The X-Files Files
Since we’re all trapped inside, I’ve taken the opportunity to go back and watch The X-Files again, and that’s inspired me to share some standout episodes from each season that might be fun to revisit or would be good introductions if you’ve never seen the series. I’ll be avoiding the major “mythology” episodes and focus on relatively stand-alone episodes. The X-Files was a somewhat horror-themed procedural drama which originally aired from 1993-2002, and was briefly revived a few years ago. If you don’t have DVDs handy while libraries are closed, you can currently stream the entire series on Hulu and the original 9-season run on Amazon Prime.
Episode 8: “Ice”
One of the earliest standout episodes of the show. Though essentially a retread of John Carpenter’s The Thing, it’s an engaging hour of television that has a cool monster and a young Felicity Huffman. A shame that its conclusion is a little weak, but that’s forgivable for the moment Mulder and Scully pull guns on each other.
Primordial ice worms that give new meaning to "earworm."
Episode 11: “Eve”
For season one, I highly recommend “Eve” as an introduction to the show. There’s a bit of a twist reveal partway through the episode, which helps to showcase the types of stories this series. It is a creepy episode which highlights the personalities of the two leads and has some wonderful moments of tension. Creepy children are always effective!
If twin, deadly children in cute red coats are your jam, watch this episode!
Episode 13: “Irresistible”
In this episode, Mulder and Scully learn that sometimes the most terrifying monsters of all are entirely human. This story of a serial woman killer ultimately led to the development of the series Millennium which focused more on that type of case. In this age of Law and Order: SVU it might even seem tame, but it holds up. A follow-up episode, “Orison”, was made in the seventh season.
A serial killer, a shapeshifter, AND the first time Mulder and Scully hug!
Episode 22: “F. Emasculata”
In this time of mass contagion panic, it seems appropriate to pull out an episode about the spread of a terribly deadly fast-acting pathogen. Be warned, the pustules it creates are disgusting (but well done, make up department). And look! It’s Dean Norris from Breaking Bad! Does he always play cops?
Watch this episode if you want to remember that it could be worse.
Episode 17: “Pusher”
Originally a movie script that Vince Gilligan was working on, this episode is about a man with an extreme power of persuasion who can drive a man to kill with only his voice. Though the story has some holes (why don’t they just hang up the phone?), it is carried by a fantastic performance from Robert Wisden (who you can also see in the film The Saddest Music in the World if you’re into bizarre independent cinema). This one has an inferior sequel episode in season five called "Kistunegari", but nothing tops the original.
Agent Mulder under the control of a mind-bending killer.
Episode 20: “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”
Writer Darin Morgan brought a lot of humor and intricacy to his episodes and it was difficult to pick only one. But I will highlight this one because it is one of my favorites of the series, a Rashomon-style tale of alien abduction packed with celebrity cameos and Charles Nelson Reilly. The character of Jose Chung returned on Millennium in the second season episode “Jose Chung’s Doomsday Defense,” a fabulous send-up of Scientology.
Not sure if we can get this one on Inter Library Loan.
Those are a few from the first three seasons; more from the later seasons to come, so check back soon!