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Jessica: C+ | Grade It Now!
Alone Again, Naturally

In the cellar, Doggett and his strong manly arms somehow manage to climb up the walls of the manhole. Sweaty climbing. Manly grunting. Sweaty climbing. Leyla stands on the ground and watches.

Mulder wanders around the unseasonably foggy woods.

Climbing. Grunting. Sweating.

Mulder wanders closer to the estate.

Pulling. Groaning. Dripping.

Mulder finds the track in the lawn left by Leyla's body. He's about to follow it into the woods when he's approached by the beady-eyed Herman Stites. Mulder smiles falsely and asks Stites whether he's seen anything "unusual" around the place. Like, for example, a large, man-drinking LizardMan?

Doggett is almost at the top of the manhole tunnel when he kicks out a wine bottle and almost loses his footing. He manages to hold on with the tips of his fingers, so close to the top! So close. So close to Mulder and evil, evil Stites.

"I didn't catch a name, Agent," Stites spits. He's so very beady-eyed and suspicious. "Kersh. Alvin Kersh," Mulder snarks. And how funny would it have been if Mulder actually began to imitate Kersh. Let's pretend he does, shall we? Stites explains that he's a biologist. And that's why he knows that animals generally don't carry men off into the woods. Mulder tells him that he doesn't think the culprit is any animal, but, rather, a man using animal venom. A smart man. Smart like a biologist. "Are you accusing me of something, Mr. Kersh?" Stites spits. "No. I'm just thinking out loud, Mr. Stites." Mulder stalks off toward the woods. Stites makes a "foiled!" face.

Doggett reaches the top of the manhole and pushes off the lid. Although the legs walking toward him look like Mulder's, they belong to Stites. There's a bad stroke of luck. Doggett peers blindly upward and grunts that he could use a hand. And so Stites grinds his foot down onto poor Doggett's poor hand as hard as he can until poor Doggett yelps and falls all the way back down the rabbit hole, poor baby. Leyla feels her way over to him. "I lost my grip, with a little help from the man upstairs," Doggett explains, as he pulls himself off the ground and dusts himself off. Stites, above them, begins covering up the manhole. The agents shout impotently. "Why would he want to keep us down here?" Leyla wonders. "You wanted to face the unknown, Agent Harrison. Well, you're facing it now," Doggett grumps. But you can't blame him; he's fallen down that damn tunnel six or seven times. And nary a broken bone! Doggett must drink a big glass of milk every night before he turns in, to keep his manly bones so strong. He hypothesizes that Stites is some kind of scientist. An evil scientist. "It could be some kind of symbiotic relationship between this man and the creature," Harrison says thoughtfully. "Mulder and Scully --" she begins. "Mulder and Scully aren't here," Doggett barks. "We are. And speculation isn't going to help us find the way out." Leyla's face falls a little bit. She wonders, sadly, whether Doggett thinks she's foolish. On the contrary, Doggett says, he appreciates her enthusiasm, but, he says, she's making leaps in logic not supported by the facts. He leaves her to look for a way out of the wine cellar, with stern instructions to shoot LizardMan if it gets anywhere near her. He's almost out of earshot when Leyla calls him back. Gandolnotfini? Gone.

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