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Recap / The X-Files S04 E16 "Unrequited"

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Season 4, Episode 16:

Unrequited

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thexfilesunrequited.png
Spot the difference. Give up? 
Written by Howard Gordon (Story & teleplay) & Chris Carter (Teleplay)
Directed by Michael Lange

"Name's Nathaniel Teager. 26 confirmed solo enemy kills. A veritable killing machine. Left for dead by the same government that created him."
Denny Markham
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Mulder and Scully hunt an invisible assassin (Peter LaCroix) targeting military officials, in the process stumbling across a government cover up pertaining to Vietnam POW's.


Tropes:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Teager's fate and tragic situation ends up being something of a tearjerker, troubling the heroes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: If not an outright Downer Ending. More bitter than sweet. Teager is stopped from his final assassination, but is killed in the process, and he is ultimately a tragic victim of the government cover up of Vietnam POW's, a cover up which continues in spite of his and Mulder's efforts to bring it to light.
  • Calling Card: A gaping skull, with bloody swords. On the other side is a King of Diamonds.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: A variation—twice—because the character in danger and the killer are both sitting in the backseat of a limo. The killer being invisible allows him to effectively hide from his victims.
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  • How We Got Here: The episode begins at an event to re-consecrate a monument to Vietnam War veterans. It then goes back to show the day preceded, with the event being the climax.
  • Invisibility: Teager is able to induce a blindspot on the people around himself, making him virtually invisible to them.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: The Right Hand group, who wind up being a Red Herring.
  • Rule of Three: Teager has three targets. One dies very early on, the second one has the FBI's protection but is killed anyway, and the third one is saved in the climax.
  • The Vietnam Vet: Teager and his victims. Skinner is also one, and is especially perturbed in the aftermath of the episode.
  • Tragic Villain: Teager is what the government made him, left for dead, and is seeking justice for what was done to him and other men like him who remain captive POW's in Vietnam instead of dead like the government has lied to the public that they are.
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Skinner: You found the man you were looking for, but now he's dead, it's over.
Mulder: Is that what you believe? Is that what you really believe? They're not just denying this man's life, they're denying his death. And with all due respect sir, he could be you.
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