The X-Files: Roadrunners   Rewatch 
August 10, 2020 7:49 PM - Season 8, Episode 4 - Subscribe

When Utah police find a murder victim with inexplicable medical issues and contact the FBI for help, Scully decides to handle the assignment on her own, but when she stops in a tiny, backward town a few miles away from her destination in order to get gas, the townspeople don't want her to leave.
posted by orange swan (6 comments total)
This episode led to one of my favorite fandom filk things -

The whole notion of a bunch of people treating a giant parasitic banana slug as the Second Coming Of Jesus was, of course, perfectly ridiculous, and was getting ripped apart in the online discussion afterward. But at some point one person wondered, "what kind of hymns did they sing?" And another person adapted the lyrics to "Rock of Ages" or something like that, and another person followed suit with another hymn, and yet another with another, and it snowballed and eventually there was this whole crowdsourced web site with a database of Hymns and Scriptures To The Holy Banana Slug. I actually contributed with a filk of U2's "40".

That site is sadly gone from the Internet now, alas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:46 AM on August 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

This episode was new to me when I finally watched all of season 8 last year, and honestly I love it. I think it's fantastically creepy and has real classic X-Files vibes. One of the best of the Doggett/Scully era.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:00 AM on August 11, 2020

We called it the "JeebusSlug".
posted by acrasis at 2:21 PM on August 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is a suspenseful and horrifying episode, and who could forget Scully snarling, "CUT IT OUT ME NOW," but I wish the writers had made the cult's beliefs make more sense. I mean... what was the benefit of the Jesus Slug? All we saw was that it a) is disgusting, and b) it kills people. The townspeople are living in a threadbare, run-down, parched little place and spending all their time in Bible study. What did they hope to gain from it when they find the one person who survives being the slug's host? What relation did they think the Jesus Slug had to Christianity?

Doggett had to simultaneously hot wire the bus (and he knows how) and cut the parasite out of Scully's back, and then shoot the parasite, while the townspeople were breaking into the bus. The man knows how to multi-task under pressure.

Scully did mess up when she tried to leave Doggett out of this assignment. There are reasons FBI agents work in pairs. But she knows that now.

Where did Scully's back tattoo go?
posted by orange swan at 3:09 PM on August 11, 2020

Doggett competence porn off to a strong start. Also, instant bonded loyalty to Scully.

Scully has a nice mini multitool. Loaning her gun was pretty boneheaded. Couldn't tell what kind of knife Doggett has but it looks almost like a cheap steak knife. Or it could be a small puukko, which is basically an eating knife that can do everything else.

Strong episode and creepy cultists.

I think the writers fucked up making it explicitly a Christian thing. It was just a parasite cult and the parasite needs new hosts intermittently. It's possible that this cult was not founded on faith, but on biology which needed some kind of framework to drape itself on and Christianity was the only thing the group was familiar with.

If the JesusSlug was like a helminthic parasite, it could be some people's immune response is able to reject the parasite (or the response is so strong it causes fatal collateral autoimmune damage to the host).

My headcannon is that the parasite emits some psychotropic chemical, an entheogen*, that promotes JesusSlug worship. During the infection period, the effects are more pronounced. Both hosts prior to harvest/ transplant were absolutely tripping balls. If the host survives, they're like some kind of 60's psychedelic guru (but using Christian framework). For everyone else it could be like constantly low grade tripping but it takes time to accumulate/ trigger which contributes to in-group/ out-group social dynamics.

In this scenario - if the hitchhiker hadn't shown up - would one of the in-group have been used as a potential next host, knowing that many individuals aren't suitable?

Good catch on the Ouroboros tattoo. Maybe she got it removed because of possible contaminating substance? But why remove the whole thing unless she considered the whole thing a grave error?

*one thing that most media don't show well are the euphoric effects of many hallucinogens - that's why people trip, not just to see pretty colours. In early research in naive subjects without preconceptions, many report feeling that the world was eminently "wonderful" or "beautiful" while under the influence.
posted by porpoise at 8:23 PM on August 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

We called it the "JeebusSlug".

Okay, that is a tantalizing clue - does anyone know how I might look up whether the "Jebus Slug hymnal" might be captured on the Wayback Machine? I only know how to look things up if you know the name of the site in question and I don't remember it, but I think "JeebusSlug" or "JebusSlug" or something like that was in the name.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:11 PM on August 12, 2020

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