The Walk | K Files | The X Files Podcast | Rob Bowman | Case File 411
The K Files has identified an invisible serial killer. In a NEW podcast investigation, Agents Moeller and Lopez pursue the truth in Rob Bowman’s elevated monster of the week ‘The Walk.’
Open the case file here:
At a VA hospital in Fort Evanston, Maryland, Lieutenant Colonel Victor Stans makes a third suicide attempt and when halted, claims that a mysterious figure will not let him die.
Stans attempts another, way worse death via a tub of scalding water, but is rescued by hospital staff and subsequently disfigured (mega X Files shit you can’t unsee, this guy’s face).
When Mulder and Scully question Stans, they learn his wife and children died in a house fire he insists was started by the mysterious soldier who will not allow Stans to die. Captain Janet Draper interrupts the interrogation claiming the agents have no jurisdiction.
She turns them over to her superior, an X Files story archetype: the Bad General. See also Bad Military Leaders (Unrequited, Sleepless).
After meeting with the agents, Callahan glimpses the phantom soldier Stans described. He also finds his answering machine replaying an unintelligible message. Later, while using the base’s swimming pool, Draper is killed by a force visible only by its shadow on the ceiling over the pool (cool).
Callahan tells the agents about the soldier and the voicemail, which was received twice before at his home. When they visit his house, his young son, Trevor, believes he saw someone go inside; Scully herself glimpses someone in the backyard.
Fingerprints are found on the property which belong to the hospital mailman, Quinton “Roach” Freely. As Mulder and Scully take Roach into custody, Trevor is attacked and killed by the invisible force in his sandbox. Under the agent’s questioning, Roach admits to his role in the deaths and states he is only [weirdly] “Rappo’s mailman.”
“Rappo” turns out to be Leonard Trimble (played by intense guest actor Ian Tracey), a Gulf War veteran and quadruple amputee. Scully doesn’t believe Roach, even though he insists that Rappo will kill him next. Scully later finds Roach dead in his cell via another horrible death one cannot unsee: a bedsheet shoved down his throat.
Scully assumes suicide, but Mulder thinks that Rappo is the killer, leaving his body through astral projection via a psychic connection forged through Roach’s letters. He also plays the voicemail backwards; it is actually a warning from the phantom soldier.
Under questioning, a bitter Rappo declares that the Gulf War took his life away. Meanwhile, Callahan finds his wife’s dead body. He goes to the hospital to talk to Stans, who reveals that Rappo — who he doesn’t know — is responsible for the deaths.
When Callahan confronts Rappo, he openly admits his crimes. Rappo tries to goad Callahan into killing him, but Callahan decides to “stand down,” shooting over Rappo’s head. The agents arrive and find Rappo in a trance so naturally Mulder realizes what is happening and tries to find Callahan.
Rappo’s apparition attacks Callahan with steam from the pipes in the hospital’s basement. Stans enters Rappo’s room, locks the door, and brutally smothers Rappo with a pillow. When Rappo dies, his apparition disappears before it attacks Mulder. Callahan remains unharmed.
Since there is no actual evidence proving that Rappo killed Callahan’s wife and son, the case remains one the agents handful of unsolved. Mulder reports that Rappo’s family tried to have him buried at Arlington National Cemetery; he is instead buried in a civilian cemetery in Pennsylvania.
“The Walk” is the first X-Files script by John Shiban. He found it challenging to write, particularly Mulder and Scully’s first scene where “they have to come together on a case, yet they have to be at odds.”
Shiban was inspired by the film The Men and realizing that the main character, who had been injured in war and lost his legs, wanted to walk more than anything. The more X Files-y element of astral projection seemed to pair with the concept.
Some members of the writing staff were concerned about killing Callahan’s young son, Trevor, but Shiban felt that Rappo wanted to take everything from Callahan, and the worst blow would be to kill his son.
Director Rob Bowman felt that Ian Tracey, who played Rappo, was “an incredibly strong actor” and fit the role. Deryl Hayes, who played an army psychiatrist in this episode, previously appeared as a CIA operative in first season episode Shadows.
Draper’s drowning was achieved by pulling actress Nancy Sorel down with a cable attached to the bottom of the pool. The image of the wave launching over Draper in the pool was accomplished by the teamwork of special effects department members Mat Beck and David Gauthier. One of the crew members was also buried in sand in the scene where Trevor is killed.
The effect in the climax when Rappo’s apparition throws Callahan and Mulder across the room was accomplished with a device called the “Air-Ram” that uses compressed air. The visual effects were almost not completed in time – that’s why the achievement in these episodes is so epic.
The Truth is Already Here.
Listen to the audio podcast below: