A renegade cloned hybrid that can shapeshift and heal, Jeremiah Smith, tries to thwart the Syndicate's greater Project that involves a colonization. After a meeting between the Cigarette-Smoking Man and Teena Mulder (Fox's mom) that reveals a past connection and ends up in Teena having a stroke, Mulder finds an alien stiletto. Unable to use the stiletto against Jeremiah, the CSM calls for the Alien Bounty Hunter's help. Jeremiah escapes and asks for Mulder & Scully's help. The ABH hunts Mulder & Jeremiah while Scully discovers that the american population is being catalogued through smallpox vaccinations. Before being stopped by the ABH, Jeremiah shows Mulder transgenic plantations and hives of killer bees taken care of by young clones of Samantha. The Syndicate learns X is Mulder's source and kills him; before dying, X points Mulder to his next source: Special Representative to the Secretary General of the UN Marita Covarrubias. The CSM summons the ABH's help to heal Teena.
Duchovny's input in the story of Talitha Cumi is most obvious in the scenes involving Jeremiah Smith: he likes to present himself as a healing messiah delivering humanity from the bonds they've been unconsciously entagled in by the Syndicate. Religious overtones and references to Dostoyevsky's "Brothers Karamazov", more specifically to the 'Grand Inquisitor' chapter, are obvious in the scenes where the CSM and Jeremiah discuss. The title of the episode itself, "Talitha Cumi", is aramaic, said to have been spoken by Jesus Christ when he performed a healing miracle; it means "daughter rise". Jeremiah-messiah uses his shape-shifting abilities to remind CSM of all the people he's had killed throughout the years to preserve his work; the CSM-Inquisitor is very confident in his high place and the "Project" he places above him.
First, let's get something clear: despite his abilities, Jeremiah is not an alien, not a being like the Alien Bounty Hunter. In the hierarchy he is very low: CSM: "You think you're God? You're a drone, a cataloguer, chattel" (chattel means personal property). We meet only one Jeremiah Smith, but Scully finds that there are at least 5 other Jeremiahs that look exactly the same, around the country: clones. The Jeremiahs are cloned alien/human hybrids, made in the same way the 'Gregors' and Samanthas were in 2X16: Colony & 2X17: End Game. Apparently, once they are viable, hybrids are cloned by the Syndicate so that they can be put to use, like the Jeremiahs, the young Samanthas and blond boys here. Hybrids are to be a slave race for the Colonists; they already are under Syndicate rule!
Starting from there, everything becomes clearer. Cloned hybrids are often assigned menial logistical and workforce jobs (see also 4X15: Memento Mori). They are otherwise useless -- and dangerous if knowledge of their existence escapes to the public, which is what the chase of Jeremiah is all about. The Syndicate puts them to use as a ready workforce; they have few to no requirements or demands, contrary to real human workers, and they can easily infiltrate the society because of their human appearance. The Jeremiahs all work in the Social Security Administration, in the same way the 'Gregors' worked in abortion clinics.
The ABH is treated with respect by the CSM; he is a real Colonist, infected by the Black Oil. Jeremiah is inferior, he is not a Colonist; he is not human either, as in Colony, hybrids are considered by others and themselves as a new race altogether. Note that on Teena Mulder's hospital bed, the CSM has to convince the ABH of healing her. The ABH says "I need to know the reasons why this should be" as if he and CSM were equals. The ABH is not a tool of the Syndicate, they both answer to the "greater purpose" and the ABH accepts only after he is told this is done for the good of the Project ("So that the Project may proceed unabated"). Obviously the ABH can't read the CSM's mind ("I need to know the reasons why this should be.''). This is not true of Jeremiah, who perceives much that the CSM would rather hide; as a 'successful' hybrid, Jeremiah can read minds, which is an alien trait (see 6X01: The Beginning and 7X03: The Sixth Extinction). But if this ability is alien in origin, why can't the ABH read minds? In 3X16: Apocrypha, Krycek infected by the Black Oil can't read the CSM's mind either. It would seem that those infected by the Black Oil don't possess this ability, whereas those who have alien genes in their body makeup have it, whether they are grey aliens, shapeshifting aliens or alien/human hybrids. The Black Oil possesses a host but if it doesn't have the biological infrastructure in hand, it can't read minds; this infrastructure would be located in the temporal lobe for humans (5X20: The End).
