(Hi! Quick note, for personal reasons I had to skip The X-Files episode 1x04, “Conduit”. My apologies for this! You can read about the episode on The X-Files wiki, right here: Conduit.)
Welcome back! We’ve got another Monster of The Week episode today with a fascinating take on the myth of The Jersey Devil.
The episode starts out in 1947 with a family traveling to Atlantic City, New Jersey, late at night. They get a flat, the dad goes to fix it, and he is suddenly dragged screaming into the forest. His wife runs after him but to no avail. The next morning, police search the woods and find his body with his leg, as they describe it, "chewed off." They corner a mysterious creature in a cave and start firing.
So far so good. via GIPHY
Present day. Scully tells Mulder about a murder near Atlantic City--a homeless man found with limbs chewed off. Mulder tries to convince her it could be an X-File, telling her about the murder we saw in 1947 and claiming it’s the Jersey Devil, so they decide to travel to Atlantic City to see if there’s anything bigger going on. However, a local detective, Thomas Tomson, gets irritated at their arrival and asks them to leave.
While Scully drives back to D.C. to attend her godson’s birthday party, Mulder stays in Atlantic City and goes into the woods with Peter Brouillet, a park ranger. He tells Mulder stories of “weird” things he’s seen over the past several years as a ranger, such as a half eaten rabbit with a human tooth in it, tools made of bone, and even a sighting of a tall, naked human like figure. Mulder ends up walking through the woods and ends up in a homeless area outside of town. He asks around for information on Roger Crockett, the homeless man who was murdered. One man shows Mulder a basic sketch of a tall human figure with long hair. He claims to have seen the figure himself, digging through the trash. Mulder decides to spend the night out there, letting the homeless man have his hotel room.
That night, Mulder sees a figure moving around and watches for a moment as they dig through the trash before catching his scent. They run and Mulder chases after them, noticing how nimble and agile they are. They get up on the roof, but the police pull up and stop Mulder before he can continue his pursuit.
At the police station, Detective Tomson lectures Mulder for awhile, but Mulder persists and accuses Tomson of withholding evidence in order to sweep the idea of a “Jersey Devil” under the rug so tourists aren’t scared away. So... Tomson throws Mulder in jail for the weekend.
When Scully returns to the office on Monday, she gets a call from Mulder and goes up to Atlantic City to get him out of jail. She takes him to get some food and listens while he tries to talk about The Jersey Devil but, as usual, is clearly skeptical despite Mulder’s endearing persistence and enthusiasm.
Scully decides to take Mulder to see Dr. Diamond, an anthropologist. At first, Diamond tries to persuade Mulder that it’s not possible, there’s no neanderthal type human living in the woods of New Jersey, but eventually…
Diamond: It’s just highly unlikely that what you’re suggesting could have survived civilization or evolution out in the woods of... New Jersey?
Mulder: Highly unlikely, but not outside the realm of extreme possibility?
Diamond: *shakes head* Well, it would be an amazing discovery.
And Scully is clearly thinking, “This did not go the way I thought it would.”
More determined than ever to find out what the Jersey Devil is, Mulder looks over some photographs taken in the woods of footprints and comes across a sketch of an ape-like woman. Suddenly, the phone rings--it’s the park ranger, Brouillet. He tells Mulder that he found a body in the woods, he thinks they were probably dead for six to eight months and describes a long haired male who was missing a tooth... the same tooth that Brouillet had mentioned earlier was found in a rabbit several months ago. He tells Mulder that he turned it over to the coroner’s office. Mulder thanks Brouillet, double checking with him to make sure the body he found was male, before hanging up and calling Scully.
Scully is on a date with the father of one of the boys from her godson’s party, but it doesn’t seem to be going that well and she seems almost relieved to be able to step away and answer Mulder’s call. And by "not going well," the guy is talking about how he felt the need to become a super dad after his divorce and confessed that he dreams about running over his son’s stepdad with a car. Yikes. Run, Scully, Run.
So the next day, Mulder and Scully go back to Atlantic City, meeting with Brouillet and Diamond at the coroner's office. The coroner, however, said she never saw the body and there’s no documentation of it. Mulder expresses frustration over the police trying to sweep this under the rug but also tells Diamond there’s a 50/50 chance that there is a female out there. Diamond wants to try and capture her alive, so they go to an abandoned warehouse near the place where Mulder first spotted what we assume was the female Jersey Devil. The park ranger is also with them and has a tranquilizer gun just in case.
While they search the building, the police drive by and notice the park ranger’s truck. They call in Detective Tomson and begin searching the building for Mulder and everyone else. Right before the police arrive, Diamond finds a rag with blood on it.
Scully and Mulder evade the police while Diamond tries to stall them. Suddenly, Mulder catches sight of the Jersey Devil and follows after her, Scully close behind. The female goes into another building and as Mulder follows her, she jumps out of the shadows and knocks him down, hitting him in the chest. He stares at her, slightly dazed, and she stares back. As he tries to sit up, she yells and pushes him back down right as Scully shows up, scaring her off.
Things begin to get frantic as Scully tries to get Mulder the medical attention he needs, Diamond begins asking Mulder all kinds of questions about the Jersey Devil, and the police decide to chase after the female into the woods.
Naturally, Mulder and Scully, followed by Brouillet, decide to go into the woods as well, but before they can find the Jersey Devil, they hear gunshots.
The female was shot and killed, apparently after attacking one of the police officers out of self defense. Mulder confronts Tomson who, tragically, compares shooting her to putting down a rabid animal.
Have you seen "The Jersey Devil" episode before? Typically, the Jersey Devil is portrayed as more of a Sasquatch figure or even a winged creature, but Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, wanted to give it a different twist by making it a wild human. What do you think of this?