The X-Files (1993– )
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Die Hand Die Verletzt 

The agents investigate a murder in a small town populated by devil worshippers.

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Storyline

Scully and Mulder are called in by a local New Hampshire sheriff when there is evidence of a satanic cult operating in his town. One teen has already died and paranoia has now gripped everyone there. There is little doubt that a group of teenagers did go off into the woods to perform some type of ceremony, but Scully in particular scoffs at any suggestion they were anything more than kids acting out. As the investigation progresses, however, it becomes apparent that some of the staff are involved in devil worship, but the danger, it turns out, lies outside the group. Written by garykmcd

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TV-14 | See all certifications »
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27 January 1995 (USA)  »

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4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First directorial effort on the series for Kim Manners. He would go on to direct another 50 episodes, the most prolific director in the series' history. See more »

Goofs

Mulder points out that the water in the drinking fountain is draining in the wrong direction, due to the Coriolis effect. The Coriolis effect occurs only in ocean currents, not toilets nor sinks. See more »

Quotes

Fox Mulder: So, lunch?
Dana Scully: Mulder, toads just fell from the sky!
Fox Mulder: I guess their parachutes didn't open. You were saying something about this place not feeling odd?
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Crazy Credits

In the opening credits James Wong is credited as James "Chargers" Wong See more »

Connections

References The Geraldo Rivera Show (1987) See more »

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The X-Files
Written by Mark Snow
Performed by John Beal
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User Reviews

Did you really think you could call up the devil and ask him to behave?
28 October 2015 | by See all my reviews

"Did you really think you could call up the devil and ask him to behave?" – Fox Mulder.

Episode 14, 'Die Hand Die Verletzt', original air date January 27th, 1995. Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, directed by Kim Manners. Monster of the week episode count, 26. Kim Manners joins the X-Files team as director, and later producer, while Morgan and Wong bid farewell with their final episode. The writing duo left The X-Files at this time to pursue their own project, the short lived 'Space: Above and Beyond' in which they're credited as co-creators, producers and writers. They will return however in the X-Files fourth season and pen arguably their most well known and controversial episode. Manners will go on to direct an impressive 52 X-Files episodes, including the two part finale and he starts his X-Files career with a bang. Looking back on the series I would place Manners alongside David Nutter and Rob Bowman as the most influential X-Files directors. Their combined efforts comprise many of my personal favourites as well as numerous critically acclaimed entries that span the entirety of the series. 'Die Hand Die Verletzt' is a visual powerhouse of an episode from the opening shot to the thrilling climax.

The episode is about a group of devil worshippers who have let their faith go over the years, failing to offer sacrifices and perform the religions rituals. Because of this an evil presence is felt in the town as strange occurrences and unexplained deaths happen. The local police department is convinced it's the work of the devil but both Mulder and Scully are sceptical. The devil worshippers, who funnily enough also happen to be staff members at a strict catholic school, know exactly what's happening. As they discuss, they're being punished for not keeping up their faith and must rectify this immediately before they incur dire consequences. A young teen is murdered, as a sacrifice for their transgressions, and another young girl who previous to her demise, admitted to Mulder and Scully that she had been abused by her father in bizarre rituals involving sexual abuse. A newly arrived teacher, Mrs. Paddock, has an eerie quality about her and it soon becomes apparent that she is not what she seems. She is, in no uncertain terms, the devil incarnate. Who has risen from the depths of hell to punish the wicked for their sins. It's a heavily religious themed episode that many have argued is a parody of organised religion, particularly religious people who only pay lip service to their faith without actually following through on their beliefs.

In keeping with the established tone of the series Manners works with an appropriately grim colour pallet. As the actors and crew have commented many times, the Vancouver climate was an integral component in developing the shows dark imagery. When production moved to L.A in season 6, many feared that it would be difficult to replicate the naturally gloomy atmosphere imbued in Vancouver's weather within L.A's clear, sunny climate. Although I disagree with the criticism that the series lost some of it's charm as a result of this move, there is still an obvious shift in tonality between seasons 5 and 6, especially with the lack of outdoor settings like the British Columbia forest. When the teens conduct their night ritual in the forest, the cinematography is gorgeous. The white light of the moon streams through the darkened trees, casting shadows contrasting light and shade to create a wonderfully ominous atmosphere. A shot like this would have been far more difficult to replicate in the concrete jungle of LA. The opening scene mixes the genres of horror and comedy well, as what appear to be devout Christians suddenly start chanting devil worship as the camera pans back from the door as red light shines through the door frame. This is something the episode does well, mixing genres.

The episode begins in a rather comical way. A high school staff meeting sees a group of people concerned over the inclusion of the 'F' word in the musical 'Grease', and citing Jesus Christ Superstar as an inappropriate production for the school. This assumed sensibility is then turn on it's head as they begin devil worshipping prayer to the light of a burning red candle. You wouldn't be wrong to laugh at this point, as well as feel slightly uncomfortable at the subject matter. Morgan and Wong have intentionally brought comedy in to the episode's first act, possibly as a way to catch the audience off guard for the dramatic shift that comes later. Frogs raining from the sky, Mulder remarks, "Guess their parachutes didn't open," a clearly intentional comedic moment. Compare this with the young Shannon Ausbury tearfully recounting the horrific physical and sexual abuse she and her sister were subject to at the hands of their own father while Mulder and Scully listen helplessly. It's a striking contrast to say the least but it works as the underlying subject matter was always dark from the beginning.

This is a rare episode in that the writers make no pretence to obscure the true nature of Paddock. It's insinuated very heavily, beyond a doubt that Paddock is the devil in disguise and is murdering these staff members because they have lost their faith and are only paying lip service to the religion. One of the groups members expresses the need to act now, "If it's not already too late." As Paddock takes control of his body in order to murder his colleagues and force himself to commit suicide, with a shotgun to the face no less, she remarks, "You're right, it is too late." This is uncharacteristically explicit for the X-Files to be so clear, we're usually used to some degree of mystery but Morgan and Wong have laid it out clear as day, don't mess with the devil.


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