Alpha 

Written by Jeffrey Bell. Directed by Peter Markle 

Summary by Shannon



Internal dating: None. However, given that in "Arcadia" Mulder said that was their first case back on the X-files, this case was sometime after that. Episode aired March 28, 1999. 

Pacific Ocean, 9:17 p.m. In the cargo hold of the freighter Tien Koun, two crewmen, speaking Chinese, come to look at an interesting shipment. As we see from the subtitles, the box was loaded in Hong Kong, and one of the men says he put his face close to the box before and the animal inside "tried to bite" him. 

He slides open a small window and the pair look inside, seeing glowing red eyes. The animal leaps at them and they fall back, watching in amazement as the box shakes and jumps. "I think we killed it," one of them says, and they open the box to look inside, shining a flashlight down. 

Cut to a dock the next morning. Men descend the stairs, one of them, apparently the captain, saying the box was secured in Hong Kong and is still locked but that two of his men are missing. One of the men with him identifies himself as Detweiler, the owner of the cargo, and when he sees blood pooled at the edge of the box, he says there's an animal inside that needs help. But when they open the box, the mauled bodies of the missing men are inside. 

Roll credits ... 

FBI Headquarters, 7:10 p.m. Mulder is pinning photos of the dead men on a bulletin board when Scully enters the basement office, now much cleaner and brighter (but still one desk and just his name on the door). She is carrying her coat and briefcase and stays in the doorway. 

Scully: "Aren't you going home?" 

Mulder: "I am home. I'm just ... feathering the nest." 

Scully asks what he's looking at, and without turning around, he tells her of the bodies that were found; when she asks for cause of death, he says "multiple bite wounds," then tells her the suspect is a dog. This apparently piques her interest, since she then enters the office and crosses to stand next to Mulder. He holds the file over his shoulder to her, then finally turns to inform her that the men were found in a box locked for the outside. But Scully informs him that bite wounds are not, in themselves, a cause of death, that they lead to it by loss of blood, and that she questions the report if that's the conclusion it contains. 

Scully: "Mulder, I don't have to tell you how absolutely and completely wrong that seems. I mean, they were found dead in a locked cage ... You're not gonna tell me that a dog did this." 

Mulder: "Bad dog ..." 

Belleflower, CA, 9:27 p.m. A dog barks outside a house, and the owner comes out and sees the shadow of another dog outside the fence. He heads over to shoo it away, but when he looks over the fence, there's nothing there. Back inside, he finds his dog dead, then turns to see the other dog, whose eyes glow red just before it attacks. 

San Pedro, 7:42 a.m. Mulder and Scully approach Officer Jeffrey Cahn in the hold of the ship. Cahn is with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. He tells them the dog is no longer on the ship, since there's no evidence of, well, dog droppings. 

Cahn then tells them about Dr. Ian Detweiler, the owner of the cargo, who is a cryptozoologist. This gets Mulder's attention. 

Mulder: "Cryptozoologist?" 

Cahn: "Yeah, they deal with animals thought to be extinct, animals ... 

Mulder: "Animals that aren't supposed to exist -- like Sasquatch and the Ogopogo and the Abominable Snowman ..." 

Scully: "Don't mind him; he'll go on forever." 

Detweiler approaches, telling them the breed of the missing animal, Wangshang Dhole, is very valuable. Mulder says it's an Asian dog thought to be extinct for the past 150 years; his knowledge seems to impress Detweiler. Detweiler adds that Chinese folklore has given the dog mythic qualities but that it doesn't even hunt; it scavenges. 

Another officer interrupts, informing the group of the attack in Bellflower. 

At the scene, Mulder dodges doggie poop as he cross the backyard to look over the fence. Scully approaches, telling him the victim was Jake Conroy, a U.S. Customs agent, and that the bite marks match -- this time, the victim's hand is missing. She adds that the other investigators are speculating that Conroy might have been involved in the theft of the animal and that it turned on him. 

Mulder speculates that this might not be your average dog, seeing as it had gotten out of a locked cage and out of a house with all the doors shut. 

Mulder: "I think we're speaking in too common terms about an animal we're calling a dog but which displays none of the behavior of man's best friend." 

Scully: "You mean covering up crime scenes?" 

Mulder: "You get a biscuit, Scully." 

Scully fills in the blanks, almost asking if Mulder is talking about a dog with human intelligence. At his nod, she goes on to ask then if that were the case, how would they go about finding it? Mulder answers that they should talk to a human who thinks like an animal. 

At Berquist Kennels, Mulder and Scully approach a woman digging post holes, and Mulder addresses her as "Karin Berquist." The woman corrects him; she's Stacy Muir, who's putting up fences for Karin. She asks if they're looking for Karin about boarding.

Mulder: "No, it's more of a behavior problem." 

