8×02 Without

Continued from 8X01 — In the Arizona desert, Mulder tugs at Gibson Praise, who cries for his release. Doggett follows the pair, warning Mulder that he is prepared to shoot. Mulder eyes him mysteriously, not saying a word, and Gibson breaks away from him. Mulder still doesn’t comply with Doggett’s command to stop. He steps backward to fall off the mountain’s lip, just out of Doggett’s grasp. The other field agents run up to the ledge as Doggett explains Mulder’s actions. Although he lies motionless on the ground, Mulder coughs out a breath and opens his eyes.

At the bottom of the ravine, Scully pulls up with Skinner and demands to know the location of her downed partner. Doggett has no answer. The body is gone and there are footprints showing he ran off into the dust. Scully is convinced that it wasn’t Mulder. She tries to explain that what seems like a man is really an Alien Bounty Hunter looking to capture Gibson Praise because he is part alien and proof of alien life. He will be brought back to the ship where Mulder is being held. Doggett walks off, dubious and remarks, “You know, Agent Scully, you’re starting to remind me a lot of Mulder yourself.”

The children are evacuated from the school, as the FBI SWAT team reports no sign of Mulder. Doggett orders a search of the school, unaware that Mulder has entered a classroom. Mulder readjusts his twisted arm before morphing back into the Alien Bounty Hunter. Outside, Scully catches sight of Gibson’s friend, Thea, jumping on her bike. Skinner distracts the other agents to allow Scully to follow the girl into the desert twilight. She is lead to a secret underground cavern where Gibson is hiding. “You shouldn’t have come here,” he warns Scully. “You’ll lead them to me.” He knows that the aliens took Mulder and are now after him.

After Doggett gets chewed out by Kersh for losing Mulder, Skinner laughs and tells the agent that Kersh has made him a pawn. He has ultimately been set up to fail. A frustrated Doggett asks his team to locate Scully, and she is spotted in the school’s bunkhouse. The real Scully, however, walks toward Doggett and Skinner. They look at her incredulously. In the bunkhouse, what appears to be Scully is really the Alien Bounty Hunter, who chokes another agent. When Scully and Doggett run in, the Bounty Hunter morphs into an agent in the crowd. Thea notices blood on that agent’s hand and recognizes him as the attacker. Once again, Mulder is seen on the alien table. Gibson is shuddered awake by this vision.

Scully attempts to take the car and is suspicious of Skinner when he stops her. The two hold their guns on each other in a standoff, ending only when Skinner admits to knowing her secret. She relents, afraid that they are not going far enough to find Mulder. “I can’t take the chance that I’m never going to see him again,” she says. Their only hope is Gibson Praise, and they drive out to the desert cavern to find him. He is suffering from a fever, but manages to persuade Scully that he can hear Mulder nearby. “You’re so close now,” Gibson says. As Skinner takes the boy to the hospital, Scully wanders the desert, calling for Mulder in the empty night. Suddenly, something catches her eye in the black sky. A light slowly descends and she is transfixed, believing it is a spaceship. Yet as it gets closer and lands, the light reveals itself to be the searchlight of a helicopter. Doggett gets out and questions Scully’s truthfulness in the investigation. He knows that Skinner and Gibson are at the hospital because he had his men follow them. “How do you know that they are your men?” Scully demands before getting in the chopper herself. It flies off, within feet of the spaceship hidden by a force field. On the alien table, Mulder cries out for Scully.

At the hospital, Skinner watches the boy when Thea enters Gibson’s room. Gibson knows that she is the Bounty Hunter. Scully and Doggett arrive to find Skinner and Gibson missing. They search the hospital. Doggett has located the real Skinner. The A.D. is blinded and trapped in the air duct. Scully sees who she thinks is Skinner. When he claims to be protecting the boy, she pulls her gun on him. Gibson shakes his head to warn her. All of a sudden, the man grabs Scully by the throat and throws her across the room. She manages to find her gun and shoot the Skinner look-alike in the back of the neck. Green ooze flows out of him, and the body dissolves into a puddle. Doggett hears the gunshot and comes to Scully’s rescue, stepping over the puddle. She is weeping and bloodied.

Back at the FBI, Doggett presents his report to Kersh. The Deputy Director is furious, asking for real answers to Doggett’s elusive-sounding report and failure to find Mulder. Doggett accuses Kersh of intending for the report to sound like an X-file. Later, Doggett visits Scully in the hospital. He briefs her on Skinner’s and the other agent’s recoveries, as well as Gibson being remanded to the state’s protection. She is astonished when he informs her that he has been assigned to the X-files. He is equally bewildered. “Whatever you and I may differ on,” he says, “I’ll find him, Agent Scully.”

Mulder lies silently on the alien table. Many Alien Bounty Hunters surround him.

Original Air Date: 11/12/00

Written by Chris Carter
Directed by Kim Manners

DAVID DUCHOVNY as Special Agent Fox Mulder
GILLIAN ANDERSON as Special Agent Dana Scully
ROBERT PATRICK as Special Agent John Doggett

Also Starring:
Mitch Pileggi as A.D. Walter Skinner
James Pickens, Jr. as Deputy Director Kersh
Brian Thompson as the Alien Bounty Hunter
Kirk B.R. Woller as Agent Gene Crane
Jeff Gulka as Gibson Praise
Jonathan Palmer as Principal
Marc Gomes as Agent Danny Mosely
Christine Firkins as Thea Sprecher
Sal Landi as Agent Landau
Jo-Ann Dean as Secretary