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The Next Top Ten X-Files Episodes –

For Reasons You Don't Expect... Which are Practically As Good as the Top Ten.

Road Runners [ SEASON 8, EPISODE 4 ]

Scully goes off to Utah by herself only to get kidnapped by a cult. Agent Doggett must save her and her unborn child from being killed by a giant slug.

"What?!" you say. "There are over 200 episodes and you pick one which doesn't even feature the main character?!" No, this is not insanity. I remain loyal to Mulder just as much as anyone – but one cannot deny the story line in this Classic Gross-Out (even if it was produced in such a subpar season as season eight). I'm sorry, but a huge slug in pregnant Scully's spine being cut out with a pocket knife by Agent Doggett in a huge Cult-Member Passenger Bus? Great entertainment.

x Special Effects: Not necessary for story line or thrills.

x Acting: Stellar – "CUT IT OUT OF ME NOW!" – Scully

x Execution: Better than Tooms. Yeah I said it.

X Thoughts from Jessica –

"'First of all, I cannot believe that this episode squeaked past with a mere PG for L and V. If Buffy gets an M for V, this episode of The X-Files deserves, like, a big old M for XG (excessive goriness). Get your barf bags out, because this episode is one huge mess of nasty. " ~ Pretty much sums it up. Not as disgusting as The Host though.

Vienen [ SEASON 8, EPISODE 18 ]

An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico brings up the notorious black oil and starts killing the crew via radiation. Doggett gets sent but finds out Mulder has beat him to the investigation.

Despite all the Doggett kickback circa 2001, Robert Patrick clearly delivers (more than he usually did) in this "Black Oil" themed episode. Vienen rivals any early-series story pertaining to the body-jumping infection. He and Mulder have a special – yet different – chemistry which only really saw it's full potential in this 44 minute (give or take) continuation/ modern development of the post-millennial-alien virus.

x Special Effects: Good. Impressive jumps off of oil rigs.

x Acting: Superb.

x Execution: Better than Terma.

X Thoughts from Jessica –

"Okay, here's my question: if Mulder isn't assigned to the X-Files, what is his new job at the Bureau? Is he back in Violent Crimes? Is he, like, a floater, who goes from department to department, filling in for agents on sick leave? Is he supposed to be upstairs in Skinner's office, filing stuff? I know that this is a point that isn't going to matter for more than, oh, forty-seven minutes, but if he's off the X-Files, shouldn't he be reassigned? And shouldn't that be addressed? Is he getting a new partner? Is he doing desk work? I hate how this plot point is just ignored because the writers know that they're not going to have to follow through with it." ~ Very good point. However, this isn't the first plot point that's been dodged on this series... and wasn't the last.

Schizogeny [ SEASON 5, EPISODE 9 ]

A stepfather drowns in his own mud pit so Mulder and Scully question the son and soon find out there are more sinister forces at work. A friend of the the teenage boy gets kidnapped and Mulder also almost gets pulled down into another pit.

Yes, this one is off the board and unexpected. One of those Monsters of the Week which fell in between the cracks. No, it's not up there with The Host (number 21 on my List) but it is one of my top three most terrifying episodes. Talking dolls being the most terrifying... followed by this possessed school counselor speaking like their dead-child-abuser father. Whew, what a mouthful! Oh yes, and then tree roots are commanded by this psycho, which pull innocent teenagers... and anyone else who gets in the way, down to their soily grave. I like to watch this one with the lights on. Season five... you did it again.

x Special Effects: Swell. Voiceovers and mud pits do all the magic.

x Acting: Decent... the teenagers kinda steal the show on this one.

x Execution: Better than Die Hand Die Verletzt.

X Thoughts from Andrew –

"Worst Monster of the Week: The Killer Trees from "Schizogeny." This season five episode proved that even the "X-Files"' writers can come up completely dry on their scary creeps sometimes." ~ First off, the trees do not kill, they were possessed. Please, get it right. "Dry?" Come on, I was wondering why they didn't incorporate mud pits of doom earlier!

Field Trip [ SEASON 6, EPISODE 21 ]

A couple goes missing while on a hike and finds themselves just as bones in the middle of a field. If Dr. Brennan been working this case, it would have taken a day, but instead our agents get lured into a world of hallucinations and gooey flesh eating soil.

