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Recap / The X-Files S05 E12 "Bad Blood"

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Season 5, Episode 12:

Bad Blood
"Six, all in all - approximately one a week over the past six weeks."
Written by Vince Gilligan
Directed by Cliff Bole

Mulder: You're scaring me. I wanna know exactly what you're gonna tell Skinner.
Scully: Oh, you want our stories straight.
Mulder: No, no, no, I didn't say that. I just want to hear it the way you saw it.
Scully: [Primly] I don't feel comfortable with that.
Mulder: Prison, Scully. Your cellmate's name is gonna be Large Marge. She's gonna read a lot of Gertrude Stein.

After Mulder pursues a boy he is convinced is a vampire into the woods and rams a stake through his heart, only for Scully to discover he has a set of false fangs, Mulder and Scully find themselves in deep trouble. Faced with the unsettling prospect of a massive lawsuit against the FBI, an unpleasant meeting with Director Skinner and possible criminal charges, Mulder suggests that he and Scully compare their stories about what happened in the build-up to Mulder's actions. Mulder and Scully each present their perspectives of events and those involved in them, including the local sheriff (Luke Wilson) who may or may not have buckteeth, Mulder being drugged and attacked which may or may not have led to him singing the theme to Shaft, and a boy who may or may not be an actual vampire....


