7×03 Hungry

It is after midnight when an LTD pulls into the drive-through of Lucky Boy Burgers in Costa Mesa, California. The young guy at the wheel waits impatiently and receives only silence from the speaker. He calls out for service and the neon “open” sign instantly flickers out. Angered, the guy honks his horn. The microphone clicks on and a man says the restaurant is closed. The driver doesn’t give up easily and yells threats to the speaker. The voice at the other end sheepishly tells him to drive through. The guy pulls up, but no one is there. So he leans out of his car to get a better look. In one quick instant, a monster appears in the window and ferociously yanks the guy from his car. The driverless car, still in gear, creeps toward a curb.

Three days later, Lucky Boy employee Rob Roberts pulls up to the restaurant and gives himself a pep talk before heading in. He works at the front register as Mulder and Scully approach, flashing their badges. They ask Rob’s manager to round up the employees for questioning. They inform the group that a Lucky Boy Burger promotional button was found on a body in the trunk of a car. The employees, including Rob, all pull out their buttons. A thuggish-looking Derwood Spinks hides in the back, claiming he left his button at home. His co-workers eye Derwood suspiciously. Mulder and Scully clear out the restaurant and search the kitchen. They don’t see Rob outside as he switches on the drive-through microphone and listens to their conversation at the menu board. Mulder theorizes that the victim’s brain was sucked out by a tongue or some kind of proboscis. Scully is not convinced. Mulder spots dried blood under a counter. He is squeamish that it is brain matter. Scully notes that it is merely ground beef. Rob isn’t settled by this news.

Rob comes home and rushes into the bathroom where he pulls from the bathtub a Lucky Boy uniform soaking in pink water. He cannot scrub out the blood stains and decides to dump the shirt. He is about to remove the trash bag when there is a knock at the door. Mulder wants to ask Rob a few more questions about his closing up the restaurant on the night of the murder. Rob complies, telling him that he dumped thirty-five pounds of spoiled beef that night. Out of the corner of his eye he catches the bloody water seeping out from the trash bag but Mulder doesn’t see it. After Mulder leaves, Rob tosses the wet bag into a garbage truck outside. He realizes his hands are covered with dried blood and sucks his fingers, enjoying the taste. While doing so he notices a man parked across from the apartment building watching him. Rob nervously approaches, thinking the man is Mulder. The unidentified man tells Rob to get lost.

Back in the apartment, Rob’s answering machine tapes a message from Dr. Mindy Rinehart, a psychiatrist assigned by Lucky Boy to aid its employees. He ignores the message, intently watching the man staked outside the building. Rob goes in the bathroom and pops out his triangle-shaped, shark teeth. As they clink in the sink, his stomach loudly growls. Later that night, Rob tries to overcome his hunger. He chomps on appetite suppressant gum and memorizes the words of a videotaped motivational speaker. But he is still starving. He goes outside to the man in the parked car and opens his toothless mouth. Needle-sharp teeth spring into place as he lunges at the man.

Rob is asleep on his couch the next morning when Derwood breaks in. He tells Rob that he has been fired from Lucky Boy. He also says that he found Rob’s prescription bottle of diet pills in the restaurant the morning after the murder. He shows Rob the bottle and the bloody thumbprint on its cap. Derwood demands payment to keep his mouth shut. They are interrupted by a neighbor, Sylvia, who asks if Rob saw a man that had been parked outside. Rob dismisses her, and Derwood warns him not to skip town. Rob heads to his car and sees Mulder approaching. Although Mulder doesn’t give any indication that he suspects Rob, he does tell him that the police believe that Derwood is the killer. Rob goes to Dr. Rinehart’s office for his mandatory consultation. He can’t concentrate as his stomach growls. When the doctor gets a call from Mulder, Rob bolts out, claiming he has to be at work.

Rob hallucinates that the burgers he is frying are brains. Derwood shows up at Lucky Boy to threaten Rob again. Scared of getting caught, Rob rummages through Derwood’s house for the prescription bottle. When Derwood comes home, Rob hides in the closet. As Derwood approaches the closet armed with a baseball bat, Rob starts to dismember his fake human parts to reveal the monster underneath. Derwood opens the door and the monster’s tongue lashes out, poking a hole through Derwood’s forehead.

Rob goes to see Dr. Rinehart again and admits that he has an eating disorder. She writes down the location of an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Rob’s stomach growls and he rushes out, saying “I really am trying to do right.” Dr. Rinehart ponders his statement. Rob returns home to find Mulder and Scully waiting to ask him about Derwood Spinks’s disappearance. Mulder tells Rob that he believes the killer is some sort of genetic freak who feeds on humans, but Rob plays dumb.

With no other hope, Rob attends the Overeaters Anonymous meeting and runs into his neighbor, Sylvia. She encourages him to introduce himself. He describes in salacious detail his cravings for meat. The group members salivate. Rob stops when he spots a bald man in the front row. The man’s brain seems to be throbbing through the skull, causing Rob to lick his lips in hunger. Rob makes a friend in Sylvia as he walks her to her apartment after the meeting. She says goodnight and closes her door. He turns to leave but his stomach begins to growl. He turns back to her door, knocks, and removes his teeth, ready for his next meal.

Rob makes a plan the next day. He demolishes his apartment with Derwood’s baseball bat and screams in terror. He beckons his neighbors to call the police. Mulder and Scully arrive and listen to Rob’s questionable story that Derwood threatened him to keep quiet. The agents ask Rob about a missing private eye hired by Sylvia’s husband who was staked out in front of the building. Rob has no answers and quickly tells them that Sylvia is not at home.

Rob frantically packs his belongings when Dr. Rinehart shows up. She senses that Rob is at fault for the murders and tries to soothe him. Enraged, Rob begins to pull off his human body parts to show her his secret. Dr. Rinehart is horrified but still sympathetic. She touches his face. Suddenly, the door crashes in and Mulder and Scully enter with guns drawn. They yell for the doctor to move away, but she defends Rob and tells him to be the good person he means to be. Rob is hesitant, then lunges at the agents, knowing they will open fire. A dying Rob falls to the floor as Dr. Rinehart’s eyes tear up. She asks him why he caused his own death. He whispers, “I can’t be something I’m not.”

Original Air Date: 11/21/99

Written by Vince Gilligan
Directed by Kim Manners

DAVID DUCHOVNY as Special Agent Fox Mulder
GILLIAN ANDERSON as Special Agent Dana Scully

Also Starring:
Chad E. Donella as Rob Roberts
Mark Pellegrino as Derwood Spinks
Judith Hoag as Dr. Mindy Rinehart
Lois Foraker as Sylvia Jassey
Bill Lee Brown as Mr. Rice
Chasen Hampton as Hungry Guy
Kerry Zook as Lucy
Steve Kiziak as Steve
Kevin Porter as Motivational Speaker
Susan Slome as Woman at O.A.