Monday, July 30, 2007

The X-Files: Season One

(air date: 9/10/93)

By: David

Not ten minutes into the first episode of “The X-Files,” we see the real reason why this show would grow into one of the premiere series on television. And it’s not an alien. It’s the contrast between Mulder’s determination to believe in the fantastic and Scully’s undying faith in the dogma of science.

This contrast provides the foundation for countless wordy give-and-takes between the two FBI agents. Most unfold in a simple two-step manner: Mulder finds an explanation for an unsolved case that hinges upon paranormal or extraterrestrial forces, and Scully rules it out on scientific principle.

Each argues from a sympathetic frame of reference. Scully is also a medical doctor whose senior thesis discusses Einstein’s Twin Paradox. To her, the only explanations for unsolved cases are those that can be quantified and proven with evidence.

Mulder is no academic slouch himself; he completed a psychology degree at Oxford and graduated from Quantico at the top of his class. But the mysterious disappearance of his sister when they were both children - which he believes was an alien abduction - fuels a near-desperation for proof of the paranormal. “I WANT TO BELIEVE,” says the iconic poster in his office.

That desire first clashes with Scully’s skepticism in “Pilot” at the start of their first case together, which concerns a series of unexplained deaths in the Oregon woods.

After Mulder acquaints Scully with the scant facts of the case - sets of red bumps on the lower backs of the victims and an unidentifiable substance found on the bodies - she asks if he has a theory.

Mulder: I have plenty of theories. Maybe what you can explain to me is why it’s Bureau policy to label these cases as ‘unexplained phenomena’ and ignore them. Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?

Scully: Logically, I would have to say no. Given the distances needed to travel from the far reaches of space, the energy requirements would exceed a spacecraft’s capabilities, th-

Mulder: Conventional wisdom. You know this Oregon female? She’s the fourth person in her graduating class to die under mysterious circumstances. Now, when convention and science offer us no answers, might we not finally turn to the fantastic as a plausibility?

Scully: The girl obviously died of something. If it was natural causes, it’s plausible that there was something missed in the post-mortem. If she was murdered, it’s plausible there was a sloppy investigation. What I find fantastic is any notion that there are answers beyond the realm of science. The answers are there. You just have to know where to look.

Mulder, in what would become a trademark wiseass tone, responds: That’s why they put the 'I' in 'FBI.'

Few first episodes of long-running TV shows nail its concept so squarely without any noticeable changes in subsequent episodes. In addition to the exquisite dialogue between Mulder and Scully, “Pilot” establishes several other staples of the “X-Files” formula:

- Sketchy government higher-ups. We open the show with Scully meeting Section Chief Blevins, his assistant and some creepy old guy lighting up in the corner of the office. By assigning Scully to the X-Files and asking her to, in essence, spy on Mulder, they are immediately cast as his enemies and, by extension, ours. Our suspicions are strengthened when we see that same Cigarette-Smoking Man at the end of the episode carrying a piece of evidence collected by Mulder and Scully in Oregon.

- Mysterious deaths with only a few puzzling forensic clues. In “Pilot,” one key clue to the murders is a metal implant - a common symptom of alien abduction. It’s extracted from a victim whom Mulder and Scully exhume (another common procedure on the show) and Scully autopsies (a VERY common procedure on the show).

- Interviews with frightened locals. Mulder and Scully interview Theresa Nemman, a high school classmate of both the murder victims and the man Mulder suspects of killing them, Billy Miles. While her answers to Mulder and Scully’s questions advance their investigation, her visible dread darkens the atmosphere. The suspense spikes when, mid-conversation, blood jets out of her nose like juice out of a tightly rolled crepe. The blood pours during a ¾ shot of Theresa, so the effect required a slyly placed pipe running down her face instead of an internal blood supply or a simple cut to the blood already flowing. Along with the CG leaf vortex scenes that bookend the episode, this scene with Theresa set a high standard of effects work for a TV show in the early ‘90s.

- Corrupt local law enforcement. Not as frequent a fixture of “The X-Files”; inept local law enforcement is much more common. But every so often Mulder and Scully must work with a sheriff or policeman who wants to protect the interests of the people they investigate. In “Pilot,” that official is Detective Miles, whose work with the FBI agents is motivated by his worry for the suspected murderer - his son, Billy.

