|Original Airdate:||February 25, 2001|
|Written by:||Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz|
|Directed by:||Kim Manners|
With assistance from a specialist in ritualistic crime, Scully, Doggett and Skinner discover a group of UFO enthusiasts who help returned abductees recover.
Richie Szalay pursues a bright light in his car. When he catches up with the alien spacecraft as it lands, he gets out of the car. He tries to take a picture of the orb of light but notices he didn’t wind the camera, when he looks back up he doesn’t see the ship anymore. He runs towards the site and sees a man run away as he approaches. He trips over a body as he runs. Looking at the horrifically scared naked woman on the ground, he mumbles, “This is not happening…”
Scully is called into Skinner’s office because of important news. Skinner relates Szalay’s encounter in Montana and suggests this might have something to do with Mulder. He explains that the woman Szalay found was Theresa Hoese, the young mother abducted the night before Mulder’s abduction. That she was returned last night nearly dead.
The three of them arrive at St. Jean Hospital in Helena, Montana. Dr. Desai meets with them and explains that the woman is “circling the drain” and that in all his years he has never seen such abuse. Scully is on the edge of tears as Desai recounts some of what was done to her, such as damage to the soft palette and that her chest was split open and organ tissue scooped out. Scully asks if there were foreign objects implanted but Dr. Desai saw none on the X-Rays. Doggett receives a police report and sarcastically tells them they can continue discussing “foreign objects” but it looks like they have a suspect.
They go and talk to Richie Szalay, who says he came to Montana following chat room stories of UFO sightings. He was trying to find his friend Gary Cory who had been abducted during the incidents in Oregon. Doggett says the police found tracks out there that matched 9 ½ size Nikes and suggests to Richie that it wasn’t an alien but a man out there. Doggett storms off at Richie’s alien related response. Scully follows him out to talk about it. Doggett suggests that Scully is afraid to find Mulder because of Hoese’s condition on return. Though he doesn’t believe in the alien abduction theory, he does believe someone took Mulder and the others.A man with Nikes walks into the hospital and takes the form of Dr. Desai to order Theresa Hoese’s transfer to another hospital.
Skinner and Scully meet with Doggett and Monica Reyes out at the site where Hoese was returned. Monica Reyes is from the FBI and has a background with ritualistic crime; Doggett says he worked with her on a case in the past. She suspects that this is cult ritual abuse and that Mulder has joined or been forced to join a UFO cult. That they left the woman out there but did not think she would die, suggesting that they cared enough about her not to kill her. Scully leaves and as Doggett trails her, Scully reminds him that the doctor who released Hoese was in two places last night.At a farm compound, the man who abducted Hoese from the hospital heals her with just a touch in front of a man who weeps while watching the event.
Scully and Reyes have a conversation at the hospital about how Reyes believes they are dealing with a UFO cult but that doesn’t mean she can’t believe alien abduction is a real phenomenon. She explains she was a “black sheep” at the New Orleans field office because she claims to be sensitive to energies in the universe that give her feelings about things going on.
Reyes sees the bright orb while driving home that night. She gets out of her car and tries to stop the Nike man and the man who saw Hoese healed from escaping with a human they pulled out of the field. They get away with one man in the back of their truck but another is still there.
Scully performs the autopsy on Richie Szalay’s friend Gary Cory. Richie identifies the body while Scully struggles to hold her composure. Reyes and Doggett talk in the hall about how Doggett had the same fear as Scully years ago. He was afraid they would find his son dead and that is what they found after three days of searching. Reyes shows a wanted poster of one of the men she saw that night. Absalom is a cult leader who believed aliens would take over the Earth at the millennium.
The healer man arrives and tells Absalom that “they are coming.” The FBI swarm the compound and round people up. Absalom is apprehended by Skinner while Scully finds a completely healed Theresa Hoese.
In interrogation, Absalom recounts how the alien ships leave nearly dead abductees and he comes to the sites to save them. They throw suspicion upon him because of video cameras at the compound but Absalom smoothly explains that abductees feel the cameras give them a sense of safety. Scully asks if Absalom has seen Mulder but he claims he hasn’t seen him.
While reviewing video tapes, Scully recognizes the healer man as Jeremiah Smith who she and Mulder encountered years ago. They see him change from himself into Agent Doggett on tape.Scully, Reyes, Doggett, and Skinner head back out to the compound to try and find Jeremiah Smith. Scully picks out a man in the back of the crowd of detained cult members. He doesn’t look like Jeremiah Smith as Scully questions him with Reyes but as soon as Monica Reyes leaves, he reverts to the Jeremiah Smith face. He says he has been healing the abductees and that no one else will help them. He was trying to help Mulder before the FBI raided the place. Skinner calls her out of the room to show her Mulder’s corpse in a nearby field. Scully refuses to accept it and runs back to get Jeremiah Smith.
She sees an alien ship approaching the cult’s farm. She rushes inside to find the cult members panicking and the FBI agents staring at the light in confusion. The beam of light is concentrated at the part of the building she left Jeremiah Smith in. Bursting into that room she finds him gone and screams, “This is not happening!”
- The phrase "this is not happening" is said four times in the episode.
- Agent Reyes mentions investigating satanic ritual abuse but found nothing and Scully suggests that they should talk about it sometime. This is a reference to the episode "Die Hand Die Verletzt".
- During Jose Chung's From Outer Space a us soldier dressed up as grey is trapped inside a cage aboard Lord Kinbote's spaceship utters the phrase "this is not happening" over and over
- Annabeth Gish as Special Agent Monica Reyes (First appearance)
- Mitch Pileggi as Assistant Director Walter Skinner
- Roy Thinnes as Jeremiah Smith
- Judd Trichter as Richie Szalay
- Judson Scott as Absalom (First appearance)
- Sarah Koskoff as Theresa Hoese
- Bernard White as Dr. Desai
- Eddie Kaye Thomas as Gary Cory
- Arlene Pileggi as Arlene
- John McGonegle as Uniformed Officer
- Roz Witt as Night Nurse
- Randy Ross as Nike Man
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)