The X-Files: Bad Blood   Rewatch 
November 8, 2015 8:14 PM - Season 5, Episode 12 - Subscribe

After Mulder kills a teenage boy who he believed was a vampire, he and Scully recount the events that led to the killing.
posted by town of cats (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"Essentially exactly the way it happened." I haven't seen this episode in years but I think I watched it a LOT of times back in the day. It was never one of my top episodes since I liked them a bit more cerebral and I thought the humor in this one was broad and obvious, but it was an easy one to put on at a party and enjoy with friends.

I think it's funnier to me now, and easier to appreciate, as someone who's been in a relationship with the same person for 12 years, though. This episode is a perfect little capsule of how it feels to have been with someone for a while and be in a bit of a rough patch. You're not fighting and you still care a lot about each other but so many of the little things your partner does, some of which you maybe even used to find charming, just make you NUTS. He's too chipper in the morning. She's too skeptical about your ideas. He ribs you about being short. She's a shade too friendly to cute young strangers. None of it is the kind of stuff you argue about. It just piles up and it means when you're doing the routine work of the relationship (autopsies, shooting out tires, etc) your attitude may be less than 100% positive. I don't know, I've never been in a relationship this long other than this one, but it seems pretty normal and healthy to me to have a snappish season every once in a while where it seems to you like all your partner does is the things that make you the most annoyed, which makes you even less sympathetic and more self-absorbed, which makes them even more annoying. It's great to see that negative-feedback dynamic captured so well here.

It's interesting to contrast this with Never Again, where Scully also was fed up with Mulder's oft-misplaced enthusiasm but was not taking it in stride quite so well. In this one she was annoyed but not "fuck off to Philly" annoyed, just "mutter under her breath" annoyed. Weirdly she was under the influence of drugs at some point in both these episodes, and attracted to a younger guy who turned out to be srsly bad news. I guess it shouldn't be news to me that Scully has abysmal taste in men but DAMN, girl.

I'm definitely the dour Scully in my relationship and much of her grumbling cracked me up. I loved that the undigested pizza in the corpse's stomach made her hungry. That she then actually followed through and ordered pizza felt soooo authentically medical-professional to me. The plot of the episode is pretty thin but there are some good jokes, some funny sight gags, and the amazing climactic scene of Mulder reciting Miranda rights as he struggles to stay on top of a wildly bucking coffin while Ronnie tries to escape. The cold open is a classic.

I can see why I didn't appreciate the episode as much as a teenager and I wasn't all that excited about revisiting it, but I'm really glad I did. It's better, funnier, and wiser than I remembered. And nobody got impregnated against their will in this episode, so that makes for a nice change.
posted by town of cats at 8:23 PM on November 8, 2015

I've always loved this episode, for many of the reasons you mentioned. I also really enjoyed knowing who Luke Wilson was before any of the cool girls in school started liking him for showing up in movies (not that they were very impressed with my superior pop culture knowledge).
posted by olinerd at 1:44 AM on November 9, 2015

Jeffrey Channing Wells (Shaenon Garrity's co-author on Skin Horse) had this to say in an old Skin Horse Sunday commentary that I can't find right now:

'"Bad Blood" is by far the funniest non-Darin episode, including some series-standout memorable bits. I'm a sucker for the Rashomon style of storytelling, because showing "what a character perceives" will almost always tell you more about him or her than merely showing "what is". "Bad Blood" features Scully feeling hungry for weird things -- in this case the stomach contents of her autopsy case -- which I always find hilarious for some reason. It's also got Mulder playing with a Magic Fingers machine, singing the theme to Shaft, and trying to stop a moving RV by grabbing onto the bumper, all of which he totally would do. Lastly, it includes the most amusing pronunciation of the word "knawed" I have, to date, heard. Thanks, Mitch Pileggi."'
posted by jwgh at 6:01 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

OK, after poking around a bit, I found the current location of Shaenon and Jeff's Top Five X-Files Not Written By Darin Morgan:, which is where the above quote about Bad Blood is from.
posted by jwgh at 6:38 AM on November 9, 2015

Mulder singing "Shaft" and "I just put money in the Magic Fingers" both featured in an X-Files desktop theme I stubbornly kept on my computer despite the fact that a program crashing regularly generated enough error windows that the entire system would freeze trying to play the clip of Scully talking about the Magic Fingers over and over again. Oh and the cursor was a giant green X that was almost impossible to use as a real cursor .

