Season 1

1x14 Lazarus

Air date: 02-04-94
Writers: Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon
Director: David Nutter
Editor: Heather MacDougall
Director of Photography: John S. Bartley, C.S.C.
Documented Phenomenon: Soul Migration, Near Death Experience

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

" At the Maryland Marine Bank, Scully and Agent Jack Willis are undercover, acting on a tip that the bank is going to be robbed. He is agitated, while Scully maintains a cool and detached air. The tip was right; outside, a couple - Warren Dupre and Lula Philips - are preparing their weapons. He dons a hockey mask and then storms the bank, violently assaulting the security guard. Even with having a gun waved around in her face, Scully still remains cool under pressure. The two FBI agents pull their guns on Dupre, but he shoots Willis in the chest, and is about to shoot Scully, when she fires three rounds into him. Both men are dashed to hospital, where Dupre dies on the operating table. The fight for Willis' life takes a little longer, with Scully assisting on the sidelines. Just when it appears that Willis has died, Scully insists on several more attempts with the electroshock paddles to restart his heart. It seems to work, though Dupre's covered body also jolts when the shocks are delivered. As Willis regains his heart rhythm, the tattoo on Dupre's exposed arm seems to fade.

Two days later at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Willis wakes up from his coma. He steals some clothes from another patient's room, and looks confused when he sees his face in a mirror. Memories of the shooting - in which he sees himself getting shot - flash in his brain. He finds his way down to the morgue where he locates the body of Dupre and chops off the finger wearing his wedding band.

Mulder and Scully are now on the case, with Mulder having done some futile checking into Willis' whereabouts, and Scully mystified by the desecration of Dupre's body. She thinks that this may be some kind of post-traumatic psychosis on Willis' part. It's only when Mulder clocks the fact that Dupre and Lula Philips were married that he reckons that there is a bit more to this than necrophiliac mutilation.

A bewildered Willis breaks into the apartment he shared as Dupre with Lula. She's not there, but he notices that he seems to be acquiring a tattoo on his forearm, the exact same one that was on Dupre's arm.

Mulder has already deduced some anomalies. The first is that the fingerprint lifted from the cutting knife in the morgue that removed Dupre's finger is from the left. Odd, because Willis was right-handed, and - according to the bank's CCTV footage - Dupre was clearly left-handed. Mulder then shows Scully the EKG strip that was monitoring Willis' heart on the night of his shooting. It looks suspiciously like two heartbeats. Mulder now firmly believes that although two men died in that crash room that night, one of them did come back. But which one?

The agents next visit the Institute of Biology at the University of Maryland. Mulder has unearthed Professor Varnes, who believes that at the moment of death, a huge amount of electrical energy is released by the body, something which may account for the odd occurrences in the hospital. Scully naturally doesn't really buy this theory, and tells Mulder that she might have a better insight into Willis' personality than most, seeing as they had dated for nearly a year. She tells him that they even shared birthdays, and that Willis was the type of person who would become so focused he found it nearly impossible to relax. She buys his predisposition towards having a psychotic episode a lot more readily than his body being taken over by a now-dead bankrobber.

Willis breaks into the apartment of Tommy Philips, Lula's deadbeat brother. Tommy has no idea where his sister is but notices that Willis is bleeding from his gunshot wound. He slowly comes to realize that this man he has never seen before is actually Dupre, and he has figured out that Tommy set them up with the FBI. He kills Tommy for his pains.

Later, when the agents are at Tommy Philips' murder scene, they are surprised when Willis appears out of the blue. He is pretending to be the real agent in some hope of finding out where Lula might be. Willis/Dupre vaguely recognizes Scully from the shooting at the bank, and plays along that he knows her. Scully wants him to undergo a full physical and psychological examination, and tells him that he's not ready to be back out in the field. Mulder has his suspicions however. So, later at the FBI shooting gallery, Mulder entraps Willis into signing Scully's birthday card. Even though it's nowhere near her birthday. The real Jack Willis would have known that. And he signs it with his left hand. Mulder's suspicions have grown even more when he discovers that their best lead from Tommy Philips' murder - a print left by Willis on the TV set - has disappeared from forensics. Scully doesn't accept this theory, citing stress as the reason.

After a tip-off as to Lula's whereabouts, Scully travels with Willis to apprehend her. Unbeknownst to her, he hasn't called for back-up, so Scully is walking into a trap. Willis spots Lula struggling with her laundry. When she realizes she's been marked, Lula tries to take off but she is apprehended by Scully. It's only when Willis takes Scully's gun and throws her a set of cuffs that she realizes she's in trouble. The fugitives move to a house where Scully is chained to a radiator, and Willis is able to tell Lula all sorts of personal details that makes her comprehend that he is in fact Dupre.

