Monday, September 21, 2009

Season 5, Episode 18: The Pine Bluff Variant


Jacob Steven Haley, a leader in a domestic terrorist group, escapes an FBI sting after a man meeting with him gets exposed to a flesh-eating toxin. Scully suspects that Mulder may have helped Haley get away. The FBI is also seeking out August Bremer, the group's top commander. Bremer releases toxin at an Ohio movie theater, and Scully confirms that Mulder is in contact with Haley. She tries to pursue, but then gets stopped by other FBI agents, who let her know that Mulder is in deep cover, having been recruited by the group thanks to his public accusations about government conspiracy.

Haley suspects Mulder of setting him up in the park sting, and has a goon break one his fingers; he also lets him live, however, believing that Mulder is telling the truth about being on their side. Investigating the movie theater deaths, Scully figures that the toxin is not airborne, and may have been transmitted through the ticket stubs. Mulder finds that the group is looking to hit a bank and provides Federal Reserve schedules to them. Analysis of the toxin reveals that it's highly virulent bacteria, and its origin is a mystery.

Scully suggests to Skinner that the toxin may be part of a secret continuation of a U.S. bioweapons program, and that someone might be sending Mulder on a suicide mission. The group forces Mulder to join them in an armed robbery of a bank in Pennsylvania. When Bremer burns the money they steal, Mulder realizes that the goal of the heist was to spray the unstolen money with the toxin.

Scully has deduced this, and warns Skinner. Unfortunately, they apparently don't know where Mulder is due to a high number of bank robberies on the East Coast. Bremer, who had previously managed to bug the FBI and find that Mulder is a double agent, kicks Haley out of the group and has the goon prepare to execute Mulder. Instead, Bremer reveals that he's also a double agent by killing the goon and letting Mulder go. Scully has already locked down the bank, having recognized Mulder on a surveillance thanks to his broken finger. Mulder and Scully think the toxin may have come from government labs, but by the end of the episode everything has been sanitized.

Daniel von Bargen, who plays Jacob Steven Haley, played the not-quite-as-evil Commandant Edwin Spangler on Malcolm in the Middle, plus Chief Grady in Super Troopers and Sheriff Cooley in O Brother Where Art Thou? Sam Anderson, playing Leamus, currently plays Bernard Nadler on Lost and played Dr. Jack Kayson in ER.

Episode Body Count

Cadre: an arms dealer who dies after exposure to the flesh-eating toxin.

14 theater-goers and employees: perish at an airing of Die Hard With a Vengeance after toxin exposure.

Bank teller: shot and subsequently executed during the bank robbery.

Goatee Man: shot and killed by Bremer.

Jacob Steven Haley: dies after exposure to the toxin.

Humans: 18
Creatures: 0
Aliens: 0

Cumulative Body Count (115/202 episodes, 0/2 movies)

Humans: 1,407
Creatures: 88
Aliens: 60

Grand Total: 1,555

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