal McDonough) is crossing the Canada/U.S. border, and apparently is killed. He’s carrying on him rubbings that match Scully’s but aren’t from the craft that was in Africa. We learn he was undercover in a UFO cult, which apparently has discovered another ship, and are working not only to track down Mulder, but also kill baby William, something that Comer seems to be onboard with when he comes after Scully and William in their home.

Doggett, Reyes and Scully are furious about the fact that they were kept out of the loop on this case, which falls soundly into the jurisdiction, and that Brad (Cary Elwes) and Kersh (James Pickens jr.) seem to be playing things a little close to the vest, which causes Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) to keep secrets from the x-files investigators as well .

The further the trio get pulled into the case, the more dangerous it proves to be, as the cult is excavating the craft, the Bureau is keeping secrets from its own, and people are coming for William! In an effort to protect William, Doggett is struck and rundown by the Overcoat Woman (McNally Sagal), who is working with the cult, and is determined to hunt down and kill the baby.

Scully entrusts William to the Lone Gunmen, so that will free her up to investigate, and keep his location secret, but they are ambushed as they are leaving town, and Byers (Bruce Harwood) is held at gunpoint and we hear William crying, as we get a cut to black and a To Be Continued!!!

Happily, I only need to get to Thursday to find out what happens, and I’m determined to learn, because the truth is out there…

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