In The X Files: Home Again it appears that the Golem has been resurrected, but in Philadelphia and with a bandaid on its nose, as a mysterious giant man wrecks vengeance upon those who threaten the homeless. A similar scenario to the legend of the Jewish creation of clay made to protect the denizens of a long ago ghetto. There is more to this episode than the rehashing of an old myth, Dana’s mother dies and issues about her and Fox’s son arise as a result.
The episode begins with a forced rehousing of the homeless in the city of “brotherly love;” Philadelphia. The agent responsible is not the most empathetic of men and after clearing out a street full of homeless denizens using the police and fire department (who hose the transients down) he returns to his office.
Once there, someone enters the building. Panicking the man pulls a gun as an enormous, and apparently very smelly man enters the office. Coming into the room, the giant man grabs the armed man’s arms and pulls him apart. Flies buzz in the office as the creature leaves the crime scene.
Detective Aaron Dross calls in the FBI and reveals to Scully and Mulder that:
“They said that you two have experience with, these, um…spooky cases.”
After some preliminary fact sharing, the two special agents learn that the dead man was pulled apart and his body strewn across the office, with the victim’s head placed in the room’s trash bin.
There is a bloody print on the floor of a bare foot, a big one, and it has no ridges, not actually footprint at all just the shape of the appendage left in blood. While Dana and Fox begin to investigate the crime scene, Scully gets a call from her brother William. Their mother has had a heart attack and is in ICU at the hospital. Fox tells his partner to go and continues working and picking on the local detective.
Earlier, when the two agents arrived they noticed a giant figure painted on a blank billboard across the road from the dead man’s office. After Dana leaves, Fox looks through CCTV footage that should have caught the crime.
The camera’s were all moved and they only thing that Mulder discovers is that at the time of the man’s death, the giant figure is not visible. This means it was painted after the man’s murder.
Dana discovers that her mother asked for her estranged son Charlie before slipping into unconsciousness. She is upset to learn that her Margaret Suclly did not ask for any of her other children.
In Philadelphia, Fox plays “Pontius Pilate” as he speaks to two antagonistic citizens who each claim to care for the homeless:
“Okay, okay, okay, I hear you speaking for them, but really you’re speaking for yourself. And I hear you speaking for them, but really speaking for yourself. What I don’t hear is who speaks for them.”
After this wise pronouncement Mulder learns of the Trashman.
The Trashman, it is revealed later, created The Bandaid Man that manages to kill its way through a number of parasitic people who are taking advantage of the voiceless denizens that he was sent to protect. Two art thieves who steal work done by the homeless, including the portrait of the Bandaid Man that Fox wanted to inspect, are murdered.
The list of dead includes Nancy Huff (Peggy Jo Jacobs), the suburban woman who wants the homeless left where they are rather than be moved near the school in her area and Daryl Landry (Daryl Shuttleworth); partner of the first murdered man. (It is these two Philadelphia citizens that Fox speaks to earlier.)
The latter two victims’ deaths reek of irony, Huff has an almost OCD aversion to rubbish and Landry is a humorless and mean man who despises the very people he is “helping.”
Dana’s mother has changed her “living will” so that she will not be kept alive on a support machine. Mulder arrives and while he is there Charlie rings and after Scully puts the phone on speaker, he speaks to his unconscious mother.
Margaret opens her eyes and seeing Fox, grabs his hand and smiles:
“My son… is named William, too.”
Dana’s mother dies.
Scully makes the connection between her mother’s last words and the son that she and Fox gave up. Dana insists that she needs to return to work. Back in Philly, the duo track down the “Trashman,” the artist responsible for the giant painting on the billboard.
They learn that the artist (played by Tim Armstrong) created the Bandaid Man to protect the voiceless homeless who are preyed upon by the city. The two agents also see several other creatures roaming around in the dark basement where the Trashman works.
Mulder and Scully try to save Landry’s life and fail. After the last victim of the Bandaid Man dies, the Trashman reshapes the face of his creation into a smiley face and leaves his basement art studio.
Dana and Fox sit on a pebble beach with Mrs. Scully’s ashes on the ground. Scully has an epiphany about why her mother asked for Charlie and then mentioned their son.
This episode clearly paid homage to the Jewish myth of the Prague Golem with the Trashman replacing Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel as the creator of the clay creature. While the protector of the homeless does not go on a rampage and kill a lot of “innocent” people in this iteration of the myth, it cannot be controlled by its creator, similar to the Golem of legend.
The X Files in this truncated 10th season has managed to cram a lot in. Last week’s homage to “Bad Blood” and Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) was a one-off though and it appears that this season will ultimately be all about Mulder, Scully and their son.
Chris Carter’s verse only has two more episodes before this mini-series ends. The X Files airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and catch the old fever and see if the truth is, indeed, out there…