Between the seemingly endless voice-over narration recited by both Mulder and Scully, and the reams of expository dialog delivered by Michael Kritschgau, this may well be the most verbose episode of the entire series. The montage of images that accompany Kritschgaus breathless recounting of fifty years of conspiracy theory owes much to similar sequences in Oliver Stones JFK. While Scullys lab work establishes a link between her cancer and genetic material related to the fake alien body discovered in Gethsemane, Mulder infiltrates both the Department of Defense and The Pentagon in search of a promised cure for her disease. Meanwhile, the FBI continues its inquiry into Mulders suicide, and Scully begins to suspect that Skinner may be the Syndicates mole inside the Bureau. This seems like a busy episode, but its really just setting the stage for the real resolution still to come in the final part of the trilogy.
Mulder meets his sister and is shocked to hear her refer to the Cigarette-Smoking Man as her father. He later receives a job offer from CSM, who fulfills his part of the Momento Mori deal by providing a cure for Scullys cancer. In the meantime, Mulder names Section Chief Blevins as the mole within the FBIa big revelation that would have been a lot more meaningful if wed actually seen Blevins more than a few times before Gethsemane. Meanwhile, CSM becomes a target for a Syndicate assassination attempt. Scullys cancer goes into remission, although its unclear if the newly implanted microchip provided by CSM was responsible. This is a satisfying episode that ends the cancer storyline that won Gillian Anderson her Emmy Award. It also turns Mulder into a skeptic as far as alien abductions are concerned. Its a change in direction that will persist throughout the season.
In a flashback to 1989, we see how the Lone Gunmen met each other, and opened FBI Special Agent Mulders eyes to the possibilities of government conspiracies long before he discovered the X-Files and was partnered with Scully. The action centers around Susanne Modeski, a government scientist who has been framed for murder for trying to blow the whistle on proposed tests of a paranoia-inducing gas that she helped develop. The episode is a good mixture of humour and drama. Richard Belzer is on hand as Detective Munch, the character he played on Homicide and later Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and theres even a surprise appearance by X, proving that he was part of the conspiracy years before he replaced Deep Throat. Based on this episode, the Lone Gunmen would seem like good candidates for their own series, but time would prove that this wasnt necessarily the case.
As the title suggests, Mulder and Scully get sidetracked in this episode. On their way to a team building seminar in Florida, the pair stumbles into a case involving mysterious creatures who are trying to prevent urban encroachment into the forest where they live. This episode isnt really all that different from Season Ones Darkness Falls, except for the fact that Mulder and Scully are all alone in the woods this time. Scully seems a lot more willing to flirt with her partner then she has been in the past. She even shows up in Mulders motel room with a bottle of wine at one point. She also serenades him with an off-key rendition of Three Dog Nights Joy To The World. While Detour wont make anyones Top Ten list, its still an enjoyable Monster-of-the-Week effort.
|5x06||The Post-Modern Prometheus||11/30/1997|
Mulder and Scully investigate a case involving The Great Mutato, a Frankenstein-like creature who turns out not to be the monster everyone assumed he was. Prometheus, written and directed by Chris Carter, is easily the most bizarre episode of the entire series. Filmed in black and white as an homage to the films of James Whale, it opens and closes on images in comic books, making it unclear if this is a real X-Files case, or an imaginary tale involving FBI agent Mulder, whoaccording to this episodehas appeared on Jerry Springers talk show. The versatile Chris Owens is unrecognizable under layers of makeup as Mutato, and John Hurley (Seinfelds J. Peterman) is appropriately over-the-top as Dr. Polidori. By far the best thing about this episode is the final scene, where we get to see a smiling Mulder and Scully dance to Chers version of Walking In Memphis.
A couple of mysterious phone calls put Scully into contact with Emily, a three-year-old girl whose adoptive parents both end up as murder victims. Initially, Scully believes that Emily is the daughter of her late sister Melissa, but DNA tests soon reveal that the actual identity of the mother is someone even more surprising. This indirect sequel to Momento Mori is another showcase for Gillian Anderson, as she carries the episode virtually on her own. It also gives us a rare glimpse into Scullys lifesuch as it isaway from her partner, as she travels to San Diego with her mother to spend Christmas with her brother and sister-in-law. Those mysterious phone calls seem to originate from Melissas ghost, a point that this episode never elaborates on, and one that Scully herself seems willing to accept without too many questions.
