Can Mulder And Scully Right Past Wrongs Or Is It Too Dangerous To Go Home Again?
Attention developers, gentrifiers, NIMBY-ists and other uninvited urban intruders. Let this latest episode of The X-Files be a warning to you: evict low-rent tenants and tent city dwellers in the name of making a buck and find yourself face to face with something that stinks worse than the artisanal vegan “cheese” shop you’d hoped would displace them.
The Trashman cometh. And he’s going to take you out. (Because that’s what you do with trash. Get it?) Anyway, the Trashman, also known as punk veteran Tim Armstrong of Rancid fame, was at the centre of last night’s X-Files episode in which several (arguably deserving) people are torn limb from limb due to their association with a greed-fueled development project underway in central Philadelphia. At the centre, yes, but responsible for the deaths? That’s the question the episode asks—and not just of the Trashman.
The bodies (and the fact that they’ve been ripped to shreds like a particularly offensive credit card statement) draw the attention of agents Mulder and Scully who make the trek to the City of Brotherly Love to investigate who’s behind the murders. However, shortly after their arrival at the scene of the first crime, Scully is called back to D.C.—her mother has had a heart attack and is on life support in the ICU.
Mulder stays on the case and soon connects the gore to some Banksy-esque street art on display in the neighbourhood and a Band-Aid he found stuck to his shoe at the crime scene. Despite the hot leads, Mulder makes Scully his priority, heading to D.C. to check on her and her mother.
He arrives just in time for Scully’s mother Margaret to come out of her coma, bring up the painful subject of the child the pair gave away, and promptly die, leaving them with that heart-wrenching reminder as her last words. Scully takes it quite well. Just kidding. She’s crushed, so she does the only thing she knows how to do: she throws herself back into her work.
The two agents return to Philly and track down the street artist through his use of high-end, exclusive spray paint and head to his studio where he explains to them that yes, he’s the one ripping off Banksy, but he isn’t the one ripping off heads. That’s his Tulpa. His what? You know, his Tulpa—the manifestation of his desire to help Philadelphia’s homeless.
Deducing that a certain developer is next on the Trashman tulpa’s list, Mulder and Scully attempt to save him from his stinky fate—but they, with the artist in tow, arrive too late. After he sees the carnage his Band-Aid nosed monster can cause, he packs up his studio, leaving the monster to a somewhat ambiguous fate.
The episode ends with Scully worried about the similarly ambiguous fate of her child. “I want to believe… I need to believe that we didn’t treat him like trash,” she tells Mulder, knowing that whatever has become of William, they are responsible.
Best Line of the Whole Episode
“What? I wasn’t going to shoot the kid. And I don’t do stairs anymore.” — Mulder on letting a suspect slip through his fingers.
“Home Again” by the Numbers
5: Band-Aid Nose Man-inflicted deaths
6: Number of pieces the monster typically rips his victims into (all the better to compact them)
1: Petula Clark song
3: Large-scale Banksy-inspired works of graffiti
2: Art thieves
3: Used Band-Aids (ugh)