  • Adventure Towns: The X-File proper takes place in Chaney, a small town in Texas.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of vampire myths, of Mulder and Scully dynamics, of The X-Files.
  • Amusingly Short List: Scully starts berating Mulder with "first of all", which is so huge she doesn't even need "a second of all".
    Scully: First of all, if the family of Ronnie Strickland does indeed decide to sue the FBI for — I think the figure is $446 million — then you and I both will most certainly be co-defendants and second of all... I don't even have a second of all, Mulder. $446 million.
  • Apologetic Attacker: After doping Scully's coffee, Sheriff Hartwell apologetically explains to her that while he and his (vampire) community try to lead decent, productive lives and are disgusted by Ronnie's attempts to live up to typical vampire cliches, ultimately he's one of their own and they have to protect him.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: Half-digested pizza found in the stomach sounds appetizing to Agent Scully. She later orders one for dinner.
  • Badass Longcoat: Mulder and Scully as usual, and Sheriff Hartwell as well.
  • Beat It by Compulsion: Mulder notices that all the victims' shoes have been untied and later distracts Ronnie by throwing sunflower seeds. Ronnie gets a "Come on, that's not funny, man!" look before getting down to collecting.
  • The Big Board: Mulder's slide show is back! Somehow, photographs are not good enough for him.
  • Blah, Blah, Blah: Scully's yada yada yada while she's performing the first autopsy.
    Scully: Heart weighs 370 grams, tissue appears healthy. Left lung weighs 345 grams, tissue appears healthy. Large intestine, 890 grams, yada yada yada.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Mulder notes towards the end that both he and Scully were, in their way, right about events. Scully was correct that the "vampire" killings were just a bunch of copycat murders committed by someone who had seen too many horror movies and identified too closely with the vampire, but Mulder was also correct that despite this, their murderer also happened to be an actual vampire (just one who didn't possess many of the cliched vampire abilities).
  • Brick Joke: When Mulder and Scully are arguing about their differing memories of Sheriff Hartwell; Scully remembers him as flawlessly gorgeous, Mulder recalls an imbecilic buck-toothed hick. When Scully calls Mulder on this, Mulder sheepishly claims that he "had a slight overbite". Later, when the audience finally meets Hartwell for real, he does in fact have a slight overbite, but does not have buckteeth. When they first see him after returning to Texas, Scully gives Mulder an immensely snarky look and taps her own front teeth.
  • Buffy Speak: Scully's in as much trouble as Mulder is, and she's not even the one who [mimes stabbing motions] with the thing.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Mulder's sunflower seeds and his knowledge that vampires are obsessive-compulsive.
  • Chupacabra: Discussed. Scully ironically asks if "that Mexican goatsucker thing" is responsible for those dead cows that Mulder is interested in.
    Scully: You're not gonna tell me you think it's that Mexican goatsucker thing.
    Mulder: El Chupacabra? No, they got four fangs, not two, and they suck goats, hence the name.
    Scully: So, instead, this would be...
    Mulder: Classic vampirism.
    Scully: Of a bunch of cows.
  • Cold Open: A great teaser with Mulder and Scully involved. Those are rare, because usually the agents make an appearance only after the credits.
  • Comforting Comforter: When Scully wakes up after being drugged by the sheriff, she finds he's draped his jacket around her and has not tried to feed on her.
  • The Coroner: There's a coroner who performs an autopsy on Ronnie Strickland. Once he removes the wooden stake from his chest, Ronnie sits up and decides to attack the coroner. That poor guy, his neck gets gnawed on. On the other hand, better than exsanguination.
  • Creepy Cemetery: Lampshaded by Mulder who asks Sheriff to take him to an old town cemetery, off the beaten path, the creepier the better. Needless to say, it's not super creepy or anything by daylight, but it gets better at night.
    Mulder: Historically, cemeteries were thought to be a haven for vampires as are castles, catacombs and swamps, but unfortunately, you don't have any of those.
    Hartwell: We used to have swamps, only the EPA made us take to calling them wetlands.
  • Curse Cut Short: In the Cold Open, Mulder chases down a vampire and drives a stake though his heart:
    [Scully shows Mulder his staking victim's very fake vampire teeth]
    Mulder: Oh sh—
    [Cut to the opening credits.]
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Scully is distracted by the sexy representative of the local law enforcement when the agents first meet him. At least according to Mulder.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Female Gaze is clearly manifested In-Universe. Scully is completely charmed by Sheriff Hartwell's cowboy looks, somewhat tough, yet also boyish and cute. She keeps watching him dreamily and is practically swooning over him. In Mulder's recollection of events, at least; in her own recollection, she's a lot more professional about it.
  • Exact Words: Played for laughs:
    Skinner: The coroner's throat's been bitten.
    Mulder: The coroner's dead?
    Skinner: No, his throat was bitten. Sort of... gnawed on.
