"Signs And Wonders"
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Title: Signs And Wonders
First screened in Australia: May 17, 2000
First screened in the USA: January 23, 2000
Director: Kim Manners
Writer: Jeffrey Bell
- Tracy Middendorf as Gracie
- Eric Nenninger as Jared Chirp
- Randy Oglesby as Reverend Samuel Mackey
- Michael Childers as Reverend Enoch O'Connor
- Beth Grant as Iris Finster
- Phyllis Franklin as Middle-Aged Woman
- Dan Manning as Deputy
- Stevie Johnson as EMT
- Elyse Donalson as Elderly Woman
- Philip Lenkowsky as Holy Spirit Man #1
- Clement E. Blake as Holy Spirit Man #2
- Donna May as Holy Spirit Woman #1
Mulder and Scully investigate a gruesome and unexplained snake-bite death, which points to a religious group in the deep south.
My Rating: 7/10
An OK episode that is spoiled by a rather silly ending. There are some scary moments with the snakes.
Mulder: Lots of snakes
Mulder: Sometimes a little intolerance can be a welcome thing. Clear-cut right and wrong, black and white no shades of gray. In a society where hard and fast rules are harder and harder to come by, I think some people would appreciate that.
Scully: You're saying that you, Fox Mulder, would welcome someone telling you what to believe?
Where Have I Seen That Face Before?
Randy Oglesby (Rev Mackey) has appeared in movies such as "Patch Adams", "Idle Hands", "Nothing To Lose", "Liar, Liar", "Independence Day" and guest starred on "Ally McBeal".
Tracy Middendorf has starred in "Days Of Our Lives" and "Beverly Hills 90210" plus two episodes of "Ally McBeal" and a "Millennium" episode. She has a website at http://www.charlotteross.com/tracy/index.html.
Trivia and Research:
Writer Jeff Bell originally wanted to do an episode about a preacher because his grandfather was a preacher in small, rural churches throughout the midwest. It eventually evolved into a snake handling episode. Bell recommends the book Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia, by Dennis Covington, as a good resource on snake handling.
Most productions use a variety of snakes, but this show used almost all rattlers for authenticity. About 30 rattlesnakes were on set, with only a few stand-by bell pythons and rat snakes. Director Kim Manners insisted on making it as real as possible with almost no editing effects. According to snake wrangler Jules Sylvester, both David and Gillian were very gentle with the snakes. Gillian was so adept at snake handling that Sylvester said, "If she ever decides to give up acting, she can have a job with me." During one scene, David had as many as 15 snakes around him. Sylvester, who wrangles insects as well, has worked on over 250 features, including "Galaxy Quest," "Jungle 2 Jungle," "The Freshman" and "Arachnophobia."
All actors auditioning for the roles involving snakes were required to actually hold a snake in call-back sessions.
Almost all rattlesnakes, also called pit vipers, produce hemotoxic venom. The result of this type of poisoning, called ecchynosis, is severe swelling, pain, and bluish discoloration at the site of the bite. The change in the skin tone is caused by the bleeding into the tissues. Although it is considered a life-threatening event, the percentage of death from envenomation is less than .2%. Prompt medical care and readily available antivenin drastically reduce the chance of death by snake bite.
McMinn County, Tennessee is not known for its venomous snake population. Australia is home to all ten of the world's most deadliest snakes. Go to www.thesnake.org/venom.html for photos and details of snakes to watch out for when Down Under.
Reverends Mackey and O'Connor both refer to a Biblical passage from the Book of Revelations, chapter three, verses fourteen through sixteen. Mackey quotes the New International Version:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm -- neither hot nor cold -- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Michael Childers, who plays Reverend O'Connor, grew up in West Virginia and attended the sect of Holiness Church, which practices snake handling.
Actress Tracy Middendorf (Gracie) was really pregnant while shooting this episode.
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