Season Two

2x01 Little Green Men 09/16/1994

This second season opener doesn’t always make sense, but it’s still a great episode, as Mulder travels to the radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in search of physical evidence of extra-terrestrials. In the process, he achieves contact, but the proof remains as elusive as ever. In the meantime, Scully is working as an instructor at the FBI Academy, but she still manages to get involved. There are some great scenes here, beginning with a clandestine meeting between the former partners in the parking lot of the Watergate apartment complex. Also of note is the fact that both Assistant Director Skinner and the Cigarette-Smoking Man begin to play more prominent roles in the series from this point. Gillian Anderson was pregnant when these early Season Two episodes were filmed. While her condition is apparent, these shows do a good job of concealing it without making the attempt too obvious.

2x02 The Host 09/23/1994

Mulder and Scully track a giant flukeworm through the sewers of New Jersey in what may be the best Monster-Of-The-Week episode of the entire series. The X-Files are still shut down, but even Skinner is forced to admit that this case argues for their reinstatement. This is the episode where Mulder learns that he has ‘a friend at the FBI’, although it will be a few more weeks before he—and the audience—are introduced to ‘X’. And although the odds would seem to be against it, the man in the rubber suit in this episode—Darin Morgan—would go on to write some of the series’ quirkiest, and best, scripts. With ‘Little Green Men’ and ‘The Host’, The X-Files managed to get its second season off to a running start.

2x03 Blood 09/30/1994

‘Going postal’ takes on a whole new meaning in this episode, as some residents of Franklin, Pennsylvania engage in spree killings after exposure to an insecticide that increases their natural phobias. Mulder pieces the whole thing together with some information from both The Lone Gunmen and Scully. (Even though they’re no longer partners, she still seems to be on call to perform autopsies at his request.) William Sanderson—best known as Larry of ‘Larry, Daryl and Daryl’ fame—is quite effective as the mild-mannered postal worker whose fear of blood eventually drives him to start picking off college students with a high-powered rifle. Mulder’s exposure to the insecticide seems like a bit of a red herring, but it pays off nicely in the episode’s creepy and enigmatic final scene.

2x04 Sleepless 10/07/1994

Sleep ‘eradication’ experiments that were conducted on soldiers in Vietnam come back to haunt the doctors responsible a quarter of a century later in an effective episode that is more significant for the characters it introduces than for the story it tells. Mulder meets his ‘friend at the FBI’—X—a secretive figure who seems to be taking over where Deep Throat left off. It remains to be seen, however, if his motives are as pure as he claims they are. More significantly, we also meet Mulder’s new partner Alex Krycek, played here to smarmy perfection by Nicholas Lea. We are left with no doubt whatsoever as to Krycek’s allegiances, as the episode ends with him reporting his opinions of both Mulder and Scully to the Cigarette-Smoking Man. This is an important episode in the Mythology Arc, with far-reaching consequences for the series and its characters.

2x05 Duane Barry 10/14/1994

Mulder is called in to defuse a tense situation when Duane Barry—a former FBI agent—escapes from a mental institution and takes four people as hostages. Barry claims to be a multiple alien-abductee, and Mulder wants to believe, just like the poster in his office says. Exchanging himself for an injured hostage, Mulder works to win Barry’s trust, until Scully’s investigation of the former agent’s medical history calls his credibility into question. Full marks to guest star Steve Railsback in the title role: he makes Barry’s sense of hopeless frustration all too convincing. This is a very good, very tense episode, with a perfect cliffhanger ending—Barry escapes again and kidnaps Scully while she’s leaving a message on Mulder’s answering machine—that sets the stage quite nicely for Part Two.

2x06 Ascension 10/21/1993

With a kidnapped Scully in the trunk of his car, and Mulder and Krycek in hot pursuit, Duane Barry heads for Skyland Mountain, where he hopes that this time the ‘aliens’ will take someone else instead of him. With Krycek under strict orders from the Cigarette-Smoking Man to deter Mulder by any means possible, Scully doesn’t stand a chance. She’s gone before Mulder can save her, giving Gillian Anderson a brief maternity leave. ‘Ascension’ is ultimately disappointing: after a great beginning, it manages to run out of both plot and energy. In the end, Krycek disappears just as Mulder figures out who he really is, and Skinner takes a stand by re-opening the X-Files. Given that Scully’s abduction is one of the pivotal events of the entire series, it’s interesting to speculate on how things would have developed differently if Gillian Anderson hadn’t become pregnant at this time.

