During those wondrous times of the 1950's, Bill Mulder and his buddy, the Cigarette Smoking Man, worked for the government while covertly advancing the agenda of a sinister organization. Part of their plotting involved interviewing witnesses to odd phenomena. In 1953, the two men, accompanied by some pansy hauling an ancient reel-to-reel tape recorder, interviewed a radiation-scarred crew member of the submarine Zeus Faber (see "Piper Maru"). The Faber was supposed to recover a downed nuclear warhead, but the sub's captain went nuts and a mutiny ensued. As if that wasn't bad enough, an oily alien substance infiltrated the ship and killed most of its inhabitants.
The crewman claimed that the radiation was spread by this mysterious oily substance, not from an exposed nuclear core. The dying victim asks Bill Mulder to find the highly-viscostic beast and destroy it. CSM takes a long drag on an unfiltered Morley and gives his word that the demon will be killed. He sounded sincere, but we all know how reliable CSM is.
The scene switches back to modern times as Scully rushes to a D.C. hospital to check on her recently-shot boss. Skinner's in bad shape -- a bullet to the gut will do that to you -- but the big lug will survive. Between waves of pain the ailing AD tells Scully that he recognized the man who shot him. Scully wrinkles her chin as her internal conspiracy alarm sounds. The plot thickens...
Meanwhile, Mulder and his long-lost buddy Krycek reach D.C. after a lovely flight from Hong Kong. Undoubtedly the two used the time to catch up on shared acquaintances, but as soon as they land Mulder switches into ass-kicking revenge mode. Krycek is unable to appreciate Mulder's barbed one-liners because he's under alien control.
As the men drive along, Mulder notices a dark sedan following them. It's night and the sedan is trailing without its lights on, but before they can escape, the menacing vehicle forces Mulder and Krycek off the road. Mulder cracks his head on the windshield and passes out. Two secret agents in trench coats surround Mulder's car and drag Krycek to an underpass, presumably to off the back-stabbing Ratboy, but Krycek unveils his supernova killing abilities and eradicates both agents. Mulder gains consciousness only to see a bright light, then lapses back into an unpeaceful slumber.
The next morning, Scully pays a visit to her favorite admirer -- Agent Pendrell. Danny has been primping himself for her arrival, but in between a shower and shave he found time to study DNA evidence found at the site of Skinner's shooting. The evidence points to Skinner's attacker so Scully finally has something to go on. She leaves and Agent Pendrell pouts. His Scully crush is once again unrequited.
Scully visits the hospital -- again -- but this time she's checking on her windshield-smacking partner. Mulder, who's finally conscious, describes his Asian odyssey and his unexpected visit with Alex Krycek. Unfortunately, Scully has no time to talk about Ratboy for she's hot on the trail of the man who shot Skinner. Her own digging has revealed that Skinner's shooter is the same bandit that killed her sister Melissa.
In New York City the dirty old men of the Syndicate gather to watch Pauly Shore videos and discuss the dead crew of the Piper Maru. Why was a French salvage ship sniffing around a top-secret UFO crash site? How could such information be leaked? Why was "Biodome" ever made? These are troubling questions and they all point toward Alex Krycek (yes, even "Biodome"). Ratboy is now public-enemy number one in the eyes of the Syndicate.
Scully is STILL at the hospital, but at least this time she isn't the one in bed. Skinner is awake and his prognosis is good so Scully briefs him on her DNA findings. Her boss isn't surprised to learn that his shooter is the same guy who shot Melissa. Skinner recognized the bastard as Krycek's partner. Skinner was attacked by both men in a previous episode (see "Paper Clip") and they had run off with an important digital tape. Scully sees that Krycek is the missing link, so she sets out to find the smarmy fool.
Back at the X-files office, Scully walks in to find an enormous yellow diving suit displayed in the middle of the room. Mulder, who has recovered from his accident, tells her that he had it sent to DC for tests. He explains that the film found covering the suit and later, the diver, is 50-weight diesel oil -- the same oil used on the downed plane and the submarine Zeus Faber. Mulder hypothesizes that the enhanced Quaker State is used by the alien force as a medium. It has the ability to "body jump," which is disconcerting since it will be that much harder to apprehend. Scully does her best to prevent an eye-roll, but she caves and Mulder looks kind of sheepish. Nonetheless, he's figured out that Krycek has the alien in him, so now Mulder is part of the search for the elusive Alex Krycek.
