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Recap / The X-Files S02 E14 "Die Hand Die Verletzt"

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Season 2, Episode 14:

Die Hand Die Verletzt
"Sein ist die Hand die verletzt. Sein ist der Ort genannt Hölle." Translation 
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong
Directed by Kim Manners

Mulder: Even the Church of Satan has renounced murder and torture. Their influence here wouldn't account for the frogs, or the water draining backwards, or most importantly, the murder.
Scully: Well, if not witches, then what?

Mulder and Scully investigate the death of a teenager who apparently died during an occult ritual.


  • Animal Assassin: The school python.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Not only is Mulder's explanation of the Coriolis effect backwards (it causes counter-clockwise rotation in the northern hemisphere), he also says it influences how water drains in a fountain.note 
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mulder has some fun with Scully after she expresses astonishment over the toads falling from the sky.
    "I guess their parachutes didn't open."
  • Demonic Possession: Shannon is driven to suicide by a demonic ritual by Mrs. Paddock.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: Paddock is either an avatar of Azazel or his upper management.
  • Eat the Summoner: Everyone who summoned the demon ends up being murdered by it.
  • Eaten Alive: Ausbury's fate. Left handcuffed to a pipe by Mulder while he attends a call from Scully, he is then eaten by a python controlled by Paddock.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: As pointed out by Mulder.
    "Did you really think you could call up the Devil and ask him to behave?"
  • Evil Teacher: Mrs. Paddock. She is actually a manifestation of a demon, sent to kill the four Satanists who aren't full believers in this religion.
  • Eye Scream: The episode features a human body with a heart and eyeballs cut out. Not coincidentally, Mrs. Paddock's desk drawer contains a dissecting tray with a fresh and bloody human heart and two eyeballs.
  • False Memories: Shannon Ausbury's memories of abuse are partially this. While part of the things in the vision (a few of the rituals, the sacrifice of her sister) did happen, what she remembers are a combination of fragments combined with the sensationalist garbage that people like Geraldo were spewing at the time.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mrs. Paddock's farewell message.
  • Foreign Language Title: The title is written in German, not English.
  • Gratuitous German: The title means "The hand that wounds", coming from the Satanist chant.
  • Hellish Pupils: Paddock's pupils look like a snake's, when she murders Mr. Ausbury.
  • Hollywood Satanism: The episode has some fun with this trope. The featured Satanists never do human sacrifices, molest children, or the like. One of the daughters has false memories of such events, but the Satanists are just normal, everyday people who just happen to worship Satan with the occasional mild ritual or prayer. The twist is that a real demonic force is summoned and actively disgusted by the Satanists watering down the beliefs. Most of the Satanists end up scrambling to perform a human sacrifice before it's too late.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Mrs. Paddock turns out to be one.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In The Teaser the teachers refuse to permit a school performance of Jesus Christ Superstar because it's inappropriate, then start worshipping the Devil.
  • Karma Houdini: Paddock. Arguably a Justified Trope if she really is what she's implied to be; it's rather unlikely an archdemon from the pit of hell would stick around for legal proceedings.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Mrs. Paddock's message on the blackboard reads as "Goodbye. It's been nice working with you." This was actually a goodbye message from writers Glen Morgan and James Wong. They were leaving the show to do Space: Above and Beyond, though they came back after that show was cancelled.
  • Meaningful Name: "Paddock" is an archaic word for "toad", and in that sense is best known in modern times as the name of a spirit mentioned during one of the witches' rituals in Macbeth.
  • Mirroring Factions: Jim Ausbury states that despite being taught that Christianity is synonymous with hypocrisy, he sees the same lack of conviction in his fellow Satanists when they want to frame his dead daughter for the murder in the beginning of the episode.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "It is already too late."
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The script literally developed from a writer's suggestion to have an episode with a human being eaten by a snake.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Mrs. Paddock forces Shannon to slit her wrists, and then the Satanists to kill themselves, all using sympathetic magic.
  • Rain of Something Unusual: Scully expresses skepticism about any satanic, demonic or otherwise weird components to the crime, upon which it begins raining frogs. Lucky she had an umbrella, really.
  • Shout-Out: The reference to the new musical suggestion of Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • Villainous Rescue: Paddock ends up saving Mulder and Scully by sacrificing the three Satanists, before leaving a goodbye message.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Paddock pretends to be attacked by the three other Satanists, so that Mulder and Scully find and leave her for safety, so that they can go after them. As a result, she is able to kill off the three and slip away without anyone noticing.

"Goodbye. It's been nice working with you."