While Scully attempts to find a cure for the disease that affects her daughter, and starts proceedings to legally adopt her, Mulder begins his investigation at Prangen Industries (where Emily was participating in a clinical trial) and ends up at a nursing home where some very unlikely mothers have given birth recently. Emily, with its shape-shifting aliens, human embryos and toxic green blood, is the polar opposite of the more down-to-earth Christmas Carol, but its still more satisfying than the conclusion of most Mythology Arc two-parters. Special mention should be made of the teasera dream sequence which shows Scully walking in the middle of a sandstorm, and then dissolving into sand herself. Mention should also be made of the vials of green fluid that Mulder takes from the lab in the nursing home. Although they would seem like the perfect plot device for future episodes, theyre never mentioned again.
In this sequel to Season Threes Pusher, Mulder and Scully head up an effort to recapture Robert Modell, who has escaped from prison. Scully assumes that Modell is targeting her partner, but Mulder soon comes to the conclusion that there is someone elsewith powers identical to Modellsinvolved in the case. This is a clever updating of one of the better Monsters-of-the-Week, with a genuinely effective twist in the story. It doesnt quite reach the same levels of intensity as Pusher, but the original episode did set a high standard. Both Scully and Assistant Director Skinner get into emotional arguments with Mulder over his interpretation of events surrounding the case, although you have to wonder why theyd even bother. Dont they both know by now that Mulder is always right?
Mulder and Scully travel to Michigan to investigate a case of death caused by trees in an orchard that are seeking vengeance against the perpetrators of child abuse. Although this episode isnt as bad as you would think from that description, it is one of the weaker efforts of Season Five. The script isnt as clear as it could be, lessening the impact of the elements of the story dealing with abuse, and the axe-wielding Ramirezwho pops up just in time to explain to Mulder and Scully whats happeningis too much of a cliché to take seriously. On the other hand, Chad Lindberg does good work portraying teenager Bobby Rich. Hes the series most convincing member of Generation X since Giovanni Ribisi in Season Twos D.P.O..
While on a vacation in Maine, Scully stumbles into a case involving a haunted doll that is capable of making people do really nasty things to themselves. Even though the script was co-written by novelist Stephen King and series creator Chris Carter, the horrific elements of the story are a disappointment: theyre too derivative of better things that King and others have done elsewhere. The best parts of the episode are the phone conversations Scully has with her partner as Mulderapparently with nothing better to do while shes awaykeeps calling up with suggestions that are less than helpful. In that sense, Chinga can be viewed as little more than a remake of Season Threes War of the Coprophages turned upside down. Be that as it may, any episode that lets us see Scully relaxing in the bathtub isby definitiona good episode.
A massacre at a Washington diner puts Mulder and Scully on the trail of a sentient artificial intelligence which is loose on the Internet. Along the way, they meet Invisigoth (a.k.a. Esther Nairn), a hacker who wants to upload her consciousness into cyberspace. For the second week in a row, the series makes use of name writers: in this case science fiction authors William Gibson and Tom Maddox. The result is a successful union of X-Files paranoia and cyberpunk sensibilities. Combining big production values (the exploding cargo container), interesting locations (the swing bridge), and well-drawn characters, Kill Switch has a little bit of everything. It even puts The Lone Gunmen to good use. Special mention must be made of Mulders dream, in which Scully bursts into the room and beats up a number of women in a manner that would make Emma Peel (not to mention Buffy) proud.
The truth is way out there as Mulder and Scully explain to each other what they think happened on a trip to Texas to track down a vampire. In the process, Duchovny and Anderson have great fun playing slightly exaggerated versions of their characters, as we see Mulder through Scullys eyes, and vice versa. We also see each of them as they see themselves. This is a very funny episode due to the fact that the pair behave like a couple who have been married to each other just a little too long. It also contains the most hilarious autopsies youll ever see. Bad Blood was written by Vince Gilligan, who demonstrates once again that he is Darin Morgans heir apparentthe only writer willing (or able) to take the series apart, and put it back together in a slightly different manner. This is Season Fives best episode.
The role reversals are complete in this episode, as the post-Redux Mulder insists that alien abductions are nothing more than a government conspiracy to cover up the development of biological weapons, while Scully finds herself more than willing to consider extreme possibilities. The centre of their attention is Cassandra Spender, a self-proclaimed multiple abductee whose son Jeffrey is an FBI agent. The younger Spender is played by Chris Owens, seen previously as the young Cigarette-Smoking Man in Season Fours Musings Of and Demons. Throw in Marita Covarrubias, Alex Krycek, the Well-Manicured Man, various members of the Syndicate, a potential vaccine against the Black Oildeveloped by the Russians and stolen by Krycekand incidents where abductees are called to locations where they are subsequently burned to death, and the result is a busy Mythology Arc episode that sets high expectations for Part Two.
|5x14||The Red And The Black||03/08/1998|
While the Well-Manicured Man tries to make a deal with Krycek to obtain the stolen Russian vaccine, Scully undergoes hypnosis in an attempt to recover lost memories of what happened at the dam where Cassandra was taken yet again, and many of the other abductees were burned beyond recognition. The first big revelation is that there is a faction of rebel aliens at war with the group which plans to colonize Earth at some point in the future. The capture of one of these rebelshis eyes and mouth sewn shut against the Black Oilprompts a division within the Syndicate over whether to turn him over to the colonists, or wait until the vaccine has been tested, to see if resistance against the aliens is possible. The second revelation is that the Cigarette-Smoking Man is alive and well in a cabin in Quebec, and that hes Jeffrey Spenders father.
