March 2, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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The X-Files “Teliko”

Something is draining the skin pigmentation out of Black men.

Actor Carl Lumbly pops up in this one as one of those characters that frequently appear on The X-Files:  that well-meaning soul who doesn’t realize until it is too late that they are defending a monster of some kind.  He gets to survive, but not every character that fits that description does.

The Case:  African Folklore Creature!

The Rest:  So, the case here revolves around a Teliko, a being from African folklore.  Or it’s supposed to be.  I can’t seem to find anything to say whether or not the series made this up or not.  Then again, I didn’t look very hard, and my natural aversion into stepping into controversy over cultures I wasn’t raised in or have very little knowledge of means I probably won’t go looking much further.

That said, this episode did have some rather impressive make-up effects because the Teliko, in the form of aspiring immigrant Samuel Aboah, drains the pigmentation out of first an African man on the flight with him to America and then later four African American men missing in the Philadelphia area.  And, yeah, the make-up of the men drained of their melanin was rather good.  Essentially, Aboah does something that leaves his victims looking like albinos.  If he doesn’t get what he needs from time to time, Aboah himself turns into an albino.  As far as other supernatural powers go, he can apparently mesmerize people with some kind of mind whammy, and he can apparently fit into any space.

Oh, and yes, Mulder does make a Michael Jackson comment in lines that have not aged well.

As it is, what made this episode stand out is how Scully and Mulder both tackle the case.  Scully is actually the one pulled in first, asked to look into what Philadelphia investigators, and Scully herself, assume is just some kind of weird disease.  Mulder essentially invites himself along and looks into things himself.  He eventually gets new contact Marita to set him up with an African diplomat to learn the folklore behind the Teliko, and by then, Scully and Mulder have both come to suspect Aboah, though Scully still thinks it’s a disease while Mulder thinks it’s the guy.  Lumbly’s social worker points out that treating immigrants like this could be a problem, and he’s not wrong, but then again, he nearly gets killed himself.

Oh, and Scully’s tests, before Aboah escapes, reveals the guy has no pituitary gland.

That leads to the agents chasing the guy though a demolition site, Mulder almost becoming the next victim, but Scully ends up shooting the guy, saying his condition is deteriorating and he may not live to stand trial.  She’s sure there’s a scientific explanation for what he did.

Eh, maybe.

Up next, another Vince Gilligan script.