X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th | FanboysInc

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

By Jeff Ayers

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

Mulder and Scully are back! The cult classic hit show, X-Files,  is returning to TV on January 24 2016, for 6 full episodes. Bringing back stars David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully, and it looks like the X-Files will be reopened once again.

X-Files went nine seasons until 2002, and has had two “blockbuster” movies as well.  As January 24 is quickly approaching, it might be good to take a walk down memory lane of this iconic TV series, and revisit of some choice episodes for those who might not remember, but still want to believe.

(The entire series is available now on HULU)

PILOT: Season 1, Episode 1

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

This is the one that started it all. It introduced the enigmatic Fox Mulder as an upstart FBI agent that is assigned the cases nobody cares about or wants, the mysterious X-Files. The episode also introduced Special Agent Dana Scully, the woman tasked with becoming Mulder’s partner in a hope to discredit his claims on the paranormal cases he investigates, largely based on Scully’s unique scientific and medicinal background. “Pilot” also does a great job setting up the overall tone and theme of the show, as the mythology that haunts the entire series is set up within this episode. In fact, the revelation of Mulder’s quest to find his sister, (who he believes was abducted by aliens when they were kids), as well as strange implants found in bodies, are themes that are both introduced and will carry throughout the entire run of the show. The other main character introduced is The Smoking Man, a mysterious figure that will become Mulder and Scully’s main nemesis throughout much of The X-Files.

SQUEEZE/TOOMS: Season 1, Episode 3/Episode 21

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

“Squeeze” was the first “Monster-of-the-Week” style episode that deviated from the mythology of the X-Files, and it introduced the chilling character of Eugene Victor Tooms. Throughout the course of this episode, Tooms is shown being able to get in and out of any space, no matter how small. Mulder and Scully find out that he is much older than they think, and is also possibly a mutant that survives on human livers. “Squeeze” was the first time audiences were treated to the wonderfully unique style of storytelling that The X-Files could produce, and it marked the first time Agent Scully picked a side, choosing Mulder and his theories, over the politics of her employment. In Episode 21, “Tooms”, the mutant monster is revisited, and Mulder and Scully finally get all the answers about his origins. FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner is introduced in this episode, and he will become a valuable asset to the Mulder and Scully’s quest throughout the series.

THE ERLENMEYER FLASK/LITTLE GREEN MEN: Season 1 Episode 24/Season 2 Episode 1

 

PicMonkey Cole

The final episode of Season 1, “The Erlenmeyer Flask” further fleshed out the mythology story The X-Files had started way back in the “Pilot” episode. Mulder and Scully find a flask labeled “Purity Control” and are racing to discover what it contains. The Deep Throat character that has been helping Mulder and urging him to pursue the X-Files, has a very prominent part in this episode due to his connections to the government, and subsequent alien conspiracy. Scully ends up finding an alien fetus, and Deep Throat is murdered, but not before he utters the ethos of the entire show – “Trust No One”. The season two premier was called “Little Green Men” and was the first time a live extraterrestrial was shown. The X-Files has been shut down after the events of the previous season, and now Mulder is a lowly wire-tap listener, and Scully went back to teaching for the FBI. But Mulder still believes in the X-Files, and finds himself in Puerto Rico discovering something definitely not of this world.

DUANE BARRY/ASCENSION/ONE BREATH: Season 2 Episodes 5 and 6 and 8

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

These three episodes are intrinsically linked to the entire X-Files series, as they set up the abduction of Agent Scully, which not only puts her beliefs into question, but also is the reason she contracts cancer and gives birth to her son in later episodes. “Duane Barry” sets up the premise with the title character confronting Mulder and showing unique signs of alien abduction. The episode ends with Barry kidnapping Scully, after she found out more information about a strange implant found in Barry’s head. “Ascension” has many iconic scenes from the series, along with The Smoking Man uttering the warning to FBI Double Agent Alex Krycek about “turning one man’s religion into a crusade” when the two discuss killing Mulder. Also, as Mulder tries to desperately track down Duane Barry and Scully, he gets there too late, only to witness a bright light and to find a deranged Barry screaming she was taken by “Them”. “Ascension” is also significant because it shows Krycek’s dubious nature, as well as Skinner’s support for Mulder as he officially reopens the X-Files. “One Breath” finds Scully has mysteriously appeared in a hospital, in a coma. Mulder frantically looks for answers, but is hindered by The Smoking Man and his machinations. This episode gave some closure to the mysteries surrounding Scully’s abduction, and furthers the budding, subtle relationship between Mulder and Scully.

