Never Again | The K Files | The X Files Podcast | Case File 334
The K Files investigates fourth season Scully character study and tattoo tutorial, Never Again.
Filed under S for Scully is the X File (again, see also Duane Barry, Patient X, etc), and U for Scully goes to the Underground (cross reference with Milagro, Chinga), this episode is also notable for featuring the voice of Dame Jodie Foster and some pretty outre music choices from the venerable Mr. Snow. Written by Morgan and Wong, it’s a treasured glimpse into the characters’ fears and feelings right before the dramatic twist of Scully’s cancer sweeps the rest of the season away.
On a rare solo investigation, Scully meets Ed Jerse, a man suffering hallucinations from ergot rendered tattoo ink. The tattoo, Betty, doesn’t want to share Ed and hates women – she’s the voice of Ed’s thwarted, bitter love, dying in his heart after a bad divorce and ready to take back some power, by force.
We get to see new colors from Gillian Anderson in her stellar (as always) performance and even Duchovny in Mulder’s more sensitive conversations, expresses lots of pathos in those eyes and is a comic relief at times while on vacation in Graceland. It’s a top notch fourth season character piece – be sure to open the file below for the full investigation.
Open the case file here:
In Philadelphia, Ed Jerse loses a divorce settlement to his ex-wife, who has sole custody of his children. After getting drunk at a bar, Ed wanders into a tattoo parlor and impulsively receives a tattoo depicting a Sailor Jerry-like pin-up girl with the words “Never Again” under her image. At work the next day, Ed hears a woman calling him a “loser”; he has a violent confrontation with a female co-worker—who denies saying anything—and is subsequently subdued.
In Washington, Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully conduct a discreet meeting with a Russian informant, Vsevlod Pudovkin, who claims to have seen a UFO at a secret research center. Upon returning to FBI headquarters, Mulder heads out on vacation to visit Graceland, leaving Scully to follow up on the Pudovkin case for him. Scully is uninterested in the case and expresses serious doubts about Pudovkin’s credibility, leading to an argument with an inconsiderate Mulder. Scully becomes upset over the direction her life and career are going.
Meanwhile, Ed is fired via telephone. He hears the same voice as before and yells at the woman living below him, thinking it was her. Upon hearing the voice after a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses stop by, Ed goes downstairs and murders his neighbor, throwing her body in the furnace. When her voice talks to him again, Jerse realizes it is coming from his new tattoo. Scully heads to Philadelphia and watches Pudovkin enter a tattoo parlor. Inside, she sees Ed arguing with the owner, wanting the tattoo removed. Ed strikes up a conversation with Scully and invites her out to dinner, which she initially declines.
That night, Scully talks to Mulder over the phone and informs him that Pudovkin is a con man and part of the Russian mafia. Frustrated by the conversation, Scully calls Jerse and tells him that she changed her mind. At a nearby lounge, Scully is concerned about Ed’s arm, where he has burned the tattoo with a cigarette butt. Ed convinces Scully to get a tattoo, and she has one of an Ouroboros applied to her back. Scully stays at Ed’s apartment. The tattoo is angry at him, saying she will be dead if he kisses her, which he does anyway.
The next morning, two detectives arrive at the apartment after Ed goes out, telling Scully that Ed’s neighbor is missing and blood was found in her apartment with an unusual chemical substance in it. Scully researches the material on Ed’s laptop and tries to call Mulder, but hangs up before Mulder has a chance to answer. When Ed arrives, Scully tells him that they found blood in his neighbor’s apartment and that it was likely his. She thinks that the chemical came from the tattoo ink and wants them both to head to the hospital to be tested. Ed tells Scully about the voice he has been hearing from his tattoo.
As Scully heads to the other room to get ready, her FBI badge falls out of her coat pocket. Scully discreetly picks it back up without Ed noticing. The tattoo begins to talk again, convincing Ed to redial Scully’s last call to see who she was speaking to. An FBI operator answers and, upon learning that Scully is an FBI agent, the tattoo forces Ed to attack her. Scully tries to escape but is overpowered by Ed, who binds her in a bedsheet and carries her down to the basement to throw her in the furnace. At the last moment, Ed is able to overpower the impulses of the tattoo and instead thrusts his own arm into the furnace.
Scully returns to Washington and is congratulated by Mulder for being the first person to make a second X-File appearance. Ed was brought to a burn center in Philadelphia where the ergot chemicals were found in his blood; it was also in Scully’s blood, but not enough to cause hallucinations. Mulder wonders if this all happened because of their earlier argument, to which Scully replies that not everything is about him.
The Truth is Already Here.
Listen to the audio podcast here: