So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month or two (in which case, no judgement you giant troll) you can’t have missed the fabulous news that Show Creator extraordinaire Chris Carter is bringing back his most popular series The X Files for a mini series at the beginning of February (on Channel 5 eerily enough.)
And we could not be more excited about this, being uberfans of the show and massive shippers of the MSR pairing (although if you ask us it should totally be called Sculder. Or maybe Mully. We’re conflicted on this) So to show him our appreciation, we have compiled a list of some of our favourite moments/eps from the previous series.
So relax and let the nostalgia wash over you like a (Turin) shroud because we’re going to begin with…
• Series 5 Episode 12: Bad Blood
Famous for being the writing debut of Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan aswell as altering the show’s established format to include a dual perspective take on the monster-of-the-week story this episode is incredibly funny as well as compelling. Seriously, it’s ridiculous and brilliant. But for us (and this may be a personal thing), it is the question of whether Sheriff Hartwell (guest star Luke Wilson) has buck teeth or not, and the differing recollections of Scully and Mulder on this point that make the episode one not to miss. Also Mulder’s memory of Dana’s not so subtle flirtations is an absolute delight to watch. The girl got game it would seem.
• Series 1 Episode 3: Beyond The Sea
An emotional foray into the dynamics of Scully’s family as-well as the investigation into a death row inmate’s supposed psychic ability this episode is a poignant gut punch for many reasons. It is the first time we see Scully without her guard up, feeling vulnerable and lost. Perhaps the first time we allow ourselves to feel sympathy for the villain (an incredible Brad Dourif) despite proof of their terrible deeds. And the cementing of the significant role of the father-figure that became so prominent throughout the show. However leaving all that aside, on a more human level it is Scully’s final choice in the show’s conclusion when offered a chance to speak to her deceased father that really proves the kicker and highlights the characters complexity without the need for grand swathes of dialogue. Ending it with just her sitting at Mulder’s bedside clinging to her friend and her beliefs is…well, just truly awesome. And a brave decision taken by the writing crew to boot.
• Season 1 Episode 21: Tooms
And we say hello again to Eugene Victor Tooms, aka a signature villain (in the same way as the Gentlemen were in the Buffy-verse ): one that really needs no introduction, right? First shown in classic episode Squeeze, here he reappears on Mulder’s radar when he is released from his psychiatric institute and continues on in his quest to consume another liver before he can hibernate for the next thirty years. So far, so ew. But the reason we have such love for this episode outside of its incredible grue factor is perhaps surprisingly another of its characters. One Frank Briggs to be precise. Offered up to us as a retired homicide detective who was never able to shake one of his old cases, who in fact keeps the case files close at hand for his own sense of security, writers Glen Morgan and James Wong give the viewer a shining example of exactly what Mulder could ultimately become if he lets his obsessions consume him completely. The parallel isn’t overdone by any means but its presence in the episode gives a real sense of tragedy to the affairs unfolding outside of the supernatural elements. And for that we salute you, guys. Big old thumbs up from us.
• Season 2 Episode 12: Humbug
Ok we admit it, we have a thing for Vincent Schiavelli. The dude is amazing and one of the weirdest most watchable character actors around. But he’s just one of the reasons Humbug makes our list. Set in a small town housing former circus sideshow performers (think of it as a less trashy/grandstanding version of American Horror Story Series four) this episode is a miasma of sound and colour. Using real performers in its cast and containing perhaps Michael J Anderson’s best role to date outside of Twin Peaks the whole thing is a rollicking comedic gem bursting with small moments to cherish. You want some examples? How about Scully staring inappropriately at Lanny’s deformity while he stares inappropriately at her cleavage. Or Mr Nutt’s rant about stereotyping people when he happens to characterise Mulder entirely accurately. Scully chowing down on a live insect much to Mulder’s disgust? (something Gillian Anderson did for real when the cameras rolled apparently.) The show has sometimes had a difficult relationship with humour but Darin Morgan got this episode spot on in terms of perfectly realised comedy and for that reason alone, onto the list it goes.
• Season Four Episode 2: Home
Somewhat inspired by real events (excuse us while we vomit a little in our mouths) Home is a classic Monster-of-the Week episode that’s for sure. Focusing on a small town in Pennsylvania we find ourselves face to face with a family of inbred sons who harbour a shocking secret underneath the bed in their creepy old dilapidated homestead. Typical fare you might think. So why is this story so special then, we hear you ask? Well, instead of mutants and aliens as the villain, here we are offered up an unadulterated human story of dysfunction, nothing more than a mother’s love turned rotten-a fact that makes the plot so damn memorable in amongst a sea of paranormal shenanigans. It also satirizes the so called classic American family values which always makes us kind of happy. And… if you’ve ever wanted to see the well educated Agent Scully out-argued by a crazy unwashed amputee hiding under a bed then this one is most definitely for you (you may also want to think about seeing someone about that FYI.)
• Season Two Episode 5: Duane Barry
And finally we have the episode that gave us a whole host (see what we did there?!) of firsts. Chris Carters first attempt at directing. Scully’s first experience with abduction and the kickstart of her entire arc. Anderson’s personal life forcing the writers into changing their story when she became pregnant. None of these things are the main reason that we picked this episode as our final choice of course, though it is important on all of these grounds. Honestly we’ve picked it because it is one of the most intimate episodes in the entire nine series- almost Brechtian in some ways with its condensed locations and mostly two man dialogue. At its heart it is a personal exchange between a supposed mad man and the agent who wants to believe his truth; just two people trying to work out if the other is lying (a microcosm of the X Files as a whole if you want to lay it out bare.) No frills. No explosions. Just man searching for the truth. And it’s because of this stripped down ethos and the quality of the dialogue that Duane Barry’s instalment means so much to us. DB FTW y’all, crazy or not.
Ok so we could have made this list a hundred times as long but in the interests of brevity we’ve picked only six of our favourite X-Files eps/moments. Please drop us a line and let us know yours, we want to share our mania before the new series starts.
An obsession shared is an obsession halved as they say…so bring it on!