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September 17, 2014

The Five: Best episodes of The X-Files

by Anna Johns, posted Nov 28th 2005 9:07AM
gillian anderson_david duchovnyI am a huge fan of The X-Files. When I was in college (before TiVo), my family knew not to call my apartment between 9 pm and 10 pm on Sunday nights because the phone would just ring and ring and ring (college students can't afford voicemail!). The chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson was a perfect blend of sexual tension, frustration, blind faith, and skepticism. Plus, Mulder has an obsession with porn. I always preferred the episodes which were individual X-Files, rather than the episodes that progressed the whole aliens-on-earth plot. The episodes that wrapped up at the end of the hour were terrifying and hilarious at the same time. Each week, I could hardly wait to see what scary creature Chris Carter had dreamed up for me to have nightmares about that night. The show went downhill right after the movie in 1998 and never recovered. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, The X-Files only lasted five seasons and concluded with a movie. You hear that, Seasons 6-9? You are dead to me!


After 1998, you could tell David Duchovny's heart wasn't in it because of his spat with Carter. When Duchovny left the show in season 7, Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish were added as cast members. I suffered through the second-to-last season with Scully and Doggett, but once Gillian Anderson left the show for good, so did I.

It was very hard to whittle down my five favorite episodes of The X-Files. My criteria: episodes that I must watch when they appear in reruns:

5. Home This episode, which aired during the fourth season, is by far the most disturbing episode of The X-Files...ever. This time, it wasn't monsters or mythical creatures. It was in-bred, pig-men that scared the holy crap out of me. It started with a dead baby with severe birth defects found buried in the ground and ended with the discovery of Peacock family, in-breeders who mate with their own mother. The mother was kept on a small cart, locked under a bed and she had no legs (I just gagged).

4. The Host This episode, during season two, made me afraid of my toilet for a good, long time. Sure, the human/worm thing couldn't fit in a toilet, but that didn't really matter to me. You see, Mulder thought he was being punished when he was sent to New Jersey to investigate a dead body in the sewer. But, it turned out there was a mutant in the water and it was killing people. Somehow, a human mixed with a worm. The episode was so scary because we only got little glimpses at the monster until near the end when it washed into a sewer treatment plant. Of course, the mutant thing with the giant, sucker mouth and sharp teeth escaped the plant. Mulder tried to stop it by lowering a gate, but he only succeeded in cutting it in half and we all know that won't kill a worm...

3. Squeeze, Tooms Eugene Tooms was the scariest monster I ever saw on The X-Files. He was a normal-looking guy who could stretch his body to squeeze through pipes and under windows. I include both episodes in this post because Tooms' entire story is really a two-parter. Both parts aired in the first season. In Squeeze, we meet creepy guy Tooms and learn that he is hundreds of years old and every several years he wakes up from hibernation because he has to eat people's livers! The second episode, Tooms, is probably the better of the two because of one simply hilarious line. When Mulder gets bile on his fingers, he says, "How can I get this off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?" I've seen the actor who played Tooms (Doug Hutchison) in Law & Order, Boomtown, and CSI, and he freaked me out then, too. By the way, he's a regular now on Guiding Light. (shudder)

2. Humbug This is one of my all-time favorites just for the pure spectacle. The show features the Jim Rose Circus, which is popular at colleges, and all the sideshow characters in the program really do things like stab themselves with nails, bathe in boiling cauldrens, and eat bugs. The agents are trying to discover what is killing sideshow freaks (it turns out to be a mini sideshow freak that lives in someone's tumor), but the story really isn't all that important. It's the characters. The Enigma, which ate raw fish directly from the river, is a real guy who is really covered in blue, puzzle-shaped tattoos. I love that The X-Files creators recognized that the stars of the Jim Rose Circus were freaky enough to be included in an episode... no special effects needed!

1. Jose Chung's From Outer Space Hands-down, all-time favorite episode. Why? Hi-larious. Most of the episode is from the point of view of Scully, who was telling her version of an alien abduction investigation to author Jose Chung. All the characters have wildly different versions of the story and shows just how wild alien abduction hype can get. It's complete with an alien autopsy video and "men in black" played by Alex Trebek and Jesse Ventura. My favorite character is the conspiracy theorist who says, "I want to be abducted by aliens...I just want to be taken away to some place where I don't have to worry about finding a job." And, because the story is from Scully's point of view, the sheriff, who swears a lot, says things like, "I just got a call from some crazy bleep-head who says he saw the alien abduction. You feel like talking to this blank-hole?" What can I say? I love the funny.

