The agents investigate a suggested link between a religious cult of vegetarians and the abduction of several teenagers, although they find that the disappearances are actually connected to a deadly man in their own past.
The episode begins at J.A.S.D Beef in Wisconsin, where several cows are being loaded into cages and butchered. A worker named Beth Kane leaves for home, where she prepares to take a shower. Unbeknownst to her, she is being spied on by someone through a peep hole in her bathroom mirror. At the same time, her older son Gary receives a call and leaves the house, telling his younger brother that he'll be back in five minutes. Four hours later, he has not returned, and Beth calls the police.
Twelve hours later, Gary Kane running around the woods in his boxers, where he is sighted by the Sheriff. He is confused and frightened, and turns around to reveal that the phrase 'HE IS ONE' has been written on his back with black ink.
Mulder reviews the photos of Gary Kane. The police report states only that Gary was contacted over the phone twelve hours prior. Scully initially asks if it is just a school prank, but Mulder informs her of other victims that have had to be hospitalized due to fear and hysteria. He confirms that there have been two other victims, both in Wisconsin, with the same details. He also mentions that the local Sheriff believes the children to be possessed.
The agents go to Delta Glen, Wisconsin, where Sheriff Mazeroski informs them of the Church of the Red Museum, which is a cult of vegetarians. He tells them of how they stole over 100 cattle and kept them as pets, calling it a monument to arborism.They arrive at the church, to see members, all of whom wear white gowns and red turbans, walking inside. Scully expresses her doubt as to the involvement of the Church, where Richard Odin is preaching to the cult members. A young woman in front describes the 'Age of Aquarius' and that they are eighteen years from a new kingdom. She claims that the guides speak through her, allowing them to pass into spirit. Mulder explains the cult beliefs to Scully as they watch. Odin types into a computer that projects words of the sermon, while the reader dictates his words as they appear on the screen. After Odin notices the agents and the Sheriff, he encourages them to "Open their hearts and minds."
The agents go to see Gary Kane, who admits to only remembering fragments of what happened. He remembers being in the woods and falling, and claims that a spirit entered him. Mulder presses further, and Gary describes it as an animal spirit. Scully meets Gary's younger brother, Stevie. She asks if he can identify who his brother talked to. Stevie can't, but the same person who spied on Beth is shown to be spying on Scully. The agents leave the house, where the sheriff tells them that Gary was a good kid, and that he recently gave up football. Mulder asks where he can find a good hotel.
Scully and Mulder discuss the Church while eating ribs. Mulder explains that it's an old philosophy. The philosophy states that one can become open to enlightened spirits. They see one of the cult members walking past the restaurant, where he is promptly harassed by townsfolk. Mulder chases them off, and one of the bullies reveals himself to the Sheriff's son, Rick.
Rick drives his girlfriend home in his truck. While she is walking down the street to her house, she hears a strange noise coming from the alley. When she goes to investigate, she finds a whimpering dog. The young woman, while she is distracted, is gagged and abducted.
The next day, the same young woman is found wandering the woods in her bra and panties, scared and terrified of the flora and fauna around her, seeing massive black crows and thousands of crawling insects in the ground. Scully finds that she has trace amounts of what she thinks is an opiate, and dangerously high levels of something known as scopolamine. In small doses, it is used for motion sickness, but large doses make it a powerful anesthetic and hallucinogen, used by Columbian gangs. It is also a controlled substance, only purchasable by doctors.
Scully has done a background check on Odin, revealing that he used to be Doctor Herman, who left his hospital after being investigated for what Scully describes as performing without a license.
The agents arrive at Odin's residence looking to speak with him. He denies them entrance, stating that they are meat-eaters and that their presence would desecrate the kitchen. Mulder asks Odin to step outside, which he refuses until he is arrested and taken to the Sheriff's office. Odin claims that he has never worked with scopolamine, after which Mulder asks if his religion allows for revenge. Odin merely states that the meat-eaters will be cleansed."The cult members are barricading the sidewalk in front of the rib restaurant, attempting to convert others. Rick comes by with a large white bucket, filled with cow blood and dumps this on the sermon reader before the Sheriff chases him off. Scully is contacted by an old man who tells them he wants to show them something. He drives them to a pasture that had been passed down from his grandfather to his father and to him. He tells them that he sold the land because of the competition. He shows them a pair of men injecting the cows with a genetically engineered growth hormone. The old man also tells them that the people have gotten mean and spiteful, citing seven rapes by high-school boys in the past year. He believes that this is due to the growth hormone, despite its clearance by the FDA.