2x07 3 11/04/1994

With the X-Files now officially re-opened and Scully’s whereabouts still a mystery, Mulder heads to Los Angeles to track down a trinity of vampires. Along the way, he becomes involved with Kristen, an attractive woman with a penchant for ‘bloodsports’, and the result is some of the most erotically charged sequences of the entire series. It doesn’t hurt that Perrey Reeves, who was Duchovny’s girlfriend at the time, plays Kristen. Their resulting on-screen chemistry works to the episode’s advantage. Unfortunately, ‘3’ doesn’t have a lot else to recommend it. Vampires have been done countless times before, and nothing new is attempted here. For a more successful X-Files treatment of the creatures of the night, see Season Five’s ‘Bad Blood’.

2x08 One Breath 11/11/1994

Scully is back, having mysteriously appeared in a DC hospital in critical condition, and Mulder does everything in his power to find out what happened to her, and why. His quest is ultimately futile, but in the end, Scully recovers, and the scenes between the two are quite moving. Scully’s sister Melissa is introduced (but where are her brothers?) and we get to see Frohike in a tux. There are some powerful images in ‘One Breath’, most notably the ones of Scully in a rowboat that is dangerously close to breaking free and drifting away. The strength of Mulder's feelings for Scully is clearly demonstrated here. He passes up a chance to punish those responsible for her disappearance so that he can be by her side. This is the best episode of Season Two, and one of the best of the entire series.

2x09 Firewalker 11/18/1994

Mulder and a suddenly svelte Scully are called in to investigate mysterious deaths amongst a group of scientists doing research on volcanoes. This is really just a rehash of Season One’s superior ‘Ice’, with a little bit of ‘Darkness Falls’ thrown in for good measure, although the exploding spore special effect is appropriately disgusting. The surprising thing about this business-as-usual installment is the way it treats Scully. Her recent abduction, subsequent reappearance and miraculous recovery are mentioned only in passing. It’s almost as if this was a leftover script from Season One that was filmed here because they had nothing else to work with that week. Overall, this is a weak effort with little to recommend it.

2x10 Red Museum 12/09/1994

Mulder and Scully investigate a case involving teenagers who are being injected with alien DNA in this indirect sequel to Season One’s ‘The Erlenmeyer Flask’. The subplots pile up so fast that you need a scorecard to keep track of them. It’s about a vegetarian sect called The Church of the Red Museum. No, wait, it’s about a Peeping Tom. No, wait, it’s about secret government experiments involving Purity Control. No, wait… Deep Throat’s executioner is on hand to tidy things up, but he gets killed before Mulder has a chance to question him. There’s also some discussion of ‘walk-ins’, a concept that will become central to Season Seven’s ‘Closure’. Chris Carter’s busy script makes for a better-than-average Mythology Arc episode, even if it’s nearly over before you even realize that it is a Mythology Arc episode.

2x11 Excelsis Dei 12/16/1994

The two agents investigate the case of a worker in a convalescent home who claims that she was raped by some sort of invisible entity, although even Mulder is skeptical about the whole thing. Along the way, they discover that an orderly at the home is growing a crop of magic mushrooms in the basement. The script tries but fails to draw a connection between the mushrooms—which seem capable of curing Alzheimer’s—and the somewhat vengeful ghosts haunting the home. Actually, there are a number of things about this episode that the script fails to explain, resulting in a disappointing effort in which Mulder and Scully do a lot of running around to very little effect.

2x12 Aubrey 01/06/1995

The discovery of the remains of an FBI agent who disappeared 50 years ago draws Mulder and Scully into a case involving B.J. Morrow, a police detective with some sort of psychic connection to a serial killer who was active in the 1940’s. Undermining her reputation as the logical half of the team, Scully leaps to a couple of conclusions about Morrow on the basis of very little evidence, and then attributes the insights to her ‘women’s intuition’. Rob Bowman directs ‘Aubrey’ with a real flair—not even Alfred Hitchcock could make a steam iron look more menacing. This is a solid, well-written episode with a good performance from Terry O’Quinn, who would turn up later in the series in a couple of different roles, and in a major supporting role on Chris Carter’s Millennium.

2x13 Irresistible 01/13/1995

Mulder and Scully are on the trail of ‘death fetishist’ Donnie Pfaster, trying to stop him before his crimes escalate from grave desecration to murder. This is one of the creepiest episodes of the entire series, thanks to both its subject matter, and the fact that Scully is so upset by the events she’s investigating that she actually seeks professional counseling. At first glance, this case doesn’t even appear to be an X-File. A local FBI agent calls in Mulder when he thinks that the desecrations may be the work of extra-terrestrials. That theory is quickly dismissed, but the ending does attempt to justify Pfaster’s actions by portraying him as some sort of demon or supernatural entity. It’s an unnecessary intrusion that manages to weaken what is, up to that point, a superior installment in the series.

