Bad Blood | The K Files | The X Files Podcast | Case File 107
Special guest Chrissy Dodson returns to The K-Files to investigate more of their first experiences with The X-Files beginning with “Bad Blood”.
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“Bad Blood” is the twelfth episode of the fifth season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files. Written by Vince Gilligan, directed by Cliff Bole, and featuring guest appearances from Luke Wilson and Patrick Renna, it aired in the United States on February 22, 1998 on the Fox network. The episode is a “Monster-of-the-Week” story, unconnected to the series’ wider mythology. The episode received a Nielsen rating of 12.0, being watched by 19.25 million viewers. In addition, “Bad Blood” received largely positive reviews, with many critics praising the episode’s humor.
The show centers on FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files. Mulder is a believer in the paranormal, while the skeptical Scully has been assigned to debunk his work. In this episode, Mulder and Scully must report to their supervisor, Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) after Mulder kills a young man he believes to be a vampire. After each recollecting their takes on the event, they realize that they have very different memories of the investigation.
“Bad Blood” was inspired by an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show wherein the main characters tell different versions of a fight they have had. According to critical analysis of the episode, “Bad Blood” explores the dynamics of the relationship between Mulder and Scully. In addition, some scholars argue that by Scully telling the tale from a perspective opposed to Mulder’s, the episode subverts the male gaze (a feminist concept arguing that films tend to cater to male viewers and perspectives). The episode’s makeup and special effect coordinators used various techniques to create many of the effects seen in the episode, such as the vampire teeth, the glowing eyes, and the bite marks.
One night, FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) kills a young man, who Mulder believes is a vampire but has pointed dentures instead of actual fangs. Afterwards, he and his FBI partner, Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) must report to their supervisor, Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi). Before they do so, they attempt to get their stories straight.
Scully tells her version of the story via a flashback to the previous day. She arrives at work and Mulder tells her about a murder in Texas, which he believes to be the work of vampires. In her version, Mulder is exuberant, insensitive, and irritating, while she is calm and mindful of her thoughts. The agents travel to the small town of Chaney, Texas where they meet Sheriff Hartwell (Luke Wilson), whom Scully finds highly charming. Mulder and Hartwell leave to investigate further while Scully autopsies the body. She discovers that the victim, whose last meal had been pizza, was incapacitated with chloral hydrate. She returns to the motel room and orders a pizza, but Mulder soon appears and sends her back to autopsy another body. She leaves him just as her food is delivered. When she finds that the second victim had also ingested chloral hydrate in a pizza, she realizes Mulder is in danger and returns to the motel room. She finds him about to be attacked by the pizza delivery boy, Ronnie Strickland (Patrick Renna). She shoots at Ronnie, who runs off into the woods. When she catches up to him, Mulder has gotten there first and hammered a stake into Ronnie’s heart.
Mulder tells Scully his version. In his recollection, he is sensitive and polite to Scully, while she is dismissive and irritable, and clearly enamored with Sheriff Hartwell (who, in Mulder’s version, is far less refined and has obvious buck teeth). While Scully is performing the autopsy, Mulder and Hartwell get a call to go to the local RV park, where there is “a situation”. They find another dead body, apparently a victim of the same attacker. Mulder returns to the motel room; after Scully has left, he eats her pizza and realizes that he has been drugged. Ronnie enters, with glowing green eyes, and prepares to attack Mulder, but Mulder manages to postpone his demise by scattering sunflower seeds all over the floor, which Ronnie compulsively starts to pick up. Scully enters and shoots Ronnie, but the bullets have no effect, and Ronnie runs out with Scully in pursuit. Mulder recovers from being drugged and chases after Ronnie.
Back in the office, Scully says that no one will believe his story given their diverging statements and the fact that Ronnie was apparently a human. Meanwhile, a Texas coroner prepares to perform an autopsy on Ronnie’s body. When he removes the stake, Ronnie wakes up and escapes. Skinner sends Mulder and Scully back to Texas to investigate. Scully stakes out the cemetery with Sheriff Hartwell, while Mulder goes to the RV park. As they wait, Sheriff Hartwell gives Scully a hot drink, apologizes to her on behalf of Ronnie, and says that he makes them all look bad. He makes it clear that he too is a vampire and Scully realizes she has been drugged. Before she loses consciousness, she sees Sheriff Hartwell’s eyes turning green.
At the RV park, Mulder finds Ronnie. As he tries to arrest him, Mulder is surrounded and overwhelmed by a group of people with glowing green eyes. He wakes up the next morning in the RV park, in his car, where he is rejoined by Scully. They are both unharmed and the vampires have disappeared. Back in Washington, they give their unified report to Skinner, who is dumbfounded by what he has heard.
The Truth is Already Here.