After Scully has been missing for 12 hours, Mulder and the rest of the team are getting very apprehensive as to her whereabouts and safety. Willis phones Mulder to taunt him. Meanwhile, in the hostage house, Scully is chipping away at Willis/ Dupre's sanity by trying to get him to remember moments of their time together. Willis is in an increasingly bad state as Dupre hasn't realized that the body he is now inhabiting is a diabetic one, and, not having had any insulin, is heading towards a state of hypoglycemic coma.

A break-in at a drug store - where the sole thing taken was some insulin - gives Mulder enough of a clue as to where to look. But the insulin only serves to highlight the real callousness of Lula's character as she refuses to let Willis/ Dupre have it. She then reveals that it wasn't Tommy who set them up. She had done it herself to get herself rid of Dupre. Lula then phones the FBI on Scully's cellular, demanding a million dollars. Although the call is untraceable, Mulder and an FBI tech are able to isolate enough background ambient sound from the call to ascertain that Lula was calling from the vicinity of an airport. They manage to narrow the search down to a three square mile radius. With 100 men on the case, the manhunt is on.

As he starts to lapse into a coma, snippets of Willis' memory of his life with Scully return to him. Lula answers a knock on the door from a Bible salesman, who is actually one of the agents on the case who quickly assemble outside. Just when she thinks that Willis/ Dupre is dead, he grabs the gun from Lula. Although she tries pleading with him, he kills her. Willis dies immediately after that, with the helpless Scully looking on. Dupre's tattoo fades away.

Back at the FBI, Scully is taking care of Willis' effects when Mulder hands her his watch. It reads 6:47. The exact time that Jack Willis died in the hospital.

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

  • For some reason, Lazarus is not that widely regarded an episode, and yet it's a good, solid Season 1 entry. Within its 45 minute structure, we learn a great deal about Scully's past (and where she is now in the present). And it boasts a strong supporting performance from Christopher Allport as Scully's ex-boyfriend, now an inhabited should-be-dead FBI agent. Of course by season seven through such episodes as all things, or the season four episode Never Again, the show would explore the kind of men that Dana Scully seemed attracted to. Robin J. England / Matt Allair
  • On the other hand, it is perfectly understandable that some X-Philes wouldn't care for this episode. While the exploration of Scully's personal history is of interest, the actual episode feels like a very general police story episode with a supernatural twist. Gansa and Gordon could have written this episode for any cop show and in some respects this episode has moments that feel not typical of what is expected out of an X-File. Matt Allair
  • If anything, it's fascinating to compare the green rookie Dana Scully from the Pilot episode with the very calm and collected Scully in the opening bank raid, or the very authoritative Scully in the hospital emergency room when she's battling to save Jack Willis' life, or the equally together Scully who's able to wear down Jack's (or should that be Dupre's?) antagonism by reasoning with him when she's chained to a radiator. Scully is now a force to be reckoned with. This is a lesson that the writers have learned over the previous 14 episodes, and one that Gillian Anderson most certainly has learned too. Robin J. England
  • This episode is also a good example of showcasing Mulder's wild leaps. With just a minimum of evidence, he's able to posit his bizarre body-jumping theory, and, rather irritatingly for Scully, he is of course right. To be fair to Mulder, he also puts in some good yeoman's policework in this episode, especially when he's on the hunt to find Scully. And he also knows when to park his wild theories and let the ordinary agents do their job. We can also see in this episode that Mulder is very concerned and very protective over Scully's safety. Actually, this is the first of several episodes in which Scully is abducted. The result for Mulder is the same in each case: a frantic desperate dash to save her. Robin J. England
  • Scully's intransigence and resistance to Mulder's theories are naturally her scientific resolve questioning his assumptions. But we can probably throw into the mix some personal feelings, too, towards Jack Willis. Scully does act like a concerned ex-lover here. Faced with a wealth of evidence that suggests that Mulder might be right - Jack's stopped watch being the final clincher - it's interesting to see that Mulder doesn't push her into accepting his position. Instead he backs off, leaving Scully to come to some hard conclusions of her own. Robin J. England
  • While it was probably the intention of writers Gansa and Gordon to have Dupre's dialogue seem comical, lines such as "You make every day like New Years Eve..." or "Don't worry, baby. It won't make any difference in the dark..." come across as terribly cliché. Perhaps Mr. Durpe and his wife had watched too many 50s mobster B movies. Matt Allair
  • It has been noted that there are some timelines with this episode regarding Scully's birthday when she mentions her birthday as February 23rd while contradicting herself that her birthday is two months later. On another note, in the script for Lazarus, Dupre reveals he was born in the year of the Dragon, which would be 1964, yet in the filmed episode, he reveals he is born in the year of the Rat, the same year as Mulder. Matt Allair
  • There are a number of other inconsistencies with this episode as noted by some X-Philes. It is unlikely that Agent Willis, after disappearing and mutilating a corpse, would be allowed to continue and be simply trusted by the Violent Crimes Unit - especially after failing to follow through with a psychological evaluation. Another weakness is the fact that we never see any visual prior history of the relationship between Willis and Scully, therefore, we have little baseline on which to judge his actions later. One last point that needs to be made is the fact that after Mulder has been labeled as a pariah at the Bureau, it seems odd there's little resistance to his involvement with VCU in the search. Matt Allair

