4.08 Paper Hearts
Original Air Date: 12/15/96
WRITTEN BY: VINCE GILLIGAN
DIRECTED BY: ROB BOWMAN
Tom Noonan as John Lee Roche
Byrne Piven as Robert Sparks
Vanessa Morely as young Samantha Mulder
Sonia Norris as the young mother
Carly McKillip as Caitlin Ross
Paul Bittante as the local agent
In a dream, Mulder sees a young girl getting buried in leaves in a park. He have the same dream three nights in a rove. The thirs night he is able to recognize the location where the girl is, and he travels there. He discovers the buried skeleton of a murdered young girl. Out of her dress, someone has cut out a heart-shaped piece of fabric. Mulder think this is done by an imprisoned serial killer named John Lee Roche, one of the first killers Mulder profiled. Between 1979 and 1990, Roche abducted girls between the ages of 8 and 10 from their homes, strangled them, and cut a heart-shaped piece of fabric from their clothes as a trophy. He was a salesman, and chose his victims while selling vacuums to their mothers. When captured, Roche confessed to 13 murders. The heart-shaped pieces of fabric was never found. The discovery of another victim means that he may have killed several more girls than he admitted to. Another clue from one of Mulder's dreams lead them to Roche's car, where Mulder think the killer hid his trophies. There they find a total of 16 hearts, which means there are two more unknown victims.
Mulder and Scully pay a visit to Roche in jail, but he won't tell them about the missing girls. Instead, he comments thet he understands why Mulder is taking the case so personally. His meaning becomes clear with Mulder's next dream, where he goes back in time to 1973 and his sister Samantha's abduction. But the creature who burst through the door is not an alien, but Roche. . .
Could Roche have abducted Samantha? Roche claims ha sold a vacuum to Mulder's father before the abduction. When Roche won't answer Mulder directly, Mulder becomes enraged and punches Roche in the face.
Scully, who witnessed Mulder's loss of control, tries to convince him that the dreams are nothing but images from his subconscious. She is certain that Roche is only cleverly manipulating Mulder's emotions. Mulder have always believes that Samantha was abducted by aliens, and now he doesn't know what to believe. His fears seem confirmed when, in the basement of his family home, Mulder discovers the same model of vacuum that Roche claimed Mulder's father bought for his mother.
When Skinner finds out Mulder struck Roche, he denies Mulder further access to the killer. Yet Skinner is sympathetic when Mulder tells him his fears about Samantha, and finally allows Mulder interview Roche again, as long as Scully keeps an eye on him.
Mulder finally agrees to give Roche what he had been demanding: the heart trophies he cut out of the clothes of his victims. Now, Mulder demands to know the truth about Samantha. Roche's description of the night Samantha was abducted is exactly the same as Mulder remembers. He refuses to tell Mulder if one of the cloth hearts was taken from Samantha's clothing. Instead, he makes Mulder choose one of the hearts at random, and tells them where to find the body. Another body is discovered, it's not Samantha.
When Mulder and Scully return to the prison, Roche is fully in control. He refuses to tell them anything more unless he's taken to the scene of the crime.
Willing to risk everything to find out the truth about his sister'sabduction, Mulder makes a difficult decision. Without notifying Scully or Skinner, he releases Roche from jail and takes him to his childhood home in Matha's Vineyard. Inside the house, Roche describes everything in great detail. But there is only one problem; Mulder says they are in the wrong house, his mother bought this after his parents were separated. Mulder has tricked Roche by deliberately taking him to a house 6 miles away from his childhood home. Now he knows Roche has been lying all along. Mulder guesses that his extensive knowledge of Roche enabled Roche to get into his head, and get access to his memories of Samantha.
The first flight back doesn't leave before the next morning, and they check into a motel. There, Mulder has one final dream of Samantha, and wakes up to find himself in his own handcuffs. Roche, his gun and badge is gone. Outside, Skinner and Scully is pounding at the door. With Mulder's ID, Roche tracks down the wereabouts of Caitlin, a littel girl he met on their flight to Boston. Mulder abmits to Scully that she was right, Roche was just playing with him.
Mulder's knowledge of Roche pays off when he correcly identifies where Roche took teh girl, to his old apartment in Boston. He shoots Roche to save Caitlin's life. . .still plagued by the doubts Roche planted about Samantha's fate. With Roche dead, will they ever find the identity and location of the victim behind the last heart trophe?
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