"Just six episodes left," the Manly Announcer guy yells at the beginning of this episode. At this, the Mulder action figure tosses aside the cardboard top of his shoebox office and sticks his head out angrily. "I can't believe I'm not back on the goddamned show yet," he yells. "What the hell is going on here? Where am I? What could possibly be taking me so long at the store?" I shrug. What do you tell an action figure that's taken up pumping iron and constructing detailed profiles of the other action figures in the household that could have kidnapped his plastic counterpart? Just yesterday, I walked in on him interrogating my ceramic Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead, who was eventually cleared of all suspicion when the Mulder realized that Fernando doesn't have fully poseable limbs.
Fairhope, Pennsylvania. Fade in on a child's room, covered in crayon drawings. A little boy lies on his back in bed and stares at the ceiling. Okay, we're less than a minute in and I'm calling it: he's evil. Heart-shaped face, unblinking blue eyes: evil. A branch scratches at his bedroom window as the Piano of Dude, The Kid is So Totally Evil tinkles in the background. The boy closes his eyes, but opens them a moment later with a loud gasp. He sits up and looks around. Nothing. He looks at his reflection in a mirror hanging opposite his bed. Nothing. He looks under the bed. Nothing. There's a faint crunching noise, and the kid calls for his father. "Tommy, what is it?" his father says, poking his head in the room. Tommy calmly tells his dad -- let's call him Jeffrey, for that is his name and I'm all out of clever monikers this week -- that he heard something under the bed. Jeffrey trudges over and looks under the bed. Nothing. Not even a dust bunny. Man, any monster under my bed would never be able to find its way out from among all the old issues of The New Yorker; crushed, dusty sneakers; dyed-to-match pumps from every wedding I've even been in; and folded, water-damaged paperback copies of true crime novels and the selected works of Judith Krantz. As Jeffrey straightens up, something skitters along under the bed. It looks like a cat. Or, at the very least, it's the size of a cat. "All clear," Jeffrey says. Tommy yelps that he saw something in the mirror. "Tommy, it's just your imagination," Jeffrey tells him. He leaves, closing the door tightly. Tommy rolls over. There's a loud crunching nose, and Tommy sits up and begins to scream. "It's in here!" he hollers. He races over to his door and rattles the knob. Out in the hallway, Jeffrey is holding the door shut. Tommy screams hysterically.