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A colleague of Scully is asking her to help him chase a murdered that seems to kill every thirty years. Story
FBI Agent Tom Colton describes to Scully a series of murders he believes were committed by a serial killer. The victims were all murdered inside locked or secured rooms. Each had their liver ripped out of their body.
Despite Colton's discomfort, Mulder is brought onto the case. Mulder finds strange humanoid fingerprints at the high-security office building where businessman George Usher was murdered. Mulder links the prints to similar killings that occurred in the United States every thirty years, going back to at least 1903. In each occurrence, five victims had their livers torn out.
Instead of combining forces, Scully and Mulder decide to take different avenues of investigating the case: Scully the traditional; Mulder the unorthodox. At the scene of the Usher murder, Mulder assures Scully that the suspect would not return, having already beaten the security system. He thinks the killer would seek a new challenge. But as they talk, Mulder discovers someone crawling inside an air duct. The suspect, an Animal Control officer named Eugene Tooms, is taken into custody. Tooms passes a polygraph test, but not those questions posed by Mulder regarding his age.
Mulder suspects Tooms is the killer. Using a computer, he manipulates the image of Tooms' fingerprints, elongating them. They are compared to the prints from 1933. The prints match. Scully is intrigued and re-teams with Mulder on the case.
Tooms attacks and kills another victim guarded by high-tech security equipment. Tooms disappears; Scully and Mulder find that his apartment was never lived in. Scully tracks down Frank Briggs, the sheriff who investigated the five murders that occurred in 1933. Briggs describes how he tracked the murders until the present day, but was never able to prove his belief that Tooms was the killer.
The agents locate an abandoned building that Tooms once listed as his address. Inside they discover a small room containing "trophies" taken from each crime scene throughout the century. Mulder speculates that Tooms may be a genetic mutation that hibernates for decades and eats human livers to provide sustenance. As they leave the scene, Tooms procures Scully's necklace.
Scully arranges a stake-out of the abandoned building, but Colton calls it off without informing Mulder. Mulder arrives at the building, and finding no undercover agents, ventures inside. He finds Scully's necklace placed with the other trophies.
Mulder races to Scully's apartment and finds her grappling with Tooms. Mulder draws his weapon and, with Scully's help, manages to handcuff Tooms. He is taken to jail, where he begins assembling a new "nest."
- Chris Carter: "You must put the camera in certain places to scare people, and you must not put the camera in other places, because you will not scare them. There were many re-shoots. There was a lot of editorial wizardry by Heather McDougall. And there was Jim and Glen, who worked on it tirelessly to make it right."
- This is the very first monster-of-the-week episode from The X-Files.
- Eugene Victor Tooms is living at 66, Exeter Street.
- Apparently, Tom Colton seems to know the phone number of Fox Mulder by heart. Indeed, at 35', he takes the phone from Scully and tells her he will announce the news to Mulder himself. He then dials Mulder's number without even looking at a notepad or anything. Spooky Colton!
- Fox Mulder: Do you think I'm spooky?
- Dana Scully: Oh my God, Mulder. It smells like... I think it's bile.
- Fox Mulder: Is there any way I can get it off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?
- Dana Scully: Is this what it takes to climb the ladder, Colton?
- Tom Colton: All the way to the top.
- Dana Scully: Then I can't wait to you fall off and land on your ass.
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After the first two episodes telling stories linked to extraterrestrials, "Squeeze" is the very first ever episode having no connection at all with aliens. Therefore, it is the first episode of the so-called monster-of-the-week genre.
Once again, even though The X-Files is dealing with paranormal phenomenons, the series is extremely realistic in its portrayal of those phenomenons.
I deeply appreciated the tone that was set in terms of Scully and Mulder at the FBI, and the way that Scully is a strong character in the middle of male FBI Agents. All the Agents are grinning at Mulder; calling him "Spooky" (nicknamed that Scully reveals to the FBI Chief Section Blevins during the pilot episode).
