Recap / The X-Files S07 E08 "The Amazing Maleeni"

A small-time stage magician does a trick where his head rotates 360 degrees, and is found dead shortly afterward, with his head completely separated from his body. Mulder and Scully investigate.


  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: The magician's 360 neck rotation, and the trick done by the rival magician and Scully with her arm.
  • Always Identical Twins: The Amazing Maleeni (real name: Herman Pinchbeck) has an identical twin named Albert who works in a bank.
  • The Chessmaster: Maleeni and LeBonge both conspire to frame and convict Alvarez and succeed using a very complex plan.
  • Disability Alibi: When Mulder goes to the bank to accuse Albert Maleeni of impersonating his brother, Maleeni concisely rebuts the accusation by moving his wheelchair out from behind his desk and revealing that he's lost both legs from the knee down. It turns out to be a false alibi: it's a trick wheelchair that lets him tuck his legs away without there seeming to be anywhere they could be hidden.
  • Evil Cripple: Subverted. The legless banker/magician in a wheelchair was faking it and he was not majorly bad.
  • Exorcist Head: The magician turns his head 360 degrees. It's speculated that he faked it using his twin's head but it's never fully explained.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: As it's about the death of a Stage Magician, there's a fair bit of trickery going on, but the emphasis is on "fair": nothing hinges on something that isn't explained beforehand. In true X-Files style, there's also something unexplained, but it doesn't affect the fairness of the mystery.
  • Faking the Dead: Maleeni performs his trick of turning his head 360 degrees and ends up decapitated. His brother, Albert works in a bank and is an amputee due to a horrific car accident. It turns out that the real Albert died a month ago due to natural causes and Maleeni faked his death and pretended to be Albert to escape his gambling debts.
  • Impossibly Awesome Magic Trick: Maleeni has a magic trick where he rotates his head 360 degrees. Every other trick performed in the episode is possible in real life.
  • Karma Houdini: Both Maleeni and LeBonge get away with their framing Alvarez since there is no proof but ultimately subverted since they also plan to rob the bank using Electronic funds transfer but Mulder spoils their plan. So, they might not get caught but they did not get away with stealing money either.
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Played with, and ultimately averted.
  • Obfuscating Disability
  • Something Completely Different: One of the rare X-Files episode where nothing supernatural actually happens. Although, nobody ever figured out how Maleeni did his head turning trick.
  • Staged Shooting