4 Of The Best Episodes Of The X-Files

The X-Files was a highly popular TV show from the 1990’s. The show featured David Duchnovy as the iconic Fox Mulder—an FBI agent whose love of the occult earned him the ire of his fellow agents—and Gillian Anderson as his partner and foil Dana Scully. It was known for its highly intricate mythology and its quirky recurring characters, such as the Lone Gunmen.

With the show coming back for a brief stint on FOX, it would be apropos to review a few of the best episodes of the show.

Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’

This is a funny, playful episode about an alleged alien abduction. Two teenagers are on a first date when they are “abducted” by aliens. After an investigation by Scully and Mulder yield no hard conclusions, a science fiction author named Jose Chung takes an interest in the case. Chung interviews Scully and she attempts piece together the broken narrative to the best of her ability.

The episode is hilarious and well done. It features many references to other X-Files episodes and guest stars Jesse Ventura, Alec Baldwin and Charles Nelson Reilly as the titular character. From the small—but hilarious—bits like Mulder’s falsetto scream and the recurring phrase “How the Hell should I know?,” the episode is a home run from start to finish.

The Field Where I Died

The Field Where I Died is a more somber episode about reincarnation and the meaning of life. Agents Mulder and Scully are called in to help investigate a religious cult after receiving a mysterious call from a woman named Sydney. It turns out that Sydney is one personality of many inside the head of the wife of the cult leader. This woman has many personalities, one of whom claims to be Mulder’s wife in a life past. Mulder is highly intrigued by this woman’s testimony and he learns that the field outside the cult’s compound is where he died in a past life as a soldier.

This episode raises intriguing questions about life and free will, as both Scully and Mulder realize that their lives have intermingled in some substantive way in lives past. While the episode certainly could be needlessly maudlin, it doesn’t take such a weepy approach to the concept of soul-mates. Instead, it suggests that lives can intersect in a variety of ways, as Mulder and Scully were friends in one life past, and brother and sister in another.

The Field Where I Died certainly is a bit too ambitious at times, but it manages to seam together a beguiling tale about reincarnation and what that might mean for our relationships with others.

Squeeze / Tooms

The episodes Squeeze and Tooms are from the first season and involve a man named Tooms with a horrifying special ability. Mulder and Scully begin to investigate a murder in which a businessman had his liver ripped out of his body inside a locked room. Mulder notes that similar murders involving torn-out livers have taken place once every 30 years.

He realizes that they are searching for a man with the ability to contort his body in ways that allow him to crawl through grates and fit down chimneys—a man that only has the need to feed once every 30 years on human livers.

The two episodes present little in the way of philosophical reflection or comedic value, but they do present one of the creepiest monsters the series has to offer. Tooms’ ability to pass through heating ducts and air vents is cringe-inducing enough, but the special effects in the episodes make the ability even creepier. Like in the clip above, the episodes also have hints of Mulder’s dry, dead-pan humor that would be accentuated in later seasons.

Post-Modern Prometheus

The Post-Modern Prometheus is an endearing episode shot in black and white about a real-life Frankenstein-type monster. Mulder receives a letter from a woman about her mysterious pregnancy, as she was knocked unconscious and impregnated. Mulder and Scully travel to her town, where they hear about a large monster that some people have claimed to see ambling around in the woods around town. They come to find out that the monster is a real, live human created by mistake by a local scientist.

With a score featuring many Cher songs, the episode manages to craft a tale about a lovable monster. The episode is a bit too cliche at times and might be a tad bit too goofy for some people’s tastes, but it is a satisfying episode in the end.

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60 thoughts on “4 Of The Best Episodes Of The X-Files”

  1. god, i love the series, but i hate the main plot. the whole conspiracy story about aliens and mulder’s sister bores me to no end. the philosophical contemplations are not my taste either.
    i love many of the independent episodes, though, especially those with some humor. number 3 on this list is nice and from what i can remember, i liked “arcadia” and “how the ghosts stole christmas”.

    1. Mulder’s sister was kidnapped by aliens, yet somehow he was able to land a job with the FBI with that ridiculous explanation for his missing sister.