An even more confusing point is the famed alien stiletto. That's what the CSM wanted of Teena Mulder, that's what has been hiding in a lamp of the Mulder summer house in Quonochontaug for most likely up to 25 years (since 1973), indicating that the need for such a weapon was anticipated from back then. Teena points Mulder to it by writing "Palm". Perhaps she really did mean "Lamp" in the first place, but her brain injury caused her to switch for similar-sounding words (a brain failure called non-fluent aphasia), something similar to what Scully argues ("[The stroke] could very well have affected her center of speech, her language."). That, or the whole play on words is indeed a reference to the fact that a hybrid or an Alien Bounty Hunter is able to heal "using the palm of his hand". The location and the word "lamp" were chosen by Bill and Teena Mulder as part of an enigma for anyone looking for the stiletto.
Much of Talitha Cumi centers around the importance of this stiletto. The CSM wants to recover the Mulders' stiletto so that he can use it on his own, he would like to be independent of any alien help and deal with Syndicate incidents internally. He fails to get it from Mulder's mom; X fails to get it from Mulder. Without it, the CSM has to summon the alien Colonists and call the exterior help of the ABH, who appears to be a 'police' of the Colonists. More toward making the Syndicate responsible for its own actions will be done in 4X15: Memento Mori and 5X07: Emily.
Smallpox Eradication Program
The Jeremiahs' work in the Social Security Administration databases include the cataloguing of large quantities of alphanumerical sequences. While Mulder is the field agent, Scully uses her science to figure out what they're for -- she's very passionate about it because she finally gets evidence that passed "the test of science". The data concerns something that Mulder & Scully have already found traces of since back in 2X25: Anasazi. An entry of the Social Security data looks like this:
SEP | FMTLPQRTDCAMTPFMTSTT | CDA-0001-0321-0004
The string of 20 letters is, dixit Scully, instanlty recongisable by a scientist as a "protein amino acid sequence". Proteins (plant, animal, monocellular) are made of amino acids, and there are 20 standard amino acids in the animal kingdom, a combination of which makes a protein. A specific gene in the DNA, of a virus or of a human, codes for a specific sequence of amino acids. Pendrell finds "30 different variations" of 20-letter sequences; Scully identifies all of those as proteins of the cowpox virus, "the virus used to inoculate humans against smallpox". Indeed, cowpox is less lethal than smallpox and was the basis for the smallpox vaccine ("It's one of the inoculants used in smallpox vaccines."). The vaccination uses a small amount of cowpox, against which the human body could fight back; after this, the human immune system would be much more prepared to identify and destroy virii similar to cowpox, ie smallpox. And indeed, the letters sequence seen on screen really are of a cowpox protein! (thanks to XF scientific advisor Anne Simon).
location of a protein", her very own "cowpox structural protein number six." What differs from individual to individual is the pattern with which the virus is located within the vaccination scar -- a very twisted way, but let's say not outside the realm of extreme possibilities. The location is then translated into letters and numbers with this second string; each string corresponds to a single human being.
Thus the databases compiled by the Jeremiahs can be used to identify a person from his or her "records of smallpox inoculations", "some kind of genetic marker " or "tag". This is the exact process used by Victor Klemper and other scientists of Project Paper Clip during the 1950s (as seen in 2X25: Anasazi / 3X01: The Blessing Way / 3X02: Paper Clip) to identify hybrids post-mortem. We have also seen that the medical records stored in the Strughold Mining Facility (3X02: Paper Clip) contain a "smallpox vaccination certificate", quite possibly coupled with these reference tags. The work of the Jeremiahs might have been to copy the physical data contained in the Strughold Mine into a digital form, or to compile a database updated in real time with the data provided by the Social Security, which is in turn used to update the files in the Strughold Mines. The records in the Mine date back from the beginning of the 1950s, keeping records of anyone born in the USA since then; the "SEP" cataloguing could only have begun in 1967, but American citizens were inoculated before the WHO program. Incidentally, inoculation stopped after 1980, which makes it quite a narrow timespan -- but let's not stick to real world formalities, SEP was a real program that reached the lives of every living person all over the world.
