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A fast-food worker develops a taste for human brains...and then for murder.
When Donald Edward Pankow's body is discovered with the brain removed from the skull in Costa Mesa, California, Mulder and Scully are assigned to assist the local police in their investigation. The only clue being a button recovered from the body which leads them to the Lucky Boy Burgers restaurant. They check that all of the employees have their badges and discover one of the staff, Derwood Spinks' badge is missing, although he claims he left it at home. When it later transpires that Derwood has a criminal record, he becomes the prime suspect for the local police department and Agent Scully.
Agent Mulder however has a different theory, that the victim's brain was sucked out of his head by some kind of proboscis. Mulder's suspicions fall on another employee Rob Roberts who was working late the night the victim died. Derwood Spinks visits Rob at his home, annoyed at being fired from the Lucky Boy Burgers restaurant for lying about his criminal record. He confronts Rob with evidence that he is the murderer and attempts to blackmail him. But Derwood does not realize what Rob is and falls victim to his hunger.
Rob is contacted by Dr Mindy Rinehart, hired by Lucky Boy Burgers to counsel the employees following recent events. In session with her, Rob admits that he is battling an eating disorder and she sends him to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, not fully understanding what Mulder seems to know, that Rob is a really a monster with a compulsion to feed on human brains.
Rob Roberts attends the OA meeting after being visited by Mulder who clearly suspects him of being the killer. He sees his landlady Sylvia Jassy there and though he doesn't respond well to the meeting, they bond there and on the trip home. His hunger is far too overpowering though and he is compelled to feed upon her.
To cover up this latest murder, Roberts smashes up his own apartment, using Derwood Spinks' baseball bat, out of a need to deflect blame away from himself and out of his own self-loathing. He lies to Scully and Mulder that Spinks showed up and he knows he committed the murders. Mulder clearly still suspects Rob Roberts but leaves to confirm a few things.
Dr. Mindy Rinehart shows up to find Rob Roberts packing to leave town. She asks him what he is doing and if the OA meeting was helpful and Rob explains the meeting was useless. He implies that he can't fight his biology and is it so bad to let it win. Rinehart asks him if he feels guilty for killing that man. Rob Roberts stops, locks the door, and turns around. He believes she has been talking to the FBI about him but she hasn't. She claims to want to get him the help he needs. He walks towards her, slowly removing the prosthetics and other items that conceal his monstrous nature, and asks if she believes in monsters.When he grabs her by the throat baring his teeth, she softly touches the hand at her throat. Brushing his cheek with her hand she says, "You poor man. What you must go through."
Scully and Mulder arrive with guns drawn. Mulder says they found Sylvia the landlady on the way to the landfill. He tells Rob that he just can't stop and that he should get on the floor. Dr. Rinehart tells Rob to be the good person I know you mean to be. Rob Roberts charges Mulder and is shot twice in the chest. He falls and lies dying. Mindy Rinehart asks, "Why?""I can't be something I'm not."
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
- The private detective who looks remarkably like Mulder is Steve Kiziak, playing himself, and is also David Duchovny's stand-in.
- In keeping with writer Vince Gilligan's habit of putting his girlfriend's name (Holly Rice) in each episode he writes, the manager of the fast-food store is named Mr. Rice. Another employee is named Lucy, which is Holly's real first name.
- The original aspect of this episode is that it is told from Rob's point of view. Mulder and Scully's investigation is not the main focus and they only appear for brief periods throughout.
- The air date of this episode was November 21st, Chris Carter's wife's birthday.
- When Rob is looking in the mirror, before pulling out his teeth. In the mirror, through the doorway (13:04), a woman can be seen leaning against the couch. There is no reason for her to be sitting there and she is never mentioned nor explained.
- Chad E. Donella as Rob Roberts
- Mark Pellegrino as Derwood Spinks
- Judith Hoag as Dr. Mindy Rinehart
- Lois Foraker as Sylvia Jassey