    2. That’s not the actual concept behind the abduction idea. The idea is that he and his sister were used in experiments in mind control. Particularly his sister. The imagery he has of his sisters abduction by aliens is just the result of his fractured mind making sense of things he saw as a kid. In the storyline his sister was simply taken away by people.
      another great show on that topic is “True Detective”.

      1. may be true, but that makes it even more boring to me. i like the show for the supernatural and monsters of the week episodes.
        don’t think i’d like true detective. seems like a typical modern negativistic drama where some modern fucked-up guys explore the “dark sides of humanity”, yawn. i could be wrong, though.

    3. That’s the exact opposite of my tastes. I looked up a list of core episodes. They follow the main storyline only, and cut out all the creature features. My wife and I greatly enjoyed the abridged seasons.

    1. one of the best
      Also: he wrote Alec Baldwin guest starred in Jose Chung’s from outer space… but it was Alex Trebec, the jeopardy host

  2. Used to love the show when I was a youngster, lots of episodes I enjoyed I’ve just forgotten their names. I like the fact they didn’t make Mulder and Scully fall in love like they do with so many American shows, they kissed one episode I think but apart from that you didn’t get a meaningless romance taking up air time.

      1. Same here although now I’m older I’m glad they didn’t make a romance between them both. It was cleaver how they worked it.

        1. yeah, you need some tension. children don’t understand that and create movies like 50 shades that are a bore to watch. they can’t think past the impulse to satisfy a need that keeps them interested in the first place.

        2. Yep quick entertainment with no real build up or character development is what people watch nowdays unfortunately.

        3. I havn’t read the book or seen the movie but that’s an interesting read. I could already tell it’s an illogical female fantasy about a dominant Sexually desired male who gradually falls for the precious snowflake, pretty much what many Western women have fantasies about.

  3. i was never a fan of the creature features. the mythology tho was riveting (before mulder & scully kissed aka jumped the shark). spent many a friday & sunday night watching the re-runs & new episodes. jose chung is pretty good tho. another good episode is the ghost ship in season 6, ‘triangle’

    1. Frohike was so much fun…
      FROHIKE: So, Mulder, where’s your little partner?
      MULDER: She wouldn’t come. She’s afraid of her love for you.
      FROHIKE: She’s tasty.
      MULDER: You know, Frohike, it’s men like you that give perversion a bad name.

        1. Maybe he’s secretly Stephen Hawking and that is how his type appears? Hello @GoTomArrow:disqus this is @ND52:disqus. How are you?

        2. i’m quite honored to speak to you, stephen, but i actually horribly failed some intelligence tests recently, so i don’t think i’ll be a good conversational partner for you. despite my hubris.

        3. You do realise that there’s a card game called “Illuminati” that has a special card that shows a plane flying into the twin towers. No shit. And THAT’s what inspired this episode.

        4. @disqus_xP08hZ40t1:disqus
          So the Illuminati card game inspired OBL to fly planes into the WTC?
          Okay.
          So what inspired building 7 to fall neatly into it’s own footprint despite not having been struck by anything?

        5. Dude, you’re having a go at the wrong person. I know for a fact that it’s all a scam orchestrated by the US.

        1. Lucky for the illuminati there’s no such thing as a preponderance of evidence standard.

        2. the thing is – if you can’t convince anybody else, how can you yourself really be convinced?
          maybe you know something i don’t yet, i’m principally open for sound arguments, but i also know that people tend to imagine hidden conscious forces when they lack control in their lives – there actually are studies confirming this.

