Musings in the Dark: Sanguinarium



This episode (S4E6) opens in a hospital operating room where a patient is undergoing liposuction. Suddenly, the doctor begins stabbing the patient with the suction tube, removing so much fat that the patient died on the table. The doctor, Dr. Lloyd, claimed to be possessed during the surgery.  Scully, of course, isn’t buying his defense. Shortly after this, another doctor at the same clinic kills a patient by severing her spine with a laser. He claims to have no memory of doing this. 

Mulder inspects the operating room and the victims and discovers a pentagram in each location. He believes some sort of witchcraft is at work. While talking to the hospital administrator, the agents learn that ten years prior, another series of nasty deaths took place at the same hospital. The attending nurse who was there for both sets of deaths, Rebecca Waite, becomes the lead suspect. When Scully & Mulder go to question her, she suddenly begins vomiting up pins and dies.

Mulder deduces that the victims’ birthdates align with the Witches’ Sabbath and figures out that the pentagrams were protective symbols placed by Waite, who was a practicing witch. She was trying to protect the victims from Dr. Jack Franklin, a physician who was assaulted by Waite earlier in the episode. The hospital administrator tells the agents that in the previous murders, four patients and a doctor, Dr. Cox, died. The doctor’s date of birth doesn’t align with the Sabbath and Mulder, being Mulder, thinks that Cox was involved in the murders. He uses a software program to determine what Dr. Cox would look like after cosmetic surgery and figures out that Cox is Dr. Jack Franklin.

The hospital administrator finds Franklin in a bloody operating room and he uses magic to transport surgical tools into her intestines. While she is in surgery, Franklin undergoes a ritual and removes his face. He is now younger and escapes the hospital. The episode ends with him–with his new appearance–applying for a job at a different hospital.

Scenes in this episode stuck with me and still resonate. I am fascinated by witchcraft in all its forms and to see it in “Sanguinarium” made it one of my favorite eps. The opening scene, with the doctor furiously stabbing the patient, the scene with the laser, the scene where the nurse vomits pins, and the scene where Franklin puts the surgical tools in the hospital administrator’s belly are brutal and vicious. I couldn’t get that shit out of my head for days after “Sanguinarium” ended. 

And the ending, where Franklin basically molted and moved on to a new job and life, and we know this whole cycle will eventually repeat…*chef’s kiss*

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