One of the crewmen shines a flashlight through a slot
in the box and
beam settles on a set of glowing vermilion
eyes. The creature attached
those eyes doesn't appreciate a
high-powered flashlight beam shined into its retinas,
so it lunges at
Startled, the crewmen jump back. The dumpster shakes as
within unleashes its homicidal fury. The violent
rocking stops and
looks cross the crewmen's faces. Thinking the animal
has killed itself they
decide to do something Very Dumb. They unlock the
dumpster, open the
reinforced lid and peer inside. Anyone
who's watched a horror
movie knows you never, EVER do something like this.
The scene cuts to the next day. The T'ein Kou
safely docks in San
California and the local police arrive at the request
of the ship's
Two crewmen have disappeared and the tazmanian devil
housed in the
hasn't moved in a long, long time. The captain and two
met in the ship's hold by Ian Detweiler, the perturbed
owner of the
formerly-snarling "cargo." Detweiler isn't happy with
the state of his
dumpster -- blood is pooling around its edges. The
captain unlocks the
crate and Detweiler peers inside. Piled in a corner are
the two missing
crewmen. Their throats have been ripped out by
something with powerful
and pointy teeth.
Powerful jaws and pointy teeth always attract
the attention of Mulder
"3" for an example), and this case is no different. A
few days after
T'ein Kou gnawing incident, Mulder is studying pictures
from the crime
while relaxing in the chaotic coziness of the X-files
office is taking on its previous look: photos and
papers are strewn on
desk and across the walls. The only thing missing is
the "I Want to
Believe" poster (hint, hint). Scully drops in to see what
Mulder is up to and
explains the details of this new case. According to the
"cargo" in the metal dumpster was a dog and that dog is
the two crewmen. But that's not the reason Mulder is
were found locked inside the dumpster, which means the
dog is a canine
Houdini. Scully scans the report and sees that the
cause of death is
recorded as a bite. Her "Sceptic Alarm" sounds and she
don't die from dog bites, they die from the blood loss
resulting from the bite. If the creature were a shark
or a velociraptor
maybe the report would be correct, but a dog couldn't
inflict this kind
injury. Mulder tosses her pertinent forensic evidence
aside -- he has
a source who assures him a dog is the culprit.
Wanna guess who's
While Mulder and Scully prepare to investigate, the
killer puppy is
its next victims in Bellflower, California. A customs
agent has retired
his modest home in the suburbs but his peaceful evening
is disturbed by
spooked golden retriever. The man opens the back door
and sees the
silhouette of a wolf-like creature on the opposite side
of a fence
his yard. He drags his dog (Jo-Jo) inside then rushes
toward the fence
shoo White Fang away. Apparently his shooing did the
trick for when he
reaches the fence the dog has disappeared. Returning
inside, the agent
Jo-Jo lying beneath a desk in the living room. Jo-Jo is
probably because she's been killed by the wolf standing
in the doorway.
Jo-Jo's owner has little time to mourn the passing of
his beloved dog
because the wolf has designs on turning him into a
hamburger patty. The
creature's eyes light up and sadistically
snarls, showing off a lovely set of blood-stained teeth. The wolf lunges, the man screams and it's a good
bet there'll be
less customs agent reporting for work in the morning.
Mulder and Scully take the red-eye to California and
arrive at the
just before 8 a.m. Down in the ship's hold they meet
with Jeffrey Cahn,
investigating officer from Animal Control. Based on the
lack of dog
present on the ship, Cahn has determined that the dog
has left the
This keen piece of evidence is the extent of his
the perturbed owner of the dog, approaches and
frantically tells Mulder
Scully that someone has stolen his "specimen."
Detweiler is a
cryptozoologist, which means he spends his time
tromping through remote
areas looking for animals thought to be extinct. In a
tweed-wearing, academic demeanor he explains that the
dog in the box
Wanshang Dhole (pronounced "Dole") -- an asian dog believed to be extinct
for 150 years.
