One of the scariest monsters created by the sci-fi television series The X-Files is the character of Eugene Victor Tooms (Doug Hutchison), a mutant serial killer introduced in the third episode, “Squeeze”. This episode originated the show’s “monster of the week” format which see FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigating a monster or villain in an episode that stands on its own, as opposed to episodes that advance the show’s meta plot of an alien invasion and government coverup. The plot of “Squeeze” originated from a conversation between writers Glen Morgan and James Wong about whether they could fit inside a ventilation shaft in their office.
“Squeeze” sees Mulder and Scully investigating a serial killer in Baltimore who removes the liver of his victims. Mulder discovers the murders are similar in nature to crimes that occurred in 1933 and 1963. While staking out one of the crime scenes, Mulder and Scully catch a man named Eugene Victor Tooms in the building’s air vents, giving investigators a clue as to how the killer gained access to the victims. While Tooms is released for a lack of evidence, Mulder is certain he has a paranormal ability to stretch and squeeze his body through small spaces and is responsible for murders dating back to 1903. By consuming the liver of his victims, Mulder believes Tooms is able to hibernate for 30 years before he reemerges, hungry for more.
Mulder and Scully find photos from the 1933 murders which depict Tooms, who has not aged though 60 years have passed. They then find Tooms’ “nest” in an apartment building’s crawlspace which includes trophies from past victims. That night Tooms breaks into Scully’s apartment through an air vent. Mulder arrives and Tooms is arrested and institutionalized.
Is Tooms dead?
Unlike other “monster of the week” villains, Eugene Victor Tooms makes a second appearance on The X-Files. In the first season’s twenty-first episode, “Tooms”, also written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, Tooms is released from a Baltimore sanitorium because his psychologist is convinced of his innocence. Tooms breaks into Mulder’s apartment and frames him for assault, leading Mulder’s boss to order him to leave Tooms alone. Mulder and Scully worry that if they don’t catch Tooms he will hibernate and reemerge in 2023.
The special agents are able to find other evidence linking Tooms to the murders and, breaking direct orders, track Tooms back to a shopping mall. Mulder finds Tooms’ new “nest” below an escalator. While being pursued by Tooms, Mulder turns the escalator on and traps and kills him.
Ostensibly, Tooms is dead. After being trapped by an escalator in “Tooms”, we never see the character again, though the show goes on for eleven seasons (and then some). However, this would hardly be the first time that a character that appeared to be dead wasn’t actually dead. Because the character of Tooms hibernates for 30 years after completing 5 murders and consuming the liver of his victims, there would be no reason for Mulder and Scully (or anyone else) to know that Tooms isn’t dead until 2023.
Will Tooms come back in 2023?
To be clear, Tooms’ death occurs off-screen. The only reason we think he is dead is because Mulder and Scully think he is dead. This is based on Mulder’s assumption that he couldn’t have survived in the small space Mulder himself just crawled out of, and the appearance of a large amount of blood on the escalator.
Tooms’ death is dubious because the entire plot of the two episodes featuring his character is that he has abnormalities in his skeletal and muscular system that allow him to stretch and fit in small spaces. It is entirely possible that Tooms used his special ability to survive getting crushed by the escalator. The blood on the escalator could have belonged to Tooms, but have not been enough to cause him to bleed out and die, especially considering he is a mutant being.
The X-Files has more than enough plausible deniability to bring the character of Tooms back when he reemerges for his 2023 feeding cycle. This doesn’t have to be rushed, any future X-Files season or film could take place in 2023. If the people involved in The X-Files aren’t interested in a new “event series” featuring Mulder and Scully searching for Tooms, perhaps Glen Morgan and James Wong could write something separate from the X-Files story that features the character.