Scully (nodding at Mulder): "Yeah, he ... he doesn't listen and he chews on the furniture." 

Mulder then identifies them as FBI, and Stacy takes them into Karin's office, which is (amazingly) even darker than the basement office. Mulder says Karin is the foremost expert on dog behaviorisms, having lived with wild dogs and wolves on five continents. He says they've never met, but that he's read her books and that Karin is the one who told him about the case. 

Scully reads off the titles of several of Karin's books: "'The Wolf Inside,' 'Dogs Don't Lie' ... 'Better Than Human' ... 'Better Than Human'?" 

Mulder: "She's not a real people person." 

Scully turns on a light, then spies a copy of the "I Want to Believe" poster on a side wall and brings it to Mulder's attention saying Karin apparently made a "connection" with him. Through the whole scene, Mulder seems to be uncomfortable with telling Scully everything about how he knows Karin. 

Karin comes in, several dogs with her, and seems a bit reluctant to speak to them, quickly reclosing the blinds Mulder had opened. Mulder introduces himself as "Fox ... Fox Mulder," saying it's nice to meet her, then asks about the possible intelligence of the animal they're looking for. She says the canids' intelligence is "far superior to ours." 

Scully: "Intelligence enough to murder?" 

Karin: "Murder takes no intelligence. It's a human behavior." 

When Scully asks about the Dhole, Karin says it's extinct, then leaves rather abruptly. Scully then asks Mulder directly if Karin is a friend, and Mulder says they met online, pointedly adding, "Two professionals exchanging information." 

An Officer Fiedler with the Department of Fish and Wildlife stops to check an alley where something appears to have been scavenging. He checks in a trash pile, and finds a severed hand, then sees movement toward a nearby building and goes in. There, a man approaches from behind him, then seems to morph into an animal with red, glowing eyes. The animal attacks. 

At the building (8:34 a.m.), officers are investigating the attack. Mulder and Scully enter and speak with Cahn, who is red-hot with anger, directed at Detweiler for bringing the animal over in the first place. He says he doesn't want to catch it; he wants to kill it. 

Karin arrives, and Scully goes to check the body while Mulder speaks to Karin. She speculates that it's typical alpha dominant behavior -- defending a territory -- but Mulder says that the animal is ranging far to find its victims. Karin says it would be extraordinary to find any canid that kills for sport. 

Mulder points out Detweiler, and Karin says she doesn't know him but doesn't like him already. Detweiler approaches and says he's found no evidence of an animal in the area. Karin asks how he caught the animal originally; after Mulder introduces her, Detweiler says his team tracked it for two weeks, then tranquilized it. 

Cahn speaks to his supervisor, saying he's switching to live rounds and asking for more men to catch and kill it. Detweiler sneaks up on Cahn, telling him, "You kill that dog, and I'll kill you." 

Back in Karin's office, she tells Mulder and Scully that despite Detweiler's claims that there was no evidence, she had little trouble finding paw prints on the floor. She said the prints indicate a large, rangy, somewhat primitive animal, and a computer enhancement of the photo shows a fifth toe pad. Mulder reaches to point it out, placing his hand over Karin's on the mouse, which seems to disconcert Karin and catches Scully's eye. 

Karin says the toe, a "dewclaw," theorized by some to be a possible prehensile thumb, which serves no purpose now. Scully asks if she thinks that's what the print indicates, and Karin says she's been told the animal went in and out of closed buildings. Scully asks why Karin had earlier dismissed the idea of a canid behaving in that manner, but Karin says she only dismissed the idea of murder. She says that in Chinese myth, the Dhole can be evil, capable of opening doors and disappearing into thin air, and that there might be some basis in reality for the "trickster myth." 

Back in the car, Mulder asks if Scully is okay. She asks how well he knows Karin, and he asks how well you can know anyone you meet online. Scully says she question Karin's motives. 

Mulder: "You're suggesting that this case was a way to get me out here? To meet me? I'm flattered, but no. ..." 

Scully: "She's enamored of you, Mulder. Don't underestimate a woman. They can be tricksters, too." 

Riley Animal Clinic, 6:21 p.m. A woman is leaving with her St. Bernard, Duke, when Detweiler enters; Duke begins barking like crazy at the man. The vet, Dr. Riley, helps the woman take the dog out, then speaks to Detweiler, who had called about getting an animal tranquilizer. Riley sells him all the Etorphine he has. 

Riley is locking up the back later, when the dogs inside start barking. He looks back and sees the red-eyed dog. He runs, making it into the front part of clinic and locking the door behind him. 

Cahn and his men arrive. They go in, and Cahn shoots, but the dog turns out to be Duke. 