        3. I’m sure I don’t know anything you don’t, but then in any good mystery, its not just about the facts, but about putting them together. As for proof, what kind of proof is necessary? I just mentioned the issue of a preponderance of evidence. Not proof but evidence. Not conclusive, but lots of suggestive things, all of which paints a picture. Now where did you last hear that phrase, preponderance of evidence? Probably in relation to frat boys and rape culture.
          So which one can we prove? Can we prove the illuminati were behind 9/11? No, we can’t. Can we prove frat boys are guilty of rape on the basis of a preponderance of evidence. No again we can’t. But the whole point of a preponderance of evidence relates to the lowering of standards so that justice can be done doesn’t it? It would be interesting to see whether a preponderance of evidence approach with regard to rape allegations in univerities could be used as an argument for such an approach to constitute sufficient proof of culpability (to a civil standard say) with regard to 9/11 for those who have been fingered by conspiracy theorists. Not least because some theories see the illuminati behind both phenomena.
          Of course though, there is as you say the impoverished locus of control issue, which might explain why weak or compromised minds might see patterns where there are none. I would fully accept that a great deal of conspiracy theory meets quite poor standards, but by no means all, even if it is short of definitive proof. I’ve studied issues such as paranoia (closely related to conspiracy theories obviously) and there’s precious little agreement on what lies behind it – some look to attribution style or cogntive habits like ‘leaping to conclusions’ etc.. none of them are conclusive. I would say what is certain however is that there is a tendency amongst those who would explain conspiracy theory away to psycho-pathologise their opponents as paranoid, or something similar. I appreciate you didn’t say that, but locus of control isn’t that far off. As a theory for explaining 9/11 conspiracy theories, what actual evidence could you put forward to ‘prove’ that people who believe in such theories have a poor locus of control? I’m not sure you’d even meet the lower standard discussed above
          Re. 911 I wouldn’t say anything is certain but that’s the case in both directions. I suggest you look at some of the evidence again. There’s a lot that is very much more than suggestive. Personally, I believe there is a preponderance of evidence against the official story

        4. I would say what is certain however is that there is a tendency amongst those who would explain conspiracy theory away to psycho-pathologise their opponents as paranoid, or something similar. I appreciate you didn’t say that, but locus of control isn’t that far off.

          i’m not sure that locus of control describes quite the thing i was saying, but it goes in the right direction.
          since it’s a natural aspect of humans, i don’t consider it pathological. especially science, though, is concerned with many different kinds of biases that influence the untrained mind and seeks to eliminate them. it’s something i learned while writing my honors dissertation. it’s natural for anybody to seek pride in being right, but it is wise to do so very self-critically.
          in the case of science, theories are put forward and then tested against reality. many of them fail.
          in the case of conspiracy theories, there is no way to test, because there is no conclusive information. you can, of course, speculate and i accept the theory as such. but i don’t accept it as anything close to reality – depending on the evidence presented.
          you are right about preponderance of evidence. in science, it works the same way. newtons theory of gravitation was accepted until something better came along. that is because we have not created our world and thus can only ever work with analogies, not the “source code” itself.
          i happened to be convinced against 9/11 by my dad who happens to be an architect. for instance, one argument was that the material used in the building doesn’t melt at the burning temperature of kerosine. right, but melting is just the material changing it’s aggregate state. apart from that, the material constantly loses stability with higher temperatures – you don’t need to reach the point of melting to have a building collapse.
          this is just one imprecision, but the movie bombards you with a lot of evidence that, due to it’s amount, suggests credibility. but each piece of evidence for itself, reviewed, is possibly compromised by the imprecisions of laymen. something may sound logical to laymen, but when you ask a professional who studied the matter, he will tell you it’s nonsense. and i think that’s where the laziness of conspiracy theorists lies. they are passionate, but not disciplined. they put the cause above scrutiny. and that’s what convinced me to not take it too seriously in the case of 911.
          i admit that this special case biased me, thus putting other conspiracy theories into a bad light. never had much of a nerve or curiosity for it, though. my locus of control has been far outside one time, but even if i thought that people did stupid things, i never believed that they did it coordinatedly.

