The X-Files: Ice
(S01E08) The teaser at the beginning of this episode is excellent. We're up in Alaska, at the Arctic Ice Core Project where the scientists are either dead or out of their minds. One guy is shirtless and bloody and he transmits a message to HQ, repeating, "We're not who we are.". He's attacked by another guy. They wrestle, point guns at each other, and then end up killing themselves.
For some reason, Mulder and Scully are assigned to the case. As Mulder says, "Obviously they think we're either brilliant or expendable." They watch archived video of the scientists from a week before that shows them celebrating because they drilled deeper into the ice core than anyone before them (my warning signals go off right here). The scientists, by the way, are studying the history of the earth's climate. The agents have three days to get in and out of the crime scene before the next big storm arrives. The meet some more scientists in Alaska, one of them played by the brilliant Felicity Huffman, where one very paranoid medical doctor who asks everybody to show credentials. My X-Files radar goes off at this point, too.
The team arrives in the bunker to discover dead bodies, ice cores, and an angry dog that ends up biting Bear, the pilot. The dog doesn't have rabies, but it does have black nodules and swollen lymph nodes and something crawling beneath its skin. Immediately, Bear discovers he also has black nodules under his armpit but he's in the privacy of a bathroom and chooses not to tell anyone.
The group of investigators discovers an organism deep in the ice and it's the same organism that is in the blood of the victims. They realize they could be infected and take steps to quarantine themselves, when Bear goes ballistic. He refuses to give a stool sample and cracks a jar over Mulder's head. The agents tackle him and that's when they see some sort of creature crawling under Bear's skin. The medical doctor cuts open Bear's neck to retrieve the little worm, which spews what ends up being a poisonous black oil, but Bear dies. Mulder radios for quarantine procedure and evacuation but he learns they're stuck because of bad weather.
When Scully is up late trying to find a way to kill the worm, Mulder reveals his theory about how the organism got on earth in the first place. The ice sheet that the scientists were drilling into is on top of a meteor crash site. He thinks, because the organism needs ammonia to survive, that it may be from another frozen planet. They end up arguing over it and the other scientists get suspicious of Scully's temper. They split up, men and women, to look for black nodules on each other's bodies. Everyone is clear so they go to bed, but not before Mulder issues an imminent warning, "The spots on the dog went away."
Mulder gets up in the middle of the night and opens a freezer to find the geologist with his throat slit. The other members of the team find Mulder with the dead guy and even Scully suspects that he's infected. The agents end up pointing guns at each other and Scully locks Mulder away. Still suspicious of each other, Scully throws her ammunition into the snow so that no one is armed with a gun.
By experimenting with the worm, the team discovers that two worms in one host will kill each other. The two remaining non-FBI members of the team insist on putting a worm in Mulder, whom they are convinced is infected. Scully talks him into coming out of lock-up and tells the team that he's not infected. The the doctor and the toxicologist pull a fast one, locking Scully in the room and holding down Mulder. As he's preparing to put the worm in Mulder's ear, the medical doctor sees that the toxicologist is the one who is infected. They chase her around the bunker and put the worm in her ear and she's no longer infected.
At the end, Mulder insists on returning to the Arctic site but learns that the government has already torched the place. He knows the worm is still there, two million years deep in the ice.
This is a spectacular episode. We revisit the aliens-on-earth, or Mythology, theme but it's not cut-and-dried. Not even for the viewers. It could be government cover up. It could be aliens. We never know.