The fact that the formula would remain as it was laid out in “Pilot” could be interpreted as series creator Chris Carter being stubborn to change. But for at least a few years, the show’s popular and critical success would prove his decision to stick with this set-up to be a wise one.

Still, Carter didn’t have the direction precisely set from the beginning. One key deleted scene from “Pilot” is the introduction of a love interest for Scully, with the plan at the time being to balance her romantic relationships off the job with her growing connection to Mulder on it. Instead we see only select portions of Scully’s personal life in the course of the series. The rarity of these scenes serves a key theme that the show would often revisit: Scully’s commitment to the X-Files - and Mulder - at the expense of her desire for a relatively normal life.

And who can blame her for being less than blissful about her new assignment? There would be little normalcy in nine years of aliens, vampires, liver-eating mutants, phantom quadriplegics, talking tattoos, psychics, cosmic power surges and old men with weird names. But Scully, like millions the world over, would soon learn to love “The X-Files.”

(air date: 9/17/93)

By: David

The name of this episode refers to the government informant - the first of several - who would assist Mulder in his search for the truth. This benign gentleman would later be dubbed Deep Throat, as an obvious homage to the government employee who leaked clues about Watergate to Woodward and Bernstein. Jerry Hardin plays Deep Throat with the warm charm of a grandfather who can frighten you with many a scary story while still making you feel somewhat safe and secure.

In “Deep Throat,” Mulder and Scully venture to an Idaho Air Force base to investigate UFO reports and the possibility of alien technology being used in the development of new U.S. aircraft. Before they depart, Deep Throat introduces himself to Mulder with a warning not to pursue the case for fear of “unnecessary risk.” But Mulder dismisses the stranger’s advice.

He and Scully make little progress in interviews with the townspeople, including a test pilot who suffered psychosis, amnesia and a severe rash from flying one of the experimental aircraft. But harassment from stone-faced G-men and surveillance by a base employee posing as a reporter suggest that the agents are on to something.

They find help from a stoned stargazer (played by a young Seth Green), who leads them to the best viewing spot in town for UFO activity. Unfortunately that’s not close enough to the action for Mulder. When he sneaks onto the base, he learns the hard way not to mess with the military-industrial complex - just as Deep Throat warned him.

(air date: 9/24/93)

By: David

The first non-alien episode of “The X-Files” introduces one of its more beloved monsters: Eugene Victor Tooms, liver-eating mutant and all-around creepy little dude with yellow eyes and a monotone whisper. Mulder and Scully encounter him while investigating a series of murders in Baltimore involving liver extraction. All took place in locked spaces with no apparent means of entry.

Although only Scully was brought onto the case by a Tom Colton, a career-obsessed friend from the FBI academy (Donal Logue), Mulder jumps aboard as well. He suggests that the killer for whom they’re searching is more than 100 years old - based on 30- and 60-year-old murders with a similar M.O. - and that he can stretch his limbs in order to enter those locked spaces.

After Mulder and Scully arrest Tooms during a stake-out of a murder scene, he fails Polygraph questions concerning his century-old age and the murders from decades ago. Colton is so opposed to Mulder’s theory that he lets Tooms go in spite of the suspect’s lies. But, if Mulder’s theory is correct, Tooms only has one more liver to collect before he disappears for another 30 years.

“Squeeze” easily succeeds at expanding the scope of the series beyond aliens and government conspiracies to stories of pure horror and suspense. The repulsive Tooms would prove a popular character to early fans of the show, so he would return later in the season.

(air date: 10/1/93)

By: David

We discovered in “Pilot” that Mulder believes his sister was abducted by aliens, but it’s in “Conduit” that we see how deeply the experience has affected him. When a teenage girl is taken from her mother and younger brother while camping on a lake, Mulder and Scully look into the case.

Mulder is bent on believing she was abducted by aliens, but Scully feels Mulder may be taking the case too personally. The case’s parallels to his own life are strengthened by the girl’s younger brother, who appears to have buttoned up in the wake of his sister’s disappearance. However, he communicates by cryptically scrawling sequences of 1s and 0s on paper while watching the dead signal of his TV screen.