  • Facepalm: Twice.
    • Right after the teaser, Mulder sits behind his desk and writes something in his office and then just facepalms, which says it all.
    • Scully has a rather long, epic facepalm when Mulder wants to compare their respective stories. See it here.
  • Female Gaze: Scully's view of the Sheriff, especially when they first meet, but also in their later scenes.
  • Foreshadowing: Mulder asks the mortician at the funeral home why a town of only a few hundred needs so many coffins on demand.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • It's a minor moment but during one stake-out with Hartwell, Mulder spills a few of his sunflower seeds. Hartwell unthinkingly picks each seed up, revealing he's obsessive-compulsive just like a vampire.
    • There's a more subtle one. When Mulder is tearing the chair apart, the stake is clearly put there by an off-screen hand.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: They are a good community. They try to keep themselves off the radar and help each other. They help even Ronnie who endangered their cover up by playing a role of murderous vampires that kill huge animals and people.
  • Glowing Eyes: When the vampires attack, their eyes glow bright green. Or they can make their eyes glow at will.
  • Goofy Buckteeth: Whenever Scully describes the sheriff, he is a handsome guy with a southern drawl. When Mulder describes him, the man has buck teeth and acts like a total country bumpkin. He is revealed to have regular teeth and a member of a vampire community that intends to remain hidden.
  • Gut Feeling: Mulder's gut instinct tells him that the killer will visit the cemetery. And he's right, Ronnie did come, only he did not stop there to eat his own death shroud or do anything vampiresque.
  • Headdesk: Downplayed. Mulder has his head on the desk, but he's not banging with it.
  • Hemo Erotic: Discussed when Sheriff Hartwell asks whether there is some kind of disease that makes a person think that they're a vampire. Scully knows her stuff and answers that there is a psychological fixation called hematodipsia which causes the sufferer to gain erotic satisfaction from consuming human blood.
  • Improvised Cross: Mulder tries to arrest Ronnie, a teenage vampire who tries to resist and fights quite hard. There is also a whole community of vampires coming to help Ronnie. Mulder spots some garlic bread sticks, grabs two of them and shapes them into a cross. It doesn't work, so he throws them at the people. That doesn't work either.
  • In Medias Res: The episode starts in a wood. A teen is running and screaming. A man is chasing him! The teen gets caught and stabbed in the chest! It's Mulder who killed him! After "the truth is out there", we see Mulder in his basement office and Scully comes there, too. They agree to prepare for a meeting with Skinner and tell the story as they think it happened.
  • Intoxication Ensues:
    • Ronnie doped his victims when they ordered pizza from him so that he could exsanguinate them more easily.
    • Where to start on Mulder? When he realizes he's been drugged, he calls Scully to help him, but he only manages to breathe very loudly and thus creeps her out; then hilariously outwits Ronnie by throwing seeds at him; then sings off-key a theme from Shaft to Scully, and finally, he sticks a wooden stake through Ronnie's chest instead of arresting him.
    • Scully gets drugged as well. But apart from being scared and having to go through a Walk of Shame in Sheriff's jacket after it wore off, she's fine.
  • I Told You So: He doesn't say the words, but Mulder's triumphant expression when he and Scully learn that Ronnie's body has disappeared and that his coroner has been bitten (albeit in a "gnawed on" sense rather than a "drained of blood" sense) practically screams this.
    Scully: [Astonished] But... he was dead.
    Mulder: [Quietly smug] I noticed that.
    Scully: With a stake in his heart.
    Mulder: [Still quietly smug] I noticed that too.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Averted. Even though, for once, Mulder and Scully are dealing with a local law-enforcement official with good reason to be uncooperative, one thing both their recollections have in common is that Sheriff Hartwell was a nice guy who happily went along with whatever they proposed. While this could be partly a ploy to lull the agents into a sense of security, even after The Reveal, he's nothing but apologetic when neutralising Scully, suggesting that he genuinely is just a nice and helpful person.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Sheriff Hartwell has a chiseled jawline.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Played for Laughs, but very cute. When Mulder and Scully are sitting on a couch and waiting for a meeting with AD Skinner, Scully leans over to straighten Mulder's tie. He angrily pushes her hands away.
    Arlene the secretary: Assistant Director Skinner's office. Oh, I'm sorry, he's about to go into a meeting. Yes, it may last several hours. [Scully hears it and her face goes into a downplayed Oh, Crap!.] You're welcome. [The following argument is whispered intensely and impatiently.]
    Scully: Please just keep reminding him you were drugged.
    Mulder: Would you stop that?
    Scully: It couldn't hurt.
    Mulder: Stop it!
    Skinner: [leans through his office door] Scully? Mulder?
    Mulder: [jumps up] I was drugged!
  • Miranda Rights: Mulder reads them to Ronnie riding atop of his coffin. Ronnie desperately tries to open the coffin cover and escape. The cover rocks up and down.
