"The Pest House"

#MLM-215

Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong

Directed by Alan Coulter

Edited by James Coblentz

Aired February 27, 1998

Summary: A series of gruesome slayings are committed near a psychiatric hospital, where Frank Black and Peter Watts conduct an investigation that yields multiple suspects.  

 

  Season Two on DVD

 

Synopsis:  A young couple, Kevin and Christy, share a romantic interlude inside a car. As they pull apart, Kevin recounts a story involving an inmate at a nearby psychiatric hospital, nicknamed the Pest House. According to Kevin, the inmate slit the throats of seven sorority house sisters who were away at camp. An eighth intended victim grabbed hold of a clever and chopped off her attacker's hand. Shortly after Kevin finishes the tale, the couple hear a scratching noise on the roof of the car. Kevin exits to investigate, but does not return. A scared Christy exits the vehicle — only to see a dead Kevin hanging upside down from a tree. 

Watts and Frank examine photographs of the crime scene. Watts recounts events that lead to the murder, which Frank discounts as urban legend. But Watts counters that Christy confirmed the tale. Watts then reveals that an inmate interned at a nearby psychiatric hospital, Woodcock, fits the killer's profile. However, his complicity is undermined by his poor physical condition. Watts and Frank travel to the asylum nonetheless, where they are greeted by Dr. Stoller, an attractive psychiatrist. With Stoller's permission, the pair interview the deranged Woodcock, who claims he did not commit the crime, but recognizes his handiwork nonetheless. Later, a fight breaks out when a large man named Bear attacks a fellow inmate. With some help from Frank and Watts, the situation is neutralized. That night, another young couple, Ted and Callie, stop along a deserted roadway to fix a flat tire. They are attacked and killed by an unseen presence. 

Aided by Detective Munsch, Watts and Frank examine the crime scene. Frank concludes that the young couples' murders are not connected, as the M.O. is completely dissimilar. After examining Bear's case history, Frank concludes the murders for which he was convicted, and the killings of Ted and Callie, are almost identical (the killer removed the hands of both female victims). Dr. Stoller dismisses the theory — until she discovers a woman's press-on nail in her lunch. Frank examines the contents of a stew pot being served at the hospital commissary — and finds a human hand contained within. Later, Frank questions Bear. Bear insists that someone took something out of him, but before he is able to clarify his statement, he lapses into a seizure. Later, Frank tells Stoller that someone in the hospital is responsible for the murders. Stoller allows him to secretly observe a group meeting. Frank's interest is piqued when Woodcock accuses Edward, a male nurse, of stealing his dreams. While experiencing a series of inner visions, Frank sees the murder of Dr. Stoller, a knife slashing through an upholstered seat. 

Though still uncertain of the killer's identity, Frank warns Stoller that her life may be in danger. Stoller, however, dismisses his concerns. Shortly thereafter, she is approached by Purdue, an inmate. Purdue insists that Edward is stealing his fellow inmate's dreams — and states that he will not allow the same thing to happen to him. 

Watts uses his computer to research the case histories of all the inmates, looking for anyone who would use a knife to kill his victims inside a car. Watts concludes the most likely suspect is Purdue. Frank concludes that the murders are all composites of urban legends. Frank gives chase when Stoller peals out of the hospital parking lot in her car. Stoller temporarily manages to lose Frank, then pulls into a gas station. An attendant alerts Stoller that an armed man is hiding in the back seat of her car. Frank arrives at the scene, but finds the back seat is empty. He and Stoller drive from the scene as the attendant phones the police. But before he can place the call, he is murdered inside the cashier's booth. 

As Frank searches the hospital for Purdue, he encounters Edward, who recounts how another nurse was savagely murdered by Woodcock years earlier. He is convinced that the only way to cure the inmates' illness is to drain every violent impulse from their bodies. 

The hospital is plunged into darkness when someone cuts off the electricity. As Frank and Stoller roam the unlit corridors, they come upon the body of a night nurse, Wilda, who was killed and stripped of her keys. Suddenly, Purdue's voice booms over the intercom system. As Frank and Stoller close in on Purdue, they encounter another figure roaming the darkness. Purdue smashes a chair into Frank's back, sending him to the ground. The mysterious figure, armed with a knife, then advances on Stoller. From Stoller's point of view, she sees the figure change from Edward, to Purdue, to Bear, and then to Woodcock. Suddenly, Purdue swings the chair at the figure. An intense battle ensues, until finally, Purdue kills Edward. Frank and Stoller examine Edward's body, noting nurse Wilda's keys in his possession. Though at a loss for an explanation, Frank hypothesizes that evil, like matter, can never be destroyed — it merely changes shape. Though Edward found a way to remove the evil from others, he could not find a way to release it from himself.

 

Photographs:

- Peter and Frank tour the hospital

- Violent killer Cainan Purdue

- The massive and animalistic Bear

- Inmates gather for a daily group meeting

- Frank makes a call to confer with Peter

- Dr. Stoller leads Frank and Peter

 

  Print Advertisement

 

Media Review:  "'The Pest House' appears to be the anomaly in this season of Millennium, an episode that pays lip service to the Group’s interest in this case to merely go back to the same old killer-of-the-week conceit. While the acting is wonderful, and the actual story very moody and atmospheric, the show has spent so much time getting us into the mythology and the cosmic issues of good and evil that we want to wallow around in that spiritual pool for a little while longer. Being tossed back into Frank’s world of profiling and predicting seems less substantiative now that we sense they’re just exercises to entertain the powers-that-be in the series." —Bill Gibron, DVD Talk

 

Trivia:  Guest star Melinda McGraw, who portrays the stubborn Dr. Stoller, is perhaps better known to fans of Ten-Thirteen Productions as Melissa Scully, the ill-fated sister of Dana Scully on The X-Files. Glen Morgan and James Wong first worked with the actress on The Commish.

 

Guest star Justin Louis, who plays Edward, first worked with Morgan and Wong on 21 Jump Street. He later starred in the pilot episode of the duo's The Notorious 7, a series that was rejected by the Fox network.

 

Like Melinda McGraw, guest stars Michael Massee, C. Ernst Harth, and Darcy Laurie had all previously appeared in minor roles on The X-Files.

 

Death Toll:  6

 

Title:  The episode takes as its title the grim nickname that local teens have assigned to Oregon's East County Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.

 

Starring:

Lance Henriksen as Frank Black

Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts

 

Guest Starring:

Melinda McGraw as Dr. Stoller

Michael Massee as Purdue

Justin Louis as Edward

Darcy Laurie as E. Jacob Woodcock

C. Ernst Harth as Bear

Greg Anderson as Detective Munsch

Brendan Fehr as Kevin Galbraith

Holly Ferguson as Katie

Tyronne L'Hirondelle as Brennan

Amber Warnat as Christy Morris

Michael Weaver as Ted
 

Production Credits:

Production #5C15

Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer Chip Johannessen
Consulting Producers Darin Morgan
Co-Producer Robert Moresco
Co-Producer Paul Rabwin
Producer Thomas J. Wright
Co-Executive Producer Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer John Peter Kousakis

Executive Producer Glen Morgan

Executive Producer James Wong

Executive Producer Chris Carter

PREVIOUS

THE MILLENNIAL ABYSS

NEXT