Never Again (The X-Files)

Never Again (The X-Files)
"Never Again"
The X-Files episode
Dana Scully's tattoo of the Ouroboros
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 13
Directed by Rob Bowman
Written by Glen Morgan
James Wong
Production code 4X13
Guest stars
  • Rodney Rowland as Ed Jerse
  • Jodie Foster as Voice of Betty
  • Bill Croft as Comrade Svo
  • Jay Donahue as Detective Gouveia
  • B.J. Harrison as a Jehovah's Witness
  • Igor Morozov as Vsevlod Pudovkin
  • Jillian Fargey as Kaye Schilling
  • Jan Bailey Mattia as Ms. Hadden
  • Ian Robison as Detective Smith
  • Barry "Bear" Hortin as Bartender
  • Marilyn Chin as Mrs. Shima-Tsuno
  • Rita Bozi as Ms. Vansen
  • Natasha Vasiluk as Russian Store Owner
  • Peter Nadler as Ed's Lawyer
  • Jenn Forgie as Ed's Ex-Wife
  • Sean Pritchard as Ed's Ex-Wife's Lawyer
  • Carla Stewart as Judge
  • Doug Devlin as Young Man
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Leonard Betts"
Next →
"Memento Mori"

"Never Again" is the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of the television series The X-Files.



In Philadelphia, Ed Jerse loses a divorce settlement to his ex-wife, who has sole custody of his child. After getting drunk at a local bar, Ed wanders into a tattoo parlor and impulsively receives a tattoo depicting Bettie Page. At work the next day, Ed hears a woman calling him a "loser"; he has a violent confrontation with a female co-worker -- who denies saying anything -- and is subsequently subdued.

In Washington, Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully conduct a discreet meeting with a Russian informant, Vsevlod Pudovkin, who claims to have seen a UFO at a secret research center. Upon returning to FBI headquarters, Mulder heads out on vacation, leaving Scully to follow up on the Pudovkin case for him. Scully is uninterested in the case and expresses serious doubts about Pudovkin's credibility, leading to an argument with an inconsiderate Mulder. Scully becomes upset over the direction her life and career are going.

At his home Ed is called by his boss and is fired. He hears the same voice as before, and yells at the woman living below him, thinking it was her. Upon hearing the voice after a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses stop by, Ed goes downstairs and murders his neighbor, throwing her body in the furnace. The voice talks to him again and he realizes it's coming from his new tattoo. Scully heads to Philadelphia where she watched Pudovkin enter a tattoo parlor. Scully heads inside where she sees Ed arguing with the owner, wanting the tattoo to be removed. Ed strikes up a conversation with Scully and invites her out to dinner, to which she replies she has other business to take care of. That night Scully talks to Mulder, who is in Graceland, telling him that Pudovkin is a con man and part of the Russian mafia. Scully calls Jerse and tells him that she changed her mind. The two head to a nearby lounge but she is concerned about Ed's arm, where he has burned the tattoo with a cigarette butt. Ed convinces Scully to get a tattoo, and she has one of an Ouroboros applied to her back.

That night Scully stays at Ed's apartment. The tattoo is angry at him, saying she'll be dead if he kisses her, which he does anyway. The next morning two detectives arrive at the apartment after Ed has gone out, who tell Scully that Ed's neighbor is missing and blood was found in her apartment with an unusual chemical substance in it. Scully researches the material on Ed's laptop and tries to call Mulder at the FBI headquarters but hangs up before Mulder has a chance to answer. When Ed arrives Scully tells him that they found blood in his neighbor's apartment and that it was likely his. She thinks that the chemical came from the tattoo ink and wants them both to head to the hospital to be tested. Ed tells Scully about the voice he's been hearing from his tattoo. As Scully heads to the other room to get ready, her FBI badge falls out of her coat pocket. Scully discreetly picks it back up without Ed noticing. Then, the tattoo begins to talk again, convincing Ed to redial Scully's last call to see who she was speaking to. An FBI operator answers and, upon learning that Scully is a FBI agent, the tattoo forces Ed to attack Scully. Scully tries to escape but is overpowered by Ed, who binds her in a bedsheet and carries her down to the basement to throw her in the furnace. At the last moment Ed is able to overpower the impulses of the tattoo and instead thrusts his own arm into the furnace.

