Best Rated X Files Episodes

Brent Mccoy
• Monday, 11 January, 2021
• 8 min read

Donnie Faster (Nick Child) doesn't seem to have any supernatural abilities; he's just a death fetishist with a childlike voice who makes women wash their hair before he kills them. On one level, “Irresistible” is a reckoning with Sculls's trauma in the wake of her abduction, but the show also allows for her reaction to simply be humane; a person should be horrified by what Faster is capable of.

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But this episode is more topical with its politics, spoofing The Twilight Zone to make Rod Serving rescue points about the lengths the government will go to avoid taking responsibility for its crimes. The majority of the episode flashes back to Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, where an alien named Josh Ella (Jesse L. Martin) has fallen in love with the game of baseball.

His talent earns him enough attention that he's assigned a protective detail in the form of a cop (Fredric Line) he winds up befriending. “The Unnatural” plays like it honestly believes “not seeing color” can solve racism, and its folksy 1940s treatment of Blackness leans hard on stereotype.

Ex's love of baseball, a stand-in for all the “useless but perfect” things that make life worth living, is poetic and just a touch bittersweet; it's an affair that's never meant to last. Mulder, hearing the story in the present, keeps trying to connect it to the bigger alien conspiracy, but in this tale finding a hidden meaning is not the point.

The episode ends on one of the show's happiest scenes, a flirty baseball lesson Mulder gives Scully, so they can share a useless, perfect night. When her father dies unexpectedly, Sculls finds herself intrigued by menacing death row inmate Luther Lee Boggs (a terrifying Brad Dour if), who claims to be psychic.

Stranded in the middle of a lake, they get real about everything from cannibalism to Moby-Dick, as Sculls questions whether Mulder's restless search for “the truth” is any more productive than a hunt for a white whale. Mulder questions whether his sister was really abducted by aliens when a dream leads him to child killer John Lee Roche (Tom Newman), who's up there with the show's creepiest human villains.

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What matters is how well the pilot introduces two characters who will become TV icons but just feel like people: a pair of outsiders in oversize '90s suits who like each other right off the bat. The episode that won Gillian Anderson a well-deserved Emmy, “Memento More” kicks off Sculls's cancer storyline in devastating fashion.

The last episode Glen Morgan and James Wong wrote for the original series, it's a pensive hour that gives Sculls the space to rebel against her all-consuming partnership with Mulder when she works a case alone. She develops an attraction to a man named Ed Jersey (Rodney Rowland), who, unbeknownst to her, has a hallucinogenic tattoo (a misogynistic pin-up girl voiced by Jodie Foster) urging him to murder.

Their one-night stand, which the episode, frustratingly, only hints at, also exposes the show's uneasy relationship with Sculls's sexuality: She goes on one date, and it literally goes up in flames. This is time travel in the style of The Wizard of Oz ; all the main characters on the ship are played by the show's regular and recurring cast members, winking at fans with references to their usual roles.

Writer-director Chris Carter also pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock's Rope by filming each act to look like it's been shot in a single take, adding to the episode's dreamlike quality. When multiple abductee Duane Barry (Steve Rails back) escapes a mental institution and takes hostages, Mulder is drawn into a tense negotiation that exposes how unprepared he is for the truth he seeks.

That trauma hits home when Barry takes Sculls in a shocking cliffhanger, leading Mulder on a desperate, doomed hunt up a mountain. Offered the choice between finding out who's to blame for her condition and sitting vigil at her bedside, he has to face the fact that the answers he's after are less important than being with Sculls.

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Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, the episode sends Mulder and Sculls to a small town called Home, where a baby is found buried in a baseball field. The sheriff wants to believe that the “modern world” is what's corrupting his town, but the episode's monsters aren't outsiders; they're a local family of prejudiced, disfigured inbred who've lived in Home for generations, strangling their own bloodline to death because they refuse to adapt.

The rare holiday episode that holds up all year, “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” is a playful haunted house story that doubles as a meditation on Mulder and Sculls's loneliness. When the agents go ghost busting on Christmas Eve (Mulder goes willingly; Sculls not so much), they meet a couple of married spirits played by Ed Abner and Lily Tomlin.

The ghosts set out to trick the partners into committing a murder-suicide by turning their old Gothic manor into a fun house that forces Mulder and Sculls to confront their fears about where their relationship is headed. Writer-director Chris Carter clearly enjoys playing armchair psychologist for his own characters, but as much as he ribs them, “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” is ultimately a heartfelt tribute to their unconventional romance.

