CTP Episode of the Day - 10.10.06 - Die Hand Die Verletzt

Today's Cherished Episode: Die Hand Die Verletzt (2x14)
Original Air Date: January 27, 1995
Written By: Glen Morgan and James Wong
Directed By: Kim Manners

Mulder and Scully journey to a small town to investigate a boy's murder and are caught between the town's secret occult religion and a woman with strange powers.

"Did you really think you could call up the Devil and ask him to behave?"

Some "Die Hand Die Verletzt" Tidbits & Musings:

-- The episode title "Die Hand Die Verletzt" is German for "The Hand that Wounds," which is part of the satanic prayer spoken in the teaser by the members of the PTA.

-- This was the first episode directed by Kim Manners, who would go on to direct over 50 more, the most of any X-Files director.

-- "Die Hand Die Verletzt" was the last X-Files hour written by Glen Morgan and James Wong until they briefly returned to the show in Season 4. Morgan and Wong left the series to devote their time to developing and producing Fox's Space: Above and Beyond. The pair used Paddock's cryptic line on the chalkboard, "It's been nice working with you," for another more sentimental purpose -- to serve as their parting aside to the cast and crew.

-- Part of the script grew out of Morgan and Wong's flair for constructing episodes around individual scenes, with Morgan proclaiming enthusiastically at one point, "We need an episode where a snake eats a guy." Amphibians also figured prominently in the sequence where toads rain from the sky, with real toads -- dropped from only a few feet so as not to harm them -- eventually being substituted for fake ones that proved to be too heavy as they caromed off the umbrellas. ("Mulder, toads just fell from the sky." "I guess their parachutes didn't open.")

-- Airing on the eve of Super Bowl XXIX, the producers -- long-suffering San Diego Chargers fans -- also indulged themselves in a little personal gag in the opening credits, where they were listed as James "Chargers" Wong and Glen "Bolts, Baby" Morgan. Though the Chargers were routed two days later by the San Francisco 49ers (final score 49-26), Morgan insisted he wasn't superstitious enough to believe that those credits had anything to do with jinxing his team.

-- When the teens hold their "ritual" in the woods, they call upon Azazel. Azazel is an enigmatic name from the Hebrew Scriptures. The word's first appearance is in Leviticus 16:8, when in the ritual for Yom Kippur the scapegoat is to be taken to Azazel and cast into the wilderness. According to the Book of Enoch, Azazel was one of the grigori (also known as "watchers"), a group of fallen angels who mated with mortal women, giving rise to a race of hybrids known as the Nephilim. According to some, Azazel is merely a synonym word for Hell; in modern Hebrew, "lekh l'Azazel" is the equivalent of the English curse "go to Hell." Azazel is mentioned in John Milton's Paradise Lost as Satan's standard-bearer. And in the Marvel Comics universe, a demon-like mutant named Azazel is the father of the X-Man Nightcrawler by the shape-shifter Mystique.

-- "Die Hand Die Verletzt" contains another example of Mulder and Scully's seeming ability to travel at warp speed. Jerry Stevens was killed in New Hampshire in the evening and at 8:55 a.m. the following day the local sheriff was telling Mulder and Scully at the crime scene that a hunter found the body "early this morning." So Mulder and Scully got to work, got assigned the case, traveled from Washington to New Hampshire, and arrived at the crime scene by 8:55. Pretty impressive.

-- The song "The Night Chicago Died," mentioned by Mulder, was by the British group Paper Lace, written by Peter Robin Callander and Mitch Murray. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week in 1974. The subject of the song was a fictional gang shootout in Chicago between gangsters tied to Al Capone and the Chicago police. The narrator retells his mother's anguish in awaiting news of the fate of her husband, a Chicago cop.

-- In response to the Sheriff's comment about a deeper conspiracy afoot, Mulder tells Scully, "Better hide your Megadeth albums." Megadeth was an American heavy metal band led by founder, frontman, and songwriter Dave Mustaine. The group was formed in 1983 following Mustaine's ejection from Metallica and has since released ten studio albums, three EP's, and two live albums. Megadeth is one of the most commercially successful heavy metal bands, selling more than 20 million albums worldwide, including the Grammy nominated multi-platinum Countdown to Extinction.

-- The word Megadeath is a term for one million deaths. It was coined in 1953 by RAND military strategist Herman Kahn and popularized in his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War. In Kahn's view, alternate scenarios in which the USA suffered 10 megadeaths instead of 100 should be weighed as "tragic but distinguishable outcomes." In Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, General Buck Turgidson (played by George C. Scott) carried a binder titled "World Targets in Megadeaths." The word megadeath was adopted (and adapted) by The Meggadeaths, a precursor to Pink Floyd and in 1983 metal band Megadeth. A parody heavy metal band called Megadeath closed the 1973 National Lampoon off-Broadway hit play and sound recording Lemmings, a parody of the Woodstock music festival.

