That same night, Doggett is awakened by Scully’s phone call at 4:24 am. Skinner wants his help on a case. An agent was killed while on surveillance of a religious cult in Pittsburgh. She can not join him because “something unexpected’s come up.” Scully does not tell him that she is being admitted into a hospital. Early the next morning, Doggett arrives at the crime scene to meet Skinner. Agent Leeds’ body is in his car, which was locked from the inside. The clues lead Doggett to believe that the murder did not occur in the car. “This is damn weird,” he says. They take in the ghastly scene inside the house, where all twenty members of the cult were killed with a single blow to the head. The cult’s leader, Anthony Tipet, is missing. Agent Crane reports that Leeds’ partner has not been found. Doggett and Skinner break into Stedman’s condo, but the agent has been killed with the same head blow as Leeds. Stedman’s door was chain locked from the inside.
Back in Washington, Skinner and Doggett brief Deputy Director Kersh on the case. The perpetrator left no traces of evidence. Skinner proposes that perhaps Tipet’s use of an Iboga hallucinogen drug may have allowed the man’s consciousness to be removed from his body. This might have allowed him to attack unnoticed. Kersh assumes that this far-fetched theory belongs to Scully. Meanwhile, Tipet walks past a homeless man on a Pittsburgh street. He uses a payphone to call Andre Bormanis’ lab. “You did this,” Tipet says on the machine. Bormanis listens, petrified. Bormanis then takes a razor and slices a cross into his own forehead. Tipet walks past the homeless man again, but this time Tipet’s third eye appears. Suddenly the sidewalk morphs into quicksand and the homeless man sinks. Tipet raises the axe and strikes him.
When Skinner tells him that Scully is taking personal leave from work, Doggett becomes angry. He believes that Scully and Skinner are hiding something from him. Skinner has news of the homeless man’s death by the same head injury. Although Doggett is skeptical, Skinner asks him to suppose that this drug really does allow Tipet’s spirit to be in one place while his body is in another. They trace the payphone’s last call to Andre Bormanis, a convicted drug dealer. Skinner and Doggett go to Bormanis’ lab and question him about Tipet. They notice that he has a scar on his forehead. According to Bormanis, Tipet was the only one able to take the drug in order to reach the depths of the soul. Bormanis screams for protection when he is thrown in a jail cell. Doggett finds bloodstained footprints in the jail corridor, and he follows them to a lotus-sitting Tipet hovering in the air. Tipet opens all three of his eyes and looks straight at Doggett. Doggett glances down to see that the footprints lead to his own shoes. He looks at his hands and realizes that he is holding the decapitated head of Scully. Skinner wakes him — it was only a dream. Scully is on the phone to tell Doggett to trust his instincts. It hits Doggett that Bormanis was trying to not fall asleep.
Bormanis sees Tipet at his prison cell. Suddenly rats swarm Bormains and he is eaten alive. Doggett runs to the cell, but Bormanis has been killed from the same blow to the skull. Doggett finds the Lone Gunmen in Mulder’s office. Scully sent them to help out on the case. They explain the idea that a third eye would bring one closer to God. Doggett formulates the theory that Tipet truly believes he has opened his third eye, and that by invading other people’s dreams, he could make their worst nightmares come true. Doggett insists that Tipet would want more of the Iboga drug to continue killing. He smiles at the Gunmen. “That’s what Mulder would think, right?” he says, before leaving for Bormanis’ lab.
Doggett and Skinner arrive at the lab to find Tipet standing over a rotating table saw. They order him away from the blade. “I want this to end, but I just can’t stop it,” he bemoans. Tipet says that Doggett understands, and Doggett realizes that Tipet knows about his dream. Tipet leans over the table saw and the blade cuts into his skin. Doggett pulls him off and brings him to the hospital. While signing Tipet in, he sees Scully’s name on the roster. She has been admitted for acute abdominal pain. Doggett reports to Kersh that Tipet made people’s worst nightmares come true with the use of the drug. Since Tipet is in custody, Kersh closes out the case, but Doggett pleads for it to remain open. He explains that no evidence has been found. Yet Kersh wants nothing to do with an unexplained case and closes it. Confused by his own dreams, Doggett leaves a message on Scully’s machine, telling her that he knows the case doesn’t really add up.
While looking at a mirror, Doggett sees Tipet standing behind him. When he turns around, the man is gone. Doggett gets into bed and doesn’t see Tipet waiting by the stairs with the axe. Doggett wakes in the morning and dresses for work. His reflection looking back at him shows the third eye on Doggett’s forehead. His eyes widen with shock, and all three eyes blink with disbelief. Then the eye disappears. He goes to the FBI and walks into Skinner’s office in somewhat of a daze. “I’m not sure I’m awake,” he tells the A.D. Doggett recounts seeing Tipet in his house with an axe, and feels that the man can see inside his dreams. Skinner tries to convince him that he needs to go home and get some sleep. Doggett walks through a strangely deserted FBI hallway on the second floor. The ends of the corridor seem to disappear into infinity. The sound of echoing footsteps reveals Tipet, who whispers in reverse-speak “She’s going to die.” Doggett, who also speaks in reverse, tells him that he won’t let him do that. Tipet replies that it is Doggett who will kill Scully. Doggett closes his eyes, bringing his hands to his face in great distress. He drops his hands to see that he is now in Scully’s apartment building. His hands, stained with blood, hold the axe. A deep, blue light strobes in and out from the windows, and a baby’s endless cry fills the room. Tears well in Doggett’s eyes as he realizes why he is dreaming this. Scully is asleep in the bed and Doggett holds the axe over her. He makes a decision, and lets the axe fall. Then he raises it over his own head and swings it at himself. Before it strikes him, he is woken up by Scully in his house. He lets out a deep, ragged sigh and tells her that she just saved his life. She says that she merely woke him up to tell him that Tipet died. Doggett was scared by the violent images in his nightmare, but thinks that maybe someone else put them there. “It was a bad dream, Agent Doggett,” Scully says. “But that’s all it was.”“VIA NEGATIVA”
Original Air Date: 12/20/00
Written by Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Tony Wharmby
GILLIAN ANDERSON as Special Agent Dana Scully
ROBERT PATRICK as Special Agent John Doggett
Mitch Pileggi as A.D. Walter Skinner
Grant Heslov as Andre Bormanis
Keith Szarabajka as Anthony Tipet
James Pickens, Jr. as Deputy Director Kersh
Tom Braidwood as Frohike
Dean Haglund as Langly
Bruce Harwood as Byers
Kirk B.R. Woller as Agent Gene Crane
Wayne Alexander as Senior Agent
Kevin McClatchy as Agent James Leeds
Lawrence Le John as Agent Angus Stedman
Wayne A. King as Homeless Man
Christopher Jacobs as E.R. Doctor
Mary Ostrow as Nurse