Mulder and Sculls meet The Thing in this Season 1 thriller, which sends the partners to a remote Alaskan outpost where a team of scientific researchers turned on each other after coming into contact with a mind-altering parasite. Inspired by the same novella as John Carpenter's 1982 horror classic, “Ice” is the first example of the show's long tradition of turning fear into an X -File.

From crews trapped on Arctic research expeditions to worms and deadly diseases awakening in melting permafrost, reality is catching up with “Ice.” “Bad Blood” also features a memorable guest performance from a very game Luke Wilson as a small-town Texas sheriff Sculls really wants to impress.

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But what makes “Pusher” unforgettable is its standards and practices-defying Russian roulette scene, in which Model forces Mulder to turn a gun on himself and then on Sculls. One of those awards went to writer Darin Morgan, who turns out a darkly comedic script that bends the rules of TV storytelling and makes it look easy.

The other went to guest star Peter Boyle for his benevolent, dryly funny performance as a psychic with exactly one gift: the ability to tell how people are going to die. Mulder and Sculls are sent to investigate when a team of geophysicists stationed at a remote Alaskan outpost are killed by a parasitic alien life form.

The tag line Trust no one was never more appropriate for this claustrophobic, creepy & superbly written episode from season one. A former FBI agent who claims he was abducted by aliens takes several people hostage.

The precursor to Sculls abduction finds Mulder in a tight spot with an alien abductee. Not much action in this episode but tension you can cut your teeth on and top-notch performances all round from the supporting cast.

It's all a bit Wrong Turn as a family of inbred are number one suspects for the death of a newborn baby found in the field next door to their house. The agents investigate a murder in a small town populated by devil worshipers.

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Another reason why the show was so popular was the mixture of really dark subject with the sometimes black comedy of the absurd situations the FBI duo found themselves in. Luke Wilson guest stars in this comedy episode about a trailer park of vampires.

Mulder and Sculls search for a humanoid killer whose savage murder spree reoccurs every 30 years. The tale of Mr Tombs who eats livers, can contort his body and sleeps in bile was horrible, scary and must watch TV.

Paranoid telemarketer takes his coworkers and Mulder hostage claiming that their boss is a disguised infection monster that's literally turning the workers one by one into his zombie drones. Either a message about working for the man or just a messed up head****, either way it's highly entertaining and just a little left field, just what made the show a winner more often than not.

In the unexplored woods of Florida's Apalachicola National Forest, Mulder and Sculls investigate the disappearances of two land surveyors and a boy's claims that he and his father were attacked by an invisible creature. Another really creepy episode featuring one of those monsters you don't want to meet whilst taking a stroll in the woods.

Mulder receives an encrypted computer disk containing the defense department's top secret files on extraterrestrial life and becomes a target. Sculls takes him to a Navajo family that unearthed a buried secret to decipher the disk.

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The show's popularity had hit fever pitch and the UFO conspiracy story line had not yet lost its way. Mulder's descent into Cold War paranoia was neatly sign posted all the way through with clues and by the end fan's were shouting at their TV sets for the next episode.

Sculls goes solo whilst Mulder watches Porn and throws pencils into his ceiling. Reports of foxfire on a field in Dudley, Arkansas lead Mulder and Sculls to a bizarre situation regarding the townsfolk.

Employees of the Chico Chicken Corporation are displaying bizarre behavior, and the death rate is slowly increasing. Highly original and rather disgusting episode veering into the cannibal genre with this crazy tale of deaths seemingly related to a chicken factory.

Mulder pursues a humanoid, parasitic organism that uses sewage systems as its home. The consistently excellent second season hit the ground running with this awesome monster on the loose episode, mixing gross-out horror with political subtexts on nuclear fall out, it was a blueprint for a lot of the stand-alone episodes to come.

Good mixture of comedy and tension with a monster straight out of a 50s EC comic, great stuff. As a hurricane bears down on the Florida coast, the agents search for a sea monster that Arthur Dales believes is responsible for the disappearance of a couple and their son.

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This wet & wild tale of a sea monster causing havoc in an apartment complex in the middle of a raging storm was another high point in the superb season six harking back to the taut, tension packed episodes of season 1 & 2. A headless corpse of a paramedic walks out of the hospital morgue triggering a manhunt for a man with unimaginable regenerative powers, that come at a terrible cost.

The skeletal remains of a young couple are found after they have been missing for only three days in an area known for UFO activity. A woman experiences a psychic connection with a teenager held captive by a deranged man.

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