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Recap / The X-Files S08 E09 "Salvage"

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Season 8, Episode 09:

Salvage

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thexfilessalvage.png
"His blood has enough metal alloy in it to... uh... poison an elephant."
Written by Jeffrey Bell
Directed by Rod Hardy

Dr. Puvogel: We immediately shut down the project. But it was too late. [Dr. Clifton] didn't have any family. His work was his life. He wanted to leave us to continue working on the science.
Doggett: And leave you to ship this barrel and his body to Southside Salvage where it infected somebody else.
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Ray Pearce (Wade Williams), a salvage yard worker, goes on a revenge rampage after being transformed into living metal by thoughtlessly-disposed-of Applied Phlebotinum.


Tropes:

  • Ax-Crazy: The transformed Ray Pearce.
  • Body Horror: Ray becomes increasingly a machine throughout the episode until he's unrecognizable.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ray manages to regain enough of his humanity to not go through with murdering the accountant in front of his family, but in the end is Driven to Suicide.
  • Cutting the Knot: When Ray is locked inside a metal chamber by Dr. Puvogel and armed police, he initially hits the front door, leaving four dents and no way to get out through there. What does he do? Hit the back wall, which would be weaker due to it being near the building's weaker walls. This allows him to escape.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Ray steadily loses his humanity to the metal, though ultimately is able to defy this and stop himself from killing a man.
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  • Driven to Suicide: Ray ultimately lets Owen Harris go, the accountant who unintentionally shipped the deadly container which got him infected when he sees Owen has his wife and a kid in the car. He willingly chooses to lie in a car crusher, finally ending his suffering.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Ray tragically, in trying to quiet up Larina while hiding from the police Ray accidentally grips her face too hard and kills her.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Averted. He could, and he does at the end.
  • Implacable Man: Ray is unstoppable in his quest for revenge.
  • Made of Iron: More like made of metal, too. While Ray doesn't have shock absorption from shotguns, he has a handy healing factor to make up for that. Meaning that he can get through any obstacle, all for the sake of his revenge.
    Scully: Agent Doggett, the man that we're speaking about withstood impact from a speeding car and two shotgun blasts at short range. Even if we can find him, who's to say we can stop him?
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  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: Starts out with a car being almost cleaved in half after running into someone.
  • Revenge by Proxy: The people Ray is killing did not directly cause him to become a metal man but he considers them responsible and goes after them.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In the end the only person capable of stopping Ray through the episode is himself.
  • Shout-Out: Many of them to The Terminator. Ray Pearce could well be a tribute to the T-800 or T-1000. Lampshaded, ironically, by Agent Doggett:
    "What are you saying, Ray Pearce has become some kind of metal man? 'Cause that only happens in the movies, Agent Scully."
  • Tragic Villain: Being inadvertently exposed to a metal turns Ray steadily into a machine, consumed by a desire for revenge and losing his humanity. Ultimately he is unable to go through with finishing his revenge, sparing the last victim and escaping to commit suicide and end his agony.

"Unless what drove Ray to kill is also what saved those people. Some flicker of humanity."
 
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The X-Files S08 E09

Don't smoke and drive, or you'll hit a man on the street. But this man isn't ordinary...

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