As the most dramatic episode for Mulder to date, Duchovny excels at conveying his character’s desperation to find the missing girl, and by doing so, to sustain his hope for finding Samantha. That desperation even leads Mulder to a most unlikely place at the end of this episode.

(air date: 10/8/93)

By: Andy

New Jersey, 1947. After a tire blows out, a man is dragged off into the woods right in front of his family. The search party follows the trail to a cave, where it has something cornered in a cave.

Washington D.C., 1993. A report of a homeless man half-eaten in the woods in Jersey leads Mulder to believe its linked to an old, unsolved case from 1947. The agents travel up there to check things out. After getting nowhere, Scully needs to head back home but Mulder decides to stay for the weekend. He believes the thing responsible is something called the “Jersey Devil” and he follows its trail from the woods all the way to the slums of Atlantic City.

Mulder and Scully, along with a park ranger and a professor on folklore, track down the “beast” with the police not far behind. If word of a “beast” from the forest gets out, it would damage tourism to the area and effect the casinos. The area law enforcement wish to eradicate this thing as quickly as possible, yet the agents would rather help the “beast.”

An entertaining episode that is “The X-Files’” take on urban legends such as Sasquatch, Big Foot, etc. We also get to see some interesting character development as Scully deals with still trying to maintain a personal life outside of work, while at the same time Mulder’s life is his work.

(air date: 10/22/93)

By: David

Mulder and Scully investigate two men with ties to a Middle East terrorist group when both are killed by unexplainable means. The agents eventually trace the men to Lauren Kyte, a timid young secretary whom the men attempted to kidnap in front of an ATM machine. But with a residual electrical charge still emanating from their dead bodies, Mulder and Scully are at a loss to explain how the meek woman dispatched both men.

Along the way, Mulder and Scully must contend with a couple of black ops agents investigating the case due to its terrorist connections. They want all the information the FBI can offer, but they’re less than willing to share their own findings.

“Shadows” is somewhat of a lesser episode in season one due to the lack of any lasting special effects or suspense. It is a personal favorite, however, purely for this quote from Mulder: “I would never lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation.”

(air date: 10/29/93)

By: Andy

Not one I’d mention in my list of favorites. But as they say, on with the show…

An ex-partner of Mulder’s comes to him for help on a case. The cause of death looks to be an electrical malfunction when the CEO of the company Eurisko was killed in his suite. After piecing together the evidence which points to one suspect, computer programmer Brad Wilczek, Mulder doesn’t believe he’s the one behind it.

I actually liked it more the second time around, which was made better thanks to Mulder’s dry wit and a suspenseful scene when Scully is trapped in an air duct. The camera angles used by the episode’s director, Jerrold Freedman, enhance the tension making you feel cramped and cause your palms to become clammy, as if you’re in there with Scully. One of this episode’s final scenes is great as well:

Mulder: I talked with Congressmen Klevenaugh and the Department of Corrections subcommittee. I even petitioned the Attorney General’s office.

Deep Throat: You won’t find him.

Mulder: They can’t just take a man like Brad Wilczek without an explanation.

Deep Throat: They can do anything they want.

(air date: 11/5/93)

By: David

Duchovny once called this “Our first rockin’ episode,” and I’m more than inclined to agree. A dead ice core drilling team sends Mulder and Scully to their Arctic base to investigate how they perished. They go with a team of scientists (including Steve Hytner, a.k.a. Kenny Bania from “Seinfeld“) and learn that the first team murdered each other under the control of a worm that fosters aggression in its host. But once the isolation mixes with suspicions that members of Mulder and Scully’s team are infected, everyone is seeing red.

The mystery of who is infected - and whether Mulder or Scully carries the worm - is the exciting crux of this episode. Amid the suspense, the agents point guns at each other for the first time in “The X-Files.” But be certain it’s not the last.

(air date: 11/12/93)

By: Andy

Just as Mulder is telling Scully about an anonymous note he received from someone inside NASA, a lady approaches the agents. She shows them an X-ray that reveals evidence of a possible attempt to sabotage a recent shuttle launch. They witness a successful launch and Mulder even meets a childhood hero of his, Col. Marcus Belt.

They receive word that something has happened to the shuttle and from there things progressively get worse. The agents and mission control are battling against the clock to find a way to bring the astronauts home, while Mulder questions the honesty of one of his heroes.

