Orison

Written by Chip Johannessen. Directed by Rob Bowman

Summary by Shannon


Internal dating: None. Airdate: January 9, 2000.

Teaser: A man we later learn is Reverend Orison leads a chapel service in a prison, exhorting his congregation of inmates to believe that God loves them and forgives them of their sins. As he walks through the group, he stops before several of the men, asking them directly if they believe God loves them and will save them. The first, a Hispanic man, answers positively, smiling, but as Orison approaches the next, we see that it is Donnie Pfaster, the death fetishist who capture Scully during an investigation five years ago.

Pfaster stares down Orison, not answering when asked if he believes in God. Orison tells him he'd better believe, then leads the group in a chorus of "Glory! Amen!" as he sprinkles them with holy water. As one of the prison guards watches the proceedings, the men stomp their feet in time with their cries -- except Pfaster, who remains motionless.

Later, the Hispanic man from the chapel scene is working in a factory setting inside the prison, operating a cutting machine on some kind of thick material (probably leather or vinyl). He is still repeating the "Glory! Amen!" chant and foot-stomping, quietly. Pfaster walks past, carrying a completed pair of pants, and is stopped by the guard from the chapel. The guard says the pants aren't "good enough for the Illinois penal system" and rips them apart. Before Pfaster can react, the Hispanic man screams out. Pfaster turns, and we see the man holding up his hands, bloody stumps where his fingers were; it appears that he has accidentally cut off his fingers on the machine he was operating.

The scene shifts into slow motion, from Pfaster's perspective. As the guards and other prisoners rush toward the injured man, moving in slow motion, Pfaster moves in real-time, walking past the scene, dodging a guard, and then tossing the destroyed pants over his shoulder and walking out.
 

Act 1: Scully is shown sleeping in her bed when a sudden gust of wind from her open windows startles her awake. She gets up and closes the windows, then reaches to collect some loose papers that were blown around. Her Bible sits next to the papers, undisturbed. She looks up at her clock, which reads "6:66." She walks over and picks it up, looking at it curiously, but it goes blank. Then, the lights come back on; the power had apparently gone out. When she looks back at the clock, it reads "6:06."

U.S. Penitentiary, Marion, Illinois. U.S. marshal Joe Daddo is telling Mulder and Scully about Pfaster's escape. He and Mulder discuss the agents' history with Pfaster. Throughout their conversation, Mulder keeps glancing over at Scully, who is looking at the case file. Daddo says he's heard they specialize in cases involving the supernatural; Mulder gives a small, tight smile. Scully, staring down at an eight by ten picture of Pfaster, then closes the file and hands it to Daddo. "I promise you that there is nothing supernatural about this man," she says. "Donnie Pfaster is just plain evil."

She walks out, ending up in the chapel room from the teaser, where phrases on the wall read "SHEEP GO TO HEAVEN; GOATS GO TO HELL" and other such phrases. She looks around, and then from a vent in the ceiling she hears a song playing. She listens intently for a few moments, but the tune is distant and the words garbled.

Mulder comes in and says she didn't even look at the file. She says a man escaped from prison, but Mulder says, "Not 'a man.' Donnie Pfaster. And he didn't just escape; he walked out. He walked out of a maximum security facility, and no one seems to know how he did it."

Scully: "Isn't that why we're here?"

Mulder: "That's why *I'm* here. I don't know about you. Why are you here?"

Scully is clearly uncomfortable, and Mulder gently tells her to go home. She says the case doesn't bother her, but Mulder's not convinced.

Mulder: "The man abducted you. Donnie Pfaster did a number on your head like I've never seen. It's okay to ... walk away."

Scully: "Mulder, that man does things to people that no one should have to think about. It's not a question of if I should stay. I don't have a choice."

She gives a tiny smile and adds, "So let's get to work."

Mulder tells her that this is the third time in a year that a prisoner has escaped in a similar manner. He says that Pfaster walked out at 6:06 that morning. Scully repeats the time, as if confirming it, then pulls back and asks, "What's so supernatural about that?" Mulder says that despite dozens of witnesses, no one remembers a thing. And neither of the other inmates has been found.

Mulder and Scully question the injured man from the teaser, only he's not injured -- all his fingers are intact. He says he's a Christian and that he doesn't know how Pfaster got out. Mulder asks how he explains that his fingers gone and now they're not, and he says, "God works in mysterious ways." Mulder smiles, then lifts his hand in front of him, palm up. The man begins the "Glory, Amen" chant, along with lifting his leg, in time with the raising and lowering of Mulder's hand. Scully watches.

In the hall outside, Mulder's excited, saying the movements were a post-hypnotic suggestion: "In this case, a rhythmic motion of the hands, producing an unconscious act of a conscious state." He repeats the hand motion as he says this; Scully stands, impassive.

