Richie Szalay, a UFO chaser who previously met Mulder and Scully in Oregon sees a flying object that appears to make a stop in Montana; Szalay witnesses a man running from a scene and finds a woman who was abducted just before Mulder. She is found clinging to life, having been subjected to harsh experiments. Doggett suspects Szalay, who is trying to track down his abducted friend, but that fizzles out pretty quickly. Scully dreams of Mulder looking pretty bad, and she worries that he'll turn up dead. Jeremiah Smith shows up at the hospital and takes the appearance of a doctor so he can take her away for treatment at a remote cabin; also there is a man named Absalom. Doggett pairs Scully up with Monica Reyes, an agent who specializes in ritualistic crime; not surprisingly, she thinks Mulder has joined some sort of Heaven's Gate-like group.
Reyes spots another UFO pit stop, and interrupts Smith and Absalom as they retrieve another abductee. They leave behind another body: Szalay's friend, deceased. The FBI tracks down Absalom, believed to be a religious zealot, and raid his camp. They find the abducted woman looking perfectly fine. Scully asks Absalom if he recognizes a photo of Mulder, and he says he doesn't. Scully recognizes Smith from surveillance footage at the camp, which also reveals Smith taking Doggett's appearance. The agents return to the camp, where Smith warns Scully in a one-on-one meeting that he's the only one who can help the returning abductees. Mulder is returned, dead, and Scully watches helplessly as the UFO takes off with Smith. To be continued...
First appearance of Annabeth Gish as Agent Monica Reyes; she has also showed up in roles in The West Wing and Brotherhood. Judson Earney Scott, who plays Absalom in this and three other episodes, also played Joachim Weiss in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Lt. James on the original V miniseries.
Episode Body Count
Thirty-nine Heaven's Gate cult members: Reyes makes reference to the suicide of the people in Heaven's Gate, who thought the action would allow them to board a spacecraft trailing Comet Hale-Bopp.
Gary Edward Cory: found dead after he is dropped in a Montana field by a UFO.
Agent Fox Mulder: again? Returned, deceased, after his unpleasant tour aboard the UFO.
Cumulative Body Count (175/202 episodes, 1/2 movies)
Humans: 2,021Creatures: 126
Grand Total: 2,211
Poor humans...their tally surpasses 2,000.