9×08 Hellbound

Terry Pruit talks to a group of assembled ex-convicts at an anger management meeting inside a church in Novi, Virginia. One of the ex-cons, Ed Kelso, shakes his head in disgust at the topics of conversation. Afterwards, Kelso gives his buddy, Victor Dale Potts, a hard time about the group. Potts, who had been having bad dreams, suddenly has a strange vision of Kelso — his skin is stripped from his body.

Five days later, Reyes briefs Doggett and Scully about the murder of Victor Dale Potts. He was skinned alive, but had a premonition of his death in a dream. He told his dream to Dr. Lisa Holland, the therapist who runs the anger management group. Although the case itself is odd, neither Scully nor Doggett understand why it is an X-file. Reyes is also unsure, but she knows that she must solve the crime.

Doggett and Reyes are led by Detective Van Allen to speak with Dr. Holland at the Virginia church. She tells them that Potts had been to the meeting with a friend named Ed who felt negatively toward what the group was trying to accomplish. As they are leaving the church, Detective Van Allen tells Reyes that she looks familiar, but Reyes has never been to the town before. Meanwhile, at a meat packing plant where they both work, Terry Pruit confronts Ed Kelso about Potts’ death. Although Pruit says that the FBI will probably want to question him as well, Kelso pulls out his carving knife and threatens Pruit. As Kelso walks away, Pruit is shocked when he sees a skinless Kelso. Outside the plant, however, Kelso looks completely normal.

At Quantico, Scully pulls old files on other skinning cases. One body found in 1960 matches the manner in which Victor Potts was killed. Scully visits Dr. Mueller, the coroner who autopsied the body in 1960. Although the man is now retired, he remembers the case vividly. Since the victim was not identified and no suspect was ever arrested, the case was dropped. The sheriff then committed suicide. However, Dr. Mueller reveals that the victim was the first in a string of skinning murders.

Terry Pruit is working alone at night in the meat packing plant when the lights shut off. He suspects that Kelso has come to start trouble, but he sees no one among the rows of hanging pig carcasses. Suddenly, someone wearing a butcher’s apron hits him over the head and straps him upside down on a meat hook. The unseen person pulls out a knife and begins to carve into the screaming Pruit. Meanwhile, Reyes has a dream in which she goes to the church looking for Dr. Holland and finds a skinless man there. She is startled awake by Doggett, who heard her cries through the wall of the hotel room. Dr. Holland called him with news that Terry Pruit’s skinned body was found. The sight of the body at the plant unsettles Reyes, but she listens intently when Scully shows her similar case files dating back to 1960.

Kelso is quickly packing up clothes and knives when Doggett and Detective Van Allen storm in and take him into custody. At the police station, Reyes gets the sense that Kelso is not really responsible for the murders. She tells him that she sees the same bad things that he is now seeing in his dreams. Doggett is unsure of her line of questioning, but she doesn’t let on to what she is hiding. Detective Van Allen informs them that Kelso’s girlfriend vouches for his whereabouts at the time of the murder. As Kelso leaves the police station, he sees that Dr. Holland is now skinned. The vision terrifies Kelso. Scully calls Reyes to Quantico, where she had two bodies dug up with the same forensic details as the current murders. The men who had died in 1960 had both been ex-cons. Oddly, the dates of their deaths match the birthdates of Potts and Pruit. Since Scully has four old case files, Reyes fears that there may be two more victims. She calls Doggett, who is running surveillance outside Ed Kelso’s house, and asks him to find out the man’s birthday. When Doggett goes up to the front window, he is shocked to see Kelso’s body completely stripped of its skin.

Reyes meets Doggett at the crime scene at Kelso’s house. Since the birthdates do match the 1960 murders, Doggett believes that it is merely a serial killer. Yet Reyes is convinced that she is somehow involved in these connecting cases. She is certain that these men’s souls are murdered over and over, from one lifetime to the next. She even knows that there was a rag stuck in Kelso’s mouth that was covered in coal dust. Doggett and Reyes go to an abandoned mining camp to look for clues on the possible fourth victim. As Doggett discovers the remains of a sheriff in the office, Reyes comes upon old newspaper clippings inside the mine that detail unsolved skinnings. The oldest article is about four men who got away with the murder of a prospector in a mining claim dispute. In the photo, the body of the prospector is skinned. Also in the mine are the hides of a number of humans. Suddenly, Reyes hears footsteps. She draws her gun, but someone grabs her from behind and holds a knife at her throat. It is Detective Van Allen. Doggett comes into the mine, but Reyes is alone and unhurt. She explains that Van Allen is the reincarnation of a man killed in a mining dispute. His four killers were never punished. He continues to avenge that injustice. After skinning four people, he commits suicide so that he can be reborn to start it up again. The cases never get solved because he returns as the cop who investigates the skinnings. Reyes notifies Dr. Holland that she is the next victim, and warns her about Detective Van Allen. The doctor runs when Van Allen comes for her with his carving knife. He chants, “It always ends the same.” Doggett and Reyes arrive in the nick of time and shoot Van Allen.

As Van Allen lies in a hospital bed, Reyes still can’t figure out why she knew the things she did. She wonders if perhaps she was someone involved in the past cases who had let justice slip by. Her biggest fear was of failing, but Scully suggests that maybe in this life she actually succeeded.

Van Allen goes into cardiac arrest, and he dies with look of vengeance still in his eyes. At the same time, a baby is born whose eyes are the same as Van Allen’s.

Original Air Date: 01/27/02

Written by David Amann
Directed by Kim Manners

GILLIAN ANDERSON as Special Agent Dana Scully
ROBERT PATRICK as Special Agent John Doggett
ANNABETH GISH as Special Agent Monica Reyes

Also Starring:
Don Swayze as Terry Pruit
James McDonnell as Deputy Van Allen
Cyril O’Reilly as Ed Kelso
Katy Boyer as Dr. Lisa Holland
George D. Wallace as Bertram Mueller
Kari Whitman as Roxanne
David Figlioli as Victor Dale Potts
Robert Beckwith as FBI Cadet