I will admit that I haven’t seen this episode until now. It's not that I have been avoiding it, but I did notice that it was mentioned quite a few times on IMDb in a thread about what was the worst “X-Files” episode. It reminded me of a few episodes from the original “Outer Limits” and “Twilight Zone” series. No matter how far we get and how many times we launch another shuttle into space, there are still a considerable amount of mysteries yet to be solved.

(air date: 11/12/93)

By: David

Mulder’s defiant attitude toward his superiors in the government threatens his job and his life in this episode, which is named after the military code for a crashed UFO. When it goes down in the Wisconsin woods, Deep Throat leaks the location to Mulder. He sneaks through the forest and gets a glimpse of the crash scene, but he is greeted with a rifle butt to the nose after snapping only a few photos. In military detention, Mulder meets Max Fenig, a textbook UFO-chasing neo-hippie nutcase who claims to have been abducted multiple times.

When Scully bails him out, Mulder returns to find that his hotel room has been ravaged by Max, who, as it turns out, worships Mulder and “the enigmatic Dr. Scully” for their work on the X-Files. As they grow acquainted with Max, the extraterrestrial that escaped the crash starts microwaving the hell out of any soldiers that try to stop it. But Mulder soon learns that the proof of alien life he so desperately seeks may actually lie in Max.

“Fallen Angel” communicates for the first time just how severely Mulder will endanger himself on his quest for the truth. And his insolence during interrogation by military and FBI authorities endears him to us even further. But by this point, we already can’t help wondering how much longer he can defy them before something really bad happens.

(air date: 12/10/93)

By: David

Two creepy twin girls are the subject of this episode that revolves around a human cloning experiment. The girls are united when their adoptive fathers are slipped a paralyzing toxin and bled dry at the exact same time on opposite sides of the country. The twins are then kidnapped by a middle-aged woman cloned from the same genes as the girls. All are code-named Eve.

Deep Throat leads Mulder and Scully to a mental institution housing another clone - named Eve 6 (that’d make a GREAT band name, no?) - who tells the agents that her and her genetic ilk carry ten extra chromosomes, including the one for insanity. With this knowledge, Mulder and Scully are even more motivated to find the kidnapper before she harms the girls - or the girls harm her.

“Eve” is an above-average episode that touched upon a still-relevant issue in society. And the young twins who play the Eves are the strongest part of it. Even at 9-years-old they act with subtlety to touch us with their urge to stay united, yet our affection turns to fright when their gleefully murderous genetic instincts surface.

(air date: 12/17/93)

By: Andy

This episode starts off with great banter between Mulder and Scully, which is a trademark of the series.

Scully: I forgot what it was like to spend a day in court.

Mulder: That’s one of the luxuries to hunting down aliens and genetic mutants. You rarely get to press charges.

After getting into Mulder’s car, they notice an odd cassette tape on the dashboard, to which Mulder quips, “10 to 1 you can’t dance to it.” He pops in the tape and a woman tells him about a British bureaucrat who’s car exploded, which was triggered by a cassette tape in his car. Just then the same woman whose voice they heard opens the car door. It turns out she’s an old college friend of Mulder’s and she wants his help on a case; which seems to be a theme this season. However, it is a great vehicle for friction in the Mulder-Scully relationship and it allows us to learn a little more about Mulder’s past. While I don’t particularly care for the villain in this episode or the Phoebe Green character, it is saved by the tension created between the agents.

(air date: 1/7/94)

By: David

The most personal “X-Files” episode to date takes us into the death row cell of Luther Lee Boggs (Brad Dourif). He plays Hannibal Lecter to Scully’s Clarice when he offers to lead her and Mulder to a killer who kidnapped two college students. Of course, Boggs wants a life sentence in exchange.

Normally Scully wouldn’t be so gullible, but Boggs’ offer comes days after her father dies. Boggs, a professed psychic, gains Scully’s trust by claiming to communicate with him. Boggs later calls her Starbuck, which was her father’s name for her; she called him Ahab in an obvious “Moby Dick” reference based on his life as a U.S. Navy ship captain.