In the later seasons of The X-Files, there is no realism whatsoever in terms of the FBI. In here, just the fact that Mulder is asking a strange question to a suspect (i.e. are you more than 100 years old) is getting him in deep trouble. This feels extremely real and therefore, we truly believe in this story.
Portrayed by Donal Logue, the character of Tom Colton is a delight. I loved hating him in this episode. He doesn't real care about solving the murders, as he cares about his career and climbing up the latter. It is really effective, in contrast with Mulder and now Scully, working in an office located at the basement of the FBI.
DETECTIVE FRANK BRIGGS
While the character of Tom Colton was much fun to watch, the character of the old Detective Frank Briggs was pure genius. The way the actor Henry Beckman portrayed him is magnificent. You can truly feel that this detective has lived this case very personally.
I use this opportunity to honour the memory of the actor Henry Beckman, who passed away in 2008.
MULDER & SCULLY
Once again, the relationship and chemistry between Mulder and Scully is simply perfect. They trust each others, are serious and professional, while having fun between with each others ("Do you think I'm spooky?"). Just perfect.
The emotions that go into Mulder's character are very deep. We truly feel bad for him, being laughed at by his peers.
On the other side, we can now see a glimpse of Scully's life, which is a very solitary life. When coming back from work, Scully has no boyfriend or family waiting for her at home. She instead spend her time writing reports of her current investigations.
On the long term, this may seem unrealistic. If really the producers would have pushed the boundaries to the realism even more, they would have needed to provide Mulder and Scully with a private life - meaning a wife or husband, maybe some kids, some friends, etc. But of course, it would have been very difficult - to almost virtually impossible - to add it naturally to the show. Hence the good decision for them to have no life at all whatsoever, as sad as it is.
Also, it is in this episode that Scully decides to follow Mulder's quest in the x-files section, even though she has the chance to follow Tom Colton's path to a more typical career at the FBI.
I think that Gillian Anderson gave a wonderful performance in this episode. She shows herself as a strong character, but at the same time shows a sense of subtlety of a fragile person. it is as if she is openly showing that there is someone living inside her strong character. It is really magical to see.
The music from the episode is extremely creepy. Mark Snow did a beautiful job. The introduction sequence would have been nothing without his music, as well as the creepy sound cues.
And at the same time, the music is, like in the two previous episodes, very emotional in the nostalgic sense. It is very clear at 18', when we can hear at the very same time some very dark and creepy sounds, while having a nostalgic music at the same time. Therefore, we feel both frightened by Tooms and sad by looking at Fox Mulder being laughed and screamed at by the Bureau.
66, EXETER STREET
The apartment of Tooms is also part of the classic scenes from The X-Files. This very old building is simply the perfect location for such episode. I don't remember remembering by heart the address of any other place from any other tv series, but 66, Exeter Street.
Even though I love this episode, I can find two minor details that bugged me. First, when Tooms jumps on the man inside his house, the shot, even though lasts for just one second, is pretty poor. On the contrary, the next shot is beautiful. Instead of seeing the actual killing, we move away from the direct scene and just see a small flame dying in the fireplace. This is a brilliant way to frighten the audience without actually showing the dark moment. This is a typical gimmick from Alfred Hitchcock.
Finally, the other thing that I couldn't believe was the fact that Mulder and Scully are handcuffing Tooms at the end of the episode... As it it would stop him from squeezing himself and getting free again. There should have been a better way to actually stop him.
Even though the first two episodes had opened endings, the cases were mostly closed. In "Squeeze", we live a true opened ending, with Eugene Tooms slowly smiling at the view of his prison cell door. What a marvellous ending.
"Squeeze" is the first monster-of-the-week episode and represents its perfect definition. Though paranormal, the story is anchored in a deep reality, which gives the episode, and the series, a true sense of scariness.
I give the episode a 10 out of 10. A true classic.
But I like the way Scully is already an ally for Mulder, defending his reputation, on his side.
And of course the final scene, where Mulder understands that Scully will be the future victim.