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

The original script for this episode called for Dupre's spirit to jump into Mulder's body, instead of Jack Willis'. This idea was ultimately rejected, mainly because the thinking at the time was that neither agent should experience upfront tangible paranormal evidence themselves. This rule was obviously relaxed as the show continued on its run. Mulder got to experience some body-jumping of his own in the Season 6 two-parter Dreamland, when he did a switch with Man in Black Morris Fletcher. Robin J. England

The location of the bank that was used in the opening sequence was the Bank of Montreal on Granville Street in Vancouver. The episode was filmed just before Christmas. The crew had to work around a maze of pedestrian traffic, all of the Christmas decorations had to be removed minutes before filming and then immediately returned. The bank robbery was so alarming that some people believed an actual robbery was taking place. It should be noted that this was the first episode where David Duchvony and Gillian Anderson were not in every scene together. The basement scene near the end of the episode was filmed at an apartment building called Orange Hall in the Chinatown area of Vancouver. The crew first filmed in an alley and then moved into the basement. The hospital scenes were filmed at an asylum for the criminally insane, which Mr. Allport found unnerving if he wandered off set.

Christopher Allport, who plays Jack Willis, is a staple of US television. Since the 80s, he's appeared as a guest star on virtually every major network show, from M*A*S*H to Knots Landing, from Cagney and Lacey to St Elsewhere. He had a recurring role on the penultimate season of Dynasty and the short-lived 1989 TV spin-off of In the Heat of the Night. More recently, he's appeared on a regular basis on the J.J. Abrams show Felicity and is currently to be seen on the Geena Davis series Commander-in-Chief. Robin J. England

Mr. Allport has recalled a number of experiences while shooting Lazarus. Christopher Allport knew Chris Carter from his days as a writer for Surfer Magazine and they would play paddle tennis on Sundays. Mr. Allport has acknowledged that Gillian Anderson had done a lot of work to develop the relationship. Probably to help manipulate Mr. Allport's performance, director David Nutter showed the episode he directed with Brad Douriff, praising the performance which in turn helped Mr. Allport to deliver his own strong performance. Mr. Allport has had strong praise for the director, as well as praise for the series lead, David Duchovny: *"They were reshooting a previous episode that hadn't quite finished yet, and that's what he would do on his lunch break - he'd go off and shoot some more, shoot something else. The intensity of the set was tremendous and very good - very focused."

Of the guest stars in this episode, however, the one with the biggest profile is Callum Keith Rennie, who played Lula's ill-fated brother Tommy. A Canadian native, Rennie is almost certain to appear on any production that emanates from Canada, though he is probably best known for his sidekick role in the popular series Due South. Although he was actually born in England, he has appeared in such films as the Jean-Claude van Damme actioner Timecop (1984), David Cronenberg's eXistenZ (1999), Christopher Nolan's cult hit Memento (2000) and the concluding film in Blade trilogy, Blade: Trinity (2004). Rennie has also appeared in most of the TV series that are shot in Vancouver, including Dark Angel, The Dead Zone and Supernatural. And like most of the jobbing Canadian actors, he's made more than one appearance in The X-Files; he can be seen in the Season 2 episode Fresh Bones. His affiliation with The X-Files stretches to him initially being offered the part of Alex Krycek. He turned the part down as he didn't want to do a recurring role on series television, recommending his friend Nicholas Lea for the part instead. (Ironically, Rennie would end up doing a recurring role when he signed on as Kowalski in Due South.) Robin J. England

Cec Verrell, who plays the slippery Lula, is also a regular on US TV shows. Since the mid-80s, she's appeared on such series as L.A. Law, Cheers, Hunter, NYPD Blue and ER. Her most recent appearances include Nice Guys Finish Last, and The Price of Kissing. Some of her other eighties work include Runaway, and Silk. Robin J. England / Matt Allair

Jason Schombing, in the part of Warren Dupre, is probably best known from his numerous TV appearances for a recurring part he had on Stargate SG-1. Mr. Schombing also goes under the name Jason Scott. Some of his feature work includes Two for the Money, Fantastic Four, Timecop and 3 Ninjas Kick Back. His other television appearances include Just Cause, Seven Days, Da Vinci's Inquest, Hope Island, Diagnosis Murder, Invasion, The Pretender, Matlock and The Commish. Matt Allair / Robin J. England

* Quote source: "Beyond Mulder and Scully" by Andy Mangels, © 1998 Citadel Press

Episode synopsis, review and production notes: Robin J. England
Additional review and production notes: Matt Allair
Page Editor: XScribe

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