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Recap / The X-Files S01 E06 "Shadows"

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Season 1, Episode 06:

"Lauren, how will you ever be able to rest if he never can?"
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong
Directed by Michael Katleman

"I'm giving us a chance to solve a case that's tangible instead of chasing after shadows."
Dana Scully

Two men who attempt to kidnap the secretary of a defense manufacturing company in Philadelphia are strangled to death without any outward sign of injury. That, and other physical impossibilities, lead Mulder to believe that the murders are the handiwork of a poltergeist who is very protective of the secretary. Scully thinks the murders are political. The two try to find the truth while two other mysterious agents try their best to withhold it from them.


  • Answer Cut: In this transition:
    Mulder: Sure, all you got to do is prove that Howard Graves is still alive.
    (Cut to following scene)
    Ellen: Howard Graves is very dead.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: After taking out the assassins, Graves reveals the true circumstances of his death to Lauren by making blood pool in her tub; as she watches in horror, Lauren realizes:
    Lauren: Oh my God...they killed him!
  • Chekhov's Gun: Mulder used the lenses of his normally Purely Aesthetic Glasses to sneak the victims' fingerprints.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Dorlund.
  • Elvis Lives: Mulder's line about how difficult it is to fake your own death — Elvis being the exception.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The other pair of agents are of the same height as Mulder and Scully.
  • I Lied: Mulder did, though not in a sinister way. Mulder lies to the agents who called him, saying he can't help them, as he's never seen anything like their case before. Given the team was stingy on the details, it was more of a snarky revenge.
    Scully: You lied. You have seen this before, I can tell. You lied to them.
    Mulder: I would never lie. I willfully participated in a campaign of misinformation.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: A downplayed CIA vs. FBI version. Scully goes back to confirm that Graves really died and the coroner is not very pleased but there is no major problem.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: At the end, Lauren's new boss's teacup starts to rattle when she behaves rudely to Lauren. The boss thinks it's just trucks passing by, but Lauren has another suspicion... Either way, Lauren doesn't mind anymore.
  • Meaningful Name: Howard Graves — he's dead.
  • Mugging the Monster: Played with; Lauren Kyte herself is quite harmless, but the several people who try to harm her over the course of the episode quickly discover that she is being watched over by an angry, vengeful and very protective spirit that is anything but...
  • Papa Wolf: Howard Graves as a ghost. He protects Lauren Kyte with his psychokinetic powers.
  • Poltergeist: Mulder initially thinks one of these might have attached itself to Lauren.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Howard Graves treated his secretary Lauren Kyte like a daughter as a stand-in for his daughter Sarah Lynn, who drowned when she was three, and Lauren, who is estranged from her own parents, responded in kind and is absolutely gutted by his death.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: On seeing that Lauren has a poltergeist watching over her, the female assassin who breaks into her home and attacks her quickly decides to change course. Unfortunately for her, the poltergeist isn't in the mood to just let her leave with an apology.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Scully's quote of "They're heeere", referencing Poltergeist.
    • When Mulder mentions he thinks Lauren had psychokinesis, Scully also says, "You mean how Carrie got even at the prom?"
  • Token Minority: Of the two other agents, the man is black and the woman is either Asian or middle-eastern. This is the first and last time we see or hear of them.
  • Unfinished Business: Invoked by Scully when she persuades Lauren Kyte to cooperate with the investigation into Howard's death, saying that otherwise Howard can't move on. Scully may not know it, but that really is the case.

Mulder: Hey, Scully. Do you believe in the afterlife?
Scully: I'd settle for a life in this one.