The X-Files (2002) – Underneath, and Improbable

Doggett (Robert Patrick) gets pulled back into a case he worked back when he was a New York cop, when the man they arrested as a serial killer is exonerated and released from prison – only to have the murders start up again.

Underneath was written by John Shiban and first aired on 31 March, 2002.

When Fassl (W. Earl Brown) is released from prison for a series of murders he didn’t commit, Doggett is sure there is something amiss, as he was one of the arresting officers. As he, Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Reyes (Annabeth Gish) dig into the case, they find suggestions of planted evidence, confusing DNA which is close to Fassl’s but not quite his, and a very religious person in Fassl – perhaps so religious that he’s repressed his sinful side so much that it’s created an alternate personality?

It’s a riff on the classic Jekyll & Hyde story, working as a police procedural, and while Scully and Reyes seem more able to accept what is happening, Doggett doesn’t know how this possibility aligns with his views on police work, investigation, collection of evidence and prosecution. That’s odd, as he’s been on the X-Files for a year now, and he knows not everything is going to be solvable by regular investigation.

Still, it’s a well executed and creepy story, and the climax of the episode and the discoveries made are truly horrific. It’s solid serial killer story with lots or poring through evidence and just a hint of possible supernatural flavor.

Improbable featured Burt Reynolds as a guest star (as well as John Kapelos, Ellen Greene, and Ray McKinnon)! And while it’s not Darin Morgan funny and out there, it is goofy fun, has a sense of heightened reality to it, and Burt is obviously having a great time!

The truth is out there from the opening credits is dropped in favor of Dio Ti Ama (God Loves You) in this fun episode that sees Reyes investigating and using numerology to track down a serial killer. Written and directed by series creator Chris Carter, Improbable first aired on 7 April, 2002.

Mad Wayne (McKinnon) seems to be driven by numbers, and chance, and Reyes finds a connection by using numerology. When a numerologist (Greene) she consults ends up dead, the investigation deepens, as the trio work to stop the killer before he strikes again.

Through it all Mr. Burt (Reynolds) keeps popping up, looking like he’s having the time of his life, and providing some assistance to both parties – perhaps he’s the living incarnation of the numbers, and its all about how people use him.

Subtle imagery abounds throughout the episode, with numbers and the way things are laid out being particularly important. It’s a little light hearted respite before we dive into the last six episode of the season, which at the time, were to be the last six episodes of the series… lots of threads to potentially tie up.

And I will be digging into all of them, because as always, the truth is out there… but man do I really want to watch Smokey and the Bandit now.

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