8×05 Invocation

September 21, 1990 – Dexter, Oklahoma Children play at Bethune Elementary’s school carnival. Seven year-old Billy Underwood calls out to his mother, Lisa, from the swing set, but she is busy chatting with another woman. When she looks at the swing again, her son has vanished. Panicked, she searches the fair but cannot find her son. A dark-haired and mysterious young man who had been watching the swings stands to the side. He is clutching Billy’s backpack.

Ten years later, Lisa Underwood arrives at the elementary school to pick up her other son, Josh. The principal brings her to the playground where a young boy is playing on the swing set. It is her missing son, Billy, who has not aged a day in the ten years he disappeared.

Scully and Doggett discuss the case in the Oklahoma hospital where Billy has been checked out. The boy is healthy, but he refuses to speak. Doggett, believing this to be merely a case of kidnapping, attempts to interrogate Billy about his abductor. Lisa is incensed and pulls her son out of the room to take him home. Scully is convinced that this Billy is not the same boy who was taken, but his medical records prove her wrong. Doggett looks over the original case file and finds the sealed records of a young man who was questioned at the crime scene. Ronnie Purnell is the same dark-haired boy who was holding Billy’s backpack. Doggett goes to Ronnie’s trailer to investigate, but when he proposes that Ronnie see Billy face to face, Ronnie refuses. Alone in his car, Doggett pulls a photo of a boy out of his wallet. He stares at it and then drives off.

Back at home, the Underwood dog growls at Billy. That night, Lisa argues with her husband, Doug, about Billy not really being their son. Billy overhears his parents, and then enters his brother’s room with a hunting knife. The next morning, Lisa is startled to find the knife wedged in Josh’s bed. He is covered with blood, but has not been cut. Billy stands in his brother’s room, motionless. Tests show that the fingerprints and the blood belong to Billy’s, but he too is unharmed. Neither parent has ever seen the knife before. It has a five-pointed symbol on it that was identified by a police psychic in the investigation ten years prior. This same symbol matched a drawing that Billy made while being questioned. Lisa pleas with Billy to talk, but Doug insists on bringing him to a psychiatrist. He loads his son in the car, but the boy disappears from the back seat. He immediately appears in Josh’s room.

Ronnie walks into the woods and begins to dig where a surveyor’s stake is planted. He unearths a human skull. When Ronnie returns to his trailer, his mother’s boyfriend Cal Jeppy comes after him. Cal threatens Ronnie about knowing what he did to that little boy and what is buried in the woods. Ronnie pulls away from him. Sharon Pearl, meanwhile, pays a visit to the Underwood home at the behest of Scully. She is the police psychic, and she senses forces flowing through Doggett because he once lost someone like Billy. Suddenly, she lapses into convulsions and begins speaking in tongues. The five-pointed symbol appears on her forehead in bulging subsurface veins. After she is taken away in an ambulance, Scully confront Doggett about the psychic turn of events. He thinks it is all an act, but Scully plays the tape of Sharon’s voice backwards — it is the voice of a child singing a lullaby.

Later that night, Scully and Doggett sit in surveillance outside the Underwood house. Ronnie pulls up. All of a sudden and without warning, Billy appears in his front seat. When Doggett approaches the car and sees Billy, Ronnie panics and tears off. Doggett chases on foot, while Scully follows in her car. When they catch him, the boy is gone. Josh, meanwhile, waits for his father to pay at a gas station. A pony being loaded into a nearby trailer distracts the kid. He gets out of the car to see the animal, but his hand is sucked into the trailer. The five-pointed drawing on the trailer matches the symbol from the knife and Sharon Pearl’s forehead.

The police question Ronnie, but he has no answer for them. He tries telling Doggett that he went to the house because he didn’t believe that Billy was there. Doggett is sure that he saw Billy in the car, despite the fact that the boy was in his home. Ronnie says that he took care of Billy and sang to him so that he wouldn’t be scared, but Doggett demands to know what the boy would be afraid of. Ronnie can only say that “He made me do it.” The agents are informed that Josh has now disappeared, and they go with the police to raid the Purnell trailer where the horse trailer is stored. The five-pointed symbol makes up the shape of the pony ride used at the school carnival. Josh is found. He is bound, but safe. Cal runs out, chased by Doggett. Cal denies that he kidnapped Billy. Doggett sees Billy in the woods but the boy vanishes. At that same spot, Doggett sees the surveyor’s stake in the ground and finds the remains of the body.

The next morning at the gravesite, Scully tells Doggett that the clothes and condition of the bones will prove that the skeleton belongs to Billy Underwood. Although Doggett won’t accept the outcome and is not convinced that this was some kind of justice from beyond, Scully tries to persuade him that he saved Josh’s life and has succeeded in more ways than he was meant to know.

Original Air Date: 12/05/00

Written by David Amann
Directed by Richard Compton

GILLIAN ANDERSON as Special Agent Dana Scully
ROBERT PATRICK as Special Agent John Doggett

Also Starring:
Kim Greist as Lisa Underwood
Jim Cody Williams as Cal Jeppy
Rodney Eastman as Ronnie Purcell
Erich Anderson as Doug Underwood
Kyle and Ryan Pepi as Billy Underwood
Sheila Shaw as Marcia Purcell
Barry Cullison as Sheriff Sanchez
Maggie Baird as Sharon Pearl
Colton James as Josh Underwood
Leslie Sachs as Lisa’s Friend
Steve Stapenhorst as Principal