The X-Files Turns 20: We've Picked Our Favorite Spooky, Seminal Episodes -- What Are Yours?
Mulder is condescending. Scully is green. But after a couple of mosquito bites and nine unaccounted-for minutes, a partnership is born.
Notable both for the Monster of the Week’s liver-noshing grossness and the infamous iced tea/root beer exchange in the stakeout car.
Scully goes missing, in an intergalactic sense, and we’ll never again be able to listen to “Red Right Hand” without getting the heebie-jeebies.
“We’ll be together again, Starbuck,” a ghostly Papa Scully tells his comatose, just-returned-from-abduction daughter. “But not now.” Plus: Superstars of the Super Bowls — we knew there was a reason to live.
A buried boxcar offers up some very creepy passengers, Krychek kills Mulder’s dad and then Fox trips on some contaminated water, giving Scully no choice but to shoot him (an option we’re sure she would’ve liked to have used more often as the years passed).
“Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'”
“They just found your bleepin’ UFO.” Also, Alex Trebek?!
Scully’s reproductive future, which will become quite a heavy topic as the series progresses, is raised (light-heartedly) for the first time as the pair investigates a small town with an inbred secret. Gives new meaning to the phrase, “Proud as a peacock,” no?
“Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man”
The series offers us an alternate view of the mysterious baddie — and turns William B. Davis into the anti-Forest Gump with the park-bench monologue that begins, “Life is like a box of chocolates: a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for.”
Scully gets cancer. Mulder, in a fit of funky poaching, steals her eggs. (It’s gallant! Really!) He won’t tell her about the frozen ova for years, but somehow that doesn’t matter as the duo embraces in a hospital hallway.
Cigarette Smoking Man (aka Cancer Man) burns the basement office to the ground, setting up an uncertain future for our two favorite agents as they head into the series’ first feature film.
The X-Files: Fight the Future
We’ll give you a quick recap of the series’ first flick: Panic face, Lost’s Locke goes boom, Mulder gets drunk, run from the bees!, nearly kissing Mulder nearly kills Scully, Antarctica, “If I quit now, they win.” And, credits!
The ambitious episode, shot in just a few very long takes, plays with time and simultaneous shots to put Mulder & Co. on a cruise liner in the Bermuda Triangle. In 1939. And the ship is commandeered by Nazis. But Mulder tells Scully he loves her at the end, so there’s that.
Star David Duchovny’s directorial TV debut comes with this throwback tale about a preternaturally talented Negro League baseball player – a charming Jesse L. Martin in his pre-Law & Order days – and his friendship with Mulder’s spiritual predecessor at the FBI. Plus: The “hips, before hands” batting lesson at the end hits a homerun for ‘shippers everywhere.
“The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati”
Cancer Man is Mulder’s dad. Samantha is alive! Scully is yelling at Mulder to get his act together! (At least that last one sounds right.) After Dana rescues Mulder from his strange, mythology-related coma dream, he tells her she’s his “touchstone” – and not even his goofy, head-bandage-Yankees-cap combo can ruin the moment.
“Sein Und Zeit/Closure”
RIP Teena Mulder. Also dead: Fox’s long-held obsession with finding his missing sister, Samantha, who appears as a vision when her brother finally, literally gives up the ghost.
Scully does some soul-searching, which leads to her getting dressed in Mulder’s bathroom while the G-man dozes (ostensibly naked) in bed. As she slinks out, you think, “They didn’t!” And then…
… Soon after, you find out they totally did! (Too bad Mulder had to go and get himself abducted, though.)
John Jay Doggett: You, sir, are no Mulder. But you ultimately prove to be a good guy, so we’ll apologize in advance for both Scully’s attitude and the water she dumps on you.
Mulder’s back! He looks like death warmed over, which he basically is, but he’s back!
With only Agent Reyes’ whale sounds to guide her, Scully gives birth to baby William in a creepy town full of menacing figures. Mulder, as usual, arrives too late to be of much help. But he makes up for it at the end of the episode when he pulls Scully and the baby close and, with a kiss and “The truth, we both know,” confirms what we’d hoped: He’s the boy’s dad.
You’d think a newborn at home would be enough to keep Mulder in one spot. You’d be wrong. Though he’s sentenced to death and forced to sit through a sham trial, the wily agent somehow escapes and takes to the road with Scully for a fugitive life (at least for a while – the film The X-Files: I Want to Believe updates us on their assimilation back into society.) On that note, might we get another cinematic check-in with Spooky and the enigmatic Dr. Scully? Maybe there’s hope.