Given how infrequently this series went back to previous Monsters-of-the-Week (I think this might be the only time they went back to something other than the conspiracy theory stuff), I might have said something here about how Tooms comes back here for the final time from the same writers, but then this is also the first episode to feature Mitch Pileggi’s Walter Skinner character.
Also, the Cigarette Smoking Man talks. I’m not sure he spoke before, but he had some lines here.
The Case: Eugene Victor Motherfuckin’ Tooms! Again!
The Rest: The framing sequence, if you can call it that, is a series of meetings in Skinner’s office as he talks first to Scully, then to Scully and Milder, and then finally just to the Smoking Man who has been sitting in on each and every one of these conversations so far. Skinner seems upset that the pair are using unorthodox and unapproved methods in their investigations, and Scully’s rejoinder here is that they have a much higher closing rate than the FBI as a whole and…
Wait? They close most of their cases? Have they actually arrested anyone other than Eugene Victor Tooms? Are there cases we just aren’t seeing that happen between episodes? What counts as a case closed? Most episodes seem to end with the agents leaving and lots of questions still unanswered. Then again, maybe Scully’s own reports somehow work for the FBI brass.
Now, I’m watching a show I used to watch many years after the fact, and I do remember where a lot of this stuff is vaguely going. I do remember that Skinner was initially more of an antagonistic figure before he became a tight ally to Mulder and Scully and even eventually leading to Pileggi’s getting his name and face in the opening credits. In fact, it’s hard to tell here if he or the Smoking Man is the higher-ranking figure here.
Oh, and then there’s the fact the Smoking Man is just hanging out in Skinner’s office and neither Mulder nor Scully seem to question his presence there. This is the sort of thing I’m actually interested in seeing as the series evolves, where Skinner becomes a friend and the Smoking Man becomes the face of evil.
But that’s actually just the background stuff here. What’s going on elsewhere? Like, why is Eugene Tooms getting out of that mental asylum?
Apparently, there’s not enough evidence to hold him, and he’s really good at answering questions for doctors. His psychologist is really pulling for him, so he won’t have to squeeze out of his cell’s food slot. Mulder goes to the hearing, lays out the entire case from the previous episode for the judge and anyone watching at home who missed that other episode, and of course it sounds ridiculous to anyone in-universe and Tooms gets out. To Mulder’s credit, he’s not that surprised. He then figures he just needs to find evidence connecting Tooms to his previous killing sprees. He actually does too thanks to 90s era computer magic.
The thing is, Tooms is actually not an idiot. He even frames Mulder at one point for attacking Tooms. The evidence is skimpy and easily disproven, but then Tooms takes his final victim (his helpful psychiatrist so that’s gratitude for ya), but instead of having Tooms arrested, well, Mulder and Scully chase him down and he ends up getting shredded by the escalator he was hiding under.
But hey, the Smoking Man thinks Scully’s report is true!
Up next, a murderous child?