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Recap / The X-Files S05 E04 "Detour"

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Season 5, Episode 04:

"Those woods are as old as anything in the south and there’s 800 square miles of them. There’s no telling what's alive out there."
Written by Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Brett Dowler

"What we’ve got here is a predator with low visibility and a high degree of motivation. And it’s got one advantage we don’t have – the entire Apilachacola National Forest."
Fox Mulder

On their way to a team building seminar, Mulder and Scully are sidetracked by an investigation into a mysterious death in the woods.


  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: Played with. Mulder and Scully fell into a pit full of dead and injured people that were dragged there by the monsters of the week. They tried to stack them so that they could get out of the pit.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Building a tower out of something unusual. First it's mentioned as a team building exercise by the other FBI agents who are accompanying Mulder and Scully, then Mulder jokes about it with Scully, then they are in the hole in the woods building a tower out of human bodies.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: At the end, the surviving monster's eyes are visible glowing out from beneath the motel bed.
  • Don't Go Into the Woods: Par for the course with this show; the monsters lurk in the forest, and people go among the trees at their own risk. In this case, even if you get out of the woods, you're not safe.
  • Lap Pillow: Scully moves Mulder to her lap for warmth and sleeping, while she keeps watch.
  • MacGyvering: Scully opens a bullet with her bare hands and tries to use the gunpowder to start a fire. Subverted in that it fizzes out before it can actually set anything on fire.
  • Monster of the Week: One of the weirder examples in the series. The monsters are apparently Spanish conquistadors from Ponce de Leon's expedition to find the fountain of youth, having evolved natural camouflage over the course of 400 years.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The creatures' eyes shine red in the dark.
  • Shout-Out: When Animals Attack and Moby-Dick.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The "invisible" creatures are extremely smart, whittling down Mulder and Scully's firearms advantage, splitting them up from their team and each other, and even following victims back to their homes or hotels.
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  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: Michelle marks their trail with white stones. The creatures steal them almost as soon as they're put down.
  • Was Once a Man: The creatures were once Ponce de Leon's men before they eventually turned into immortal plantlike humanoids.

"After 400 years in the woods, don’t you think they might have adapted perfectly to their environment?"

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