Recap / The X-Files S02 E11 "Excelsis Dei"

When an orderly at the Excelsis Dei Nursing Home claims to have been raped by an elderly (and, what's more, invisible) in-patient, Scully insists on an investigation. Once there, they find that the patients seem unusually spry and lucid - until the accused rapist unexpectedly drops dead from a rare poison that he could not conceivably have access to. Could a revolutionary new treatment for Alzheimer's be responsible? Or are the spirits of the dead exacting horrible revenge for the abuses they suffered? And what is the role of Gung, the one orderly everyone seems to like?


  • Adult Fear: Issues of rape and sexual harassment. A nurse who works in a retirement home is shown at the beginning of the episode being subjected to sexism and sexual harassment by her coworkers and by the patients. One night is raped by an invisible man whom she asserts is one of her patients. The man she accuses laughs it off and attributes her accusation to "this sexual harassment fad." He's flippant to the point where he sexually harasses Scully while she's questioning him. Mulder and Scully resign themselves to the fact that this case will be so hard to substantiate it might not be worth trying. The nurse's employers don't believe her for one second even though this has happened before. This is made even worse by the fact that when Scully, who clearly believes the nurse's story, voices theories about how the rape could have occurred, her male partner, who is usually very open to even the wackiest possibilities, thinks that Scully is just reaching and that the nurse made it all up to get out of a job she hated. Aside from the rapist being invisible, this is what rape victims go through even when the paranormal is not involved. Imagine being sexually assaulted and no one, including law enforcement, takes your allegations seriously even though your injuries were consistent with rape. The invisible entity could even be read as a symbol of the way rape culture is invisible, but enacts very real and devastating violence.
  • Asshole Victim: Michelle Charters doesn't make it easy to sympathize with her, but the trauma she's been through is legitimate.
  • Cure for Cancer: Or, rather, Alzheimer's.
  • Drowning Pit
  • Foreign Language Title
  • I See Dead People: one (possible) effect of the mushroom-pills
  • Orderlies Are Creeps
  • Poltergeist
  • Porn Stash:
    Mulder: Whatever tape you found in that VCR, it isn't mine.
    Scully: Good, because I put it back in that drawer with all those other videos that aren't yours.