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Recap / The X-Files S04 E23 "Demons"

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Season 4, Episode 23:

"He said he was going to exorcise his demons."
Written by R. W. Goodwin
Directed by Kim Manners

"There is nothing here that points directly to your guilt. I mean, unless somebody can show me with absolute certainty that you were holding the weapon that killed those two people, the rest of the narrative is far too convenient and suspect."
Dana Scully

Mulder wakes up in an unfamiliar hotel room with no memory of the past two days and someone else's blood on his shirt. In attempting to recover his memories of recent events, he also encounters new and significant memories about his childhood.


  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Who is my father?"
  • Flashback Nightmare: How the episode begins. It's not much of a surprise opening because of the standard flashback effects and the fact that it depicts Mulder as his younger self together with his sister Samantha.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: Mulder has to choose between saving Scully and finding the truth about what happened to Samantha.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: A frequent result of Dr. Goldstein's experimental hypnotherapy technique.
  • Meaningful Name: David and Amy Cassandra.
  • Murder-Suicide: The murder which Mulder might have committed was ruled out as murder-suicide.
  • Myth Arc: Previously repressed childhood memories reveal that the Cigarette-Smoking Man was indeed a close friend of the Mulder family, leaving Mulder to question his true parentage.
    Teena Mulder: How can you do this to our family?
    William Mulder: I'm not doing it! It's not just me. These orders are coming down from...
    [CSM, lighting up outside, notices Young Mulder eavesdropping.]
    CSM: You're a little spy.
  • Never My Fault: Even with three of his patients dead due to his negligence and miscalculations, Dr. Goldstein insists that he did not do anything wrong.
  • Not His Blood: In the opening scene, Mulder wakes up in some hotel room and notices blood on his shirt. He calls Scully and when she asks if he is hurt, he replies "I don't know... [beat]... I don't think it's my blood." - Sting!!!.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: Mulder underwent an extreme psycho-treatment to induce his memories of Samantha's abduction. His "memories" (probably hallucinations) were showed in freaky colours with distorted people, and the picture is intentionally grainy.
  • Pensieve Flashback: The opening Flashback Nightmare shows Mulder as his younger self as well as him as an adult observing the scene.
  • Shower of Angst: Mulder
  • The Shrink: Dr. Charles Goldstein is a Type 2: He's not corrupt or mad, but he uses techniques that no ethical doctor would ever use, and people die because of it.
  • Take That!: This subtle dig early on:
    Mulder: I had those people's blood on my shirt, Scully. I was missing for two days. I have no recollection of my actions during those two days. There were two rounds discharged from my gun. I had the keys to this house, the keys to their car. Do the words "Orenthal James Simpson" mean anything to you?
  • You Wake Up in a Room: The opening scene of Mulder waking up in an unfamiliar hotel room with somebody else's blood on his shirt.

"I'm so tired. I need to know, Scully. I just need to know."