    Mulder: Ronnie Strickland, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Come on, cut it out, Ronnie.
  • Monster of the Week: Vampire style!
  • Motor Mouth:
    • According to Scully, Mulder when he presents the case.
    • Mulder gets his own back when he recalls asking Scully to do the second autopsy, only to be hit with a verbal torrent of whining about how tired and hungry she is, complete with a detour about how the half a cream-cheese bagel she ate for breakfast wasn't even real cream cheese.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Mulder is getting undressed and is seen in his undershirt.
  • Obsessively Organized: According to Mulder, all vampires must untie knots and collect seeds.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Mulder's face has an epic Oh Crap expression when he realizes that he's just stuck a wooden stake through a chest of a teenager who has fake fangs and therefore he might not be a real vampire.
    • Scully has a downplayed Oh Crap face when she overhears that their meeting with Skinner may take several hours.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Played With a lot.
    • Lampshaded by Scully who suspects the killer might be someone who's been watching Bela Lugosi's films way too much and might be re-enacting them. And of course, being the Agent Scully, she thinks this will be Averted.
    • Discussed by Mulder who has extensive knowledge on various kinds of vampires and specifically states which cultures hold which traditions. He claims that the stories differ exceedingly and rarely share the same motifs or are based on the same facts.
    • Mulder ends up suggesting that he and Scully are both equally right; their killer is indeed just a kid who's watched too many vampire movies. However, he also happens to be an actual vampire.
    • Played Straight with the local people. It turns out the entire population is made of vampires. Importantly, they all have OCD, they apparently enjoy sleeping in coffins and their eyes can gain a bright green glow at will. They are able to go out in daylight and they eat normal food. They are very neighbourly, they live in trailers and motor homes, which comes handy when they need to disappear. They even pay taxes and like keeping things a low profile. Ronnie is the black sheep who doesn't grasp it, but he is still one of their own and they stick together.
    • The vampires here differ from the ones in the episode "3", who would burn up in the sunlight but can be killed by a wooden stake in the heart, and didn't have glowing eyes. So it appears there are different species of vampires with different traits, explaining the differing legends about them.
  • Percussive Therapy: Mulder kicks the hell out of the trash can in his office.
  • Paper Destruction of Anger: Agent Mulder tries to write a report, but he ends up crinkling up the piece of paper. He throws it across the room and tries to hit the trash can. He misses. He proceeds to kick the can as if he was trying to destroy it. He's on edge because he stabbed a teenager with a wooden stake but he was drugged and convinced that the teen was a vampire.
  • Political Correctness Is Evil: "We used to have swamps; only the EPA made us take to calling them wetlands."
  • Pop the Tires: Mulder originally says that he does this to an RV which was stuck going around in circles. However, after Scully notices how dirty his coat is (and how late he was), Mulder sheepishly admits that shooting out the tires was more difficult than he thought it would be. After he ran out of bullets in the attempt, and after trying to grab onto the RV (subsequently getting dragged around, explaining the dirt) he finally just had to wait for it to run out of gas.
    Mulder: Okay, here's something that you may not know: shooting out the tires on a runaway RV is a LOT harder than it looks.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: It's difficult to call the rest of the townspeople outright villainous, but they're sick of Ronnie's shit because it draws a ton of unnecessary attention, and while Mulder gets mobbed by the townsfolk and Scully gets drugged, they are both dropped off no worse for wear while everyone skips town because, as government agents, their disappearances will be investigated and bring even more heat.
  • Precision F-Strike: Mulder's "Oh sh—" when he sees the teenage vampire is wearing fake fangs.
  • Prison Rape: Implied when Mulder threatens Scully with a cell mate nicknamed Large Marge. This seems to be a somewhat favourite technique of his as he did it to the abducted boy in "Jose Chung's ''From Outer Space''".
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Mulder's and Scully's account of what really happened differ. Played for Laughs. One difference is that Scully presents the Sheriff as a charming Southern Gentleman type, while Mulder remembers him as a buck-toothed hick.
  • Ride of the Valkyries: A downplayed Standard Snippet appears in the soundtrack when Mulder and the Sheriff find the body in the camping van.
  • Running Gag: Mulder, once again, is shown to be a mean tipper.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Both Scully and Mulder display a bad case of self-serving memory in their versions of the case:
