6×19 The Unnatural

The time: 1947. The place: Roswell, New Mexico. Members of an all-African-American baseball team, the Roswell Grays, face off against a team of all-white players during a “cactus league” night game staged in the middle of the desert. As Josh “Ex” Exley takes his turn at bat, the outfielders play deeper, leaving little doubt that Ex is the best player on the all-black team. The white pitcher, Moose, lets fly with a pitch. Ex catches a piece of the ball, and it soars out into the darkness. Having won the game, other black players mob Ex and hoist him onto their shoulders. Moments later, a large group of Ku Klux Klansmen, some mounted on horseback, invade the makeshift baseball diamond. The group’s Grand Dragon makes it clear that his men are only interested in Ex, who, word has it, has come to the attention of the Yankees. Suddenly, Moose lets fly one of his 100-m.p.h. pitches, striking the Grand Dragon in the head and knocking him off his horse. Moose then targets the other Klansmen, knocking them unconscious. The coach of the black team pulls the hood off the Grand Dragon’s head… and reacts with horror when he discovers the face of a gray space alien beneath.

One Saturday, Scully finds herself assisting Mulder as he researches “flying disc” reports made in New Mexico in the 1940s. Scully soon realizes that her partner hasn’t been researching U.F.O.s as he had claimed, but is studying fifty-year-old baseball scores. Mulder’s attention is soon drawn to a newspaper page featuring a photograph of Ex standing near a young Arthur Dales and the alien bounty hunter. Mulder tears the page from the reference book and makes his way to Arthur Dales’ apartment building. It turns out that Arthur Dales has moved to Florida, and his brother, who is also named Arthur, now resides in his apartment. Mulder shows Dales (Dales’ brother will be referred to as “Dales” from here on) the old photograph. Dales, it turns out, worked as a police officer in Roswell during the 1940s. He identifies himself as the man standing next to Exley. Dales infers that both he and his brother have known about the bounty hunter’s existence-and plans for the colonization of Earth-for some 40 years. He then begins to tell the tale he has kept secret for all those years.

In flashback, a young Arthur Dales enters a Roswell baseball stadium, carrying with him a racist pamphlet offering a reward for Exley’s assassination. The pamphlet reads, “Keep Baseball Pure… Keep It White.” Dales approaches Exley and informs him that he has been assigned to provide him protection. Dales accompanies the team to a baseball stadium. As the game gets underway, the pitcher deliberately hurls a ball at Ex’s head. Ex falls to the ground, dazed. Dales notices the pitcher’s mitt nearby, the leather being eaten away by a greenish bubbling fluid. The still-dazed Ex states that he is from Macon, Georgia. Intrigued, Dales places a call to the Macon Police Department. He learns from a Macon Officer (his face unseen) that a six-year-old boy named Josh Exley disappeared fives years earlier from the town. As Dales finishes the call, the Unseen Macon Officer is revealed to be the alien bounty hunter. Dales then gives the catcher’s mitt to a police chemist for analysis.

As the game gets underway, Ex realizes that a group of Yankee scouts are sitting in the stands. He deliberately plays a poor game, and the scouts finally give up and exit the stands. Once they leave, Ex again plays like his old self. Afterward, Dales approaches Ex and promises to find out what he is hiding. Later that night, Dales is awakened in his motel room by a banging from the room next door. Dales jimmies open the door connecting the two rooms… and discovers an alien clad in boxer shorts and a baseball cap swinging a bat. Dales faints.

When Dales regains consciousness, he realizes that the alien is, in fact, Josh Exley. Exley tells Dales that he lived in Macon until the day he fell hopelessly in love with the game of baseball. From that day forward, he could not go home again. Meanwhile, the bounty hunter, having assumed Exley’s form, kills the police chemist and destroys his lab work. A short time later, Dales informs the real Exley about the murder. Dales is certain Exley is not the killer, this despite an eyewitness account of the attack. Dales tells Exley to leave town. With that, Exley announces his retirement from the game. Before he disappears, Exley asks Dales to tell people about how he played the game. A short time later, Dales discovers a paper nearby, one addressed to him in Exley’s handwriting. Inside is a map of Roswell, which contains a drawing of a baseball diamond. Home plate is some thirty miles from the town.

The story picks up where it left off in the opening teaser: people reacting in horror at the sight of the unhooded KKK gray alien. Suddenly, the alien morphs into the bounty hunter. Armed with a stiletto, the bounty hunter approaches Exley. Dales drives to the baseball diamond in the desert. But he arrives too late: the bounty hunter plunges the blade into Exley’s neck. Exley warns Dales to stay away from him, fearful that his bubbling green blood will burn his skin. But Dales shows Exley that the blood isn’t green or caustic: it is very much human red blood. Exley smiles softly… then dies.

When the Older Dales finishes telling his story, Mulder telephones Scully and arranges for her to meet him at a public ball field in Washington. As an early birthday present, Mulder shows Scully how to hit a baseball. The pair laugh, knocking ball after ball into the dark sky.

#6X19 Original Air Date: 4/25/99

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

M. Emmet Walsh as Old Arthur Dales
Jesse L. Martin as Josh Exley
Brian Thompson as Grand Dragon/Alien Bounty Hunter
Fred Lane as Young Arthur Dales
Burnell Roques as Buck Johnson
Lou Beatyy, Jr. as Black Coach
Ken Medlock as White Coach
Paul Willson as Ted
Lennie Loftin as Coranado
Daniel Duchovny as Piney (Bench Player)
Al Kapon as Ump
Chris Kohn as Catcher
Jesse James as Poorboy
Gabriel Clifton as Black Kid
Robb Reesman as Macon Cop
Julie Griffith as Beautiful Woman
Doug Jones as Alien