I regret nothing.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:37 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love this episode so much. The two versions of the slide show in Mulder's office are just perfect.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:58 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

"I was drugged!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:20 AM on November 9, 2015

Bulgaroktonos, I have vague memories of that desktop theme! Well, specifically I have memories of my dad making me change a desktop theme I installed on the family computer because the green X cursor was unusable. May not have been the same one but it sounds like they were cousins.
posted by town of cats at 10:30 AM on November 9, 2015

"You know, I haven’t eaten since six o’clock this morning, and all that was was half of a cream cheese bagel, and it wasn’t even real cream cheese – it was light cream cheese."
posted by wabbittwax at 10:30 AM on November 9, 2015

This one is one of my top five, easily. Then again, I'm always a sucker for a Roshomon homage. At least, that's how I remember it.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:05 PM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Count me in as one of the desktop theme owners.
posted by olinerd at 3:20 PM on November 9, 2015

Definitely one of my favourite episodes.

Like 'Jose Chung' the unreliable narration is great and totally in line with themes that X Files explores. The differing accounts of Luke Wilson's appearance in particular.

Neat gag - despite Mulder's athleticism - he keeps missing the wastepaper basket and goes "PC Load Letter" on it.

Nice touch to have Mulder's hair disheveled during a period of stress. OTOH, is this peak Scully hair?

So many great details (the first picture of the cow!). Scully's resigned sigh. The giant cardboard box with "HEAD - HUMAN REMAINS - HANDLE - WITH CARE".
posted by porpoise at 5:29 PM on June 14, 2020

I really enjoyed my re-watch of this one. Even though I remembered it quite well, down to Mulder's "Oh, shi---- [cut to credits]" moment in the cold open, I still laughed quite hard a few times. The whole "comedy of errors" vibe was good too -- Mulder and Scully did nothing but screw up in this episode and this case was nearly their professional and personal ruin.

Luke Wilson was pretty good in this. His "earnest hick sherrif" schtick was just overplayed enough to suit the character, for whom of course it was an act. Watching him try to talk around his prosthetic teeth was really funny, and when he reveals himself to be a vampire to Scully, it's chilling. Ronnie Strickland was a fantastic character -- a total moron, but still freaky and menacing in vampire mode.

I like the glimpse into what Mulder and Scully find aggravating about each other -- we can make two shopping lists of them. He: thinks Scully complains too much/can be a stick in the mud, and is too flirty with attractive men. She: thinks he's ghoulishly overenthusiastic about their cases, that he doesn't realize how demanding he is, that he isn't clear about whatever he finds significant about case details, and that he makes short jokes.

Scully gets her hackles up when Mulder shows interest in another woman, but Mulder also doesn't like it when Scully demonstrates interest in another guy, though he acts out on that by teasing her rather than getting hostile as Scully does.

Are there legitimate ways to get blood? The vampires must have found some sort of supply in order to keep their "low profile" if this was all Ronnie acting out.

I want to try out a vibrating bed sometime.

Mulder gives Ronnie a $0.02 tip. DUDE.

"You are in big trouble!"

"What do you mean you want me to do another autopsy?! And why do I have to do it right now? I just spent hours on my feet doing an autopsy, all for you. I do it all for you, Mulder. You know, I haven't eaten since 6:00 this morning, and all that was was a half a cream cheese bagel, and it wasn't even real cream cheese, it was light cream cheese! And now you want me to run off and do another autopsy?!" -- Scully

"Probable cause of death? Gee, that's a tough one." -- Coroner, talking to his tape recorder and eyeing the wooden chair leg impaled in Ronnie Strickland's chest.

"Ronnie Strickland [the coffin rocks back and forth] ... you have the right to remain silent [Mulder gets on top of the rocking coffin]. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law [tries to force the lid down despite Ronnie's best efforts]. Come on, cut it out, Ronnie!"

"Prison, Scully. Your cell mate's nickname is going to be Large Marge. She's going to read a lot of Gertrude Stein."
posted by orange swan at 11:02 AM on June 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

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