ANASAZI/THE BLESSING WAY/PAPER CLIP: Season 2 Episode 25/Season 3 Episode 1 & 2

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

This three-part story arc featured some more of the iconic mythology that the X-Files was constantly building within the series. “Anasazi” has Mulder’s loyal hackers, The Lone Gunman, tip him off about a tape said to contain government secrets about extraterrestrials. The tape turns out to be encrypted in Navajo, and Scully tracks down a code breaker. The episode also brings Krycek back, as the evil double agent, and he murders Mulder’s father Bill before he can reveal vital information about the government. A boxcar filled with what appears to be alien corpses, with small pox vaccine scars, is found in New Mexico, and The Smoking Man has it burned and Mulder is believed dead for the cliffhanger. “Anasazi” marks the beginning of a lot of “cliffhanger mythology episodes” to follow it, with the season 3 premier “The Blessing Way” following suit. Mulder is found to be alive, barely, and is nursed back to help by the blessing way, and has visions of Deep Throat urging him to seek the truth. Scully and her sister, along with the FBI, are trying to find Mulder, and clear him of the murder of his father. No one can be trusted, Scully’s sister ends up being accidentally shot, and Scully is forced to pull her gun on Skinner, as he aims at her. Mulder busts in and saves Scully in the beginning of “Paper Clip”. Many startling revelations happen in this episode, with Mulder learning his father was part of the mysterious Syndicate alongside The Smoking Man, Deep Throat, and a nazi scientist brought over from Operation PaperClip after World War II. Also, it is revealed that Mulder’s father had to make a Sophie’s Choice about which one of his kids would be abducted. The episode ends with Mulder and Scully tracking down the syndicate and supposed information to a mining facility and witness a gigantic UFO as well as what appears to be a crowd of grey aliens.

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HOME: Season 4, Episode 2

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

Largely regarded as one of the most memorable episodes from the series, “Home” was a stand alone Monster-Of -The-Week episode that earned a TV-MA rating for its dark and disturbing imagery. Mulder and Scully are investigating the death of an infant with severe birth defects, and the trail leads them to Home, Pennsylvania. They meet the Peacocks, a family of deformed farmers that hasn’t left their land in over a decade. Mulder believes they have raped a local woman to father their children, but are sickened to find out the family has been sustaining its bloodline from incest involving their mother, whom they keep hidden under the bed. One of the most disturbing scenes was of the Peacocks burying an infant alive, and “Home” earns the spot of being a fan favorite for showing just how far The X-Files could go in their storytelling.

THE POST MODERN PROMETHEUS: Season 5, Episode 5

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

Another Monster-Of-The-Week episode, “The Post Modern Prometheus” is a direct homage to Frankenstein, specifically the 1931 film version by James Whale. The entire episode is played from the perspective of a comic book, and Mulder and Scully travel to a small town in Indiana to investigate a strange monster sighting, that mirrors the creation of a comic book writer. The Great Mutato is found out to be an experiment gone wrong, and Mulder and Scully help the townsfolk realize he isn’t a monster after all. The episode was a surrealist departure from even the more somber Monster-Of-The-Week episodes, and gave a light hearted look at the underlying relationship of Mulder and Scully, that showed them dancing together at the end of “The Post Modern Prometheus”.

FIGHT THE FUTURE/THE BEGINNING: 1998 Movie/Season 6, Episode 1

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

Both movies that were produced for the X-Files franchise, 1998’s “Fight The Future” and 2008’s “I Want To Believe” were widely panned by critics, with only the former worth being mentioned, as it furthers the mythology of the show quite a bit. After the end of Season 5, The X-Files had once again been shut down and Mulder and Scully reassigned. In “Fight The Future”, we see the duo investigating more mysteries and conspiracies involving the strange black oil introduced in Season 1, and there are multiple revelations from The Cigarette Smoking Man and Skinner. Mulder and Scully almost share a kiss as well, furthering the development of their subtle relationship that was a fan favorite theme throughout the series. In “The Beginning”, Season 6 kicks off with direct references to the summer movie, as the agents must answer for their time in Antarctica during “Fight The Future”. This episode gives a lot more answers to the alien conspiracy, as Scully learns that all human DNA contains the mysterious alien DNA as well. Also, there are a few appearances of extraterrestrials in “The Beginning”, as the episode ends with a famous shot of the iconic Grey Aliens.

