Investigating his first X-File case, Doggett travels with Scully to Idaho where a married couple were brutally murdered by a man-sized bat.
An undertaker returns home and his wife tells him to go take off his clothes since they smell like embalming fluid. While taking off the clothes, he looks up and sees a creature above him. His screams bring his wife downstairs so she becomes the second victim.
Scully is in Mulder’s office looking at his name plate when Doggett shows up with some of his friends who then take off at Doggett’s encouraging. He says they are curious about her and Scully says she isn’t there to be a curiosity. Doggett wonders about having a desk down there and Scully says it is Mulder’s office and they are merely using it until he returns. Doggett says that he has been reading over all the X-Files and left to get coffee. Scully explains about the death of the undertaker and his wife and the cause of death being blood loss from human bite marks on their bodies using slides much as Mulder would.
Scully and Doggett arrive at the crime scene in Idaho and meet Detective Yale Abbott who does the usual “we don’t need the FBI” bit that most local police do. He says they are less sure that the bites were made by a human and draws their attention to the strange footprint by the door so he believes animals just fed on the bodies after the fact. Scully points out how there is only one footprint and that if it were left by an animal there would be more footprints leading to the bodies. Also that the print is fairly human-like. Abbott takes this to mean that Scully thinks it was done by a human but she says she isn’t saying that at all.
Scully and Doggett check out the house finding prints leading upstairs until Scully finds a trapdoor to the attic in the closet near the last print. In the attic Scully and Doggett find the missing fingers of the undertaker. They look like they have been regurgitated by something and the claw marks in the attic suggest something was hanging from the rafters. Meanwhile, elderly Mrs. McKesson is killed in her attic while looking at a photo album.
At the county morgue, Doggett and Scully discuss findings about the murders. Scully explains that she studied the bite wounds and though they are similar to human teeth they are also very different. The saliva on the regurgitated fingers had anti-coagulants in it which only bats have in their saliva. Doggett finds the evidence interesting due to the newspaper article he brought Scully.
The 1956 article is about a series of deaths that ended when a group of hunters killed a man bat creature and brought it to the county morgue in part of Montana. The coroner said the creature was neither bat nor man. Then the coroner was killed a few days later and soon after a few more people were killed or disappeared.Scully and Doggett join the investigation at McKesson’s home. Scully suggests a connection between the burned body of Ariel McKesson who disappeared in 1956 and her mother, the latest victim. Scully believes that the burned body should be exhumed to potentially learn the connection with the other deaths. Abbott goes off about Scully jumping at whatever theory is wildest but Doggett backs her up when he takes Abbott aside and tells him to have the body exhumed since Scully is a paranormal expert. Scully then bristles at being called a paranormal expert and reminds Doggett that she is a scientist who has seen many strange things. Doggett says most of the X-Files broke with leaps like what Scully suggested but Scully reminds him that he took a leap by believing that newspaper article. The gravediggers already have the coffin out and are hauling it into their truck when Detective Abbott shows up at the cemetery. They tell him that they didn’t have to dig because somebody already dug the coffin up and scratched the lid up. While they drive off with the body, Abbott checks a dead tree out. The creature is within and it eviscerates Abbott.
The cops are upset about Abbott’s death and blame Scully while Doggett reminds them that only the thing that killed Abbott and the others is to blame. Scully explains Ariel McKesson died of heart failure and then was burned to cover something up. All the victims were people who came in contact with the body. Detective Abbott took the call, her mother identified the body, the undertaker prepared the body, and Myron Stefaniuk pulled the body from the river. All but Myron Stefaniuk are now dead.
Doggett and Scully find Myron and ask him about Ernie Stefaniuk (one of the hunters from 1956) and learn Ernie was his brother but disappeared long ago. They keep an eye on Myron while discussing how Scully thinks she is trying too hard to be Mulder. Their observation is rewarded by finding a man receiving supplies sent across the river by Myron. The man is Ernie Stefaniuk and he tells them that he hid on that island with his wife Ariel for 44 years. Ernie says that the bat thing has cold hearted human vengeance and that it kills anyone with Ernie’s scent on them so he had burned his wife’s body to try and cover up the scent. He informs them that it hunts only at night and Myron is in danger.
Doggett goes to find Myron only to be attacked and badly torn up by the creature at the river. Ernie says Scully is now marked and the creature will go after her too. When his ground radar goes off, Scully goes outside after shooting up the ceiling. Ernie stays inside and is butchered by the bat thing. Scully returns to see it tearing up Ernie and manages to shoot it a few times before being knocked down by it. Doggett appears and shoots the creature a few more times saving Scully. It disappears into the night while Scully helps the injured Doggett.
Two weeks later, Doggett appears recovered and tells Scully that Myron Stefaniuk went into hiding. Scully is a bit concerned the creature may come after them while Doggett assumes that since they both shot it, it is dead. Scully tells Doggett that she is thankful for him watching her back and she will get a desk for him down there in the basement.
- This is the first episode of The X-Files in which Duchovny's name does not appear in the opening credits.
- Bradford English as Detective Yale Abbott
- Gene Dynarski as Ernie Stefaniuk
- Dan Leegant as Myron Stefaniuk
- Jay Caputo as The Bat Thing
- Eve Brenner as Mrs. McKesson