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Recap / The X-Files S04 E11 "El Mundo Gira"

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Season 4, Episode 11:

El Mundo Gira
"Madre de Dios." Translation 
Written by John Shiban
Directed by Tucker Gates

Mulder: El Chupacabra, the goatsucker. It’s a small gray creature with a big head and a small body and big black bulging eyes.
Flakita: Sí! Sí! Sí. Translation  Light. Then rain. Then La Chupacabra. He comes and eats away Maria’s eyes and face.

Mulder and Scully investigate a strange death in a community of Mexican migrant workers.


  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Pedantic yes, but Flakita is probably meant to be the nickname Flaquita ("Little thin one") and the Buente brothers, the Puente brothers (a real Spanish surname meaning "Bridge"). The words are homophone or nearly so, and the spellings used by the show can only be found in the script and subs, never appearing onscreen.
    • Mulder refers to the Monster of the week as El Chupacabra. Flakita, the actual Spanish speaker, refers to it as la Chupacabra (feminine article), but then uses masculine pronouns, as in "He comes and eats away Maria’s eyes and face."
  • Asshole Victim: Lozano, at least as far as the migrant workers are concerned. Gabrielle actually sticks up for him to some extent, though.
  • Character Name Alias: Commonplace among the aliases used by illegal immigrants at the INS processing center. Examples given are Jose Feliciano, Juan Valdez, Cesar Chavez, Placido Domingo, and Erik Estrada.
  • Chupacabra: What the Monster of the Week is thought to be. It isn't, though Eladio may have turned into a hideous mutant that could probably pass for one.
  • Festering Fungus: This is in the spotlight of the episode. Eladio is spreading the fast-growing deadly fungus to everything he touches.
  • Foreign Language Title: Means "the world turns" in Spanish.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Eladio's brother Soledad, who has a female name.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: When the Mexican characters don't speak Spanish, they speak English littered with Spanish words.
  • Mirror Reveal: The Monster of the Week only realizes that he has become this by looking at himself in a mirror.
  • Poisonous Person: Eladio's touch causes other peoples' bodies to be rapidly and fatally overgrown by whichever fungal spores he happens to have on his skin.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To West Side Story.
      Scully: Maria ... Maria ... I just met a girl named Maria.
    • A simultaneous Shout-Out and Take That!:
      Mulder: Witnesses described a bright flash about 30 degrees off the horizon, then a hot yellow rain fell from a cloudless sky. Fortean researchers call these 'liquid falls'. Black and red rains are the most common, but there have also been reported cases of blue, purple and green rains.
      Scully: Purple rain?
      Mulder: Yeah. Great album. Deeply flawed movie, though.
    • The episode's title is a rough Spanish translation of As the World Turns. Since Scully comments that the case resembles a Mexican soap opera, it doubles as a Justified Title.
  • Sibling Triangle: The two brothers are rivals for the same woman's affections; she only loves the older brother.
    Scully: Your "Fortean event" turned out to be nothing more than the oldest story in the world. Two men. One woman. Trouble.
  • Take That!: to Erik Estrada of CHiPs, which is the alias Eladio gives the INS. After hearing Eladio's dramatic testimony, Lozano says "This guy's better than Erik Estrada".
  • Typhoid Mary: While he eventually shows symptoms (but never succumbs to them), Eladio Buente has no idea he carries a deadly virus with him with which he infects and kills everyone.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Story is narrated by Flakita who is shown to be a little bit of a Cloud Cuckoolander with her absurd conclusion to the story. Then it shifts to Gabriella who narrates an equally weird version of the same conclusion. Then it shifts to Mulder and Scully with an explanation that seems more realistic, but relies on intuition and guesswork. In the end, it's not clear just what happened to the two.
  • Walking Wasteland: Eladio. They can follow him just by seeing the massive fungal blooms.

"The truth is, nobody cares."