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Summary
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong and directed by Rob Bowman

Ed Jerse, a handsome Philadelphia resident, is devastated as a judge decrees the harsh terms of his divorce settlement. After downing too many drinks at a neighborhood bar, Ed enters a tattoo parlor and selects a Betty Page-like design (on which is printed the words, "Never Again.") The next day, while at work, Ed hears a female voice refer to him as a "loser." Angered, Ed picks a fight with some women close to his cubicle, but they don't understand his anger. His boss sends him home for the day.

Meanwhile, Mulder tells Scully he must take time off for vacation or face losing several week's pay. Tension erupts between the pair when Mulder tells his partner what cases need her attention during his absence. Scully refuses to waste her time on a dubious case involving a Russian living in Philadelphia whom Mulder believes possesses valuable information on UFOs. Scully tells Mulder she feels as though she has lost sight of herself--as if her own life does nothing but stand still.

Now in his shabby apartment, Ed hears the female voice taunting him again, mocking him. Not realizing where the voice is coming from, he thinks it's his downstairs neighbor. The voice eventually drives Ed to the point of madness. In a rage, Ed bursts into the woman's apartment and attacks her. Later, he drags the body into the basement and stuffs it inside an incinerator.

Despite her reservations, Scully decides to keeps tabs on Mulder's Russian. She quickly realizes the man is an extortionist and his activities have nothing to do with the X-Files. Scully follows the Russian into a nearby tattoo parlor, where she strikes up a conversation with Ed (who is in the process of begging the tattoo artist to cover his handiwork). They strike up a conversation and an undeniable chemistry develops between the pair. Ed hands Scully his business card, and suggests they have dinner. She politely declines, but takes his card anyway.

After a tense phone conversation with Mulder about the Russian, Scully sets up a date with Ed. Scully tells Ed how her whole life, she's followed some type of father figure around, until she has to rebel. Ed observes that it looks like she's ready to rebel again. After consuming a few drinks, Scully and Ed return to the tattoo parlor, where Scully has the image of a snake eating its own tail tattooed on her back. The pair return to Ed's apartment. Noting the bad weather, Ed suggests Scully spend the night. Scully notices blood dripping from Ed's tattoo and, doctor-like, helps him pull off his shirt. A moment of intimacy develops, but before Ed can act upon his feelings, the Betty tattoo cries out: "Kiss her... and she's dead."

The next morning, Ed awakens on the couch. He leaves Scully a note that he is going to get breakfast. While Ed is away, detectives roust Scully from her sleep. They reveal that a resident downstairs was reported missing, and that a blood type different from her's was found inside the apartment. The detectives tell Scully that the blood contains chemical abnormalities. Seeing the chemical breakdown, Scully realizes it is composed of the same odd ingredients the Russian tattoo artist used to make the ink he used in their tattoos.

When Ed returns with breakfast, Scully tells him about the detectives' visit. She also reveals that the chemical found in the blood is an ergot alkaloid that can produce dangerous hallucinations. Ed confides in Scully about hearing Betty's voice in his head, taunting him, controlling him--but now that Scully is here, the voice has gone away. Now afraid for herself, Scully prepares to take them both to the hospital. But when Ed learns Scully is an FBI agent, he snaps. He attacks her and Scully is knocked unconscious. As Betty's voice urges him on, Ed drags Scully's body into the basement, intending to stuff it inside the incinerator. Scully regains consciousness and tells Ed to "take control." Suddenly, Ed gathers the strength to thrust his arm inside the incinerator, burning off the tattoo. He is transported to a burn center for treatment.

When Mulder returns from vacation, the air between him and Scully remains tense. Scully reminds her partner that not everything revolves around him-and that she intends to live her own life.

~From the official X-Files site


Quotes
"Case closed on Boris Badenov, which is really a shame because I was thinking of having an 'N.Y.' tattooed on my ass to commemorate the Yankees' World Series victory. Better late than never." more...



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