DRIVE: Season 6, Episode 2

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

This Monster-Of-the-Week episode is significant for two important reasons. “Drive” is the first episode that finds Mulder and Scully on their reassignments from the X-Files, but because of their strong beliefs, and Mulder’s hunches, they investigate this case which turns out to be full of government conspiracy akin to the themes of the rest of the series. The second reason “Drive” is so important, is that it was written by long time series collaborator Vince Gilligan, and he cast Bryan Cranston in the role of the deranged man, who is ultimately being manipulated by the government. Cranston nailed the role so perfectly that Gilligan cites this episode as his “audition” for the role of Gilligan’s future series, Breaking Bad.

JUMP THE SHARK: Season 9, Episode 15

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

After Season 8 of The X-Files, David Duchovny left for good, leaving a void for many fans, and the true decline of the show with no Fox Mulder to keep it afloat. It had limped along in its last three seasons though, many episodes trying to retain the mystery and intrigue of the overall mythology of the show, but with no significant revelations in play. In the middle of the ninth and final season, the show poked fun at its own failings by titling an episode “Jump The Shark”. This phrase was coined after the iconic Happy Days episode where The Fonz does just that, in an effort to boost ratings for the then failing final seasons of that show. X-Files had tried and failed to make a spin-off series with The Lone Gunman, the frequent supporters and friends of Mulder and Scully on The X-Files. In “Jump The Shark”, the series decided to kill of the characters that fans loved and hated, thus putting an end to their characters in that universe. A rather weak episode, I include it here because in the new mini series in 2016, The Lone Gunman have been announced as part of the cast, and this episode might hold clues as to why they are still around.

THE TRUTH PART 1 & 2: Season 9, Episode 19 & 20

X-FILES ESSENTIALS: Prepare for January 24th

The series’s two-part finale, airing in 2002, had all the epic mythology and intense drama that fans of The X-Files have loved throughout the years. Agent Mulder resurfaces, and is instantly embroiled in the alien conspiracy to colonize the earth, which is scheduled to take place on December 22, 2012. Fan favorites return to give answers and drum up new questions, with the mysterious “X” visiting Mulder, as well as the double agent Krycek. Mulder is even visited by the ghosts of The Lone Gunman, which now might be perceived as Mulder’s own psychosis getting the best of him. Even The Smoking Man is given a heavy part in the whole story, revealing many of his own machinations throughout the series, and also his apparent death, which we now know to not be true, as he will also appear in the new mini series. The events of “The Truth” will definitely be a starting point for the mini series premiering Jan 24 on FOX, and most likely many of the revelations about the alien conspiracy will be addressed in the new episodes.

So there you have it, a veritable “crash course” to some of the more iconic, and influential episodes of The X-Files throughout the shows nine seasons on television. Did we mention your favorites, or did we leave vital episodes out? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter, and remember: The Truth Is Out There!

Jeff Ayers

Both my parents instilled in me at an early age the awesome power and incredible wonder of the written word. My father sat with me when I was four years old and taught me to enjoy reading with classic comic strips like SPIDERMAN, PEANUTS, B.C. and, later, CALVIN AND HOBBES. My mother exposed me to such classics of literature as Poe, Tolkien, Stoker and Doyle, and I started my own comic collection with allowance money from mowing lawns. I liked Wolverine before it was cool, I watched as Superman died and returned, and huddled under the covers as I turned the pages of SANDMAN. Reading is like oxygen to me, and all genres and formats are welcome and devoured equally. I am the co-host of The DW and Incredible Jeff Show, CEO of Permian Productions, and a reviewer at Graphic Novel Reporter. I am 34 and live in scenic Saratoga Springs New York, where I haunt coffee shops and dive bars and the best comic shop anywhere, The Comic Depot.

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