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Recap / The X-Files S03 E07 "The Walk"

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Season 3, Episode 07:

The Walk
"I know a lot of crips have the same dream: 'The Walk'."
Written by John Shiban
Directed by Rob Bowman

"This is about all the grunts and all the crips and all the boys who came home in a BOX! The enemy must be defeated. And we're going to do it!"
Leonard "Rappo" Trimble

A military hospital is menaced by a "phantom soldier" who seems to target the friends and families of officers.


  • Astral Projection: Rappo, the Monster of the Week, has the ability to detach himself from his body.
    Scully: What you're saying is this man, Rappo, is leaving his body and floating around town killing people?
  • Bungled Suicide: The episode opens Lt. Colonel Stans attempting suicide by drowning himself in boiling water and failing because he can't die. Mulder and Scully come to investigate it.
  • Buried Alive: How Rappo kills Callahan's son in the sandbox.
  • Cruel Mercy: Callahan comes to kill Rappo over what he did to his wife and son. However, he simply fires off rounds into the wall above his head, missing intentionally, telling the surprised Rappo, "No, you suffer like the rest of us."
  • Death of a Child: Several children die. One boy on-screen.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Stans has already reached this point by the time the episode begins, and Rappo is working very hard to ensure General Callahan reaches it next.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Rappo blames the Army and people in general for not caring about common soldiers' suffering. He edges close to making a valid point during his Motive Rant, but his extreme methods of revenge make it impossible to sympathize with him.
  • Evil Cripple: Rappo is a quadruple amputee who kills even kids as part of his revenge. The episode goes out of its way to avoid making him at all sympathetic.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: As Trevor is playing with toy soldiers in a sandpit, Rappo's astral projection makes his presence known by tipping sand down some of those toys. The boy picks them up from their partially buried state and seconds later, the astral projection buries Trevor alive, killing him. That trick was foreshadowing Trevor's death.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Part of the revenge. The villain-of-the-week won't let his victims commit suicide after having murdered their families. This is part of why he's committing the murders as well. By the time Callahan confronts him, Rappo is daring the general to kill him.
  • Monster of the Week: A crippled war veteran who can use Astral Projection to kill the families of the commanding officers he blames for his quadruple amputation.
  • Motive Rant: Late in the episode, Rappo gives a speech to Mulder about how much he resents the public's indifference towards the military, and particularly soldiers wounded or traumatized in war, so long as it doesn't effect their daily lives.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The hydrotherapy room where Stans attempts (and fails) to commit suicide by boiling himself alive has no safeguards against people being boiled alive in the hydrotherapy tank, has a bunch of weights just lying around on the floor, and neither any of this equipment or the room itself is secured or locked in any way when not in use. In fact, the door can only be locked from the inside using a sliding latch. The room is also much larger and much creepier than it needs to be.
  • Noodle Incident: We never get a solid explanation for how Rappo was wounded or why he blames Callahan and Stans for what happened to him. The original script explains that he was the victim of friendly fire but (apparently under network pressure) this explanation was cut from the episode.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Though combative at first, Gen. Callahan quickly realizes that he needs Mulder and Scully's help after the death of his subordinate.
  • Red Herring: A soldier named Roach is suspected of carrying out the murders at Rappo's behest. Roach does effectively work for Rappo by delivering mail to the homes of his intended victims.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Exaggerated. Rappo kills off all family members of his chain of command.
  • Shout-Out: Captain Draper's death while swimming is one, to Cat People. And John Shiban essentially wrote the episode as The Men, a 1950 drama starring Marlon Brando as a paraplegic veteran, but with horror elements added.
  • Vorpal Pillow: How Stans ends Rappo's killing spree; while the lattter is in a trance during his astral projection during the climax, Stans is able to kill his former subordonate with a pillow.
  • Would Hurt a Child: One of the things keeping Rappo from being at all sympathetic.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Roache, Rappo's "mailman" who deilvers stolen mail from the victims homes to give Rappo a link to his victims when he astral projects, is arrested and locked in solitary, Rappo kills him.

"What destroyed those parts of him that make us human beings? Those better angels of our nature? I cannot say."