The Top Ten X-Files Episodes – CoverUps.com
For Reasons You Don't Expect... In No Particular Order
x Special Effects: Glowing green eyes were cool.
Scully and the Lone Gunmen search for a missing Mulder in the middle of the ocean. It turns out he fell into the Bermuda Triangle and ended up on a WWII cruise ship stolen by Nazis. Or did he?
Mitch Pileggi speaking German pretty much makes this episode. Oh? Did you want to hear me rant and rave about the cinematography, directing, and fabulous set designs? Yeah, those are good too, but Kersh as a Jamaican ship hand pretty much knocks my socks off. The clever time warp spin gave the writers a good opportunity to play with camera angles and techniques only the Queen Mary could deliver. The Wizard of Oz Shout Outs also continue to be timeless.
x Special Effects: Very nifty.
Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose [ SEASON 3, EPISODE 4 ]
Some dead fortune tellers bring the two FBI agents looking for what appears to be a psychic, serial killer. They enlist another non-killer psychic to help them catch the killer before Mulder gets it himself.
This classic, darker episode latent with humor (along with a top notch guest star) is a favorite for many for mostly those very reasons. What throws it on my top ten is the ground breaking, yet often overlooked feature, of the origination of the one and only Scully pet. No one ever questions why Mulder goes an entire series with fish, but Scully goes a mere season with her one little fluff ball. The Stupendous Yappi brings many laughs, but Bruckman's doggy neighbor melts animal lovers hearts nation wide.
x Special Effects: pretty darn good. And gross.
Ice [ SEASON 1, EPISODE 8 ]
A top-notch team of researchers leave behind an ominous video tape in the arctic. So the duo join up with three other experts to fly into the crime scene in the middle of nowhere to see what went awry.
If you poll 100 X-File fans, I would not expect this first-season-gem to land on their "Top Ten." But I am a sucker for the "Mulder and Scully Trapped in a Bad Situation Far From Home with Some Strangers with a Killer Among Them and Time is of the Essence" episodes. Whew! But of course what puts this one (from the aforementioned, long-winded episode category) on my Top Ten is the intelligent story line. Between my first viewing and my last viewing, I went through a rigorous five-year university, which made me appreciate (and understand) the details of the plot. Glen Morgan and James Wong did their research! But clearly the best part of the forty-five minutes is the enthusiastic Charger fan.
x Special Effects: Not Too Shabby!
Redux II [ SEASON 5, EPISODE 2 ]
Following the hospitalization of Scully and the magical appearance of his long lost sister, Mulder fights frantically to find a cure for Scully's cancer. Meanwhile loyalties within the FBI are questioned and the Scully family get upset.
The Obvious: Great ending to the Scully Cancer Arc. One of the most emotional, heart wrenching episodes of the series. Another sigh of relief over who's Skinner's alliances are. The Not -So-Obvious: The Confusing Signals Mulder sends about his New York sports team alliances. Um, did he decide to abandon basketball? Is he a band wagoner? Should I be concerned? Maybe. I think from this point on he only mentions the Yankees. Conspiracy? I don't know what to think. One cannot favor basket and baseball evenly. Another X-Files mystery yet to never be answered...
x Special Effects: Heart wrenchers don't need special effects.
The Truth [ SEASON 9, EPISODE 19, 20 ]
Mulder gets arrested, tried, and found guilty of killing a super soldier. Kersh helps him escape the death penalty along with Doggett, Reyes, and Skinner, and he meets up with Scully to flee back into hiding. But not before finding out all the answers in New Mexico first. OK so this episode, much like the Pilot, by default has to be on the Top Ten. I'm not saying The Truth is better than any of my Next Top Ten (See Next Top Ten: For Reason You Don't Expect- Which are Just as Good as the Top Ten). But the series ender, being in a league of its own, demands the royal treatment of Must See. Did it have an awesome slew of out favorite characters past and present? Yes. Did it give us more flashbacks than we could fit in our suitcases? Yes. Did it answer all of our questions? Err, sort of. Did it give us closure? I think so. Did it leave room for future cinema experiments? Indeed it did. Over all series wrap up, I would give it a B- but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. I didn't yell at the TV, and particularly liked Skinner playing Lawyer Man.
x Special Effects: Spectacular. Great final Indian Ruin Blow Up.
Pusher [ SEASON 3, EPISODE 17 ]
A killer believed to be able to control people's actions with just his voice eludes local law officials to keep killing. Mulder figures out his talent and gets him in custody.
One of everyone's favorite villains. Some classics I have no reason to leave off the list. Episodes like this are what kept everyone tuning in during the mid-nineties: so original. But the TRUE reason Pusher is on my list, is three-fold. 1) This is how I learned how one would play Russian Roulette. 2) Mulder goin' in with Eyes and Ears 3) Now I knew what the hell shade cerulean blue was.
x Special Effects: Another classic where none is needed.
Anasazi [ SEASON 2, EPISODE 25 ]
Mulder's water gets drugged and the Alien Conspiracy brings him to New Mexico where he finds a train car with bodies. Krychek kills Bill Mulder and CSM blows up the train car with Mulder inside.
Season two ushered in a painful, season-ending-cliffhanger trend which television had never seen before. But also one of the few conspiracy episodes I could watch repeatedly. Unlike preceding season finale, Anazazi really kicked up the heat on the general tone this series was all about. Cold-blooded murder, betrayal, fiery explosions, main characters being drugged, loyalties questioned, Mulder disappearing, the list goes on and on.
x Special Effects: Above par – they sure made Canada look like the desert.
Pilot [ SEASON 1, EPISODE 1 ]
A young FBI agent with a degree in medicine is paired up with a rogue agent in attempts to reign him into conformity. The two travel to Oregon to investigate "alien abductees" to find their work thwarted by everyone around them, and they learn they can only trust each other.
See The Truth. I don't believe this episode is better than #11-20, but it has to be on here. Moments worth mentioning: Anderson taking 15 minutes (give or take) to click into her character. How Mulder's energy for solving cases is so elevated. Truly, a MUST SEE episode to understand the series.
x Special Effects: Decent for 1993.
Memento Mori [SEASON 4, EPISODE 14]
Scully decides to stop working and seek medical attention for her spreading cancer. Mulder investigates the cancer's origins and discovers horrific tests on women, which Scully herself had experienced.
Probably the most emotional episode of the series. Dark, yes. Sad, yes. Exciting, yes. Tragic, yes. What gets me, and a lot of other female viewers (who stuck with the show until the end), is why Mulder obtained such crucial, life-changing information... and then yet failed to tell Scully until... season eight? Or was it seven? Kick-ass Lone Gunmen appearance a major plus.
x Special Effects: Floating bodies looked real. MRI had to be fake...
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The Best X-Files Season
Jessica is a television show reviewer at televisionwithoutpity.com.
Phil Farrand is the published author of The Nitpickers Guide For X-Philes, 1997