The return of X-Files is almost upon us, and I don’t know about you but I am ecstatic! While we count down the last hours to the premiere, I have prepared a countdown of my own – my top ten favorite episodes. There are actually quite a few amazing episodes of The X-Files. In fact, my first list was about fifteen titles long – twenty three before narrowing it down to just the “Monster of the Week” stories.
10. Killswitch- (Season 5 Episode 11) While investigating a shooting out in an internet café, Mulder and Scully follow the trail of clues to a hacker called Invisigoth. She tells them the murdered man in the café, David Gelman, invented an artificial intelligence that can destroy its enemies using a satellite. The AI had discovered that Gelman had been targeted by the AI because it had discovered he was working on a “kill switch” that would shut it down for good. Mulder, Scully and Invisigoth must race to find a way to upload the kill switch program into the AI program before they become its next target.
9. Home – (Season 4 Episode 2) This “WTF” look on Mulder and Scully’s face in the screenshot above perfectly illustrates my facial expressions during this entire episode. Of course X-Files had the tendency to be a little dark, but Writers Glen Morgan and James Wong along with Director Kim Manners took it to a whole new level in Home. As Mulder and Scully investigate a body in a shallow grave, they get more than they bargained for when they encounter a family so in-bred they are practically wild animals.
8. First Person Shooter –(Season 7 Episode 13) When a virtual reality game, First Person Shooter, starts killing its players in real life Scully follows Mulder into the game in search of the people still trapped inside. I am a fan of any episode involving The Lone Gunmen, but this episode is excellent regardless. It even won two Emmys for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing.
7. DPO – (Season 3 Episode 3) Mulder and Scully investigate deaths of multiple young people in a town that seems to be prone to frequent lightning strikes. This episode features Giovanni Ribisi and Jack Black. Ribisi especially does an excellent job, and I really enjoyed the dynamic between his character and Mulder.
6. Hellmoney – (Season 3 Episode 19) There are quite a few big name actors in this episode. Lucy Liu makes an appearance, as does BD Wong and James Hong. James Hong does not look like he is about to turn 90 next month, by the way. There is a game being played in San Francisco’s Chinatown district that holds deadly consequences. BD Wong is Det. Glen Chao, acting as liaison between the FBI and the residents of Chinatown.
5. Arcadia – (Season 6 Episode 15) This is by far one of my favorite episodes. Mulder and Scully move into a rich community together. They pose as husband and wife while they investigate the disappearances of several couples that were living in the community. They soon discover that there are deadly consequences for those who are not in compliance with the community’s strict rules and regulations. Watching Mulder act like a smarmy, overly affectionate husband is absolutely hilarious.
4. Pusher – (Season 3 Episode 17) Mulder and Scully provide backup in an FBI’s hunt for a man called “Pusher”, who is said to have the ability to influence one’s actions according to his will. Yet another controversial and critically acclaimed episode, the portrait of the emotional bond between partners, as well as the terror of the situation, is profound.
3. Squeeze – (Season 1 Episode 3) Doug Hutchison plays mutant serial killer Eugene Victor Tooms in this episode, and reprises the role for “Tooms” in Season 1 Episode 21. The first time this episode aired, I was about seven. I probably should not have been watching X-Files at such a young age but one day I convinced my parents (more like wore them down by never shutting up about it) to let me watch an episode with them. The episode was Squeeze. Watching Tooms squeeze through impossibly tiny spaces to reach his unsuspecting victims haunted my dreams. For years. Decades later and watching the episode as an adult I have a new appreciation for the acting, writing and direction of the episode. Doug Hutchison is flawless, as usual. I still can’t sleep if any of my dresser drawers are ajar, though. Someone may be watching me from inside.
2. X-Cops – (Season 7 Episode 12) If your fascination with the television show Cops is as strong as mine, then I know you will love this episode. As Mulder and Scully assist local law enforcement in the investigation of what seems to be reports of Werewolf sightings they are followed by a film crew that is recording a popular prime time television program. This episode is well executed and very funny. It is entertaining to watch the partners work together, doing their thing, but you are watching from this third party element that they react to in various ways.
1. Small Potatoes – (Season 4 Episode 20) In a small town, a handful of babies are born with tails. As Mulder and Scully investigate their main suspect is a man named Eddie, who can shape shift into whomever he wants. I think this episode could easily make any Top Ten list of X-Files episodes, not just of the “Monster of the Week” variety. The humor in this episode is refreshing, and isn’t forced and over the top.
I want to hear from you! What are some of your favorite episodes?