June 12, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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The X-Files “Teso Dos Bichos”

The agents investigate a cursed artifact, as one does.

So, this is the sort of episode where I spend a lot of time wondering if it’s racist by 2023 standards but not by 1996 standards.

It’s also apparently one of the most hated episodes for the cast and crew.

The Case:  Cursed Artifact!

The Rest:  Down in Ecuador, or British Columbia subbing for Ecuador, there’s an archaeological dig trying to get cultural artifacts to a museum before an oil pipeline goes through.  Two scientists find a motherlode of an artifact:  the burial urn of an ancient female shaman.  One of the men, Dr. Roosevelt, wants to take it back to the American museum.  The other, Dr. Bilac, listens to the locals and insists it not happen and they need to bury the urn again.  Roosevelt doesn’t listen, and that night, as Bilac is drinking weird stuff with the locals, Roosevelt is attacked and killed by a jaguar.

How did the urn and the remains then end up in Boston?  No one left in the expedition was willing to send it there.

Eh, it doesn’t matter.  The FBI doesn’t have jurisdiction in Ecuador or British Columbia masquerading as Ecuador.  So, Mulder and Scully get called in when another researcher disappears from the museum, leaving behind only some blood.  Who could be behind it?  Dr. Lewton the curator?  Mona Wustmer, a grad student who sympathizes with Bilac’s position but also thinks he’s gone too far when she finds him drinking hallucinogens?  Bilac, who doesn’t come to work and is writing letters on behalf of the local Ecuadorian Indians to get their artifact back?  Sugar, Mona’s dog?

Well, all those characters who aren’t Mulder and Scully will be dead by the time the episode is over.  Even Sugar.  What sort of monster kills a dog named Sugar?  Boo!

Actually, Sugar dies accidentally when she ate a cat that ate a rat that ate some rat poison, and credit to the episode that it actually looks like it might be rats killing everyone.  Rat bodies are found everywhere, and a bunch of rats exploding out of a bunch of toilets makes for a nice thing to spook Mona and the audience.

I mean, Mulder talks about transmigration of the soul, reminding me that he believes everything that isn’t related to Catholic or Christian ideology, and it sure does sound like the dead shaman took over a bunch of rats since the city of Boston is generally short on jaguars.  But no, it wasn’t that.  The spirit possessed…feral cats.  Lots and lots of feral cats.  And what were probably some cat puppets for close-ups when they attack the agents, with Scully and Mulder only barely getting away.

I think I need to give my cat some kitty treats for some reason right now.

Regardless, who will the curse claim next when even Bilac, the guy doing everything he could to get that urn returned, turns up dead?  Actually, nothing.  The letters Bilac and the Indians wrote to the State Department worked.  Looks like that spirit didn’t need to curse anyone.  It just needed some patience.

Well, was that racist?  I don’t know.

Up next, looks like I won’t know with the next one either.