Sunday, November 1, 2009

Season 7, Episode 9: Signs and Wonders


In Tennessee, a man is swarmed and killed by poisonous snakes, but no evidence of the snakes is found by the body. Mulder thinks it's a case of murder, and the agents find that the man and his girlfriend, Gracie, had recently abandoned an extremist snake handling religion. They visit the church's leader, Enoch O'Connor, who says the man was being tested when he died. Though O'Connor seems to be a likely suspect, it turns out he was out of the state at the time of the death.

A snake handling ceremony and more tame Bible study at Gracie's new church happen at the same time, and a parishioner at the latter church is killed after she is also beset by snakes, including one that comes to being out of a staple remover. Gracie doesn't think O'Connor is guilty, and it also turns out that she's his daughter and was kicked out of his home after getting pregnant. The agents search O'Connor's church again, and he is detained after he tries to force Scully to repent by shoving her face up against a snake cage.

Several snakes show up at O'Connor's jail cell, and he is hospitalized after receiving several bites. Scully says Gracie is trying to withhold treatment so that God can decide whether he lives or dies, so she's started to suspect her of something. Mulder finds that the dead man couldn't have been the father of Gracie's child, and the reverend at her new church says that O'Connor was actually the one who impregnated her. O'Connor makes a rapid recovery and takes Gracie to his church, where she appears to give birth to a clutch of snakes.

Mulder's pretty quick to deduce what may have happened, and a member of the church tells him that the Devil has been cast out of Gracie. O'Connor confronts Gracie's new minister at his church and is shot by Mulder after threatening the minister with a knife. Gracie, on her way to the hospital, tells Scully that O'Connor saved her. Mulder realizes that the minister is actually the father of Gracie's child and is apparently trying to destroy O'Connor's church. The minister reveals that he also has the ability to conjure snakes, or the illusion of them. Mulder is bitten a few times, but saved by Scully as a large snake slithers off; the minister reappears in Connecticut, where a snake emerges from his mouth to snack on a mouse.

Beth Grant, perhaps best known for her roles as Kitty Farmer in Donnie Darko and Gracie Leigh on Jericho, appears here as Iris Finster. Eric Nenninger, who plays Jared Chirp, also played Cadet Eric Hansen on several episodes of Malcolm in the Middle.

Episode Body Count

Jared Chirp: dies after getting bitten 116 times by poisonous snakes.

Iris Finster: killed after being swarmed by poisonous snakes at the Blessing Community Church.

Alice O'Connor: dies after getting bitten several times by snakes during a church service in 1994, at least according to her husband.

Mouse: eaten by a snake that emerges from Reverend Mackey's mouth.

Humans: 3
Creatures: 1
Aliens: 0

Cumulative Body Count (148/202 episodes, 1/2 movies)

Humans: 1,616
Creatures: 114
Aliens: 62

Grand Total: 1,792

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