        5. I haven’t actually seen Farenheit 911 – but I imagine I’m aware of all the arguments. I couldn’t agree more on the weakness of conspiracy theory in general. It doesn’t attract by its nature the most rigorous or demanding minds. INdeed it attracts as the X files reminds those who ‘want to believe’. Once you get to a certain level of belief for or against something like 9/11 there may be a tendency to lose objectivity, particularly if you end up arguing with an opponent over the pros and cons of some issue.
          Its worth remembering though 9/11 isn’t just any old conspiracy theory. You can look askance at the Boston bombings or Sandy Hook or any of the others (paris, denmark etc) – the inevitability that for any event of signinficance someone will assume that dark forces were behind it, while recognising that there is a lot about 9/11 that remains at least problematic. This would be true even if the attacks really were committed solely by Al Quaeda – since the nature of the conspiratorial suspicions require defence against allegations about people in the government etc who might have been involved. i.e. there is a war of information and disinformation going on with respecdt to 9/11 which effectively sit atop the reality of what happened (whatever that may be).
          As for the specifics I don’t really care to get involved. I do know that if you look too deep in certain directions you’ll get some kind of push back. I’ve had debates about WTC7 that were uncomfortable to say the least. But as for proof positive, that’s not going to happen, for the reasons you say, but also because whatever the truth, the powers that be are invested in an official story. Its official even if it isn’t a lie (although as I say I believe least some of it is a lie). ultimately I’d say 9/11 probably does require a certain type of psychology – if you’re only interested in things you can definitively prove then you’re probably not going to get what you want from a meditation on the issue. That by itself doesn’t mean it wasn’t an inside job though
          As for the issue of coordination, that’s one that I’ve always had a problem with with respecft to conspiracy theory. With regard to such things, I’ve nearly always argued that there where there were patterns of some sort in evidence that these could probably be explained by some kind of self-organisation (or alternatively as an artefact of hindsight, or other biases etc). The truth may be greyer than that. Most of the time people don’t conspire. But a lot of of the time they do communicate, plan and co-ordinate in ways that are perhaps more effective than if they were sitting together in a big meeting room in an underground volcano.

        6. if you’re only interested in things you can definitively prove then you’re probably not going to get what you want from a meditation on the issue

          that would be a bit narrow-minded from me. maybe this sentiment states it better: i am interested only if i think that it is practically possible to come to a conclusion.
          why contemplate it when i can’t – or don’t want to invest enough effort to – reach an answer? it’s wise to be skeptical of government, but how much does it really help me to believe that something could be true? what’s the point?
          if that theory served as a basis for further research, i would accept it as a serious endeavor or passion. but just sitting on theories and inconclusive evidence is lazy and that time could be better spent being productive.
          about the coordination: i for instance believe that feminism or socialism is – at least once it is ignited – a self-runner. delusional people pick up on delusions from delusional prophets and become delusional prophets themselves. it doesn’t cost anything and it is fun. walking the streets to protest – wee, how cool is that! because somewhere, this stuff is so intuitive to a childlike mind that it kinda seems like your own idea.

        7. dispositionally I couldn’t agree more. Your conditional reasons against diving in further were pretty much my reasons too. At least the one difference perhaps was that I was already slightly sceptical about the official story. I have actually spent very little time looking at 9/11 and only really got into it particularly the WTC7 stuff while arguing against someone who was taking a strong anti-conspiracy line. Indeed I argued against such a strong case while trying to make up my own mind on the issue.
          I think it is quite possible to satisfy oneself with regard to the most likely explanation for the events of that day, but probably not – at least at the moment – to a forensic standard. One of the reasons for that may well be aforementioned pre-commitment of the powers that be to maintain an official version and to defend against attacks upon that official version. I actually think it probably is worth investing time just in relation to that particular area of things: trying to come up with definitive explanations (in either direction) probably isn’t worth the time and effort (and I’m certainly not expending such effort – I haven’t even looked at the issue for months) but satisfying yourself about the kind of world you live in, about the kind of government you have and whether it really is oriented towards your protection rather than those of particular interests etc.,…I think people should look hard into such issues, without of course any necessary pre-suppositions about what they should conclude. Personally I see very little reason to trust our governments (I am UK not US for your information) but having said that I don’t necessarily believe its a question of inside job or not inside job. My personal feeling is that at the very least there was some fore-knowledge, and if so, a failure of prevention, would in itself be a collusion on a scale not seen before. I would not that such limited fore-knowledge (i.e. intelligence) wouldn’t even require any whole-sale conspiracy.
          As for the co-ordination / conscious conspiracy issue, I would have said that I’ve gone from believing that feminism, socialism etc was to use your phrase ‘a self-runner’ or something that spread through normal democratic channels, mimetically / virally etc to something that probably does involve a great deal of back-room co-ordination. For instance I was just reading a mainstream article on the UK adoption of gay marriage in 2013. Apparently this was suddenly introduced in the Council of Europe in 2010 and then being espoused by a few individuals in the UK government was hammered through within a couple of years? Conspiracy? Who knows – there’s no proof. But it happened exactly the opposite of ‘democratically’. In fact I would say the whole idea of ‘conspiracy’ is unhelpful given what it conjures up, and what it may take – psychologically – to believe in (it may damage your mental health quite aside of whether it is or isn’t about a true belief). The problem with the language of conspiracy is that just as it attracts nutjobs it moves rational beings, who want respectful beliefs away from the kind of organisation (not necessarily self-organisation) that really does take place, based perhaps simply on shared goals, beliefs, mindset etc. We might be able to recognise a 9/11 conspiracy if we found evidence of it but it would probably be much harder to recognise a ‘socialist’ or ‘feminist’ conspiracy for example because what could be called conspiratorial could also be called ‘organisation’ or ‘planning’ etc and could probably quite easily claim to be those things rather than anything sinister. However usually when I’m ready to accept that feminism for instance has simply gone viral or something, I find myself reminded of just how much the elites seem to push the idea, how corporate and government bodies can be seen rationally to benefit from it (taxation wise, market wise etc) ….none of which reasons are inherently conspiratorial – until of course you learn that say Gloria Steinem was not only funded by the CIA but even dated Henry Kissinger for a while.