Mulder's synapses fire and he rattles off a series of facts
about the Dhole that impresses Detweiler. Before the
men can settle in
lengthy discussion on extinct creatures an officer
announces that a dog
attack has been called in from the nearby town of
The agents travel to the home of Jake Conroy -- the
the night before by the snarling beast. The bite marks
left on Conroy
those of the crewmen on the Chinese freighter, so the
dealing with the same animal. Once again, the cunning
dog has performed
magic trick -- the house was locked, yet the dog
managed to escape.
this, Mulder intuitively knows they're dealing with
more than just a
dog; this bugger has the ability to think and plan. Scully
does her best to
contain her scepticism and asks, if such a creature
exists, how do they
it? Mulder could have used this opportunity to break
out his Sherlock
impersonation, saying: "Elementary, my dear Scully. You
find an animal
this sort by enlisting the help of a human who
an animal." Had he attempted this impersonation it's
have broken his nose with a right hook. Nonetheless,
Mulder and Scully
off to see a woman who thinks like an animal.
In a remarkable twist of fate, this animal-thinker
lives nearby. Karin
Berquist is a reclusive canine expert who spends her
days in a poorly-lit
Mulder and Scully are shown to Berquist's study, where
they wait for
arrive. Scully scans the room and sees that
Berquist and Mulder
something in common -- tacked to a wall is the rare "I
Want to Believe"
poster. Before Scully can properly tease her partner, a
with a trail of dogs in tow. The dogs rush toward
chairs and pillows
obediently settle themselves as the woman -- Berquist
-- draws the
and further darkens the already murky room. Seeing that
with their presence, Mulder quickly asks her about the
canines. Berquist claims that canines are smarter than
they don't murder, they only kill when necessary.
Scully inquires about
Wanshang Dhole and Berquist curtly says the Dhole has
been extinct for
years. With that, she departs and she takes her doggies
with her too.
in the office, Scully asks Mulder how he knows Berquist
explains that they met online. Berquist is the source who
tipped him to this case. Scully's look clearly says "My
partner is a
Later that night, an animal control officer searching
for the missing
stumbles on a picked-over dumpster. An animal digging
through trash isn't
unusual, but it's rare when it hides evidence from an
they work for the LAPD). Amidst the piles of rotten
food, the officer
the missing, severed hand of Jake Conroy -- the customs
previous night. As the officer looks at his gruesome
find, a dog
across the concrete, darting into a nearby building.
The officer follows, entering into
subterranean hallway. The lights are dim, the shadows
are long and a
mist hovers over the floor. This
is clearly a place where
stuff happens, but the officer disregards the signs and
search. He's startled when a man appears behind him.
The man is
the room's mist. As the human form approaches it
starts to shrink and
Suddenly it morphs into a wolf. The now-familiar
vermilion eyes shine
the Dhole's snarls echo through the dank room. The
Dhole lunges and
turns the officer into a crime scene.
For those of you scoring at home that's Dhole: 4,
The dreary crime scene's misty corridors and dark walls
Scully with the same power as the Deathstar's tractor
beam. For some
they can't avoid places that are poorly lit. Creepy
settings aside, the
visits the subterranean hallway the next morning,
where they're met by
Jeffrey Cahn. Cahn's restrained demeanor has disappeared --
the most recent
was a friend of his and now he's ready to trade
bullets. He rushes off just as Karin Berquist walks in.
been feeling saucy when she woke up because she's ventured outside to lend Mulder a hand. Scully walks off to
analyze the crime scene
Mulder and Berquist discuss the case.
Mulder explains that the Dhole's four victims were all
odd trait for a canine. Dogs don't kill for sport,
Berquist says, their
motives are direct. In this case the Dhole is killing
for the sake of
killing, which makes it unpredictable. Detweiler
approaches, butting into the conversation without introducing himself to Berquist.
