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Directed by David Nutter
Mulder is called in to serve as a profiler for a string of seemingly unconnected spree killings by different perpetrators. The only thing they have in common is that each killer also destroyed one or more electronic devices at the scene of the crime. Are the murderers the victims of some kind of electronically delivered mind control - and will Mulder be next?
Featuring William Sanderson as Edward Funsch.
- Afraid of Blood: Funsch is afraid of blood, and the subliminal messages that he receives play with this by goading him to attack a blood drive.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Whoever it was that was running the experiment apparently got what they wanted.
- Bait-and-Switch: The scene with the mechanic paints him in a very ominous light, beckoning the woman he’s speaking to to come closer and that he found “tons of problems” with the car, suggesting he’s one of the spree killers and that she’s the next victim. Turns out the exact opposite is true.
- Calculator Spelling: The guy who suffers from blood phobia is already freaked out, but slips even more when a small calculator drops onto the floor and he then reads "blood". In this episode, more machines seem to communicate with him and other victims.
- Double Entendre: Mulder is sprayed with an experimental chemical that is shown to cause subliminal effects to its target and sees an attractive woman on TV advertising a fitness center. The words on her shirt? "DO IT."
- Elvis Lives: Mulder's running joke:Mulder: He's probably one of those people that thinks Elvis is dead.
- Everything Is Online: Whoever is behind the subliminal messages can send them to anything, from computer monitors to televisions to cell phones to pocket calculators to digital watches.
- Haunted Technology: "Blood" has machines telling people to kill. Subverted in that its not the machines. Someone was sending subliminal messages through electronics to incite violence with the aid of an experimental chemical.
- Subliminal Seduction: The spree killers are driven to the deed by messages that appear on computer and digital screens, which play with their fears and insist to "kill 'em all" to provoke a survival response.
- Suicide by Cop: Referred to by name as how most of the killers met their ends.
- Tested on Humans: The motive appears to be a field test of Subliminal Seduction as a weapon of terror.
- Unusual Euphemism: This line on Funsch's sudden state of agitation:Bus Driver: Yeah, I picked him up. Drove four feet, then he went apewire.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: The spree killings are over after Mulder captures Funsch, but only because whoever was behind them decided to stop sending the subliminal messages that caused them, something that only Mulder knows because he receives a message of his own in the end: "ALL DONE. BYE BYE."
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: All the perpetrators are phobic and the exposure to the insecticide heightened their already existing phobia to an unbearable level. One killer was claustrophobic (why did it have to be a crowded elevator?), another one was paranoid about rape (why did it have to be a mechanic in a garage at night?) and the last one was Afraid of Blood (why did it have to be blood?).