XFC: Signs and Wonders

In Blessing, TN, a young man, Jared Chirp, is in an old house in the rain. He looks at papers
concerning medical tests, tears them up and packs a suitcase, all the time muttering religious statements. A figure
can be seen outside watching, in the rain. Jared has a gun. He goes outside and gets in a car but a rattlesnake is
in the car - in fact there are several. The door won't open so Jared grabs the gun and begins shooting the snakes.

Mulder has the report on Jared's death. He had 116 different bite marks from 50 snakes. The car was closed but
when he was found there was no evidence of snakes at all, plus these snakes hibernate in the winter. It looks like
murder, but why? Scully says that serpents and religion go hand in hand so maybe there's something symbolic in
the mind of the murderer. Mulder says maybe these snakes really did serve evil.

At the Blessing Community Church, a teenage girl, Gracie and an older woman, Iris, Jared. Iris owns the boarding
house where Gracie lives. Gracie is pregnant. Mulder and Scully talk with the minister, Samuel Mackey. Mackey
had his suspicions. His church is founded on acceptance of all people and all beliefs but Jared had belonged to a
fundamentalist congregation that practiced snake handling. Jared and his girlfriend Gracie left together and
Mackey says their former church, and its leader Enoch O'Connor, has persecuted them. Mulder and Scully visit
O'Connor's "Church of God with Signs and Wonders." The door is open so they enter. There is no electricity and
snakes are loose in the building. The agents are uptight about the snakes but O'Connor enters and moves the
snakes out of the way. He says Jared strayed from the path and his death was a test of faith. "I don't think you
people realize which side you're on." He seems like a suspect, but the sheriff has ruled O'Connor out. At the
church, Iris tells Mackey that on the night he died, Jared called very late and wanted to talk to Gracie. He sounded
very strange but Mackey asks to wait until after Bible class to hear more. Both Mackey's class and O'Connor's
snake handling service go on simultaneously. Meanwhile, Iris works on stapling bulletins for a church service. As
she works, her staple remover turns into a snakehead and bites her. Iris goes into the bathroom to wash the
wound and suddenly the bathroom seems filled with snakes.

Mulder and Scully talk with Mackey as Iris' body is taken away. Nobody saw or heard anything until Iris screamed.
Mackey tells Mulder about what Iris told him - something about Jared paying for his sins. The agents go to talk
with Gracie. She is convinced that O'Connor didn't do this but rather that it was Satan's work. It is revealed that
Enoch O'Connor is Gracie's father. When Gracie got pregnant her father kicked her out of the church and his
home. They go back to O'Connor's and split up to look around. In an outbuilding, Scully finds mice in cages and
lots of snakes in boxes. O'Connor enters and grabs her, forcing her head down onto a snake box. O'Connor forces
Scully's hand inside a snake box, but she is not bitten. Mulder appears with his gun and makes O'Connor release
Scully. O'Connor is arrested. "Your partner could have learned something about herself if you hadn't stopped me,"
he says. His wife, Alice, died in June 1994 of snakebites, supposedly during a church service. O'Connor claims that
Satan is near and says Mulder can't see it. In jail at night, O'Connor awakes. He kneels and snakes slither in
between the bars.

O'Connor is in Intensive Care, covered with snakebites. Gracie has prevented the doctors from giving him
anti-venom on religious grounds. Scully wonders if Gracie tried to kill her father - she grew up amid snakes and
told Scully her father would be judged. Visiting Jared's room, the agents find the medical tests showing that Jared
was sterile. He could not be the father of Gracie's child. Scully says maybe he was killed because he discovered
the truth. Reverend Mackey counsels Gracie that you can trust God by trusting in the miracles of doctors and
medicine and she eventually agrees to treatment. Later, Mulder and Scully arrive at the hospital. O'Connor and
Gracie are both gone and nobody knows how. Mackey tells them Enoch is the father, which is why Gracie wanted
to get away from him. O'Connor brings Gracie to his church, where his congregation waits. She struggles but they
begin to deliver the baby. Snakes slither out from under her dress.

In the morning, Mulder and Scully arrive at O'Connor's church. Gracie is in deep shock and has loss of blood. From
the pool of blood on the floor, snake tracks can be seen. Scully goes in the ambulance with Gracie while Mulder
heads for Mackey's church, feeling that O'Connor may now threaten Reverend Mackey. O'Connor confronts Mackey
and pulls out a knife but Mulder enters and shoots O'Connor in the shoulder, saving Mackey. In the ambulance,
Gracie tells Scully that her father saved her, rather than threatened her harm. AS Mackey is in the other room,
calling for an ambulance, O'Connor repeats to Mulder that Mulder doesn't know which side he's on. "Be smart
down here," O'Connor says, pointing to Mulder's heart. Mulder pulls his gun on Mackey, claiming Mackey is the
father of Gracie's baby. Maybe he wanted to destroy O'Connor by any conceivable means. Mackey asks if Mulder
were put to the test, how would he do? Snakes appear and surround Mulder, even crawling out of his sleeves and
pant legs. Scully arrives at the church and hears Mulder cry out. When she finally breaks down the door, Mulder
has been bitten and the last snake is seen leaving.

At the hospital, Scully reports that police have not found Mackey. If it was test, Scully thinks Mulder passed - he is
alive. Mackey is seen at another church, in Hamden, CT, now calling himself Reverend Wells. In his desk he has a
box of mice. He opens his mouth, a snake emerges and grabs the mouse, then retreats back into his mouth.

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