|Original Airdate:||December 17, 1993|
|Written by:||Chris Carter|
|Directed by:||Larry Shaw|
Mulder must overcome his phobia of fire to catch a mutant killer with fire-controlling capabilities.
Bosham, England, 70 miles southwest of London. As he gets into his chauffeured car, a distinguished older man spontaneously combusts in front of his wife and others, as gardener Cecil L'Ively glares evilly.
Washington, D.C.: At the Hoover Building garage, Mulder and Scully, in an FBI car, find a mysterious audiotape; a female British voice tells them Parliament member Reggie Ellicott was killed six months ago when a similar cassette triggered a car explosion. The agents are apparently sitting in a bomb - but then Mulder's door suddenly opens to reveal beautiful Scotland Yard Inspector Phoebe Green, a practical-joking acquaintance from Mulder's Oxford days more than 10 years ago. And though having broken his heart then, she kisses him heartily now, as Scully looks away.
Phoebe explains someone is burning up Parliament members, then sending love letters to their wives. One MP, Sir Malcolm Marsden, had barely escaped a garage fire. Sir Malcolm and family, she says, are now in Cape Cod, MA on vacation, and Mulder runs the information by the arson guys as a professional courtesy. An Agent Beatty suggests the cause is rocket fuel, which burns almost completely. Mulder suggests pyrokinesis.
At Sir Malcolm's vacation cottage, a caretaker, Bob, is applying argotypoline rocket-propulsion class-3 liquid to a windowpane. And then "Bob" - the gardener from England - makes a cigarette light by itself. Outside, a dog scratches at the makeshift grave of the real caretaker.
In his office, Mulder tells Scully that Phoebe is playing mind-games with him, since she knows he has a phobia about fire. In the meantime, at a Boston bar, Bob uses his finger to light a cigarette for a Miss Kotchik. She thinks it's just a charming magic trick - until he sets his arm and the whole bar afire. At Boston Mercy Hospital, Kotchik describes the events to Scully and Mulder (who have pulled a news-wire report of this suspicious fire). At Cape Cod, Bob poisons the MP's chauffeur in order to report him ill and to take his place tonight driving the family to a Boston party in Sir Malcolm's honor. He also shows a "magic" fire trick to the MP's children, Michael and Jimmie.
Phoebe agrees with Mulder that the arsonist may be telekinetic; she also mentions with a sly smile she's taken a hotel room in Boston. At 5:15 p.m., Mulder arrives at the Venable Plaza Hotel, suitcase in hand. When Scully calls to say she wants to fly up with some data on a possible suspect, he suggests she doesn't: At 6:47 p.m., the MP and his family arrive. Phoebe works undercover in a stunning black gown; Mulder is in a tux. When the arsonist doesn't show, she invites Mulder to dance. Scully appears, but hangs back - then interrupts them when a monitor shows a fire on the 14th floor, where the MP's children are. Mulder races there, but the fire panics him and he has to be rescued by firefighters; Bob himself "saves" the kids.
Scully tells Mulder she ran an Interpol check on the victims' domestic help. The only duplicated name: Cecil L'Ively, a gardener for two of the victims. Searching further, she found him listed as having died in a London tenement fire in 1971 - and having died with a group of kids in a British Satanic-cult sacrifice in 1963. His name also turned up at a Boston immigration office list of recent visas. Scully gets a fax of the composite sketch of the bar arsonist - whom she recognizes as the "hero", Bob. Mulder races to the Cape Cod house - where he barges in on the married MP nuzzling on the stairs with Phoebe.
When Scully arrives, they find the real driver bound up in the bathroom. Suddenly, the house catches fire. The agents hustle everyone out except the missing children. Mulder races through the conflagration to find them; he hears them screaming behind a door which he breaks down. Bob sets the hallway on fire, and when Scully tells him to freeze, he dares her to shoot and risk an explosion. But Phoebe splashes him with an accelerant, and he catches fire himself. Badly wounded, he laughs as he cannot be killed this way.
At Boston Mercy, where Bob/Cecil is in a hyperbaric chamber with fifth-and-sixth-degree burns a temperature of 109F, and a loss of all his hair, specialists find phenomenally rapid regeneration of his fundamental, basal cell tissue. He'll recover in as little as a month - at which point he'll be tried for the murder of the caretaker. When a nurse stops by to check on him she asks if there is anything he would like. He replies, "I'm just dying for a cigarette".
- The original script of this episode includes a conversation near the end in which Scully comments, "Well, never let it be said that you wouldn't walk through fire for a woman, Mulder", to which he answers, "And never let it be said that I wouldn't do it for you again, Scully".
- "Black silk boxer shorts" that Mulder wears in one scene were originally to have been "Jockey underwear".
- The character of Malcolm Marsden was named after the series' hairstylist.
- While filming one scene, actor David Duchovny suffered a burn on the outside of his left hand that was severe enough to leave a scar. The wound is visible in a scene where he is waiting outside a ballroom and wipes his forehead. Apart from this injury, no other real problems were encountered by the production personnel while filming this episode.
- This episode contains a number of references to Sherlock Holmes. Namely, these are: when Phoebe Green reminds Mulder that they once made out on the tombstone of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author who created Sherlock Holmes; when Phoebe makes a reference to a "three-pipe problem" - an expression used in a novel that features Sherlock Holmes, The Red-Headed League, that refers to the idea that a person has to sit and smoke at least three pipes in order to solve a case with the information they have gathered; when Scully asks Mulder if "the game is afoot", an expression used many times in the Sherlock Holmes novels; and when Scully calls Mulder "Sherlock" and he, referring to Holmes' faithful friend and colleague, calls her "Watson".
- The character of Phoebe Green was originally considered as a possible recurring role, owing to Chris Carter's admiration of actress Amanda Pays, his love of Sherlock Holmes and the fact that he was intrigued by the idea of incorporating a Scotland Yard detective into The X-Files. Despite the fact that the character achieved the desired effect by becoming a role that, according to Carter, "fans on the internet loved to hate", he believed that the chemistry "didn't work as it might" and Phoebe Green would make no subsequent appearances.
- This is the only episode to be moved from its 9pm showing on BBC2 in the UK to 11pm due to the scene with the charred chauffeur.
- Amanda Pays as Inspector Phoebe Green
- Mark Sheppard as Cecil L'Ively
- Dan Lett as Sir Malcolm Marsden
- Laurie Paton as Lady Marsden
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