Mulder and Scully arrive, but Cahn tells them they came for nothing. Inside, Riley is operating on the injured dog, wondering how he got back inside. Scully goes in the front of the clinic, where she sees an autographed picture of Karin on a bulletin board. She then hears a scream and pulls her weapon, heading into the back, where she finds Riley's body on the floor next to the operating table. Mulder comes in, and Scully goes to call the paramedics. As they walk away, Duke, still on the table, morphs into the Dhole and climbs off the table. 

Scully goes to Karin's office alone, confronting her about her condition. She's realized that Karin has lupus, which is the reason for the darkness and her clothes, why she's in the office and not in the field. Scully says Karin had found in Mulder someone she could communicate with but that it wasn't enough and Karin had to lure him out. Karin denies it, but Scully goes on to say that Karin doesn't really believe an animal is doing the killing. Karin says she doesn't believe that Detweiler ever caught the animal at all. Scully tells Karin's she's watching her, but Karin replies, "You watch, but you don't see." 

At the clinic, Mulder takes a sample of blood from the floor, then finds receipts for the tranquilizer. He calls Cahn, who at first does not answer the radio in the truck. When he does, Mulder is patched through and tells Cahn about the Etorphine, which Cahn tells him is a tranquilizer. Mulder asks Cahn to meet him, but when Cahn gets into the truck, the animal is in the back and attacks him. 

Los Angeles County Hospital, Torrance (apparently the next morning). Mulder comes in to visit the badly-injured Cahn, only to find Detweiler there. Mulder confronts Detweiler, catching him in a lie about how he found out about the attack. Mulder has figured out that Detweiler did find the Wanshang Dhole but didn't catch it -- it caught him. Detweiler has *become* the Dhole; at night, he turns into the shapeshifting creature and attacks, Mulder says. He says Detweiler injected himself with the tranquilizer to try to stop the killings, but it didn't work. 

Detweiler storms out. In the hallway, he meets Karin, who tells him she's protected him as long as she can but won't any more. Mulder sees them together. 

Back at Karin's office, Mulder confronts her, charging that she's been dishonest with him. She acknowledges that she was looking forward to meeting him but hadn't admitted to herself how much. She also says she knew it couldn't be a dog that was responsible for the killings and called him out to disprove that theory. She confirms that Detweiler is responsible and says he has to be "put down." Mulder says Scully is tailing Detweiler, but Karin insists that he will elude her and go back to finish off Cahn. 

Mulder calls Scully and gets to go to the hospital instead, as Karin looks at the poster on the wall. 

At the hospital, Mulder tells Scully Detweiler becomes the animal at night and will be coming after Cahn. He says Karin confirmed it. 

Scully: "Mulder, the only thing Karin Berquist is interested in is you. You're kidding yourself if you think she hasn't manipulated this entire situation for her own purposes." 

Mulder dismisses her charges, insisting that Detweiler will show up, and they settle in to wait. 

At the kennels, Karin puts her dogs out for the night, then looks off into the fog, expectantly. 

At the hospital, it's after two, and no Detweiler. Scully has dozed off, and Mulder wakes her, saying Detweiler isn't coming, and that Karin knew it and lied to him. 

Inside her house, Karin heads up to her office, pulling out and loading a tranquilizer gun. Outside, a dog runs through the fog. Inside, the phone rings, startling Karin; she takes it off the hook and sets the receiver on the table as Mulder's voice comes from it, telling her to lock her doors, he's on the way. 

The dog comes inside and up the stairs; Karin readies her weapon and rises to face the animal. But then she places the gun on the table and encourages the dog to attack. It does, and they both fly out the window behind her. 

Mulder and Scully arrive, to the sound of dogs barking in the kennels. They find Detweiler's body impaled on the fence, and Karin's body on the ground nearby. 

Back in the basement office, Mulder is sitting with his elbows on the desk and his head pressed between his hands. Scully approaches the open door, asking again if he's going home; he says "pretty soon" and rubs his eyes tiredly. Scully enters, placing her coat and a long cylindrical package on the desk. 

Scully: "You think that this is your fault." 

Mulder: "I think ... that I believed her very quickly. I think maybe that was my fault, yeah." 

Scully comes around to lean against the desk next to him and asks why he wouldn't believe her. Using a letter opener to clean under his fingernails as he speaks, Mulder says he barely knew Karin. 

Scully agrees that Karin had "a lot of secrets" but that she lived by her instincts and figured Mulder out very quickly. Mulder seems chagrined but doesn't argue. 

Scully: "I think she saw in you a kindred spirit, Mulder. She may not have been able to express that to you. Mabye what she did was the highest form of compliment." 

She asks if he's going to be okay, and he nods; they smile at each other. She starts to leave, then hands him the package, which has Karin's return address on it. Inside is the poster, which he carefully hangs behind his desk, in the same spot as the old poster. He sits at his desk to regard it silently. 


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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