Mulder ignores this social faux pas and learns from Detweiler
that he and his
tracking party originally snared the Dhole with
he caught it once he can catch it again. Berquist
Detweiler -- her heightened doggy senses finger him as
a bad man.
Thankfully, she doesn't resort to other dog
Detweiler walks off and the scene shifts to a nearby construction site.
Cahn is standing beside his jeep, speaking with another
Something is watching Cahn. It slinks behind wooden
closer toward the unknowing officer. The creature
sprints forward and
spins around, sensing something approaching. The
creature is Detweiler.
eyes are wild and his words make his message very
clear: "If you kill
dog, I kill you." You have to admire a man gets
point, even if that point is psychotic.
The rantings of a crazed cryptozoologist matter little
to Mulder and
The agents' attention is focused on evidence Berquist
gathered at the
scene. Entrenched in Berquist's perpetually-dark study,
the Dog Woman
Mulder and Scully computer-enhanced copies of the
Dhole's paw prints.
Canines have four toes but the Dhole has a fifth.
Mulder is enthralled
this development, so enthralled he touches the computer
hand rests on and guides the arrow
across the screen. Berquist
thoughtfully at the spot where they're touching. Scully
cranes her neck
notices that Berquist is paying verrrry close attention
Mulder, however, has no clue. He's too absorbed in the
creature having a prehensile toe. Berquist snaps
back to reality
says that a fifth toe could potentially explain the Dhole's ability to enter and exit closed buildings. Scully goes on the attack,
The previous day Berquist doubted the existence of the
Dhole, yet here
is, saying it can go in and out of buildings and kill
people at will.
Berquist quietly counters, explaining that Chinese myth paints the
Dhole as an evil
trickster. Scully's lips purse and she promptly leaves the room.
Mulder finds his partner waiting in the car and she's noticeably ticked. Scully believes Berquist lured
Mulder to California
she could meet him. The whole thing is a
warped version of
Got Mail." Mulder, the clueless wonder, doesn't believe
At 9:21 p.m., Detweiler arrives at the Riley Animal
Clinic. A lovable
Bernard named Duke flips out when the anal
cryptozoologist enters the
reception area. The keen St. Bernard is dragged out the
door by his
and Detweiler gets down to business. With the fervor of
a junkie, he
James Riley, the veterinarian, for tranquilizers. Being
a doctor gives
Detweiler access to such things, so the vet hands over
Detweiler rushes out.
Riley, the vet, walks into his clinic's examination
room to close for
evening. He greets his canine patients, checks the
flips off the light. Suddenly, the caged dogs wildly yelp and
Riley sees the Dhole approach. The beast's eyes glare
and his angry
are a clear indicator he's hungry. The vet
scampers off, successfully
escaping the room and locking the Dhole inside.
Animal control arrives and a team of officers storm the
four-legged creature zips across the floor and the
the target. Unfortunately, it's not the Dhole -- it's
Duke the St.
How Duke found his way into the examination room is a
he was taken away by his owner when Detweiler arrived.
Mulder and Scully reach the clinic and learn that the Dhole wasn't captured. Inside, Riley is almost finished tending to Duke. The big dog's prognosis is good, but Riley's outlook for a long, happy life isn't likely.
building and hears screams from the examination room.
With her pistol
she rushes into the exam room. Duke is still on the operating table but
Riley is now
floor, his throat ripped from its rightful place.
Mulder and Scully
to call the paramedics. Once they leave, Duke magically
morphs into the
Dhole. The cunning puppy jumps from the examination
table and heads
night. He's ready to boogie.
Scully is ready to do some boogying of another kind.
Alone, she visits
Berquist at her home and calls her bluff. Scully knows
Lupus -- a disease that makes her sensitive to light
and keeps her
to dark places. Scully also knows that Berquist has a
thing for Mulder.
her polite, no-nonsense way, Scully basically says:
"I'm on to you Wolf
Woman! One wrong move and I'll turn you into a steaming
pile of Alpo!"