Mulder, meanwhile, isn’t as quick to believe Boggs. As one of the agents who helped apprehend him, Mulder is content to let the inmate march to the chair in a few days. Mulder even mocks Boggs’ supposed ability to see dead people when he asks him to infer information about the killer from a blue rag he tells Boggs he found at a crime scene, only to reveal to the inmate that the cloth was torn from his New York Knicks T-shirt. But when Mulder is shot in the femur while pursuing the killer, Scully must decide whether to trust Boggs enough to let him lead her to the killer.

“Beyond the Sea” handily tops “Conduit” as the most dramatic episode of season one. Gillian Anderson expresses Scully’s conflict between her skepticism and her feelings for her deceased father as an emotional sea storm under her usually stoic exterior. The best part of the episode is when it erupts on the surface during a scene in Boggs’ cell. After a dozen episodes of nagging Mulder, we finally witness our first fully human moment from Scully.

(air date: 1/21/94)

By: David

“The X-Files” confirms a long-held belief among anyone who has ever encountered an Amish community: They’re so weird, they have to be aliens.

When club-going men and women in the northeast are found dead due to coronary arrest, with an abundance of human pheromones in their systems, Mulder and Scully are on the scene. At the most recent murder they find a unique white clay used by the Kindred, an Amish-like community of potters in the Massachusetts woods.

The viewer learns that these uptight conservative folk also happen to be an alien race with humanoid features, save for the ability to switch sexes at will and secrete seductive pheromones. Their latter power is so potent that when Mulder and Scully visit the Kindred’s compound, one member almost has the typically frigid Scully in the sack before Mulder cock blocks him (from his porn addiction it’s clear he’s not getting any, so he has to spoil it for everyone).

While the Kindred is content to stay shut-in, the agents learn that one member got a hold of some naughty magazines (e.g. “People”) and wanted to explore the outside world. And get laid a lot. Unfortunately he/she is oh-so sexual that no one can survive the experience. Hence his/her murdering spree, which Mulder and Scully must stop.

This slightly above-average episode also marks the debut of Nicholas Lea in “The X-Files,” though not as Alex Krycek, Mulder’s eventual replacement partner and foil for years. Instead Lea is cast as a club patron who barely manages to escape the sexual clutches of the genderbender. He would be asked to read for the role of Krycek based on his work in this episode.

(air date: 2/4/94)

By: Andy

The episode opens with Scully and FBI Agent Jack Willis at a bank, ready and waiting to catch a bank robber in the act. During the process, Willis takes a bullet but Scully manages to hit the criminal before he can shoot anyone else. After being rushed to the hospital, Warren Dupree is pronounced dead but Scully tells the technicians to keep working on Willis. He manages to survive, but doesn’t seem quite right.

He disappears from the hospital after severing Dupree’s fingers and removing his wedding ring. Scully thinks his odd behavior is due to post-traumatic stress yet Mulder, living up to his ‘Spooky’ nickname, thinks there may have been a ‘soul transference.’ Willis returns and asks Scully help him track down Dupree’s wife. However after cornering her, Willis takes Scully hostage. Scully tries to snap Jack back to reality, but is there any part of Jack Willis left in his own body?

In “Fire” we learned more about Mulder’s past, now its Scully’s turn. She had an affair with Jack Willis back when she was at the FBI academy. Mulder also has some great moments in this episode as well, who doesn’t even seem jealous at all, unlike Scully in “Fire.”

Mulder: How well do you know him?

Scully: We dated for almost a year. He was my instructor at the academy.

Mulder: The plot thickens...

An excellent episode with some suspenseful turns and a great performance by Christopher Allport, as Jack Willis.

(air date: 2/11/94)

By: Andy

Mulder and Scully are asked to join the investigation into a series of violent bank robberies by Mulder's former boss, Agent Reggie Purdue. We learn that the same thing happened years ago when Mulder was working for the Violent Crimes Unit. Last time, the robberies were committed by John Barnett, who killed an agent before being shot by Mulder. Mulder blamed himself for hesitating, even though he was following FBI protocol.

Barnett died in prison years ago, yet notes are being left at the crime scenes for Mulder which match Barnett’s hand writing. After talking with one of Barnett’s fellow inmates who disputes the claim that Barnett died of a heart attack, the agents discover that the prison’s former doctor was conducting in age-reversal experiments. Could Barnett have been one of his guinea pigs and is now back for revenge?