The Project: colonization, bees and pollen
X's death and Marita Covarrubias
His dying message, the letters "SRSG" written in blood, points Mulder to the United Nations Organization. He enquires about the Alberta fields to the different "Special Representatives to the Secretary General" until he gets the appropriate response. At first glance, Marita Covarrubias is no different than the others. She tells him "I can tell you that farm has been abandoned. The crops you described were left to die, but they have been identified as ginseng. No evidence of beehives or bee husbandry was found." Only that the picture she hands Mulder is all the opposite: Samantha clones still farming the flowers, the apiaries are still intact and taken care of. The words are all lies, the picture is the truth: Marita is covering up for the Syndicate only in appearances. Mulder was supposed to be made to believe that his visit to the farms was the cause for their destruction, but Marita gives him evidence he wasn't supposed to see. The room was probably bugged and the conversation doesn't incriminate Marita, but they both know: Mulder learns of her double allegiance and finds the successor of X. In 4X04: Teliko, in Mulder & Marita's second meeting, Mulder makes a reference to that: "You made an overture to me. You left an opening."
The Cigarette-Smoking Man and Teena Mulder
CSM & Jeremiah meeting one:
CSM: "This now becomes a responsibility. The thing I'm now called upon to put right and put down. Certainly you expected nothing less."
Jeremiah Smith: "I'm not ashamed of my actions."
CSM: "Ashamed? You're not allowed the luxury of human weakness in penitence. You're not allowed to put your indulgences ahead of the greater purpose."
Jeremiah Smith: "I no longer believe in the greater purpose."
CSM: "Then your fate is just."
Jeremiah Smith: "My justice is not for you to mete out. You may have reason, but you have no right. You have no means either." ["to mete" means "to measure", as in meter]
CSM: "You presume to dictate duty to me? Have you any idea what the cost of your actions is? What their effect might be? Who are you to give them hope?"
Jeremiah Smith: "What do you give them?"
CSM: "I give them happiness and they give us authority."
Jeremiah Smith: "The authority to take away their freedom under the guise of democracy."
CSM: "Men can never be free because they are weak, corrupt, worthless and restless. The people believe in authority. They've grown tired of waiting for miracle and mystery. Science is their religion. No greater explanation exists for them. They must never believe any differently if the project is to go forward."
Jeremiah Smith: "At what cost to them?"
CSM: "The question's irrelevant and the outcome inevitable. The date is set."
Jeremiah Smith (as Deep Throat): "At what cost to them for your own selfish benefit? How many must die at your hand to preserve your stake in the project?"
CSM: "I'm not impressed by your miracles or moved by your trickery. Your justice will be meted out."
Jeremiah Smith (as Deep Throat): "By whom this time and by what tool?"
CSM: "By those who possess the tool of your destruction."
CSM: "The date is set."
CSM & Jeremiah meeting two:
CSM: "It's only a matter of time now."
Jeremiah Smith: "You put me in a cage within a cage. Why are you so afraid of me?"
CSM: "I'm not."
Jeremiah Smith: "Yes, you are. You live in fear. That's your whole life."
CSM: "You don't know anything about me."
Jeremiah Smith: "I know everything about you. You think the miracles I perform are the extent of my power."
CSM: "You think you're God? You're a drone, a cataloguer, chattel." ["chattel" means "personal property"]
Jeremiah Smith: "What you're afraid of is they'll believe I am God."
CSM: "Well, it doesn't matter. Most of them have ceased to believe in God."
Jeremiah Smith: "Why?"
CSM: "Because God presents them with no miracles to earn their faith."
Jeremiah Smith: "You think when man ceases to believe in miracles, he rejects God?"
CSM: "Of course."
Jeremiah Smith: "You rule over them in God's name."
CSM: "They don't believe in Him, but they still fear Him. They're afraid not to because they're afraid of freedom."
Jeremiah Smith: "And you give them happiness."
CSM: "We appease their conscience. Anyone who can appease a man's conscience can take his freedom away from him."
Jeremiah Smith (as William Mulder): "And if you can't appease their conscience, you kill them. But you can't kill them all. You can't kill their love, which is what makes
them who they are, makes them better than us, better than you."
CSM: "You talk. I'm not one of you."
CSM: "Oh? Am I?"
Jeremiah Smith: "Yes. You are dying of lung cancer."
CSM: "It's a lie."
Jeremiah Smith: "You think it's a lie?"
CSM: "You want to save your life."
Jeremiah Smith: "And you?"
Jeremiah Smith: "I can explain everything to you."
Mulder: "Scully, it's me."
Jeremiah Smith: "You're looking at the future, Mr Mulder."
Jeremiah Smith: "You have a chance here to understand something so much greater, to comprehend it, to expose it."
Mulder: "Well, then explain it to me. Explain it to me now!"
Alien Bounty Hunter: 'Everything dies."
Marita Covarrubias: "Not eveything dies, Mr Mulder."
Scully: "Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it."