While Scully grills Berquist, Mulder digs around the
He finds the prescription receipt for Detweiler's
in touch with Officer Cahn and asks that he meet him at
hops in his Jeep, but his trip is cut short by the
the back seat.
For some reason, the Dhole doesn't finish Cahn off. The officer
taken to the hospital where Mulder visits him the next
into Cahn's room and is surprised to see Detweiler
sitting beside the
watching over the unconscious patient. Mulder hauls
Detweiler to his
and lays into the smarmy cryptozoologist. Using his uncanny paranormal skills, Mulder has put the pieces together. He knows Detweiler morphs into the
Dhole when night falls. He also knows the
tranquilizers he obtained
Riley's clinic were meant to stop the killing, but they obviously didn't work. The
truth coming from Mulder's mouth wrinkles Detweiler's
face. If the sun
setting, Mulder would be a good candidate for
of "When Animals Attack." But the sun is up and
to walk off.
In the hospital hallway, Berquist (doing her best
with a big floppy hat and loose-fitting clothing)
telling him she won't protect him any longer. Mulder
spots the pair and
Berquist rushes off.
Witnessing the hallway pow-wow between Berquist and Detweiler, Mulder realizes it's time to confront the Dog Lady. He
travels to her dark
and she admits she looked forward to meeting him, but she also had an interest in the case. From the beginning
she knew a dog
couldn't commit a premeditated murder, but she didn't realize that
Detweiler was the
until she met him. Her love for canines kept her from
information. She believed the Dhole -- Detweiler's
Dhole -- was the
its kind. Killing it would eradicate the species. But
now she sees that
Dhole as an animal is gone. Detweiler is possessed by a
the Dhole is a manifestation, not a real animal. Now that he's not on the endangered species list, Berquist says Detweiler has to be put down. Finding him should be simple because his behavior is territorial. It's likely he'll return to Cahn's hospital room to eliminate the threat.
Based on Berquist's conclusion, Mulder and Scully stake out Cahn's room.
Scully continues to doubt Berquist's intentions, but
Berquist is right -- Detweiler will come back to finish
started the night before. At 2 a.m. Mulder realizes
he's been duped.
Detweiler's threat isn't Cahn, it's Berquist. She's the
one who knows
he truly is, so she's the one he'll pursue.
Unfortunately for Berquist, Mulder's discovery comes a
little too late.
While doing her nocturnal chores, Berquist sees the
Dhole zip across
yard. She methodically walks to her study and arms
herself with a
tranquilizer gun. The Dhole appears in
Berquist stands in front of a window, clutching the gun. The Dhole's
flare, its teeth gnash.. Berquist's expression
hardens and she sets
gun down. "Come on dog," she says, "come on." The Dhole
lunges. Glass shatters as both dog and Dog Lady explode
and fall two stories to the ground.
Mulder and Scully arrive moments later and they find
two dead humans in
Berquist's yard. Detweiler is impaled on a fence and
Berquist is lying
heap a few feet away. The Dhole is done.
Sometime later, back at the X-files office, Mulder
quietly mulls over
Dhole case. He's angry with himself; he unconditionally believed Berquist
he didn't even know her. Scully, in her rational way,
tells him to let
go. As she walks out she hands him a packing tube that
arrived in the
The package was sent to Mulder from Berquist Kennels
and inside is a
curled sheet. Mulder unfolds the item and tacks it on
the wall behind
desk. He settles into his chair, looking at the
freshly-hung "I Want to
Believe" poster. It's a quiet moment but it represents
a redemption of
sort. Mulder and Scully have reclaimed what was
rightfully theirs: the
poster is the final piece.
And there you have it: a simple story of a murdering
dog, a reclusive
expert and the desire all of us have to make a
connection. Only the
could mix these radically different ingredients.
Note: This review originally appeared at Ontap.com. It's reprinted here for archival purposes.