A very creepy and suspenseful episode. More of Mulder’s background is learned as well. We are told he was being groomed for big things in the FBI, before he moved onto solving X-Files. I really liked the make-up done in this episode, as well as its ending.

(air date: 2/18/94)

By: David

E.B.E.: extraterrestrial biological entity. So you know where this episode is going.

An Iraqi fighter pilot shoots down a UFO that the U.S. recovers, and Deep Throat sets Mulder and Scully on its trail as the wreckage is shipped across the country. They interrogate the man driving the truck and see that he has symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome. They discover that the truck weighs much more than declared on its cargo manifest. But they also learn that someone is watching them.

Scully finds a listening device in her pen, which Mulder runs by the debuting Lone Gunmen: Three UFO-chasing geeks who publish a newspaper of government conspiracy theories naturally called “The Magic Bullet.” Scully scoffs at their claims that the government tracks people through $20 bills, but even they are taken aback by Mulder’s suggestion that low-flying UFOs in Iraq are to blame for Gulf War Syndrome.

The agents make little headway as they track the truck across the country, and Mulder begins to question Deep Throat's motives when he disproves the authenticity of a UFO photo the informant gives him. The elder’s response to Mulder’s allegations: “A lie is most convincingly hidden between two truths.” When Mulder catches the scent of the ship - and its pilot - once again at a government facility in Washington, he proves once more that he will disregard his job and even his health in his journey toward the truth.

Mulder and Scully really don’t get anywhere by the end of “E.B.E.,” but the excitement is in the chase. At this point in the show, with the conspiracy still in its infancy, the paranoia and mystery was more potent because the audience still hardly had a clue what truth was out there. As Mulder rips his apartment to pieces in search of a listening device - which he eventually finds - we are still only frisking the power of the forces aligned against him and Scully.

(air date: 3/18/94)

By: Andy

A young man who supposedly has the powers to heal people, is charged with the death of a woman whom he recently healed. Twenty minutes after being “healed” she was pronounced dead on arrival. The area law enforcement has been trying to prove that Reverend Hartley’s Miracle Ministry is a scam and now they finally have the proof. Mulder begins having visions of his missing sister; while at the same time, another woman dies after being touched by Samuel. After Scully performs an autopsy on the most recent victim, she discovers traces of arsenic. Did Samuel poison the victims or is the local law enforcement setting him up?

I watched this episode twice when writing this review and I like it a little more each time. I’m not sure what the writers had in mind, but the way I interpreted was maybe it is a dig at all those TV evangelists. Overall, I thought it was a fun and suspenseful episode.

(air date: 4/4/94)

By: Andy

When father and son ranchers in Montana shoot and kill an animal that has been attacking their cattle, they suddenly realize that what they shot wasn’t an animal at all. The agents are brought in to question Mr. Parker and his son, who happen to be in the middle of a legal battle with the Trego Indian Reservation. Jim Parker says what he shot was not human, yet others feel he purposely killed Joseph Goodensnake due to the bad blood between the reservation and the Parkers.

Mulder believes there is more than meets the eye here after finding a scrap of shredded skin and that Goodensnake has elongated teeth, similar to that of an animal. However the investigation is cut short when the local sheriff refuses an autopsy, which goes against his Native American beliefs. With the case closed and the reservation having a funeral for Goodensnake, suddenly Jim Parker is found dead and Gwen (Joseph’s sister) is missing. If her brother could somehow shape shift into an animal, does she have that same ability?

An interesting werewolf episode, which is the only one in the series. The highlights of the episode are the scenes shot at night, which this show was always good at capturing.

Notable Mulder quote: They told me that even though my deodorant is made for a woman, it's strong enough for a man.

(air date: 4/15/94)

By: Andy

Thirty loggers have disappeared and Mulder and Scully are sent to investigate along with a park ranger and a representative from the logging company. On the way, a tire blows out, so the group must hike the rest of the way. While Steve (from the logging company) works to fix the generator, the agents and the ranger find a giant insect cocoon with one of the dead loggers inside. Back at the camp, Steve finds a “monkeywrencher” looking for food in their cabin. The monkeywrenchers are the term the loggers have for environmentalists who try to sabotage their attempts to cut down trees. Not only does the group have to watch out for these bugs, can they trust monkeywrencher Doug Spinney?