What can I say? I have a thing for people getting trapped underground! And alternate universe/dreams/hallucination stories. Also the Lone Gunmen make an awesome appearance in this non-conspiracy tale. This episode dove into the depths about how mushroom can be bad for you, but also the Mulder-Scully relationship as it stood nearing the end of season six. The previous six years had us screaming at Scully to believe Mulder's far-fetched theories (he was always right, after all), but Field Trip spun another aspect where Scully's questioning and querying was pertinent not only to the solving of the case, but also to their survival.

x Special Effects: Believable. They really did look underground!

x Acting: A – Flip-Flopping isn't easy!

x Execution: Better than Beyond the Sea (Gasp!).

X Thoughts from Rahat Haque –

"Field Trip scores a lot of points because of its uncertainty, another aspect of the show which truly reveals its surreal nature. At any point, you can't figure out exactly how much danger the show's two lead characters are in." ~ Yes, I do remember not knowing what the heck was going on and being thrown off guard many times on the first viewing in 1999.

Home [ SEASON 4, EPISODE 2 ]

Mulder and Scully are whisked away to a small town, with a small police station with a small bathroom. Nobody locks their doors, but someone is surely killing babies. They soon conclude an inbred, old school family on the outskirts of town has been responsible for the horrific crime, as well as killing the Sheriff.

"Ohhhhh, finally a classic," you must be thinking. Yes, I cannot deny all the award winners. But I'm choosing this one not for the Envelope Pushing, not for the banishment and not for the fact that everyone and their mom loved it. Oops, no pun intended. No, I put Home at number sixteen because of the sweet booby traps. Come on, Chris Carter and Company! Is this the only episode which you can incorporate the fine art of setting booby traps? I show my kids that one scene alone! But alas, this episode had the obvious perks, inbred country folk, small town talk, classic cars, and good, old -fashioned pig herdin'.

x Special Effects: Pretty gross. Gore factor of 1000.

x Acting: OK. shock factor alone was enough.

x Execution: Better than Gender Bender.

X Thoughts from Jessica –

"By the way, this episode's credentials include: Morgan, Wong, and Kim Manners. Is that like the all-star team, or what?" ~ Manners = Expert.

Dreamland 1 & 2 [ SEASON 6, EPISODES 4 & 5 ]

A new spacecraft causes a rift in time/time warp which causes Mulder to switch bodies with an Area 51 employee. Nobody knows it but him, and the other agents (who doesn't want to set things right. Mulder struggles to find his way back to being who he is.

Yeah, this is a little unfair to include a 2-part episode in one slot, but hey, I make the rules. This episode stands alone in the entire series for it is the only two part episode which does not involve A) Government Conspiracies B) Samantha C) Cancer or D) Season-Ending Cliffhangers. In the beginning of a season deemed "too light hearted" for many fans, the character of Morris Fletcher is no worse, and just as awesome as Jose Chung (see Top Ten Overrated Episodes). The real point to this hour and a half was to better explore, once again, The Relationship. Which is something we don't always have to do via Memento Mori (see Top Ten Episodes: For Reasons you Don't expect – in No Particular Order).

x Special Effects: Pretty cool – lots of shaking!

x Acting: Above Average – Confused Mulder is not easy.

x Execution: Better than Kill Switch (but not by much!)

X Apparently, no one on the world wide web worth mentioning has thoughts on this two parter. So no contest.

Humbug [ SEASON 2, EPISODE 20 ]

Old School. Yes, the first actual comedic episode. Written by Darin Morgan, previously portraying the Fluke Monster, steps out and becomes the example which all future "comedic" X-Files episodes look to. Or learn from, whatever. Anderson and Duchovny pulled it off without a hitch, not compromising the show's integrity with also keeping a straight face. No campy jokes, no shortcuts, just clever, smart humor. Oh yeah, and there still was a murderer to stop, and the writing reflected that.

x Special Effects: Creative. Fun House of Mirrors is unbeaten.

x Acting: Very good. Especially the hotel manager.

x Execution: Better than Agua Mala.

X Thoughts from Phil –

"This is a funny episode. There are so many great exchanges in it. Among my favorite: the verbal shellacking that Mulder takes from the proprietor of the Gulf Breeze Trailer Court for presupposing that he had worked in the circus simply because of his diminutive stature." ~ Yes that part made me smile, but it pales in comparison to any scene with Dr. Blockhead.