Scully returns to Washington and is congratulated by Mulder for being the first person to make a second X-File appearance. Ed was brought to a burn center in Philadelphia where the chemicals (ergot) were found in his blood, also in Scully's blood but not enough to cause hallucinations. Mulder wonders if this all happened because of their earlier argument, to which Scully replies that not everything is about him.[1]


A scene where Scully enjoyed a passionate night with Jerse was removed from the script by series creator Chris Carter, the only time in Glen Morgan's tenure on the show where a scene of his was removed by Carter.[2] The episode was the final episode that Morgan and partner James Wong wrote for the show, as they took over as executive producers of Millennium shortly after.

Quentin Tarantino was originally intended to direct this episode, but was stopped from doing so by the Directors Guild of America. Although the episode was written specifically for Tarantino to direct, the DGA complained that Tarantino (who is not a member) failed to pay the union for lost income as a result of his work on ER as a director.[3]

Rodney Rowland was a former cast member of Glen Morgan and James Wong's series Space: Above and Beyond. He and Anderson dated for a period of time after this episode.[4][5] Jodie Foster provided the voice for Ed's tattoo, Betty. Foster was a close friend of casting agent Randy Stone and Gillian Anderson.[4]

In the opening bar scene, the song playing in the background is "Tattooed Love Boys" by The Pretenders. In a later bar scene with character Ed Jerse, the song on the jukebox is "The Have Nots" performed by the LA punk rock band X (from Under the Big Black Sun). The Fight the Future soundtrack features a cover of "Crystal Ship" recorded by X.

The tattoos used in the episode were decals designed by art department staffer Kristina Lyne and altered by makeup artist Laverne Basham. The Bettie Page tattoo was inspired by "Brooklyn Joe" Lieber, a tattoo artist from San Francisco.[5] During the episode, Scully received a tattoo of an Ouroboros—a depiction of a serpent coiled into a circle devouring its own tail. This emblem is the logo for the television series Millennium and the fictional group after which the program is named.

Gillian Anderson said of this episode showing a different side of Scully, "I thought it was a great idea. I personally was going through a dark period at the time, and I wanted to explore Scully's dark side. For some reason, Glen and Jim were on the same wavelength that week. Afterward, a lot of people told me that on that episode I was so 'unlike' Scully or that 'it showed my range'. I told them I thought they were wrong. I don't think that what I did here was out of character for Scully. The only thing different is that the audience hadn't seen it before." The episode's air date was flipped with the episode, "Leonard Betts", in order to ensure that the latter episode, which featured the show's two stars in their traditional roles, aired after the Super Bowl. Anderson has said that she would have played the part differently had she been aware of this at the time, as Scully discovers she has cancer at the end of "Leonard Betts".[6]


This episode earned a Nielson rating of 13.0, with a 19 share. A total of 21.36 million households watched this episode during its original airing.[7]


  1. ^ Meisler, Andy (1998). I Want to Believe: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 3. Harper Prism. pp. 135–142. 
  2. ^ Hurwitz, Matt, Knowles, Chris (2008). The Complete X-Files. Insight Editions. p. 105. 
  3. ^ "Tarantino-Guild Differences Nix 'X-Files' Super-Slot Gig". Daily News (New York). November 22, 1996. 
  4. ^ a b Hurwitz, Matt, Knowles, Chris (2008). The Complete X-Files. Insight Editions. p. 109. 
  5. ^ a b Meisler, Andy (1998). I Want to Believe: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 3. Harper Prism. p. 143. 
  6. ^ Meisler, Andy (1998). I Want to Believe: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 3. Harper Prism. p. 142. 
  7. ^ Meisler, Andy (1998). I Want to Believe: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 3. Harper Prism. p. 298. 

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