Given the title of the episode and the creepiness of the monster, I thought this might be a sequel to the ever-controversial episode “Home.” But, of course, I was mistaken. Not complaining because I don’t think any of us want to re-visit Home, except in a rewatch where we are extremely prepared.
In the cold open, Lt. Gaeta from Battlestar Galactica is trying to move the homeless off the streets of downtown Philadelphia to a designated space in an old hospital. The homeless are not thrilled by this, especially when he sprays water on them to get them to leave. Upon returning to his office, the lights go out and a mysterious figure enters… and then literally rips him apart with its bare hands. Eep!
His head is in the trash can.”
“Not even in the proper recycling bin.”
Enter my precious babes, Mulder and Scully, to investigate the murder. Scully notices the man was literally pulled apart rather than cut apart while Mulder spots a strange piece of graffiti across the street. Unfortunately, during the investigation, Scully gets a call from William — no, not that William, her brother William — that their mother had a heart attack and is in ICU in the hospital. A little bit in shock and unsure of what to do, Mulder tells her to go. That’s the push she needs as she tries not to have a panic attack as she heads to the hospital– and us along with her given the camera angle. Very stressful hearing her intense breathing so close!
Scully gets to her mother at the hospital and is told that when she temporarily regained consciousness, she asked for Scully’s brother Charlie and no one else. Seeing her mother like that brings back obvious memories of her very long stint there herself, as she battled cancer and other ailments throughout the X-Files. We even get a very emotional flashback of Mulder by her bedside from very early on in their relationship, promising to bring her back and that he’s with her.
Mom, I’m here. Will Jr.’s here. And William…. William’s here. And Charlie is here. Please, mom, don’t go home yet. I need you.”
On Mulder’s way out of Gaeta’s office, he pulls a gross, dirty bandaid off his shoe. He continues the investigation, learning there’s a squabble between a woman who wants to keep the homeless where they are downtown versus the guy who wants to move them to the hospital. He also has the gross bandaid tested, but there’s no organic or inorganic material on it. So, perhaps a dead end?
Some art collectors have taken the graffiti panel from the wall, hoping to sell it. But turns out the creature had embedded itself onto the panel. So, both dudes get all ripped apart. At least there’s a signature on the panel and it says “Trashman.”
It seems as though this creature is targeting anyone who in a position of power on this or maybe anyone that gets in his way. So, unfortunately, the woman who opposes the homeless move is the next target. Seems there’s no winning this debate either way. Just whose side is this Trashman on?
The cheerful “Downtown” song plays as the woman arrives home, checks her voicemail from her hubby, eats some vanilla pudding, and then all the lights go out. The song resumes as the Trashman arrives at her home, the lights go out, and he attacks her. But we get a good look at him in the lightning. Definitely doesn’t look human! Welp. At least he puts her pieces in the trash like a good Trashman…
“I’m here.” Mulder comes to the hospital to be with Scully and update her on the case. But she can’t think about anything but her mother and that she asked for Charlie. Mulder probably hoped to be a distraction for her, but Scully doesn’t want to be distracted just now. They have to take her off life support, as requested in her mother’s will.
I don’t care about the big questions right now, Mulder. I just want the chance to ask my mom a few little ones.”
Who else called their mom after this episode? Jeez.
Back in the day, did we ever come across the ability to wish someone back to life?”
“I invented it. When you were in the hospital. Just like this.”
“You’re a dark wizard, Mulder.”
“What else is new?”
Charlie finally calls Scully, and she has him talk to their mom on speakerphone. Hearing Charlie’s voice, she awakens very briefly. She looks at Mulder, grabs his hand and tells him, “My son…is named William, too.”
Sadly, those are her last words and everything is just really sad and terrible. This all brings a whopping amount of guilt on Scully for giving up William, not understanding why her mother would bring him up as her final words. But she decides not to dwell and immediately get back to work. Now, Mulder can give her the distraction she needs. Everyone grieves in different ways and now that there’s nothing she can do, she needs to do something. Anything.
They tail a kid buying spray paint to an abandoned building, where they encounter some strange creatures and a homeless artist, who seems to be hiding from them. This random dude has inadvertently created the Trashman (or Bandaid Nose Man, as he calls him) and given him life through his feelings of wanting to make a statement to the world about trash.
Mulder, back in the day, I used to do stairs and 3-inch heels.”
“‘Back in the day’? Scully, back in the day is now.”
The final target is the last guy who was part of moving the homeless to the hospital. This guy as the target makes more sense than the woman, which I still don’t quite get. (It was kind of hard to follow the motives behind the Trashman killing all these people; unless he just took on a life of his own, separate from the artist’s agenda.) Regardless, Mulder and Scully head to the hospital to warn him but are just a few seconds too late. This is kind of silly, given that most “heroes” always arrive just in the knick of time to save people. But ehhh, oh well! Sucks for this dude!
In the end, the artist guy leaves and the Tashman just kind of goes away…? And that seems to be that for this case. While most X-Files cases are unsolved, this one was a little confusing, so not sure what to make of it or if the Trashman will disappear or continue to kill since he was seen in the wall again? I don’t know and don’t really care, this episode was all about Scully for me. *shrug* We’re left with a very emotional Scully monologue, no words from Mulder, and just quiet comfort between the two of them.
I know now why mom asked for Charlie, even though he was out of her life. She wanted to know before she left that’d he be okay. She gave birth to him. She made him. He’s her responsibility. And that’s why she said what she said to us. Sh wanted to make sure that we’d be responsible and know that William’s okay even though we can’t see him. I know that, as parents, we made a difficult sacrifice to keep him safe, that it was for his own good to put him up for adoption. But I can’t help but think of him, Fox. I can’t help it. I believe you will find all of your answers. You will find all the answers to the biggest mysteries and I will be there when you do. But my mysteries, I’ll never have answered. I won’t know if he thinks of me too or if he’s ever been afraid and wished that I was there. Does he doubt himself because we left him? What questions does he have of me? The same that I have of this quarter? And I want to believe…. I need to believe that we didn’t treat him like trash.”