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Recap / The X-Files S08 E05 "Invocation"

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Season 8, Episode 05:

"Did anybody notice this? This symbol?"
Written by David Amann
Directed by Richard Compton

"Yes, he's a kid, Agent Doggett, you're right. He's a kid who materialized out of thin air, unaged. Do you not somehow recognize how strange this is?"
Dana Scully

Scully and Doggett investigate when a child reappears ten years after going missing, not looking a day older.


  • Actor Allusion: Doggett (Played by Robert Patrick) determinedly chasing down a fleeing car on foot.
  • Agent Mulder: Scully is particularly exasperated in this episode by Doggett's stubborn refusal to acknowledge how strange the entire case is.
  • Agent Scully: Doggett to a ridiculous degree, dismissing a professional psychic who somehow knew about his dead son and had a seizure from coming in contact with Billy. When Scully asks him about the symbol that appeared on the woman's head from thin air he dismisses it as a 'damn good trick'. To say nothing of how much he dismisses how strange everything is, like a boy not aging after ten years.
  • Arc Symbol: Five lines pointing to the vertexes of a pentagon.
  • Cowboy Cop: Doggett has shades of this in the episode, due to the personal nature of child abduction to him.
  • Creepy Child: Billy Underwood. He may not even be a child but a spirit trying to help the cops find his killer.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Sparky the family German Shepherd knows there's something deeply wrong with Billy.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The first shot is this, showing the rotating Arc Symbol on moving horses at a fair. It turns out the person who kidnapped Billy was the person in charge of the horses attraction on that day.
    • Doggett's involvement in this case is being driven by his own son's kidnapping and murder.
  • Nice Guy: Despite his tough exterior Doggett reveals this side of himself in dealing with Billy and when he realizes Ronnie was a victim instead of the perpetrator.
  • Paedohunt: It is implied that Cal Jeppy (Jim Cody Williams) has at least molested Ronnie Purnell and Billy Underwood and killed Billy. He also almost gets to Billy's brother Josh but fails.
  • Papa Wolf: What Doggett is revealed to be in this case, child abduction being especially personal towards him from experience.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Averted. Doggett insists on treating Billy Underwood's reappearance as a standard child kidnapping, even though Scully keeps pointing out the strangeness of the case. Doggett, however, succeeds in resolving the case.

Doggett: Agent Scully, don't ask me to believe that this is some kind of justice from beyond the grave.
Scully: All I'm saying is that maybe you succeeded... whether you're willing to see that or not.