Chris Carter’s best stand-alone episode of the season. More proof the best “X-Files” episodes are the ones which are mostly at night or out in the wilderness.

(air date: 4/22/94)

By: David

The liver-eater is set free from his incarceration, thanks to a sniveling social worker who plainly ignores every indication that the creep has been killing people and gobbling down their bile for more than a century. A frustrated Mulder sets out to stop Tooms from collecting the fifth liver that will give him sustenance for another thirty years of hibernation. Mulder even harasses Tooms on his route as an animal control worker by asking the yellow-eyed weirdo to find his moose-hunting Norwegian elk hound named Heinrich.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to the most important supporting player in the next nine years of “The X-Files.” Assistant Director Walter Skinner asks Scully into his office and sternly explains to her that she and Mulder must use more conventional methods of investigation in their work on the X-Files. The Cigarette-Smoking Man also returns in a role he would assume for the next few seasons: As a fixture in the background of Skinner’s office. And he even gets a line this time.

Later in the episode, Tooms responds to Mulder’s surveillance by sneaking into the agent’s apartment and using his sneaker-prints to frame Mulder for beating him nearly to death. Skinner advises Mulder to stay away from Tooms, but the agent manages to track the mutant down to his papier mache lair. The result is one of the most suspenseful action sequences of this season.

(air date: 4/29/94)

By: Andy

A young girl is the only witness to a detective falling to his death out of a second story window. She claims to have seen another man in the room at the time. From her description of the man’s appearance, the agents have determined it to be deceased police officer Charlie Morris. He was killed, gang execution style, nine years ago. Now his former colleagues in the force are dying one by one, which Mulder suspects the girl is somehow involved. One man, Tony Fiore, is left. Can Mulder and Scully get to him first, or will the girl kill him too?

Another episode dealing with reincarnation and psychokinetic abilities. Its somewhat similar to the episode “Shadows” from earlier this season, but “Born Again” adds its own unique spin. I especially like the ending to this episode with all the objects flying around the house.

(air date: 5/6/94)

By: Andy

Several scientists working at a jet propulsion lab have wound up dead. The only suspect is a mentally challenged janitor by the name of Roland. Despite his handicap, he is a mathematics whiz. Mulder and Scully soon discover that work is being done on Dr. Grable’s files, even though he died six months ago. Mulder thinks that Roland is completing the doctor’s work, yet another force could be at work here.

The plot is rather weak, yet I think the performances bring it up to being an average episode. The score used as “Roland’s Theme” is a nice touch.

Notable Mulder quote: I don’t think they’ll be performing this experiment on “Beakman’s World.”

(air date: 5/13/94)

By: David

Deep Throat advises Mulder to tune into police coverage of a car chase in Maryland. The driver, William Secare, flees the car at a dock and jumps into the water, but not before being shot several times and spilling a green substance from his wounds.

Mulder and Scully trace the man’s car to a colleague, Dr. Berube, whose lab contains an odd amber liquid the agents take for analysis. When the results come in, Scully is confronted for the first time with proof of alien life. The substance, code-named “Purity Control,” is linked to alien gene therapy experiments Berube was conducting with six terminally ill subjects.

Deep Throat later tells the agents that the therapy empowered the six with superhuman strength, toxic blood and the ability to breathe underwater. But the project’s success necessitated a government clean-up, as no human-alien hybrid could possibly live in public without exposure. Berube warned Secare of the target on his back before the clean-up could start, but a government assassin is on the hybrid’s trail. Mulder and Scully must find him first in order to salvage the evidence of alien life that was woven through Secare’s DNA.

In season two we would learn much more about the extent of the government’s human-alien hybridization experiments, and a few inconsistencies in the “X-Files” canon would crop up along the way. Still, this important case will weigh heavily on Mulder and Scully’s future in the X-Files, and its life-or-death atmosphere makes for the most suspenseful installment of the show to date. Before the episode ends, Deep Throat gives Scully three words of advice that would become synonymous with “The X-Files”: “Trust no one.”

Its me, Andy.

“The X-Files” confirms a long-held belief among anyone who has ever encountered an Amish community: They’re so weird, they have to be aliens.

Leave this as your only line of the review for Genderbender. Hilarious.  

Yay X-Files!!

Instilling paranoia since 1993.


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