That night, a young pilot and Dr. Gerald Larson are in a small plane, Dr. Larson clutching a metal briefcase. The young man, tells the doctor that they are low on oil pressure. Dr. Larson asks the pilot how far they are from the airport, and the young man indicates that they won't make it, and will have to make an emergency landing. At this point, the pilot seems to lose control of the plane, as it stalls, crashes, and bursts into flames upon hitting the ground. Firefighters arrive the next morning along with Scully, Mulder and Sheriff Mazeroski. Dr. Larson was the doctor who delivered Mazeroski's boy when he was born. He shows them the briefcase, which is loaded with money, and a bag containing a vial of an unknown chemical. Scully's research finds that all of the children who were abducted were delivered by Dr. Larson, even those in different locations. Forms in the briefcase were found to be credit card numbers belonging to the victims' families. Mulder suggests that this might have been used to track the families.
The members of the cult are seen walking into the forest while one of the two men who were injecting the hormones into the cattle lets out several cows to graze. His partner leaves as someone in a blue car pulls up. Without any sort of warning, the driver, revealed to be the Crew Cut Man, shoots the first man in the head at point-blank range and leaves.Scully arrives at Gary's house, wishing to speak with Beth. Beth mentions that Gary has never been sick in his life, and that he had been seeing Dr. Larson to get vitamin shots as a preventative measure. She tells the agents that she had never taken Gary to another doctor, but her husband Jay had wanted to, before his fatal accident seven years ago with a packing plant machine. Mulder inquires about a pinpoint of light coming from behind the bathroom mirror in Beth's home. He punches through the mirror to find a small room filled with a tripod-mounted camera and video tapes.
Meanwhile, Rick and a friend are sitting in his truck at night, drinking beer when his friend leaves the car to urinate. Rick is attacked by an unknown assailant and is gone by the time his friend returns. The next day, the police discover Rick, lying face-down on the ground with the same words on his back. His father rolls him over, revealing that his son is dead of a gunshot wound to the forehead. The Crew Cut Man, is shown putting a pistol into the trunk of his car. Presumably, he uses a different pistol for each of his assassinations since there are two pistols in the car's trunk.
Scully tells Mulder information she found on a man named Gerd Thomas, the owner of the houst and the video tapes. While Mulder is driving, Scully locks eyes on the Crew Cut Man driving the opposite direction. She says that she knows the man's face, but can't remember from where.
Gerd Thomas is taken in for questioning. He confesses that he is 'a sick man', and eventually reveals that he is the one who kidnapped the kids, but claims to have never murdered anyone. He tells the agents that he loved the kids, and wrote on their backs because they had become 'monsters', due to Dr. Larson's tests. Scully seems to remember the man from earlier and leaves the room. Thomas tells Mulder that Larson was using the children to inoculate cattle with some unknown substance. Scully returns and tells Mulder that she believes that Thomas is telling the truth. Rick's toxicology test couldn't be analyzed because it contained compounds derived from the "Purity Control" sample - alien DNA, the same substance found in the Erlenmeyer Flask. Scully tells Mulder that the man she saw is the same man who murdered Deep Throat. Mulder states that he wants to take the Crew Cut Man alive.
Mulder arranges with Odin for the remaining children to be taken by Scully and the Sheriff to the Red Museum for protection. Mulder goes alone to the J.A.S.D. Beef slaughterhouse to find the Crew Cut Man preparing the building for an arson fire. After a scuffle where Mulder loses his gun, the Crew Cut Man locks Mulder in a beef locker and prepares to ignite the blaze. Scully, the Sheriff and Deputies arrive, causing a short standoff that ends with the Sheriff emptying his pistol into the Crew Cut Man and sobbing.
- The band playing in Rick's truck is Corrosion of Conformity.
Cast and Characters
- Gillian Barber (Beth Kane) previously played Agent Nancy Spiller in The X-Files episode "Ghost in the Machine".
- Paul Sand as Gird Thomas
- Steve Eastin as Sheriff Mazeroski
- Mark Rolston as Richard Odin
- Lindsey Ginter as Crew Cut Man
- Gillian Barber as Beth Kane
- Bob Frazer as Gary Kane
- Robert Clothier as Old Man
- Elisabeth Rosen as Katie