-- Since the globe is rotating, any movement on the Northern hemisphere is diverted to the right, if we look at it from our own position on the ground. (In the southern hemisphere it is bent to the left). This apparent bending force is known as the Coriolis force (named after the French mathematician Gustave Gaspard Coriolis 1792-1843). Mulder mentioned Coriolis force when he noticed the water was going down the water fountain drain counter-clockwise instead of clockwise.

-- It made for a pretty good water fountain blooper too.

-- The snake scene proved to be the most difficult sequence for the production crew of this episode as Dan Butler (who played Jim Ausbury) was immensely terrified of snakes. In the original script, Jim had some lines right before he noticed the snake, but those had to be cut because Butler just couldn't bring himself to deliver them. In addition, the snake kept falling down instead of gently sliding down the staircase.

-- The characters Paul Vitaris and Deborah Brown were named after prominent on-line X-Philes. In fact, Paula Vitaris wrote wonderful articles for Cinefantastique that always shared some of the show's in-jokes.

-- The Ausbury family was named for fan Jill Ausbury.

-- Jerry (the boy who was killed) was named for Jerry Jones, host of the America On-Line X-Files forum.

-- School psychologist Pete Calcagni was named for the husband of another X-Files fan.

-- The high school, Crowley High, was named for British ceremonialist Alistair Crowley, a man whose theories on "magick" shocked his contemporaries and were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the development of modern Wicca, the religion mentioned in the episode.

-- The satanic substitute teacher, Mrs. Paddock, was suitably named, since an Old English definition of "paddock" is "toad."

-- Scully's computer search revealed that Mrs. Paddock worked in the "Grossmont Union School District," which is located in El Cajon, California. Glen Morgan (and his brother Darin) were born and raised in El Cajon, California.

-- Drama teacher Howard Roberts may be named for the stage name of real-life drama teacher Bob Howard, who taught at the El Cajon Valley High School (which is also in the Grossmont Union School District), located 17 miles east of San Diego in San Diego County, California. Two of the school's most famous alumni are Glen Morgan and James Wong, who met in a 10th grade Honors English class when they were paired up to critique each others' short story. Wong was focused on basketball and tennis but Morgan eventually got him interested in joining Bob Howard's drama class, and the two became best friends.

-- After graduation, Morgan and Wong went off to Loyola Marymount University together, Morgan majoring in Film Studies and Wong majoring in Engineering. As freshman roommates, Jim would come from class with five hours of physics homework to find Glen watching a movie. One night they got into a preview screening of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now and Jim was blown away. He decided then and there that he wanted a future in film; and at the end of the first semester, he transferred to the film program.

-- Dan Butler (Jim Ausbury) was best known for his recurring role as Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe on the hit NBC comedy Frasier. Butler is one of only two actors to appear in the original Hannibal Lecter film Manhunter as well as in The Silence of the Lambs. (The other is Frankie Faison.)

-- Susan Blommaert (Phyllis Paddock) has spent most of her time lately playing judges. She played Judge Rebecca Steinman in numerous episodes of Law and Order, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and Law and Order: Trial by Jury. She played Judge Rudy Fox on The Practice, and Judge Barbara Burke on Family Law. Blommaert was seen earlier this year as Jane Folger in United 93.

-- Heather McComb (Shannon Ausbury) shared a Beethoven connection with David Duchovny; he appeared in the first Beethoven film, she appeared in the second (Beethoven's 2nd). She appeared in the made-for-TV movie Generation X, based on the Marvel comics, in 1996 and became the first person to play the X-Men character of Jubilee on screen. She joined the cast of Party of Five in 1998, playing the character of Maggie. Heather became the wife of James Van Der Beek (Dawson on Dawson's Creek) on July 5, 2003.

-- Laura Harris (Andrea) later played Marie Warner in Season 2 of 24 and Daisy Adair on the acclaimed Showtime series Dead Like Me.

-- Once & Future Retreads: P. Lynn Johnson (Deborah Brown) was Dr. Sheila Braun (a variation of "Brown") in "Born Again" and a Health Department Doctor in "Small Potatoes." Michele Goodger (Barbara Ausbury) was Sister Abigail in "Gender Bender." Larry Musser (Sheriff John Oakes) was Detective Manners in "Jose Chung's From Outer Space," Denny Markham in "Unrequited," and Jack Bonsaint in "Chinga." Doug Abrahams (Paul Vitaris) was a patrolman in the "Pilot," an Agent in "Gender Bender," Lt. Neary in "Hell Money," and Harbaugh in "The Field Where I Died."

-- For those who wanted to see Mulder and Scully take a shower together, this episode would have to suffice until Season 6's "One Son." < g >

(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics.)

Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "Die Hand Die Verletzt"!