In the second flashback this seasonthis time to 1990Mulder is introduced to the X-Files as he meets former FBI agent Arthur Dales. Dales tells Mulder about a case from 1952 concerning xenotransplantation; a case that involved a certain Department of State employee named Bill Mulder. Travelers pays tribute to The X-Files most obvious influence by casting Darren McGavin, the star of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, as the present-day (1990) Arthur Dales. It then proceeds to give him and Duchovny virtually nothing to do by setting most of the action in 1952. (Gillian Anderson is totally absent). Trivia buffs take note: this is one of two episodes where Mulder can be seen wearing a wedding ring. (It was also visiblejust barelyin Unusual Suspects). This is also the only time in the series where we see Mulder smoking.
Lili Taylor steals this episode with her portrayal of Marty Glenn. Blind since birth, Glenn is able to see through the eyes of her father, and is powerless to stop the series of murders he begins to commit once hes released from prison. The Season Five role-reversals take a 180° turn here, as Mulder, a believer once more, makes a wild leap to exactly the right conclusion, while Scullywhos off-screen for much of the episodestruggles to keep up. Lili Taylor, who received an Emmy nomination for playing Glenn, manages the difficult task of making her a very unsympathetic character. She also plays off against David Duchovny quite effectively, giving the scenes between Glenn and Mulder an added spark. With a more satisfying ending than most episodes, Minds Eye is one of the highlights of Season Five.
Scully experiences visions of her daughter Emily as she looks into a case involving quadruplet girlsall born with severe physical and mental defectswho are suffering mysterious deaths. The story is told in flashback as Scully relates the events while in a confessional. This week, its Scully who wants to believe, while Mulder plays the skeptic. (Cant these people make up their minds?) The whole thing seems like a remake of Season Threes Revelations, as Scully comes to the belief that she has been chosen to protect these girls from the devil so their souls can be recalled to Heaven. The best thing about All Souls is the fact that it gives Gillian Anderson a showcase after her low profile in the previous couple of episodes. Her performance here reinforces the fact that her Best Actress Emmy Award was no fluke.
|5x18||The Pine Bluff Variant||05/03/1998|
Mulder goes so far undercover to infiltrate a group of domestic terrorists that not even Scully knows what hes doing. This may well be the scariest episode of the entire series, simply because its the most plausible, and the passage of time has only served to make its bio-terrorism plot even more conceivable now than it was in the spring of 1998. You really have to be paying attention to keep track of whose side everyone is on, and of who knows what, but in the end, John Shibans script for this episode makes more sense than most. Scullys initial doubts about Mulders actions fit well with the (sometimes abrupt) changes that he has gone through in Season Five. If he doesnt know what he believes in anymore, then it makes sense that she may not know what to believe about him.
|5x19||Folie A Deux||05/10/1998|
Mulder investigates a telephone sales office where one of the employees, Gary Lambert, claims his boss Greg Pincus is a monster who changes his co-workers into zombies. For the first part of the episode, you have no idea if Lambert is telling the truth, or is simply seeing things that arent there. Then Mulder starts seeing the monster, too. Folie A Deux has an unusual structure: the story reaches a climax part of the way through the episode; then it basically starts over again. In the end, Scully comes to Mulders rescue (for a change), and even covers for him in her report to Skinner. The one huge question that the script leaves unanswered is why Lambert, then Mulder, and finally Scully are suddenly able to see what Pincus really is, when no one else can.
Mulder, Scully and Diana Fowley, an FBI agent from Mulders past, work together to protect Gibson Praise, a 12-year-old mind reader who was the target of a failed Syndicate assassination attempt. Jeffrey Spender plays a significant role as he and Mulder clash over the best way to handle the case. Meanwhile, the Cigarette-Smoking Man, who harbors no apparent animosity over his attempted killing in Redux II, is reunited with his former employers. Mulder states his belief that Praise contains the key to everything in the X-Files, although its unclear why. Once again, Gillian Anderson delivers an outstanding performance. The friction between Mulders current partner and his former chickadee Fowley (Mimi Rogers) is played beautifully, as are Scullys attempts to deal with feelings for Mulder that she didnt know she had. The opening chess match is set in Vancouver because this was the final X-Files episode to be produced there.