Recap / The X-Files S03 E19 "Hell Money"

Mulder and Scully investigate a series of deaths in San Francisco's Chinatown that turn out to be linked to a gambling ring where losers have to forfeit their own body parts for organ transplantation.


  • The Atoner: Chao at the end.
  • Bittersweet Ending: More bitter than sweet. Kim is added to a donor recipient list, while Chao redeems himself and narrowly saves Hsin's life. However, he fails to kill the Hard-Faced Man, who makes it clear that the game isn't over. Completely unrepentant, the Hard-Faced Man will likely get away with his crimes, the club's members having enforced a policy of silence. The episode ends with Chao burning to death in a crematorium, the Chinese word for "ghost" once again looming nearby.
  • Eye Scream: We don't see the actual surgeries, but one of the men who is questioned has a fresh gauze-pad on his face, indicating that he's just forfeited an eye.
  • Hannibal Lecture: The Hard Faced Man attempts to justify the lottery to Scully.
  • Healthcare Motivation
  • Ill Girl
  • Lottery of Doom: Rigged by the Hard Faced Man and his associates such that the "winner" of the initial draw and the harvested organ are predetermined.
  • Mundanger: There are no aliens, monsters, or government conspiracy in this episode. Although the superstitions associated with "the Chinese Festival of the Hungry Ghosts" are addressed in the story, there are no èguǐ either; the events are entirely unsupernatural.
  • Murder by Cremation: Used for discipline by the gambling ring; if you can't pay up (or if you rat), you're disposed of in a crematorium. Alive.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Detective Chao.
  • Shout-Out: "Who you gonna call?"
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: How Scully reacts to Hard Faced Man's Hannibal Lecture.