|2x01||Little Green Men||09/16/1994|
This second season opener doesnt always make sense, but its 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.
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 heand the audienceare introduced to X. And although the odds would seem to be against it, the man in the rubber suit in this episodeDarin Morganwould 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.
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 theyre no longer partners, she still seems to be on call to perform autopsies at his request.) William Sandersonbest known as Larry of Larry, Daryl and Daryl fameis 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. Mulders exposure to the insecticide seems like a bit of a red herring, but it pays off nicely in the episodes creepy and enigmatic final scene.
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 FBIXa 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 Mulders new partner Alex Krycek, played here to smarmy perfection by Nicholas Lea. We are left with no doubt whatsoever as to Kryceks 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.
Mulder is called in to defuse a tense situation when Duane Barrya former FBI agentescapes 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 Barrys trust, until Scullys investigation of the former agents medical history calls his credibility into question. Full marks to guest star Steve Railsback in the title role: he makes Barrys sense of hopeless frustration all too convincing. This is a very good, very tense episode, with a perfect cliffhanger endingBarry escapes again and kidnaps Scully while shes leaving a message on Mulders answering machinethat sets the stage quite nicely for Part Two.
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 doesnt stand a chance. Shes 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 Scullys abduction is one of the pivotal events of the entire series, its interesting to speculate on how things would have developed differently if Gillian Anderson hadnt become pregnant at this time.
With the X-Files now officially re-opened and Scullys 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 doesnt hurt that Perrey Reeves, who was Duchovnys girlfriend at the time, plays Kristen. Their resulting on-screen chemistry works to the episodes advantage. Unfortunately, 3 doesnt 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 Fives Bad Blood.
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. Scullys 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.
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 Ones 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. Its 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.
Mulder and Scully investigate a case involving teenagers who are being injected with alien DNA in this indirect sequel to Season Ones The Erlenmeyer Flask. The subplots pile up so fast that you need a scorecard to keep track of them. Its about a vegetarian sect called The Church of the Red Museum. No, wait, its about a Peeping Tom. No, wait, its about secret government experiments involving Purity Control. No, wait Deep Throats executioner is on hand to tidy things up, but he gets killed before Mulder has a chance to question him. Theres also some discussion of walk-ins, a concept that will become central to Season Sevens Closure. Chris Carters busy script makes for a better-than-average Mythology Arc episode, even if its nearly over before you even realize that it is a Mythology Arc episode.
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 mushroomswhich seem capable of curing Alzheimersand 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.
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 1940s. 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 womens intuition. Rob Bowman directs Aubrey with a real flairnot even Alfred Hitchcock could make a steam iron look more menacing. This is a solid, well-written episode with a good performance from Terry OQuinn, who would turn up later in the series in a couple of different roles, and in a major supporting role on Chris Carters Millennium.
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 shes investigating that she actually seeks professional counseling. At first glance, this case doesnt 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 Pfasters actions by portraying him as some sort of demon or supernatural entity. Its 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. Theres 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. Theres 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 dont quite add up. Director Kim Manners, making his X-Files debut here, would go on to oversee fully a quarter of the series episodes.
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 whats 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 thats straight out of an Edgar Allan Poe story (or maybe an EC Comic). For what its 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.
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 Mulders 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. Its 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.
Mulder loses his sisteragainbut 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 sisters life is a strong (but ultimately false) argument for the fact that the original Samantha is still alive, somewhere. Theres a terrific scene in the elevator in Mulders apartment, where Skinner encounters X, and determines Mulders 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 shows sometimes-incoherent main story line.
A rampage by an invisible
elephant brings Mulder and Scully to
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 Scullys meticulous notes restores both her and her partner to perfect health, then hasnt she really found a way to reverse the aging process? Shouldnt 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.
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 its 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.
The X-Files meets The Exorcist as Charlie Holvey is both possessed and haunted by the spirit of his stillborn twin brother, and the boys 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, Burkss 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 viewers expectations, making you think that the grandmother is somehow responsible for whats going on before revealing her as Charlies 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.
Mulder and Scully are puzzled by their latest assignmentordered 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 shes working with. In the meantime, Mulder confronts the Cigarette-Smoking Man in Skinners office, although the reasons for CSMs interest in the case are unclear. Also unclear at this point are Skinners allegiances. If the Smoking Man has no official status within the FBI, then why doesnt Skinner just kick him out of his office?
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 doesnt know is that X is already involvedhes 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.
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-Jacobs Disease and Mad Cow Disease, making this episode seem eerily prescientit 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 doesnt make sense. The agents begin to understand whats happening when they find the bones dumped in the river. Since Sheriff Arens already knew about the bones, why didnt he just tell Mulder that his men didnt find anything, especially since Mulder had no good reason for having the river dragged in the first place?
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 Mulders fathera former associate of the Smoking Manplayed an important role in that conspiracy. Unfortunately, Krycek shoots him before he can reveal whats 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 Carters cameo as one of the FBI officials who question Scully about her partners erratic behaviour.