An old friend reaches out to Mulder and Scully in a seemingly impossible way, revealing a chilling secret.
Agents Scully and Mulder are asleep at Mulder's home when Mulder's phone suddenly activates, with a distorted image of Langly (Dean Haglund), one of Mulder's longtime friends. His appearance catches the agents by surprise. However, three armed men suddenly break into the home causing a shootout between the agents. Two of the three men are killed; the last one escapes. Then a second group of armed men arrive. Scully calls Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) for help, who tells them to surrender. Scully and Mulder decide not to listen and the second group is able to enter Mulder's house and place the agents in handcuffs. Mulder and Scully manage to escape and run through the woods where they are spotted by Skinner. He explains the attackers are from a group named Perlu with Russian connection, and helps them get away.
Scully and Mulder travel to Arlington and find the tombstones of The Lone Gunmen. The agents discover that the birth and death dates are off and Langly’s is facing in the wrong direction. After solving a questionably convoluted puzzle, they come upon the tombstone of Deep Throat, whose name is revealed to be Ronald Pakula. Scully and Mulder find a chip with a QR code in his tombstone. The Russian man arrives to shoot at them but is tackled and knocked out by Mulder.
Mulder and Scully scan the code to find images of the Long Lines Building in New York City, the home of an NSA program called Titanpointe and a project codenamed Blarney. They run into Skinner, who gives them access to the X-Files online. Mulder and Scully discover that the files surrounding Langly were hacked and removed. They come across a file in the other gunmen's folders, leading them to Karen Hamby. She explains that they uploaded her and Langly's consciousness into a simulation that would come to life when they died. Hamby adds that Langly's virtual consciousness sent the message. Before Hamby can finish explaining how to contact Langly's consciousness within the simulation she is shot and killed by the Russian man, who is shot by Scully in response.
Mulder uses Hamby's algorithms to communicate with Langly, who poignantly conveys the horror of virtual heaven. In his world, he eats hot dogs and doughnuts all day, the Ramones play every night and never fight, and the New England Patriots always lose. Langly tells them, however, that the great minds of the world within the virtual reality have been reduced to digital slaves, and the agents need to shut it down. Mulder and Scully enter the Long Lines Building. The agents are attacked on the stairway, but Scully escapes. Mulder is led to a room with Erika Price (Barbara Hershey), revealing that she is the one responsible for devising the simulation. Price insists she’s able to painlessly copy a person’s consciousness anytime they use a cellphone, and advises Mulder to change the way he looks at the world.
After wondering if he could get uploaded with Scully, Mulder escapes. Meanwhile, Scully breaks through the glass barriers protecting the servers and turns off the simulation. She reunites with Mulder, and both agents escape. They return with additional FBI agents to find an empty office and the servers gone.
The episode ends with Langly attempting to contact Mulder again, insisting that he “destroy the backup”. But before he can reveal the location Langly is cut off by the Russian man, who is now part of the virtual heaven.
- David Duchovny as Special Agent Fox Mulder
- Gillian Anderson as Special Agent Dana Scully
- Mitch Pileggi as Assistant Director Walter Skinner
- Dean Haglund as Richard Langly
- Barbara Hershey as Erika Price
- Andrew Roshkov as Commander Al
- Dejan Loyola as Agent Colquitt