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Recap / The X-Files S04 E06 "Sanguinarium"

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Season 4, Episode 06:

Written by Valerie Mayhew & Vivian Mayhew
Directed by Kim Manners

Dr. Franklyn: I donít know how much of this you know, but uh, ten years ago there were several deaths at this hospital here in the ASU and like uh, the recent deaths they were all ruled accidental.
Mulder: Were any of you here at the time?
Dr. Franklyn: A few of us, yes, but .. more importantly ... thereís a nurse, Rebecca Waite. She was on the ward during those incidents.

Mulder and Scully investigate a series of fatalities in a hospital's plastic surgery unit, each committed by a different doctor who claims to have no memory of the event.


  • The Bad Guy Wins: Dr. Franklin gets away at the end, having achieved the goal for which he committed the murders and getting rewarded with a new face, which is how he escapes.
  • Blood Bath: Nurse Waite is discovered lying in wait for Dr. Franklyn at his house, submerged in a bathtub filled with blood.
  • Decoy Damsel: Dr. Jack Franklin frames Nurse Waite by pretending to be her victim.
  • Deadly Doctor:
    • Subverted. All the doctors are committing murders due to manipulation by devil worship.
    • Dr. Clifford Cox/Dr. Jack Franklin/Dr. Hartman is this trope played straight.
  • Good All Along: Nurse Waite is trying to stop the murders instead of committing them.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Averted mostly. Remarkably gory for an X-Files episode with scenes of face peeling and fat being sucked out of a belly and other icky stuff.
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: Lampshaded by Mulder as the motivation behind the killer, and most of the patients at the hospital.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: After Mulder draws lines connecting five burn marks on the floor to reveal that they form a pentagram, we get the following exchange:
    Mulder: the shape of a pentagram.
    Scully: Mulder, if you want to connect the dots here, you should look at the facts.
    Mulder rolls his eyes.
  • Medical Horror: Features death by liposuction, death by plastic surgery laser, and death by acid infusion.
  • Red Herring: We'd led to believe that Nurse Waite is the murderer, when in fact it's Dr. Franklin.
  • Take That!: All the doctors in on the satanic conspiracy are plastic surgeons and assholes, and the lucrative nature of plastic surgery for the medical industry is mocked by Mulder and Scully.
  • Tear Your Face Off: The Monster of the Week conducts a ritual that will allow him to change his face by killing hospital patients as sacrifice. In the end, he cuts his face with a scalpel and rips it off, revealing the new one underneath it. Mulder later finds the old one lying on the floor.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Dr. Franklin aims to peel his face off and die, getting the face of a different person due to devil worship.

"I like to say whoever God didnít get around to creating in his own image, itís our job to recreate in ours."