        8. and could probably quite easily claim to be those things rather than anything sinister.

          reminds me of the book How To Make Friends & Influence People, where it says that people never believe themselves to do anything evil – like mafia bosses etc. i am a big proponent of that thought – whenever in my life i thought i was doing something evil or bad, my body wouldn’t let me do it efficiently. it’s also a reason why i think that false morality holds one back far more than technique or skill in seducing women.
          so that “evil men in the back” thing is also something i have to laugh about. people almost never act intentionally evil. even a sjw believes he is doing the good thing.
          the rational benefit idea is much more to my liking and it would explain a lot without the need for conspirators. just organisators. i have been suggested this documentary about david icke:

          the idea of lizardmen is preposterous, but to see this circles of losers sketch up organizational ideas in some “back rooms” is really enlightening. also, icke is one confident motherfucker. if these inadequate human beings – just look at them – are the ones who control our ways, no wonder it’s going downwards. it also fits well with my observation of politicians in real life – they are some kids who were bullied or something (ever read the fountainhead?) and decide they want to make the world “a better place” while unwittingly turning into vile creatures for everybody else.

          I think people should look hard into such issues, without of course any necessary pre-suppositions about what they should conclude.

          isn’t that sentence the kind of fallacy sjw’s commit when they say someone should help the poor? if they don’t want to invest the time, who is to do it?
          it is surprising how often in life it boils down to that simple question in regard to things that could be done: who ever sat down and actually invested years to do it? out of millions of people, there simply is nobody. thus, even relatively simple things are never done/discovered/made.

