3×19: Hell Money

“You cheated them out of life by promising them prosperity when the only possible reward was death.” – Dana Scully
“In my belief, death is nothing to be feared. It’s merely a stage of transition but life without hope– now, that’s living hell. So, hope was my gift to these men. I don’t expect you to understand.” – Hard-Faced Man

Our heroes journey to San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood to investigate a string of cremations. This usually warrants no close examination, but in this case, the people were being burned alive.

Hell Money

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: After the absolute disaster of last episode, it is a relief to regain any modicum of quality in an episode of The X-Files. Luckily, “Hell Money” rewards our patience, and despite being a rather dour low key affair as compared to other more well-known episodes, it is one of those diamonds in the rough that has a rich psychological and cultural subtext.

Mulder and Scully come to Chinatown under Mulder’s assumption that some kind of spectral activity is responsible for the deaths of these men, including Johnny Lo, the latest victim. Little does he know that three masked men attacked Lo in his apartment the night prior, who obliquely demanded that Lo “pay the price.” Continue reading