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Mulder, along with his new partner Krycek, is called in to help negotiate a hostage situation being pulled by one Duane Barry, a man claiming to be a multiple-time alien abductee. Mulder uses his sister's abduction to build common ground—but is it Duane Barry who is being manipulated, or is he in fact doing the manipulating? And when Scully discovers that Duane Barry is a pathological liar, in addition to a former FBI agent, Mulder turns out to be in as great a danger as the hostages. Or is it possible that Duane Barry was telling the truth all along?
- Absurdly Bright Light: In the prologue, Duane's house is flooded with light as he's being abducted by aliens.
- Actor Allusion: The episode begins with Duane Barry's actor Steve Railsback announcing "not again" as an alien craft abducts him through an energy beam. Railsback's 1985 film Lifeforce ends with his character being taken onto an alien ship via an energy beam.
- Banging for Help: A Bound and Gagged Scully bangs to attract the attention of a police officer when locked in the trunk of Duane Barry's car who kidnapped her. Unfortunately, this leads to the cop being distracted enough that Duane can shoot and kill him.
- The Big Board: The FBI are using a big chalk blackboard for the hostage negotiation.
- Bound and Gagged: After capturing Scully, Duane bounds and gags her, then locks her into the truck of his car.
- Character Title: This episode is named after the hostage-taker.
- Cliffhanger: After incapacitating and hospitalising Duane, Scully intercepts a piece of metal found inside the man. By scanning it at a supermarket, it awakens Duane, who escapes the hospital and kidnaps Scully in the process. Her cries for Mulder end the episode.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Duane Barry's descriptions of his own abductions.
- Corrupt the Cutie: The terrified younger female hostage is heavily affected by her ordeal, displaying unresponsiveness and heavy anxiety throughout. However, she is enraptured by Duane's retelling of his abductions and listens intently. When Duane agrees to let the women go, she stops in front of him and delivers her one line of dialogue: "I just want to say that I believe you".
- Distressed Dude: Mulder gets tied to a chair for his troubles.
- Hostage Situation: Duane Barry takes his shrink hostage, and several random people as well. This includes Mulder for most of the episode, and Scully at the very end, setting up the next episode.
- Ominous Visual Glitch: The TV at Duane's place goes out and static fills the screen. The room is flooded with Absurdly Bright Light and Duane starts to levitate. There is a flying saucer above his house and he's abducted.
- Save the Villain: Played straight and then quickly undone. Mulder calls Duane over to safety when he notices a sniper's laser taking aim. When his next conversation with Duane manages to incite him to rage and hysteria, though, Mulder manipulates him into stepping right back into the sniper's line of fire.
- Sexy Surfacing Shot: Mulder gets a shot climbing out of the pool in a tiny speedo when Krycek interrupts him.
- Third-Person Person: Duane Barry doesn't like it when aliens run tests on Duane Barry.
- Tracking Device: One possible answer to what the piece of metal they pull out of Duane Barry might be. When Scully finds lines on it and holds it near a supermarket's barcode scanner, it activates, sending aliens on the poor man's trail.
- To Be Continued: Part one of a two-parter, and the very first example of this seen in the entire show.
- Workout Fanservice: Mulder is doing laps in the swimming pool and is wearing only a red speedo.
- You, Get Me Coffee: Agent Kazdin sends Krycek for cappuccino.