The only lead Mulder has is a locker key Krycek gave him before he ran off. The locker supposedly contains the secret digital tape. Since Mulder is so conspicuous (it must be the nose) he enlists the help of the Lone Gunmen. The locker is located at an ice rink, so the boys strap on some skates and use advanced evasion techniques to open the locker without being spotted. They're successful, but the package they grabbed is full of nothing.
So where is the digital tape? It lands on Cancer Man's sparse coffee table and Krycek is right behind it. Ratboy has dropped by CSM's spartan lair to make a deal -- the oilien inside him wants to go home. Cancer Man, being a resourceful kind of guy, knows how to handle this. The oilien wants to be reunited with its ship -- the same ship the French were searching for -- so CSM sets a plan in motion.
In the midst of preparing the oilien's travel itinerary, CSM is called before the Syndicate. The old boys want to know why Skinner was shot. Actually, they couldn't care less that Skinner was almost killed, they want to know why CSM's assassin was the shooter. Cancer Boy claims that his man, Luis Cardinal (one of the few evil characters to have a first and last name), acted on his own.
At the same time, Scully and a team of other agents have used the DNA evidence to identify Cardinal. So now Luis has CSM and Scully on his tail, and either way he's a goner.
At the Long Gunmen's hideout Mulder and the boys are able to grab a phone number off of the empty envelope they lifted from the ice-rink locker. Mulder dials and miles away in lovely New York City the Syndicate's phone rings. The only member still hanging around is the Well-Manicured Man, which is convenient since WMM is in a mood to talk shop with Mulder. The two men meet a few hours later in Central Park and for some strange reason WMM tells Mulder about the downed UFO they salvaged from the ocean floor. Mulder bluffs and says he knows what killed the crews of the Zeus Faber and the Piper Maru, but WMM doesn't bite. So the meeting turns out to be worthless and Mulder is suddenly stuck in the middle of Central Park at night.
Mulder has one of those "feelings" so he calls Scully and tells her to check on Skinner at the hospital. Something is amiss. Scully, who's learned to trust Mulder's intuition, arrives at Skinner's room and learns that he's being transferred by ambulance to a different location. She tracks the ambulance down on the streets of D.C., jumps in the back and watches over her boss (what she did with her own car is anyone's guess). The ambulance stops at a light and Scully hears a noise at the back door. She swings it open and is almost sent to the hereafter by a bullet from Luis Cardinal's gun. Luis tries to escape, but Scully -- who can run the 40 in four seconds -- catches him in an alley and comes within a centimeter of blowing his head off. Cardinal pleads for his life and the only thing that saves him is his knowledge of Krycek's location.
After cooling down and putting her homicidal urges to rest, Scully calls Mulder and tells him about her apprehension of Cardinal. Apparently, Krycek is headed toward an abandoned missile site in North Dakota, which also happens to be the home of the salvaged UFO.
The agents reunite and take a trip to the exotic tundra of North Dakota, where they begin a search of abandoned missile silos. Their investigation is interrupted by a platoon of well-armed soldiers who take them away. Cancer Man shows up and Mulder spits all kind of phrases at him like: "You'll never get away with this!", "You can't hide the truth!" and "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!" CSM is unimpressed, but he feels the need to take a trip below-ground to silo 1013.
On the other side of 1013's metal door, Krycek is perched atop the UFO. Black oil is dripping from every facial orifice and he's screaming in pain. The oil coagulates then disappears into the ship and Krycek, who is suddenly back to his old self, realizes that he's trapped in the silo. Cancer Man hears his screams, but Ratboy won't be rescued.
Back in D.C. a few days later, Skinner visits with Mulder in the X-files office. Mulder thanks him for standing up to the Syndicate and continuing the search for Melissa Scully's killer. Skinner gives him that puckered look and says he's got some bad news. Luis Cardinal won't be making a court appearance -- not alive at least. The assassin was found dead in his cell. Scully received her vengeance, but not the kind she was looking for.
Note: This review originally appeared at Ontap.com. It's reprinted here for archival purposes.