        9. Had a look at some of that – surprised I’d never heard of it. Jon Ronson is himself Jewish and was clearly sympathetic to Icke as a figure. Actually seen much (or read any) Icke – the one youtube video I saw did include a lot of references to “Rothschild Zionists”, but as I remember he made a point of distinguishing such elites from ordinary jews. That’s a whole other conspiracy universe – as rich in its own right with fabulous creatures as Tolkien’s middle earth – but (slightly) more concrete accounts will take you back to Jeckyll Island and the foundation of the Fed. At its core the conspiracy account, despite counteless bizarre permutations (of the lizard man variety) is curiously consistent and often quite coherent. Except it has a tendency to take facts, or quasi facts and to run with them into fantasy.
          We don’t unfortunately have a fully free media and for that reason people trying to challenge received accounts about power are going to occasionally head off into ‘crazy’ – but if you filter it down to its core, some of amounts to stuff that shouldn’t even be controversial: the banking system, particularly in the US, was founded in a way that wasn’t ‘democratic’ or arguably constitutional, which seems to permit control by elite families (both jewish and gentile) who although they can argue various types of oversight exist, do seem to be getting richer and richer while gaining more and more central, international control, in a way that seems very much to marry up with the kinds of theories favoured by conspiracy theorists (it doesn’t help that you get people like Obama’s information czar Cass Sunstein saying that conspiracy theories should be banned).
          Leaving 9/11 aside interpreting the above situation does indeed beg the question why is this being done, what kind of motivations do such elites have, and indeed what sort of motivations do people who knowingly or unwittingly support them have. I think something like ‘rational benefit’ makes sense. Conspiracy theorists tend to try to get quotes from elites that reveal their sinister (often Satanist) agenda. If you listen more closely you might well get the likes of Kissinger, Rothschild, or Rockefeller talking about ‘world government’ or some such thing (or the new generation like David Rotschild talking about climate change). There is no doubt they want more centralisation (or at least international institutions with executive or near executive powers) but while their self-interest is very clearly the top of the agenda (and arguably there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be to the extent they are pursuing it constructively) one often gets the sense that they believe that eroding national sovereignty, creating a truly international currency (that one was David Rotchschild’s dad idea for instance) and making the world more global, connected is something that is good for everybody (in their view).
          Clearly the problem here is not only the issue of whether it is good for everyone (I don’t believe it is) but whether they have a right to decide at Bilderberg meetings, or any of the other powerful groups that meet (trilateral commission, the club of rome etc etc) on behalf of the whole world. In other words if they do enslave the world or whatever, a realistic psychological account would have them do so in the belief that they were serving rather than hurting the world.
          The theory that banks are involved in creating and perpetuating wars is less easy but not impossible to push into that mould, however, involvement in wars can also be seen as either something defensive or pro-actively defensive (as with the neo-cons perhaps) or as something that doesn’t require any kind of conscious input (banks lend money to both sides because banks focus on profit …that’s what banks do etc…)
          One last point in this respect, would relate to the leftist / social justice side of things. Here I do think the jewish thought may be more generally in question. As you say its human psychology to want to believe you are making the world a better place, and one way in which jews of (good) conscience may do that is by thinking in terms of tikkun olam, which basically means ‘repairing the world’. This is a complex set of beliefs that relates I think to lurianic kabbalah (rather than orthodox beliefs) and may or may not have a zionist / messianic element. Pushing social justice, feminism, human rights are all seen as ways of healing the world and release the light from the darkness. Just as Christian ideas of altruism may have dominated thought in earlier times i’d say jewish ideas of this variety have played and are playing a big part in transforming the world.
          Re. our duty to look into ‘such issues’ I’m not really saying people should be doing anything in particular, except taking the trouble to adequately if not necessarily fully satisfy themselves that what they’re being told matches the available evidence. Re. 9/11 I really have spent relatively little time on this – there was one week when I kind of obsessed over it – and would certainly not encourage people to get too heavily into conspiracy theory. I don’t consider that as a medium it is a particularly healthy environment, but having said that, until there’s something in between an MSM that lies and manipulates (IMO) and a fantastical realm of satanic orcs and lizardmen, what choice do we have?

    2. phew, for a moment I thought the planes were going to hit the towers.
      diaster averted!!!!

  4. I’m now 36. I watched as many as I could at the time. I have a horrible memory but it was something like Sunday night wit da Simpsons. Anyways. The most memorable episode, for me, was Field Trip. Anyone concur?!?!?!

  5. The Snake Handler episode ‘Signs and Wonders’ from Season 7 was genius and you should turn up the volume and hit replay over and over until you hear every word said in the background.

  6. Great series, so unique and creative. Nothing else like it before or since really.
    Mulder was a good role model–focused on his work, talks in a slow, calm controlled manner with deep voice, I think only once or twice ever did he even get distracted by pussy. He was the shit and he knew it. While Scully was helpful Mulder put her in her place when she tried to go against him.

  7. Usually when people highlight great “X-Files” episodes they pick the ones that are quirky. But many of the standard episodes were also pretty good and great.
    One exception on this list is “Tooms” which probably formed the template for the show’s regular “monster of the week” format.
    For its sheer ambition, I always appreciate 6th season episode titled “Triangle.” The sequence involving Agent Scully running around the FBI building — which was edited as to appear to be a continuous shot — is marvelous.

  8. Saw a number of episodes on & off as a school kid. I can remember ‘Squeeze’ creeping me out back then.
    I like ‘Piper Maru’ with the introduction of the black oil alien creature & featuring a young Cigarette Smoking Man.

  9. Hey, could someone list the seasons for each episode mentioned. I’m getting Squeeze right now (since it said season 1).

  10. X-Cops was my favourite. The mix of X-files plus Cops was spot on and fucking hilarious at points.

    1. Mulder became Hank Moody and Scully survived the wall.
      Anyway, X-Files remains one of my favourite TV-shows and I’m really looking forward to the new episodes.

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