Recap / The X-Files S05 E10 "Chinga"

Scully goes on holiday and STILL ends up dealing with weirdness. That girl can't catch a break.

Co-written by Stephen King.


  • Adventure Towns: The events happen in a small harbour town in Maine.
  • Antagonist Title
  • Asshole Victim: Jane Froelich.
  • Burn the Witch!: Jane Froelich would very much like to invoke this trope for Polly's mother Melissa.
    Jane Froelich: Melissa Turner. That whore’s a witch sure as I’m standing here. She’s descended from the Hawthornes in Salem and the Englishes, too. She comes from a cursed lineage and now she’s passing it on to the whelp. (...) Our great-great-grandfathers knew how to treat witches. They would have driven the demon out of that little girl and given that slattern of a mother just what she’s got coming!
  • Busman's Holiday: Once again, Scully's vacation plans are derailed by bizarre circumstances that she needs to investigate.
  • Call Back: The recurring phone conversations between Scully and Mulder are a reference to an earlier episode.
  • Creepy Child: Polly. She's an autistic girl, but the creepiness comes mainly from Chinga, her doll.
  • Disappeared Dad: Polly's father found Chinga in his fishing net, and some time after giving it to the then-infant Polly as a present, he was found dead aboard his boat.
  • The Doll Episode
  • Drop the Hammer: The doll drives Melissa to bury a hammer in her own skull. Thankfully a timely intervention from Scully stops the incident from turning fatal.
  • Empty Fridge, Empty Life: Mulder's fridge contains nothing but a huge jug of orange juice. He takes a swig straight from the bottle, makes a face at the taste, checks the date, and spits the juice back into the bottle. He manages to do this whole routine while he's on the phone with Agent Scully who took a weekend off and whom he misses dearly.
  • Engaging Conversation: Near the beginning of the episode, when Scully calls Mulder to tell him about the case.
    Mulder: Maybe you don't know what you're looking for.
    Scully: Like evidence of conjury or the black arts or shamanism, divination, Wicca or any kind of pagan or neo-pagan practice? Charms, cards, familiars, bloodstones, or hex signs or any of the ritual tableaux associated with the occult, Santeria, Voudoun, Macumba, or any high or low magic?
    Mulder: Scully?
    Scully: Yes?
    Mulder: Marry me.
    Scully: I was hoping for something a little more helpful.
  • Eye Scream: The murderous doll made people claw at their eyes. Their faces near their eyes are horribly scratched and one poor guy didn't survive the attack: a knife ended up sticking out of his eye socket.
  • Here We Go Again: The episode ends with a fisherman pulling the burnt remains of Chinga out of a lobster net. The doll's eyes then open...
  • I See Dead People: Polly's mother saw the victims for brief moments just before their deaths.
  • Kill It with Fire: After Melissa has a premonition of herself as one of Chinga's victims, she panics and tries to stop it from happening by burning down her house with herself and Polly inside.
    • Scully destroys Chinga by throwing it in a microwave.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Scully says she's looking for some kind of occult object, like a doll, for instance. Mulder asks if she means something like Chucky.
  • Nerd Glasses: Jane Froelich the evil teacher is wearing very unflattering glasses with thick coke-bottled lenses and strangely-shaped chunky frames.
  • Perverse Puppet: "Don’t play with knives. (...) Don’t play with matches. (...) Let’s play with the hammer."
  • Porn Stash: It's unclear whether it's played straight or subverted. Mulder watches something when Scully calls, and there is lots of moaning and groaning. When asked what he's watching, he says it's "The World’s Deadliest Swarms" and he stops the tape. Later, when Scully gets his full attention, he goes to the TV to switch it off, and there is a still of a guy being attacked by bees or bugs.
  • Porn Stache: One of the policemen has one.
  • Running Gag: Mulder's watching porn as TV habit.
    • Mulder's sticking pencils into the ceiling appeared for the first time.
  • Sadist Teacher: Jane Froelich slapped Polly very hard because she had a tantrum. She lost her daycare license over the incident. When we meet her, she sure looks nothing like a sweet kindergarten teacher.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Chucky the murderous doll from Child's Play.
    • From Real Life: Shout Out to the Salem Witch Trials Hysteria of 1692.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Polly likes her old records. The doll puts "Hokey Pokey" on an old record player, then smashes another record and slashes Jane Froelich's throat while the music cheerfully plays.
  • Swapped Roles: The phone conversations are much like those from War of the Coprophages, but with Scully out and about and Mulder staying behind. And in this episode, Mulder plays the Agent Scully to Scully, suggesting mundane explanations while Scully tentatively posits supernatural causes.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Oh joy, Mulder's sunflower seeds!
  • You Look Familiar: Larry Musser's fourth appearance on the show. He was Sheriff John Oakes in "Die Hand die verletzt, Detective bleeping Manners in "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" and ex-marine Denny Markham in "Unrequited". In this episode, he's chief Jack Bonsaint. Perhaps they are bleeping quadruplets separated at birth.