Mulder: "Doesn't work on you."

Mulder thinks it's a result of group hypnosis; Scully disagrees, asking him how Pfaster would have learned it. Mulder says it's not Pfaster; that the prison chaplain has had possible access to all three of the men who have disappeared.

Scully is distracted when she again hears music drifting from a vent. She tells Mulder she hasn't heard that song since high school but had heard it twice in an hour. His response: "Well, I think if it was a makeout song, I think it'd be ruined forever now, huh?"

Harrisburg, PA, 12:52 p.m. Pfaster is in a bus terminal, looking around at the crowd, particularly at women. He goes into a diner and takes a booth, taking a long look at the smooth, polished nails on the fingers of the overweight waitress. Then a young woman slides into the seat opposite him. She's dirty and unkempt but obviously a prostitute, and she has red hair and messy fingernails, painted with blue polish that's peeling off. "You need a buff and polish," he says, which she apparently thinks is pretty weird. Pfaster tells her he just got out of prison, but she doesn't believe it. The waitress comes over and tries to run the girl off; Pfaster quickly says he'll do the nail job for free.

Suddenly a voice comes from over Pfaster's shoulder; it's Reverend Orison. He tells Pfaster that he got out by "the grace of God" and had better live up to it. As he's talking, U.S. marshals pull up outside. The girl, freaked out as she realizes Pfaster really *has* just left prison, leaves the booth.

Pfaster stands and confronts Orison, accusing him of calling the marshals on him. When Orison denies it, Pfaster says for him to "do something"; Orison replies, I have a car." He pulls out his keys, but Pfaster looks out at the marshals, getting out of their car.

Pfaster: "We're not going to *make* it to the car."

Orison: "It's within His power."

Daddo and several other marshals enter the diner and pull their weapons on Pfaster. Orison dangles his cross keychain from his fingers and starts saying "Glory, Amen." The scene goes into slow motion as the waitress screams; a man at the counter has made a grab for her. The marshals turn toward them as she douses the man with hot coffee; when they turn back, Pfaster and Orison are gone.

Outside, Pfaster runs down Orison with the car, then tries to back over him for good measure, but Orison rolls out of the way. Pfaster drives away, the prostitute in the car with him; Orison lies on the pavement, injured.

Act 2: Mulder and Scully arrive at the diner, where Daddo sits, stunned, in a booth. Mulder asks what happened, and Daddo says they aren't sure if they saw Pfaster or not. "Well, something happened here, huh?" he asks, and the waitress interjects with, "Guy got hit by a car." Mulder looks at Daddo, who says the man was the prison chaplain and was taken to the hospital.

Suddenly, Scully's attention is drawn away; she's hearing the song again, this time coming from the radio on the counter. She asks the waitress to turn it up and listens; for the first time, we hear the lyrics clearly, and the chorus says, "Don't look any further" (the title of the song).

At the hospital, Scully questions Orison, who repeatedly speaks in Scripture and other Biblical references, saying that she's a believer. "You hear him calling you, but you're unsure what to do," Orison says. Scully lifts her cross and says, "It's not a longshot, sir." She asks what happened to the inmates who escaped, and he replies, "Everything has a reason, Scout"; the pet name startles Scully.

Mulder comes in and shows Orison photos of the prostitute's dead body, lying in a tub full of water stained dark red by her blood. Orison is shaken by this and finally tells them that Pfaster took his car. Mulder tells Scully that Orison is really Robert Gailen Orison, who served 22 years in prison for first degree murder.

Orison: "God spoke to me. He told me to look after Donnie."

Mulder: "When God spoke to you, Reverend, did he happen to mention where Donnie was headed?"

In the hall outside, Scully asks where Mulder is going; he says he's going to prove Orison is a liar.

Scully: "How do you prove that somebody isn't being directed by God? You don't believe that it happens?"

Mulder: "God is a spectator, Scully. He just reads the box scores."

Scully: "I don't believe that."

Mulder: "You think God directs that man? You think he directs him to kill?"

Scully: "Donnie Pfaster isn't dead, and we don't know that the other inmates who escaped are dead, either."

Mulder: "So, what? You think God directs him to ... let the prisoners out to kill?"

Scully: "No. But I believe that the Reverend Orison believes what he's saying, that it's God working through him."

Mulder: "Plenty of nutbags do." (off her look) "Has He ever spoken to you?"

Scully: "I'm trying not to take offense."

Mulder: "What did he say?"

Scully tells him that she's heard the same song three times that day. She explains that it has meaning to her because she was listening to it when she was 13 and her mom came in to tell her that her Sunday school teacher had been murdered. She says that was he first time she "felt there was real evil in the world." She adds that Orison called her "Scout," which was what the Sunday school teacher had called her, and that she woke up the previous morning at 6:06, the same time Pfaster escaped from prison.