    • In her account, Scully is calm, controlled and utterly professional in the face of Mulder's unprofessional and condescending conduct. She logically and coolly demolishes Mulder's crazy theories and long-sufferingly puts up with his scatter-minded eccentricities and selfishness. And while she is definitely charmed by the handsome Sheriff Hartwell, she is professional enough to keep it under her belt while Mulder unexplicably and unprofessionally belittles and patronises him.
    • In his account, Mulder is polite, reasonable and utterly professional in the face of Scully's unprofessional and condescending conduct. He effectively but respectfully defends his logical and well-thought out theories against Scully's bored, knee-jerk skepticism and long-sufferingly puts up with all her selfish whining and complaining. And he respectfully tolerates the dimwitted hick Sheriff Hartwell even while Scully is inexplicably and unprofessionally swooning and fawning all over him.
  • Serial Killer: He has two known victims and targets tourists who were outside his community, not his vampire neighbours. Scully ordered pizza from him as well, which was his modus operandi. Mulder ate the pizza and was about to be murdered. Fortunately, he was able to escape.
  • Slipping a Mickey:
    • Ronnie the teenage vampire's MO. He spiced the pizzas he was delivering with chloral hydrate, known as knock-out drops, so that he could extract the blood from his victims.
    • At the end of the episode, the Sheriff drugs his coffee which he offers to Scully and she drinks it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bela Lugosi: Scully has a theory that the killer is a fan.
    • Lon Chaney: The town of Chaney, Texas.
    • Gertrude Stein: Mulder thinks this might be favourite reading of Scully's hypothetical prison mate.
    • Rain Man: When Mulder explains his theory on vampires being obsessive, having to untie knots and collect seeds, Sheriff Hartwell compares that to Raymond's counting sticks.
      Hartwell: Yeah, obsessive... Like Rain Man! It's like when that old boy dropped them matchsticks, he had to pick them all up. Same thing, right?
      Mulder: Well, he didn't actually pick them up. He counted them.
      Hartwell: Oh, yeah. 247. Right off the top of your head.
      Mulder: Well, if he had picked them up, he would have been a vampire.
      Hartwell: Yeah. I'll tell you what. I know I'm in law enforcement, but I'd like to take him to Vegas myself. Am I right?
      Mulder: Well, that would be illegal, right?
      Hartwell: He's like a little calculator.
    • Shaft: Drugged Mulder did or did not sing its theme song.
  • The Stake Out: Mulder and Sheriff Hartwell stake out a local cemetery. Mulder is sure that the vampire will show up, and he's essentially correct because Ronnie drives around and stops to say howdy to Shefiff.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Sheriff Hartwell's statement to Scully about how Ronnie's actions "gives us all a bad name" and how the vampire community actually just tries to lead productive lives like any citizen could be taken by any member of a minority culture exasperated by how certain members say and do things that reflect poorly on the entire group.
  • There Is No Rule Six:
    Scully: First of all, Mulder, if the family of Ronnie Strickland does sue the FBI for, I believe the figure is 446 million dollars, you and I will almost certainly be named co-defendants. And second of all... I don't even have a second of all, Mulder. 446 million dollars.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Played for Laughs. The events in Mulder and Scully's story are sufficiently similar and we get to hear what they were doing when they were separated, but the narrative is always he-said-she-said. At one point Mulder tries to leave out embarrassing stuff from his story, but Scully immediately asks how he got so muddy.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Lampshaded by Scully who admits that vampires are supposed to be charming and seductive creatures. And her "hoo boy" crush of a sheriff surely was charming and seductive, and he was also a vampire!
  • Vampire Vannabe: A weird example as the wannabe was also a vampire.
  • Wastebasket Ball: Mulder apparently tries to start writing the report, but it is very hard. He tosses several pieces of paper into the bin.
  • Wham Line: While Scully and Sheriff Hartwell are talking in the car, he proceeds to apologize for Ronnie's actions, and how they make the other residents "look bad" (while Scully realizes he drugged her coffee):
    Hartwell: Old Ronnie, he just... he can't quite seem to grasp the concept of... low profile.
  • Wham Shot: Hartwell who so far is presented as a representative of local law enforcement and Scully's crush, turning to face Scully with glowing green eyes, which reveals that vampires are real after all and that he's an actual vampire as well while drugged and scared Scully sits in his car.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Ronnie is more than a little annoyed after Mulder tosses sunflower seeds at him:
    Ronnie: Oh, man! What'd you have to go and do that for? (bends down and begins picking them up; pauses to point at Mulder) You are in big trouble.
  • Your Vampires Suck: The clichés about vampires suck so very much. For what do we know, they might have created Ronnie's delusion and desire to role-play them.


Video Example(s):


The X-Files S05 E12

After Mulder realises that he's killed a fake vampire, his foul mouth is interrupted by the iconic intro.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CurseCutShort

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