2x14 Die Hand Die Verletzt 01/27/1995

Toads fall from the sky and water runs down drains counter-clockwise as Mulder and Scully find themselves surrounded by supernatural forces when they look into the death of a high school student who has had his eyes and heart removed. There’s a Parent Teacher Council that practices black magic, and a mysterious substitute teacher with satanic powers, but the connection between them is never made clear. There’s also a harrowing scene in which one of the students breaks down while recounting repressed memories of ritualistic abuse at the hands of her stepfather, but what could have been a meaningful subtext for the story somehow gets lost in all the thunder and lightning. In the end, this is a disappointing collection of some great scenes that don’t quite add up. Director Kim Manners, making his X-Files debut here, would go on to oversee fully a quarter of the series’ episodes.

2x15 Fresh Bones 02/03/1995

The suspicious deaths of two of the soldiers guarding a group of Haitian immigrants draws Mulder and Scully into a case involving zombies and voodoo. Daniel Benzali is suitably menacing as the commanding officer with something to hide, and X is on hand for the first time since ‘One Breath’ to set Mulder straight on what’s really going on. There are a couple of nicely spooky scenes set in a cemetery, and the whole thing has a very effective surprise ending that’s straight out of an Edgar Allan Poe story (or maybe an EC Comic). For what it’s worth, this is the third consecutive episode to make use of the word ‘desecration’. Not exactly a Monster-of-the-Week, but an enjoyable addition to the X-Files canon nonetheless.

2x16 Colony 02/10/1995

Samantha Mulder suddenly reappears while her brother and Scully are in the middle of an investigation into the violent deaths of a number of identical but seemingly unrelated doctors who worked in abortion clinics. This episode introduces a number of recurring characters, including Mulder’s parents, and the shapeshifting alien that Samantha refers to as a bounty hunter. We also learn that aliens have toxic green blood, that bounty hunters can only be killed by being stabbed in the base of the neck, that colonization by alien/human hybrids has begun, and that the bounty hunter has been sent to eliminate these hybrids. It’s all a little confusing, a situation that will only become worse as the series progresses. Episodes like this make one wonder how much of the Mythology Arc is planned in advance, and how much is made up on the spot to fit the needs of a particular story.

2x17 End Game 02/17/1995

Mulder loses his sister—again—but in the process of pursuing the alien bounty hunter to a submarine trapped in the Arctic ice pack, he finds the faith to keep looking. It turns out that the woman he thought was Samantha was only one of a number of identical alien/human hybrid clones, but her obvious knowledge of his sister’s life is a strong (but ultimately false) argument for the fact that the original Samantha is still alive, somewhere. There’s a terrific scene in the elevator in Mulder’s apartment, where Skinner encounters X, and determines Mulder’s whereabouts through ‘unofficial channels’. The full-size set that depicts the conning tower of the submarine trapped in the ice creates one of the most striking visual images of the entire series. Together with ‘Colony’, this episode does a lot to advance the show’s sometimes-incoherent main story line.

2x18 Fearful Symmetry 02/24/1995

A rampage by an invisible elephant brings Mulder and Scully to Idaho to investigate strange happenings at the Fairfield Zoo. Mulder becomes convinced that aliens are abducting the zoo animals, but we never find out why they would do this, why the animals are being returned miles from the zoo, or why the animals temporarily become invisible. Scully proves once again that she’s the Queen of the Autopsy by performing one on the elephant and determining that the animal had been pregnant. Two-thirds of The Lone Gunmen are present via video conference (but why didn’t Mulder just use his cell phone?) Langly’s absence is explained by his reluctance to have his image ‘bouncing off a satellite’. This has an interesting premise, but a few too many holes in the plot to make it any more than an average episode.

2x19 Død Kalm 03/10/1995

The accelerated aging of both a naval vessel and its crew bring Mulder and Scully all the way to the North Atlantic off the coast of Norway, where they soon find themselves stranded on the rapidly rusting ship. In short order, they too begin aging dramatically. Scully puts forth a number of possible explanations, none of which make sense. How would contaminated drinking water cause the entire ship to rust away so quickly? The ending defies explanation as well. If a treatment based on Scully’s meticulous notes restores both her and her partner to perfect health, then hasn’t she really found a way to reverse the aging process? Shouldn’t she be boarding the next plane to Stockholm to receive her Nobel Prize in medicine? Logic aside, this episode looks fantastic, with its claustrophobic, abandoned navy destroyer and its scary, if not always convincing, makeup effects.