Mulder asks what she thinks God is telling her, but she can't answer. "Come with me, Scout," Mulder says. "I'll show you how the Reverend talks to God."

In Orison's car, Pfaster listens as a news report gives his description and that of the car. He gets out and strips the black vinyl top off the car, then goes to the trunk, digging through the bloodied clothes and Orison's bag until he finds Orison's driver's license and keys.

At the hospital, Mulder shows Scully a PET scan showing cerebral edema -- swelling of the brain. It's Orison's brain, Mulder says. He says Orison drilled a tiny hole through his skull in an effort to increase the blood flow to his brain. He thinks Orison did it when he first got into prison and "learned how to use its powers." She questions this, and he tells her there's a theory that at this point in evolution, humans' mental ability is limited only by inadequate blood supply. He says practitioners who've drilled such holes have been able to "perform certain mental tricks -- one of which they called 'stopping the world.'"

Scully, naturally, is skeptical, saying, "Nobody can stop the world, Mulder; I don't care how many holes they drill in their head." Mulder agrees but theorizes that they *can* change perception instead, projecting an alternate reality using hypnosis.

Scully: "But why? Even if he could -- why?"

Mulder: "Donnie Pfaster is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole. That's the final judgment as far as society's concerned. But not in the eyes of God. Or in the eyes of a man who thinks he's God's tool."

Scully: "Well, then, if Reverend Orison meant to kill Donnie Pfaster, then why is he still alive?"

Mulder: "I don't know. Maybe he unleashed something that he couldn't control. Maybe he thought he was opening the door of perception, but unwittingly he opened the gates of Hell."

Back in Orison's room, he looks at the marshal on guard and starts the "Glory, Amen" chant, as the beeping of the heart monitor slows. The marshal goes motionless, and Orison walks out, taking the marshal's gun with him.

Equality, Illinois, 5:02 p.m. In Orison's apartment, Pfaster stands in the kitchen in briefs and slippers, sealing up plastic bags filled with ice and women's fingers. He puts the bags in the freezer, then answers a knock at the door and admits a woman from "Tip Top Gentlemen's Service." She had red hair, piled in curls on top of her head. Pfaster looks at her fingernails, then tells her, "Love your hair."

Act 3: The prostitute is lying in a bubble bath (apparently *not* cold water); the bathroom is filled with lighted candles. Pfaster comes in with an armful of bottles of shampoo and asks if her hair is chemically treated. She gets freaked out and tries to leave; Pfaster gets her a towel, then realizes her hair is a wig and gets angry. She grabs a candle and throws the hot wax in his face, then hits him with it and run out.

At the hospital, Mulder and Scully come into Orison's room to find him gone and the marshal out of it, dazed and confused. They start to leave, but Scully finds a note on the bedside table that reads "Don't look any further." Mulder asks if she told Orison, and she says no; Mulder then thinks Orison overheard them talking, but she says she never said the name of the song. Mulder says, "Maybe this was meant for you. Don't look any further."

At Orison's apartment, Pfaster gets up off the floor, bleeding from a cut above his eye, but Orison is there and holds the gun on him. Pfaster asks what he's doing, and Orison says, "Taking you home."

In a cemetery late at night, Pfaster kneels, bound and weeping, as Orison digs a grave. Orison gives one last try, telling Pfaster to repent. Pfaster's voice changes, and he says, "My violence is always waiting for an instant, for when His back is turned. You can see it now."

Orison: "Are you crying for your sins, or for yourself?"

Pfaster: "No, Reverend, I cry for you. Because you cannot kill me."

Pfaster then morphs into a demon, who smiles malevolently, and Orison draws back, startled.

The next morning, Mulder and Scully arrive at the site, where Orison's body is being dug out. Scully apologizes, saying Mulder was right about Orison, but then says that Pfaster made the call about Orison's body and that "it's almost like he's begging us to hunt him down." But Mulder says the X-file is over and they should let the marshals take over. "Don't look any further, Scully," he says.

At Scully's apartment, Pfaster comes in and takes a look around. He walks into her bedroom, picks up her Bible from the bench at the foot of the bed, and slides it into the top dresser drawer.

Scully arrives home and goes directly to the bedroom, taking off her coat and laying her weapon on the table opposite the foot of the bed. She starts changing clothes, and we see that Pfaster is hiding in the closet.

Act 4: Scully has changed into loose pajamas and heads for the closet, but her attention is drawn to the clock on her bedside table, which again reads 6:66. The power goes out, and she notices that the closet door is slightly open. She starts in that direction, but Pfaster pushes his way out, slamming the door into her and driving her back against the wall.

