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Recap / The X-Files S04 E02 "Home"

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Mulder and Scully investigate after a deformed baby's corpse is found, and uncover the dark history of the family living in a nearby house.

Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Bucketloads of it. Imagine that such a nasty family lives in your neighbourhood. Or that your baby will be born with such horrible deformities. It's even present in-universe with Scully's uneasiness and anxiety over the issue.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Mulder and Scully are remarkably dismissive of Deputy Pastor's death, considering they were more or less responsible for it in the first place. They almost casually observe the animalistic nature of the Peacocks as they tear the deputy apart, and two minutes later they're making Babe jokes.
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  • Berserk Button: Mulder asking Deputy Barney Pastor if his last name is Fife. The way he says no suggests he's been asked this many times and is quite sick of it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Sheriff does not go quietly when the Peacocks invade his house and fights back with a baseball bat, but unfortunately it may as well have been made of foam for all the good it does him.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even in the very serious and grim series, this episode takes the cake as one of the darkest, most violent, and most disturbing in the entire show. It was the first to have a Parental Advisory warning and the only one to be a TV-MA. It was also barred from being reran for years. Reportedly, Tucker Smallwood asked a member of the crew if this kind of material was normal for the show. He was allegedly told, "This is awful even for us." Despite that, it's also considered one of the best episodes of the entire series.
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  • Daylight Horror: Most of the episode takes place during the daytime and afternoon, including the climax. Though some of the freakiest moments, namely the inbred child's death and the Sheriff's murder, take place during the dark too.
  • Death of a Child: The deformed baby dies in the teaser.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Home" is an expression of the episode's themes, and also the name of the town where it is set.
  • Evil Cripple: A hissing limbless mother of the incestuous Peacock clan. She approves of her sons' murderous behaviour. In her eyes they are only protecting their family.
  • Evil Matriarch: Mrs Peacock. She's involved in incestuous relationships with her sons. One of them is the father of the other two. Ugh.
  • The Family That Slays Together: The Peacocks.
  • Foil: The Sheriff to the Peacocks. While both are unhappy about changes to their small town environment, Sheriff Taylor adjusts to it. The Peacocks lash out violently.
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  • Foreshadowing: Scully and motherhood. Also mention of "the Mulder family pass[ing] genetic muster".
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • We don't actually see the burying of the baby, but he's heard crying. Still scary as hell.
    • The murder of the Sheriff and his wife is not shown in full, but the scared eyes of her are painful to watch. Poor woman. There is also lots of blood spattered around.
    • The Deputy's death as well, as it cuts away a split-second before the axe reaches his head.
  • Karma Houdini: Mrs. Peacock and the youngest son get away in the end.
  • Made of Iron: The ill and deformed Peacocks are surprisingly resistant to gunshots and baseball bat hits. This is Truth in Television, as properly motivated (as in "animalic adrenaline rush") people can do a lot of damage before succumbing themselves. Plus it seems like the inability to feel pain runs in the family as Mrs. Peacock took getting crudely stitched up after the car crash that left her crippled years prior as one would getting breakfast. She even has to examine her sons to see if they injured themselves.
  • Mundanger: The Monsters of that week were not paranormal.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Deputy Paster's reaction to Mulder's joke about whether his last name is Fife.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Scully to Mulder who is a bit spaced out and playing with a baseball.
    Scully: Meanwhile, I've quit the FBI and become a spokesperson for the Ab-roller.
  • Off with His Head!: Deputy Pastor winds up like this when he accidentally triggers one of the Peacocks' traps.
  • Parental Incest
  • Shout-Out: To The Andy Griffith Show. When Mulder expresses his desire for idyllic life in an American wholesome town, Scully says it would be like living in Mayberry. The local Sheriff's name is Andy Taylor (Mulder is kinda excited and asks if that's for real). His Deputy's name is Barney. But not Barney Fife (which Mulder hoped for, apparently). It's Barney Pastor.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "Wonderful, wonderful", a cheery tune by Johnny Mathis is used for a horrible murder and son/mother mutant sex, trying to conceive another child in a rocking car and all.
  • Stock Episode Titles
  • Womb Horror: Mrs Peacock gives birth to a horrifically disfigured and deformed baby that is later buried alive by the Peacock brothers. Agents Mulder and Scully are both extremely uneasy during the autopsy. The baby's face is distorted and its legs are bent out of shape.
    Scully: Imagine all a woman's hopes and dreams for her child and then nature turns so cruel. What must a mother go through?
    Mulder: Apparently not much in this case if she just threw it out with the trash.

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