Recap / The X-Files S01 E21 "Tooms"

Eugene Victor Tooms (the Monster of the Week of the episode "Squeeze") is back. He's about to be released from the psychiatric hospital, and when Mulder and Scully find out, they set out to stop him and expose him before he kills again. However, they're both under intense scrutiny due to their unorthodox handling of cases, and so Scully wants to make sure that they handle this investigation strictly by the book.


  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Skinner notes that he and others in the FBI feel that Mulder's wasting his talents on the X-Files.
  • Cassandra Truth: Mulder is right about Tooms. He really is a horrifying Serial Killer with superpowers. Unfortunately, Mulder's testimony sounds crazy and isn't very credible, and so Tooms is released.
  • Covered in Gunge: Tooms covered in that yellow bile he produces carries a major squick factor.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mulder after his testimony.
    "You think they would've taken me more seriously if I wore the gray suit?"
  • Establishing Character Moment: The scene in the car was really sweet. Most importantly:
    Scully: Mulder, I wouldn't put myself on the line for anybody but you.
  • For the Evulz: Tooms kills for sport, trying to get to his next victim through the toilet. Only when this challenge fails does he try a slightly opened window.
  • Foreshadowing: At the end of the episode, Mulder believes a change is coming.
  • Frame-Up: Tooms tries to frame Mulder in a beating by cutting himself and using one of Mulder's shoes to hit himself in the jaw.
  • Genre Savvy: Mulder knows Tooms won't kill the old couple he's boarding with because it would be too obvious and risk exposure.
  • He's Back: This is the first time the show has a Monster of the Week returning... and Tooms still needs one more liver to prepare for another 30-year hibernation.
    • This is also the return of The Smoking Man from the pilot episode, who tells Skinner "Of course" he believes Mulder's final report.
  • Honor Before Reason: Mulder's reasoning for telling the court everything about Tooms was that it was the truth.
  • Horror Hunger: Tooms
  • Hungry Menace
  • Innocuously Important Episode: This was the first appearance of Walter Skinner. He seems like another generic boss that Scully has to answer to, but he'll go on to be a major character. CSM also appears again (even getting a line)—establishing how he'll be watching over Skinner's shoulder for some time.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: It's pretty clear Skinner has an issue with Mulder, but he's not wrong that Mulder and Scully often don't follow proper procedure that other agents are expected to follow.
  • Karmic Death: Tooms gets caught under an escalator and is literally stretched to pieces.
  • Killed Off for Real: Chris Carter and the show writers had to keep telling the fans years later that Tooms wasn't coming back.
  • Mutants
  • Picky People Eater: Tooms only eats his victims' livers.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Tooms hides in Mulder's trunk in order to follow him home.
  • Police Brutality Gambit: Tooms fakes being assaulted by Mulder in order to get him off his case.
  • Sequel Episode: To "Squeeze".
  • The Stakeout: Mulder is on constant detail. Scully joins him for a memorable character scene.
  • That One Case: Tooms' earlier murders for Briggs.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Mulder's case against Tooms at the court was not exactly convincing. He should have stuck to believable parts of the case, such as Tooms' collection of Creepy Souvenirs that had been discovered in his apartment in "Squeeze".