At Mulder's, Daddo calls and leaves a message about the prostitute who got away from Pfaster. He was "upset that she wasn't a redhead," Daddo says. "This mean anything to you?" Mulder comes in just after the message ends.

At Scully's, she is fighting Pfaster desperately -- and skillfully. He chokes her and she gouges at his eyes, then punches him and runs for her weapon. He catches her and slams her into the mirror repeatedly, making her drop the gun; she kicks him in the gut, hits him over the head with a lamp, then hits him over the head again. He grabs for her again, and she kicks and hits him again, then pulls the bookcase down on top of him.

She runs for the phone and dials 911, but Pfaster catches her and throws her on the floor, pulling her arms behind her. "Go back to hell!" she screams as he ties her hands together. His reply: "Who does your nails, girly girl?"

Scully yells at him that the only reason he's alive is that she asked the judge not to give him the death penalty. Pfaster tells her she's "the one that got away" and that she's all he thinks about. Scully says she's a federal agent and that if he hurts her, he won't get another break. He says, "I'm going to draw you a bath," and Scully screams wordlessly.

At Mulder's, he's brushing his teeth and pauses to set his alarm. He hits the radio button for a moment, and "Don't Look Any Further" is playing. He stops, then turns it back on and sits on the bed, listening.

At Scully's, Pfaster has tied and gagged her and puts her in the closet. He starts running a bath, and her phone starts ringing. Pfaster ignores it and turns on the stereo -- which plays the song again.

Mulder lies on his bed on the phone, listening to Scully's phone ring endlessly. He finally hangs up.

Pfaster tests the bath water. Scully struggles in the closet, catching a glimpse of her gun lying on the floor from under the door. She manages to open the door, as Pfaster chooses hair products. A few moments later, he comes into the bedroom, where Scully is huddled under the bed. He leaves, and she works her way slowly across the floor to the other side of the bed.

Pfaster gathers candles (lots and LOTS of candles) in the kitchen, then chooses a pair of scissors from a door. Scully's still moving but ducks out of sight as Pfaster comes through with an armload of candles; when he's gone, she starts struggling with her bindings, while Pfaster lights the dozens of candles in the bathroom.

Scully, demonstrating her flexibility, manages to pull her legs up through her arms and get her hands to the front of her body. She starts crawling across the floor again, as Pfaster turns off the music and heads for the bedroom.

The scene shifts to slow motion. Scully struggles on her stomach on a glass-covered floor, trying to reach her weapon. Behind Pfaster, the door opens; it's Mulder, who immediately trains his weapon on Pfaster as he turns toward the door. The dialogue is not heard, but Mulder tells Pfaster to "put 'em up," reaching out to grab him by the shoulder. Pfaster turns his head back toward the bedroom door, where Scully emerges, hands untied and gag hanging around her neck. She's carrying her weapon.

Mulder keeps his gun on Pfaster as Pfaster and Scully stare at each other. Mulder yells, "Did he hurt you?" (Scully *may* have answered "yes.")

The overhead light fixture explodes, drawing Mulder's attention. Scully fires at least once, and Pfaster falls to the floor. Mulder looks at Scully, who stands stunned, mouth hanging open. As the screen goes black, we hear a single gunshot.

In Scully's living room, Mulder sighs, then turns as a door opens behind him to see Scully heading down the hall. He follows.

In her wrecked bedroom, Scully closes the window. Mulder enters and tells her to pack and they'll leave. Scully opens the top drawer of the dresser, to see her Bible there. She pulls it out, and Mulder says, "You can't judge yourself." She slides up onto the bed, then replies, "Maybe I don't have to." Mulder leans in close as they talk.

Mulder: "The Bible allows for vengeance."

Scully: "But the law doesn't."

Mulder: "The way I see it, he didn't give you a choice. And my report will reflect that, in case you're worried. Donnie Pfaster would surely have killed again if given the chance."

Scully: "He was evil, Mulder. I'm sure about that, without a doubt. But there's one thing that I'm not sure of."

Mulder: "What's that?"

Scully: "Who was at work in me. Or what. What made me ... what made me pull the trigger."

Mulder: "You mean if it was God?"

Scully: "I mean ... what if it wasn't?"


XANADU || THE WINNERS' CIRCLE || INCOGNITO || CHEMICAL REACTION
LEFT FIELD || SKANKY HO CENTRAL
|| THE HOUSE OF LYSANDRA
HORRID THINGS || THE DEN OF INIQUITY
|| LISA'S HAVEN || THE CATACOMB
ROCKETMAN'S BASE STATION || FRED & GINGER'S SMUT CLASSICS

BATTER UP! || FIVE POINT RESTRAINTS || STRANGER THAN FICTION

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