2x20 Humbug 03/31/1995

The series’ first intentional attempt at humour is a success, as Mulder and Scully investigate the mysterious death of an ‘Alligator Man’ who lived in a small Florida town populated by side show performers. Surprisingly enough, this time it’s Scully whose bizarre theory about the case turns out to be correct. When it was first broadcast, this episode scripted by Darin Morgan seemed like an abrupt change in direction, but time has shown that the series is particularly well suited to the occasional display of black humour. Fortunately, the producers had the audacity to cast Jim Rose and real-life members of his troupe of side show performers, most notably The Enigma. Their presence adds just the right touch of reality to what could have easily become an over-the-top episode. The highlight remains the scene where Scully eats a cricket.

2x21 The Calusari 04/14/1995

The X-Files meets The Exorcist as Charlie Holvey is both possessed and haunted by the spirit of his stillborn twin brother, and the boy’s Romanian grandmother relies on some old methods to save him. This is the episode that introduces Bill Dow as Charles (‘Chuck’) Burks, a scientist that Mulder (and sometimes Scully) will call on periodically for information and advice. Here, Burks’s enhancement of a photograph of Teddy Holvey taken just before his death reveals an image that launches the two agents on their investigation. The script does a good job of upsetting the viewer’s expectations, making you think that the grandmother is somehow responsible for what’s going on before revealing her as Charlie’s only hope for survival. For once, Scully is actually present when supernatural events occur, but future episodes will demonstrate that her faith in science remains unshaken.

2x22 F. Emasculata 04/28/1995

Mulder and Scully are puzzled by their latest assignment—ordered by Skinner to assist in the capture of a couple of escaped convicts. It soon turns out that their real mission is to help stop the outbreak of a deadly virus that has infected the prison. Scully displays a blatant disregard for medical procedures here. Despite the fact that prisoners are dropping like flies, she inexplicably cuts open a plastic bag containing a corpse that is awaiting incineration, an act which is directly responsible for the infection and eventual death of the doctor she’s working with. In the meantime, Mulder confronts the Cigarette-Smoking Man in Skinner’s office, although the reasons for CSM’s interest in the case are unclear. Also unclear at this point are Skinner’s allegiances. If the Smoking Man has no official status within the FBI, then why doesn’t Skinner just kick him out of his office?

2x23 Soft Light 05/05/1995

Scully answers a call for help from former pupil Kelly Ryan as she and Mulder begin the investigation of a case that involves Chester Banton, a scientist with a deadly shadow. Mulder in turn calls on X for assistance, but what he doesn’t know is that X is already involved—he’s the one responsible for kidnapping Banton on behalf of the government, which is exactly what Banton feared would happen. This episode tries to be more scientific than most, but the science is incomprehensible, and the more you think about it, the more preposterous it seems. The most significant thing about ‘Soft Light’ is the fact that it was the first X-Files script to be penned by Vince Gilligan, who would quickly become one of the series’ finest writers.

2x24 Our Town 05/12/1995

The disappearance of a federal inspector working at an Arkansas chicken processing plant leads Mulder and Scully to a cult of human cannibals. Scully mentions both Creutzfeldt-Jacob’s Disease and Mad Cow Disease, making this episode seem eerily prescient—it was originally broadcast well before images of infected British cattle became front-page news in North America. Scully is abducted yet again, and Mulder races to her rescue for the fourth time this season. (See also ‘Ascension’, ‘Irresistible’, and ‘End Game’.) Once again, the plot of the episode just doesn’t make sense. The agents begin to understand what’s happening when they find the bones dumped in the river. Since Sheriff Arens already knew about the bones, why didn’t he just tell Mulder that his men didn’t find anything, especially since Mulder had no good reason for having the river dragged in the first place?

2x25 Anasazi 05/19/1995

Mulder comes into possession of a digital tape containing some encrypted Defense Department files that document an international conspiracy to conceal the existence of aliens. This is where we learn that Mulder’s father—a former associate of the Smoking Man—played an important role in that conspiracy. Unfortunately, Krycek shoots him before he can reveal what’s really been happening for the last 40 years. This is a terrific season-ending cliffhanger, with enough plot for an episode twice its length. There are a number of great scenes, such as the one where Mulder, made psychotic by drugs in his drinking water, punches out Skinner when the Assistant Director asks about the encrypted files. It all culminates in a boxcar full of alien bodies buried in the New Mexico desert. Look closely for series creator Chris Carter’s cameo as one of the FBI officials who question Scully about her partner’s erratic behaviour.

Introduction Season One Season Two Season Three Season Four Season Five Fight The Future Season Six Season Seven Season Eight Season Nine I Want To Believe