TV – The X-Files Season 10, Episode 4

Steve Taylor-Bryant goes Home Again as he continues his watching of the new and rebooted The X-Files…

“What? I wasn't gonna shoot the kid. I don't do stairs anymore.”

The lovely and caring Department of Housing and Urban Development are hosing down homeless people before getting them ready to be rehoused at a shut down hospital on the other side of town. Cutler (Alessandro Juliani), the man in charge, goes into his office and hears he is not alone. Whilst he is making a call to the police for help with a possible intruder, a strange looking man bursts in and rips Cutler to pieces, taking his arms with him as he climbs in the back of a rubbish truck. Mulder and Scully arrive at the behest of Philadelphia Police to the crime scene to find no weapon was used and the bloody bare footprints from the man are all smooth, no ridges. Scully’s brother Bill calls to tell Scully that her mother has had a heart attack and is in intensive care. Scully goes to be with her mother whilst Mulder keeps investigating. All the security cameras have been knocked out of line but Cutler’s eye line points to a very tall man. Mulder finds an old band aid on his shoe from the scene.

At the hospital Scully’s mother, Margaret (Sheila Larkin) had been asking about Scully’s estranged brother Charlie, not the rest of the family, which upsets Scully but she talks to her mother hoping her voice will get through the coma she is in. Mulder sees an argument between Cutler’s deputy, Landry (Daryl Shuttleworth) and a representative of the school board who will be affected by the homeless being moved to her area, Nancy (Peggy Jo Jacobs) about who is right. Both are verbally put down by Mulder who notices some artwork on a billboard near the crime scene. A homeless man points to it and says “The Band Aid Knows”. They turn around and the billboard is gone. Scully imagines a young Mulder at her bedside whilst she goes through Margaret’s personal belongings, mainly jewellery. Bill calls again and Scully wants him to travel over from Germany and be with them. Scully explains that their mum would be fine as she wanted to be kept on life support so the doctors would do everything they could. The band aid that Mulder found meanwhile contains no trace of anything at all, which the scientist Mulder is using thinks is strange.

Two criminal arty types have stolen the billboard with the art on it and plan to sell it. While one goes to make a phone call the other disappears. When the man comes back to chat to his friend he finds him suffocated with a bin bag and then the mysterious man turns up behind him and rips him apart. The signature ‘Trash Man’ appears on the billboard art. Scully is questioning the treatment of Margaret when she is told by one of the doctors that Margaret changed her living will and does not want to be kept on life support so they will prepare to disconnect everything. Mulder comes to visit Scully and Margaret while buses arrive to move the homeless but Nancy has an injunction. Scully is upset that her mother changed her will, asked for her estranged brother, and doesn’t know what the medallion is for. Nancy drives up to her huge mansion and is in her kitchen making coffee and recycling rubbish in her mini compacter when the rubbish truck turns up outside and the Band Aid man is standing outside. The lights go out and the man chases Nancy around her dark house before ripping her apart and putting her head in the mini compactor before he leaves again in the back of the truck with all the rubbish.

Mulder is comforting Scully when Charlie finally calls so Scully puts phone to Margaret’s ear. She wakes up almost immediately and mutters about her son being called William too before a cardiac arrest sees her pass away. Scully is very upset and wants to return to work immediately. The scientist has narrowed down the paint sample from the art to one store and Mulder and Scully follow a young graffiti artist into an abandoned building before running away. Torches on and Mulder and Scully see some strange looking moving bodies that look like corpses and hear a man behind a door who wants to be left alone. Mulder kicks down the door and they find a homeless artist, Trash Man (Tim Armstrong) who doesn’t want his clay sculptures to see him. Trash Man explains that people are treated like trash and he was trying to use his art to give them a voice. He says he didn’t do the art at the crime scenes “they”, his creations, did. His creations came to life after a period of meditation, which Mulder states was wrongly translated Tibetan Buddhism and doesn’t work. Trash Man explains that his sculptures have a soul. Most move but are harmless but one, the big one with a band aid on its nose, is evil. He isn’t responsible for what happened, a fact the mourning Scully states he is. There is one person left in the homeless people moving, Landry. Mulder and Scully rush to find him. He is in the hospital that has been converted into new homes. Everyone vacates a hallway leaving Landry on his own. He hears a noise, the lights flick off and he sees maggots on the floor. The killer is behind him and chases him into a locked room then rips him to pieces. Mulder and Scully are on the scene but there is no murderer, only a band aid in the blood. After Margaret’s funeral Mulder and Scully are sitting by the water with her ashes discussing responsibility and their son William. Scully says that one day Mulder will unravel all his mysteries but hers, all about William, won’t ever be solved.

Another episode with a lot to like. Quite gruesome murders carried out by a ‘monster of the week’ with quite the clever origin, it’s like a psychotic Banksy tale. Little bits in the story pleased a lot like Band Aid Knows actually being Band Aid Nose. Simple and effective. Some scenes by director Glen Morgan are shot in a close up and shaky way and add a different element to way those particular scenes are portrayed, one of which is Nancy’s murder all carried out in the visual way but against the soundtrack of Downtown by Petula Clark which makes it an incredibly freaky scene! Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of the mourning daughter was heartbreaking to watch and I’m not sure she has ever been better on screen, let alone The X-Files, and little nods to the show’s past and titles were welcome especially when Mulder and Scully discuss this being the old days and switch their torches on to reveal an X. However, as has happened before this season, part of the narrative became a political statement delivered in a grandstanding way, this time by the artist Trash Man as he discusses how people think they are doing good but discarding other people like the homeless. The way the homeless were treated on the screen, to me at least, had more of an impact on my soul than any shoehorned speech will ever have. One downside of an episode full of pluses though isn’t bad.

Image - IMDb
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