And you got the Thing.
And also there were those weird aliens on Babylon 5.
Now, smoosh 'em all together and stick 'em in the Arctic.
A murder-suicide occurs among a group of geophysicists in Alaska studying ice that might have originated from a meteor. Mulder and Scully, along with a few others, fly to the remote outpost to investigate. They find a dog, who is highly aggressive, and its neck is covered in black nodules. Scully notices something wriggling beneath the skin.
(Side note: I had just been writing a short story involving people puppets when I watched this. and this severely freaked me out.)
The pilot is bitten by the dog, and starts developing the nodules as well. However, there is no sign of them on the bodies of the scientists. Bear becomes increasingly aggressive, and when he dies, they remove a worm that has been wriggling around underneath the skin on his neck. They also find that the nodules have disappeared from the dog. Even though they check each other's necks, there is no certainty.
With no pilot, a storm on the way, and the possibility of infection, this can mean only one thing...
They watch the last video log for the scientists, with a fight and final suicide. As the group tries to sleep, Mulder gets up and discovers that Murphy is chilling in the freezer (pun intended), throat cut. Everyone assumes Mulder was the perpetrator, and they start turning on each other. Scully tries to find a way to stop the infection, and discovers that two worms placed together will kill each other, with the implication that they cause aggression in their hosts, but can also destroy infection.
Epic Rap Battles of History presents!
They stick a worm in the dog's ear, and soon, he is acting like a normal, happy dog. If tired and cranky. The two others try to do the same to Mulder, but Scully objects, and noticing DaSilva's increasingly aggressive and hysterical behavior, They manage to get a worm in her, and it's all rest and relaxation from there!
Well, no, Mulder wants to poke at aliens some more, but the government blows the place up.
I really loved this one. I love bottle episodes for horror in general. Part of the anxiety comes from the idea that there is no escape-you're stuck there, and you have to face whatever the threat is. It's an amazing way to develop characters, and show their dark sides (see: the Doctor Who episode Midnight, which is still terrifying!). I also liked this episode simply as a homage to The Thing.
Also, on a related note, we have some mindworms in Beyond the Ice Limit too. Everyone loves mindworms!