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Recap / The X-Files S04 E13 "Never Again"

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Season 4, Episode 13:

Never Again
"I want things more like a straight line, and I don’t ever want to go backward. That’s why I got the tattoo I deserve."
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong
Directed by Rob Bowman

"From now on, I’m your right-hand gal. You and me. As long as I'm with you, no one will ever hurt you. Never again."

Scully gets involved with a man (Rodney Rowland) whose new tattoo (voiced by Jodie Foster) talks to him and drives him to commit murder.


  • Alone with the Psycho: Scully with Edward.
  • Animated Tattoo: The tattoo talks Ed into doing bad deeds.
  • An Arm and a Leg: What Jerse does to finally rid himself off the compelling tattoo voice.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Scully getting her tattoo.
  • Hallucinations: What Betty the talking tattoo turns out to be.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Ed Jerse's tattoo of a seductive girl named Betty talks to him and forces him to do horrible things. It's revealed that the red tattoo ink was made from rye and contained ergot alkaloid that causes aural and visual hallucinations. Scully got a tattoo as well, but was not affected to that extent.
  • It's All About Me: Scully accuses Mulder of this.
  • Advertisement:
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Is the tattoo evil, or is ergot in the tattoo ink causing Jerse to go crazy?
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Scully is acting out because she's just discovered she has cancer, and is keeping it from Mulder.
  • Shout-Out: Rocky and Bullwinkle.
    Mulder: Eenie Meeny, Chili Beanie, the spirits are about to speak.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A favorite technique when coupled with the Gory Discretion Shot: something horrible would start to happen, and the camera would pan away, with cheerful incidental music being underscored by the sound of whatever godawful thing was happening. Used memorably in "Never Again".
  • This Is My Side
  • Title Drop: Courtesy of a tattoo-induced hallucination, no less.
  • Tragic Hero / Tragic Villain: Edward Jerse. A recently divorced father working a crappy job who has had his children taken away from him by the mother. He gets a tattoo which promptly seems to come to life and starts driving him gradually insane and ruining his life further.

"Not everything is about you, Mulder. This is my life."

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