The X-Files delights in keeping viewers on their toes, asking dozens of questions and only half-answering half … only to turn around a few episodes (or seasons) later and challenge those same notions. In Season 11, Episode 6, "Kitten," the show really puts the monster in monster of the week, with the season's goriest episode to date. The episode flashes back to A.D. Walter Skinner's past and also features Haley Joel Osment seeing not dead people but, well, something certainly sinister. Herewith is a list of 30 things we learned in "Kitten."
· While serving in Vietnam as a Marine (which has been referenced several times in previous episodes), Skinner was assigned to take a mysterious crate that says "MK Naomi" to a rendezvous point without peeking inside.
· The crate contents are accidentally released inside a hut on some Vietnamese villagers and Skinner's platoonmate John "Kitten" James (Haley Joel Osment). Skinner, once exposed, briefly sees a monster and stops John from attacking him.
· Afterward, John is transformed — describing in detail brutally carving ears off of Vietnamese people, including children. After the war, Skinner testifies against him, resulting in his being locked in a mental institution for 38 years.
· In present day, Skinner has gone AWOL.
· Deputy Director Kersh asks Mulder and Scully where he is, and explains that the reason Skinner hasn't been promoted "after 35 years in the Bureau" because of his "blind loyalty" to Mulder and Scully (answering a question I had last season about why the guy has gotten 0 promotions since 1993). Why Deputy Director Kersh doesn't have a higher job is another question that is, however, unanswered.
· Skinner "hasn't been the same" since Mulder and Scully returned, but also has been "poking around in places he shouldn't" — Kersh won't be more specific.
· “There’s no way of telling what Skinner’s been up to recently. But I’d keep my eyes peeled for cigarette butts.” – Mulder
· "After all of these years, we know precious little about Walter Sergei Skinner beyond the professional." – Scully
· In his apartment, they find a cut off human ear sent to Lance Corporal Walter Skinner with the words "the monsters are here."
· “Monsters, Mulder. Does that get your juices flowing?” – Scully“As much as I appreciate any reference to my ‘juices,’ my only concern here is for Skinner.” – Mulder
· Skinner's military record including names of his platoonmates has been classified, and Scully has been denied access.
· Via info in the package with the ear, Mulder and Scully head then to Mudlick, Kentucky, where people have been seeing a monster out in the woods. In the morgue, the town doctor has been killed by a trap in a style used in Vietnam and is missing an ear. He is also missing teeth.
· There is a mental institution outside the city called Glazebrook, where several veterans have been sent.
· The next murder victim has also been losing teeth, as have his friends and the sheriff.
· For once, Mulder doesn't believe the monster is an actual monster because monsters don't dig pits and set traps.
· Skinner's nickname is Eagle — and the Eagle is bald.
· Skinner meets John's son Davey, also played by Haley Joel Osment, and who says that Skinner was known as "the baby killer" (perhaps a reference to his killing a 10-year-old boy covered in grenades, referenced in earlier eps).
· Skinner says he searched for John after the war and thought he was dead because "they vanished him" and sealed all of his records — they being the same people who turned him into a "monster." He also says he thinks about him every day.
· Davey believes in the monster that his father saw, while Skinner believes that the gas he was exposed to preyed on his own fears. Skinner believes that people are now being hurt again because of John.
· While Mulder wrestles with what Kersh said about Skinner sacrificing his career for them, Scully says she believes that Skinner "is a man ruled by his moral compass, above all else."
· John James is in fact dead, hanging from a tree in the woods. Davey uses this to lure Skinner into a pit trap like the others.
· When Mulder and Scully arrive, Davey says he hasn't seen his father in weeks but that he was released from the mental institution one month before.
· Davey also says that his father knew secrets about the government, such as the weaponized gas he was exposed to, which then lead them to continue to experiment on him and others at Glazebrook. The intent was to control minds through fear, he says.
· Scully, naturally, does not believe. Mulder does believe, and cites the CIA's real 1950s mind control research program, MKUltra. Davey says MK Naomi is the successor program and is spread over crops and in chemtrails.
· Mulder knows Skinner is around and goes looking for him, and they eventually find him in the pit after a struggle with Davey and, perhaps, the monster.
· In a subsequent struggle, they kill Davey with one of his own traps.
· When Scully asks if they are the reason Skinner has not been promoted, he tells them that they're the reason he's here. Because during the Vietnam War, he lost his faith in the government and that he was doing the right thing, and that Mulder and Scully taught him to continue questioning rather than remaining blindly loyal to "puppeteers pulling the strings."
· Skinner says he intends to find out the truth of what they used John James for, no matter the cost.
· Skinner is now losing teeth too.
· The final scene shows trucks from Mudlick dispensing chemicals to crop dusters.