Saturday, January 21, 2017

The X-Files Recap: "Tooms" (1x21)

Note and caution: Skipping several episodes here to connect with the last post, Squeeze (1x03). This post contains spoilers for The X-Files episodes 1x03 and 1x21.

Welcome back!

To refresh your memory - last time, I recapped an X-Files episode called "Squeeze" where we met our first Monster of The Week, Eugene Victor Tooms. Monster of The Week, or MOTW, would become a popular thing in The X-Files series, featuring paranormal creatures, monsters, humans with freakish abilities, etc., that didn't have to do with the main story line of the show. They're great if you want to watch one episode on its own without trying to figure out where you are in the story line and just want a spooky story.

So spooky. via GIPHY

We left off with Tooms in prison, having killed only four out of the five people he'd need to live another 30 years. He's about to be released, one of his therapists claiming that he doesn't "show signs of psychological dysfunction" and another one attributing Tooms' attack on Scully as a result of Toom's losing his job and being frustrated at the FBI. Mulder, naturally, is having none of this nonsense, but they let Tooms free anyway despite Mulder's evidence against Tooms' innocence.

Basically Mulder at this point. via GIPHY

So, Tooms is freed and sent to a halfway house, but Mulder tells Scully that he's going to keep an eye on Tooms every night. He tells her to go back over the older murders that Tooms committed and search for any more evidence that might prove Tooms is guilty. However, earlier that day Scully was warned by Walter Skinner, her supervisor, to make sure that the X-File cases were being solved by the book. He warned her that it was only because they had a 75% case-solving rate that he was keeping the X-Files open. This spooked Scully (see what I did there? I'm hilarious), and she wants to avoid getting in trouble. 

I feel like Hermoine and Scully would be really good friends. via GIPHY

However, despite her initial feelings on continuing the investigation. Scully does go consult with Frank Briggs, the retired detective who worked on some of Tooms' earlier murders and assisted Scully and Mulder in Squeeze. He is, of course, very upset at the news of Tooms' release. Briggs shows Scully something that, let's be honest, if he had shown her and Mulder in the other episode, we wouldn't have any need for this episode. Sorry, just being honest here.

Anyway. Briggs has a human liver, which he recovered from one of Tooms' alleged murders on a construction site. Unlike the other cases, they never found the body. Briggs feels that if they can go back and find the body, which he suspects was buried in cement at the construction site, then they'll have the evidence to convict Tooms for good. They arrange for an excavation crew and sure enough, recover skeletal remains.


Meanwhile, Tooms is getting hungry. Mulder intervenes when he sees Tooms approach a woman, which infuriates Tooms. That night, Tooms almost sneaks into a potential victim's house but is, once again, stopped by Mulder. 

I'll be honest, I didn't *need* a gif here but I had to have a reason to include this. You're welcome. 

Scully has the recovered bones taken to Smithsonian Institute's Forensic Anthropology Lab where a professor discovers that the skull matches a photo of a person who went missing back in 1933, which is when the murder was committed. They also find teeth marks on the rib bones. Eww. However, apparently this isn't enough to convict Tooms just yet, so Scully goes to find Mulder and take over his stakeout for him. 

As he leaves to go back to his house, Mulder doesn't notice Tooms hiding in his trunk. Later that night, Mulder sleeps on the couch as Tooms sneaks into his house. Instead of killing Mulder, however, Tooms scratches at his own face until he's bleeding. Mulder is woken up that morning by the police saying they found Tooms in the street, beaten and kicked in the jaw. Tooms claims that Mulder did that to him, but as Mulder is taken away for questioning, he notices that one of the screws in his air vent is loose.

Mulder knows what's up. via GIPHY

Mulder tries to defend himself, saying that there's no forensic evidence that there was even a foot inside the shoe when it made contact with Tooms' face. Meanwhile, Scully lies and says that she was with Mulder all night. Skinner warns Mulder that something like this better not happen again and lets him go.

Scully and Mulder arrive at the halfway house where Tooms is staying, only to find the body of one of Tooms' therapists, Monte. Mulder realizes that Tooms has his fifth liver and is about to go back into hiding for 30 more years.


In a last, desperate attempt to find Tooms before it's too late, Mulder and Scully go back to the old apartment complex where Tooms used to live. However, it's been torn down since they went to it in "Squeeze," and it's now a shopping mall. Mulder finds a narrow passageway near an escalator that's currently not running and slips down into it, only to find a naked and insane Tooms. He lunges for Mulder, who backs up out of the entrance and gets Scully to help him turn on the escalator. As Tooms emerges, he's crushed by the escalator mechanisms in what is probably one of the more gruesome X-Files deaths that we get to see. Lovely.


Fun fact before I wrap this up: they weren't going to have Tooms be naked in the final scene, but Doug Hutchison, the actor who portrayed Tooms, insisted that nakedness would be more true to Tooms' character, to display how insane and animalistic Tooms had become. He was also very sick during the filming of the final scene.

"I was sick as a dog and naked as a jaybird and had this icy cold slime all over me. I was literally sticking all over everything and everything was sticking to me. I had lint in the most preposterous places on my body. It was really kind of gross," Hutchison laughed. (from The X-Files Wiki)
Thanks for joining me for the second X-Files episode with Tooms! If you haven't seen "Tooms" or "Squeeze," I highly recommend them - they're definitely X-Files classics! If you have seen them, I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments. Do you consider them classic episodes?


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