Small Potatoes [ SEASON 4, EPISODE 20 ]

A couple goes missing while on a hike and finds themselves just as bones in the middle of a field. If Dr. Brennan been working this case, it would have taken a day, but instead our agents get lured into a world of hallucinations and gooey flesh eating soil.

Another Darin Morgan episode... there must be a pattern here... nope. Just a coincidence. Darin Morgan is just that good of a player. But the delivery of this episode was perfectly timed in the series. As it stood, late season four was simmering in a pool of Cancer Sadness, and this classic episode came through with a non-threatening shape-shifter, determined to deliver... happiness. Yes, Eddie Van Blundht may well be the most benign villain in X-Files history, where under his wrath, victims merely succumb to a knock to the back of their head. Well, and then the fornicating and whatnot. Anyway. Another peek into the Mulder-Scully relationship is pretty cool. Mulder breaking off a dead man's tail, even better.

x Special Effects: Creative Camera Angles (CCA) needed only.

x Acting: Anderson's Furrowed Brow stole the show.

x Execution: Better than Dreamland. Ha!

X Thoughts from Phil –

"This was fun! Most of the fourth season has been dark and foreboding. It's nice to see the creators relax and 'live a little.' (To paraphrase Van Blundht, I know I would if I were in their shoes!)" ~ The fourth season had indeed been a weep fest. Full of despair.

Irresistible [ SEASON 2, EPISODE 13 ]

Why is this not on the Top Ten?! Because it is on the Top Ten Monsters (see Top Ten X-Files Monsters). And mostly because there is not enough room to fit 12 episodes on the Top Ten List! Duh! I love this episode for all the obvious reasons, but the reason why its not not on the Top Ten, is because its not one of my favorite ten episodes! However, I put it at number twelve for these reasons: 1. Ultimate Creep Factor, 2. Classic Scully In Distress, 3. Football Shout Outs, and 4. Yet another reason why prostitution is not on a list of viable careers. Also it is cool to see Scully a little shaken by the horrific nature of her work-very human.

x Special Effects: C+ how hard is hair and fingers?

x Acting: Excellent. All around.

x Execution: Better than Orison. Duh.

X Thoughts from Jessica –

"The agents walk past a gravestone reading "Raymond Soames," which is the name of the victim they exhumed in the pilot. It's also the first of many in-jokes in this Chris Carter-penned episode. It's a rather clever gag, but because Ray Soames was buried in Oregon, it's a mistake in continuity. And because what in season two was an amusing meta-reference is, from the vantage point of season eight, an irritating reminder of the way this show has thrown continuity out the window in order to shoehorn in private jests and visually pleasing but nonsensical tableau, I find it retroactively annoying." ~ Normally I wouldn't care about such little things which affect the plot in no way, but it's a very valid point. My personal #1 has no such cheap, fun, "shout outs". Be professional, people.

Darkness Falls [ SEASON 1, EPISODE 20 ]

And the episode that barely missed the Top Ten. I can watch this episode pretty much three times a year for the rest of my life. Why? Why not? It's got adventure, flying bugs, limited fuel supplies, flat tires, quarantines, and most of all, unscrupulous loggers. Darkness Falls tackles our fear of the dark, and hatred of flying bugs. Best scene... arrogant park official takes off in a huff only to be put into a cozy cocoon.

x Special Effects: Awesome. I still picture that's what a swarm looks like.

x Acting: Pleasant – every actor showed up.

x Execution: Better than Zero Sum.

X Thoughts from Phil –

"Just how many of these tiny bugs are there? The ring from which they come doesn't look very large, but they capture and kill thirty men who are returning down the mountain. Surely these guys – manly men that they are – covered five or ten miles before nightfall. Is the swarm really that big? Apparently! The bugs also got to Spinney's two surviving friends, and their camp was two valleys away." ~ Come on Phil, please. I'm sure they cut down more than one tree containing those bugs. Logging crews work how many acres of trees? Our beloved group was lucky to stumble upon this one tree.

Related Stories:

Top-Ten X-Files Monsters
Top-Ten X-Files Episodes
The Best X-Files Season

Jessica is a television show reviewer at

Phil Farrand is the published author of The Nitpickers Guide For X-Philes, 1997

Rahat Haque is a writer for






























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