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Kristina

Wow... my thoughts exactly! I remember barely passing exams in my senior year of highschool because I'd spend my Sunday night watching the show (instead of cramming!). I totally agree with your top 5, although the inbred men were scariest for me and my friends. And I also hate when they changed it from a single episode plot to the whole alien soap opera at the end :-/

April 21 2011 at 8:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Facundo

Hi.Im an X Files fan from Argentina.Id like to say that my 5 favourite 5 episodes are: 1.Squeeze/Tooms 2.The Field Where I Died 3.Synchrony 4.Chinga 5.Dreamland/Dreamland II

December 14 2005 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kathy1013

OMG, I have to get in on this! The X-Files is, IMO, the greatest TV series ever and there will never be another one that can even come close. There's no way I can give my favorite 5 eps, but here are the favorites that come to mind: Beyond the Sea, Ascension/One Breath (to me that is one long episode), Unruhe, Paper Hearts, The Unnatural, Field Trip...(I loved the idea of Mulder and Scully sharing the same hallucinations from that giant mushroom) and I'm gonna say All Things because to me that was the episode where Mulder and Scully finally expressed their love for each other. Obviously, I believe in the love! Sure miss it, but thank God for the memories and the dvd's!

December 02 2005 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lula

Not that i think it's one of the best, but i've been watching a bit of season 5 again recently, and i find "Bad Blood" a very entertaining episode, as well as one of the funnier ones made. Oh...just read the post above, lol! Yeah the Shaft moment was hysterical, especially the snappy cut back to the present and Mulder's disgusted reaction.."I DID NOT!" lol. Also loved their varying opinions on the Sheriff, as well as Mulder's drugged phonecall to Scully, lol, we've all had those type of phonecalls at some point, lol. I think i'll focus on the later seasons too, season 7 had some fun stand alones, but they seemed a little hollow and under-developed, but i have to mention X-Cops for it's great concept. Going back again, i'm quite a fan of season 3's "War of the Cuprophages". I loved that ep, and other's like it, that tackle that hilarious conflict between the two characters, putting Mulder in scenes with Bamby and Scully's jealousy, lol. Also the earlier seasons where there was a tendency to have them seperated for the most part of the stand alones.

December 01 2005 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Jeremy

Although it doesn't count here, I really liked the Jose Chung sequel episode that took place on *Millennium*. The anti-Scientology episode. That was ballzsy when they aired that. I don't remember Fox rebroadcasting it.

December 01 2005 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Raven

Some really fabulous eps were mentioned above and I agree with many of the faves that made their way to top 5 lists. I am a huge fan of X-Files and regret the unraveling of the show after the movie debuted. Earlier eps were my favorite. I was one of those rabid VHS collectors so many of those eps I still have. Thanks for going back over some great X-F moments and I'll have to be on the look out for other eps in reruns. Who knows, I may break down and make a dent in my DVD pwnage of the series. (Hah! That's such a long way off...)

December 01 2005 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jordan Running

Anna, the "Titanic-like" episode was called "Trangle." Evadne above also mentioned it, and I almost added it to my list as well, but mostly because of the experimental way in which it was filmed. Apart from something about Mulder going back in time, I can't recall a single thing about its actual plot.

November 29 2005 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TR

Yes, lots of good memories. I miss the excitement of new episodes but watching the old ones always reminds me why the X-Files is my favorite. I stopped watching TV after it ended! I have so many favorites it's hard to narrow it down. I would say Bad Blood, Triangle, The Field Where I Died, Folie A Deux, and Paper Clip. Geez! There are so many others... I think the show tapered off around one-third of the way through season 6. There were a few good ones after, but I don't think I've seen hardly any season 9 episodes, except The Truth. It's like the show was on a steady upward slope toward greatness and then suddenly sloped back downward again, falling even past it's previous low point. It was sad... But overall it's still an awesome show, so what does that say? When it was good, it was really really good.

November 29 2005 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Donna

Don't forget the killer kitties episode. That one was pretty lame, too. "Ice." Right. How could I have forgotten that one? And I'm also a fan of "Monday" and "Folie a Deux." "Home," if you look at it as an affirmation of family taken to grossly EXTREME extremes, is easier to take. I find it interesting that so many people have mentioned "Musings of a CSM." I hated that ep. But then, I'd list any episode that didn't have Mulder and Scully in it as a least favorite. I also hated "All Things" with every fiber of my being--Gillian Anderson trying to turn Scully into herself. And all that tick-tocking repetition film-school-wannabe-"deep" stuff got really old really fast. Blech.

November 29 2005 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

I enjoyed the following episodes: Ice One Breath Irresistable Paper Clip War Of The Coprophages Unusual Suspects Redux II Post Modern Prometheus All Souls Triangle Monday The Milagro I also found Season six to have some of the best standalone episodes. Season Five is my favorite though.

November 29 2005 at 10:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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