George Kearns, a poultry inspector with the Chaco Chicken plant in Arkansas vanishes after trying to get a roll in the hay; Mulder notes the sighting of a foxfire, a burn mark in a field, and a deranged man found in 1961 in the same town. The local authority, Sheriff Arens, helps the agents with the case. Mulder finds that the inspector wanted to shut down the plant for various violations.
Paula Gray, the woman Kearns was chasing, is killed after holding the plant's floor manager at knifepoint after experiencing hallucinations. Gray is the granddaughter of the company's owner, Walter Chaco; Scully finds that she was suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, characterized by spongelike holes in the brain. Gray is also apparently 47 years old, though she doesn't look it.
More people come down with the disease, despite the fact that it's supposed to be very rare. Several sets of bones are found in a river that serves as a runoff from the plant, and Mulder suspects that the townspeople are using cannibalism to prolong life. Scully is kidnapped (again?!?) and brought to a cannibalistic ritual. Chaco berates the group for turning on their own with a separate murder, and ends up getting killed. Mulder comes to the rescue, and Arens is found to be the grand executor. Chaco Chicken is shut down, and Scully finds that Chaco was shot down during World War II and spent some time with a cannabalistic tribe. He was 93 years old, though he certainly didn't look it.
Timothy Webber, who I overlooked from his appearance in "Tooms," played Jerome in Men in Trees and Harris Miller in North of 60. Gabrielle Miller, here playing Paula Gray, recently had a long run on the show Corner Gas.
Episode Body Count
George Kearns: axed in a ritual ceremony.
Paula Gray: shot and killed by Sheriff Arens after holding the Chaco Chicken floor manager hostage.
At least eight people: Scully isolates at least nine victims from the bones found in the river, including Kearns.
78 more people: Scully says 87 people have disappeared from within a 200-mile radius of the town in the past 50 years, and are presumed dead. I'm guessing Kearns and the others found are included in that tally.
Doris Kearns: killed after trying to let Mulder and Scully know about the fishy business of the town.
Walter Chaco: beheaded by the cannibals.
Sheriff Arens: shot and killed by Mulder as he tries to execute Scully.
And just like that, again thanks to Mulder's historical research, there's another Deadliest of Season and of Show. I'm very tempted to count the chickens seen in the plant, but then I realized that I probably should have been counting the ribs back in "Red Museum." So, belatedly...
"Food doesn't count!"
Cumulative Body Count (48/202 episodes, 0/2 movies)
Grand Total: 555