CoverUps > The X-Files Index Page > The Top Ten Underrated X-Files Episodes
The Top Ten Underrated X-Files Episodes – CoverUps.com

What is "underrated"? Nobody watched it? Nobody raved about it? How would I even measure those things? I don't have the 1993-2002 Data Collector of Television Series. No, all I have, and all you have, is our memories. I don't wish to speak my age between this 1993-2002 era all I know is my most recent viewing of the mentioned episodes is post 2011. These are episodes not critically acclaimed at the time, and not given Emmy after Emmy. They are however definitely worth watching again and again, and are just about as enjoyable as my Top Ten.

10 — Folie a deux [SEASON 5, EPISODE 19]

A middle-aged man named Gary holds his entire office hostage as he claims a monster is turning his co-workers into zombies. No one believes him, until Mulder sees a glimpse of the monster himself. The case unfolds as the agents discover there may be some merit to Gary's claims. Soon Mulder finds himself ranting an raving a la Gary, and he is committed. But Scully realizes the truth herself just before Mulder is Zombiefied.

Looking back

x Special Effects: Zombie makeup is legit.
x Acting: Gary is a good actor.
x Execution: Better than Chimera.

9 — Monday [SEASON 6, EPISODE 14]

The Groundhogs Day-esque story of repeating the same day over and over until the right things unfold correctly. Mulder finds himself with a leaky water bed, late for a meeting, and then in a bank hold up which ends in his death. Finally after many many tries, Mulder goes off the board and tweaks the ending to correctly move onto Tuesday.

Many don't give this episode credit because it's obvious borrowing of a storyline. However, Carter and Company actually took this idea from an old Twilight Zone episode, not the Murray classic. So this episode is actually an "homage to", and not a "copy cat". And I would have been very disappointed if the series did not address this phenomenon. Plus, this episode if filled with funny, clever tidbits, which I always enjoy.

x Special Effects: Great I always like real explosions
x Acting: OK Scully did really well looking bored.
x Execution: Better than Dod Kalm

X Thoughts from Rahat:

"Monday" is one of those very clever episodes where the idea behind the story is fascinating enough to render you curious and impatient, thus baiting you completely into watching until the end. ~ So Rahat has Monday on his top 15 episodes list, at #14. So while he also sees it's worthiness as one of the best, him and I are in the minority. Many XPhiles push their nose up at any episode past season 5, thus based on ratings alone this episode is underrated. Even while labeled as unoriginal, Rahat points out this episode hooks the audience even though everyone knows the ending to Groundhog Day.

8 — Syzygy [SEASON 3, EPISODE 13]

A small town has two jealous teenage girls with the same birthday, and the stars and planets are all aligning to make things go bonkers, and for teenage boys to die. People thinks it's witchcraft or demons, but it's really just our planet... or something.

Syzygy is awesome and unique not just because of its very difficult pronunciation, but it's one of those very dark episodes that still makes you laugh. Very sad things happen, lives are ruined, terror reigns throughout a town, but Mulder making fun of Scully's height is classic. I love how this episode brings our mature, adult, intelligent agents into bickering, jealous, immature... people. My particular favorite scene is where Mulder turns into watching black and white slapstick while milking vodka and cheap OJ.

x Special Effects: Neat I love guns going off by themselves
x Acting: Stinkin' good, Anderson does "bitch" very well.
x Execution: Better than Red Museum

X Thoughts from Phil:

"OK, I admit it! They got me. The first time I saw this episode I started grousing halfway through because I couldn't figure out what the creators were doing with the characterizations About the time Scully began smoking in her motel room, I was muttering a duet with her. Of course, in the end, the creators proved their genius by attributing everything to a cosmic alignment. But for a while there they had me goin'"

~ Well Phil loves this episode, so I'm not alone. Another episode on my Top Lists which deals with the personalities of our beloved heroes, where unfortunately, gets lost in the bigger picture episodes of the conspiracy.

7 — Chinga [SEASON 5, EPISODE 10]

Stephen King guest-writes about a killer doll. Scully is on vacation in New England and runs into a local problem at a supermarket. She gets drawn into solving a case where I a girl's doll (found at the bottom of the ocean) decided to kill her father, and anyone else who gets in her, or its, way.

I love this this episode because it is the only episode which really dives into how creepy New England really is. As a Stephen King fan myself, I appreciate the spooky music, gory murders, and very climactic final scenes. Lets not forget that Chris Carter co-wrote this, and he delivered on the goofy antics of Mulder keeping busy while Scully is on vacation. The pencils in the ceiling proved to be last seasons later.

x Special Effects: Terrifying, that yogurt machine went bonkers!
x Acting: That little girl sure had me thinking she was evil
x Execution: Better than the Calusari

X Thoughts from Andrew:

"Instead the biggest disappointment was highly anticipated guest writer Stephen King producing an episode that wouldn't even make the top 150. A killer doll? 'Chucky' wants its plot back."

~So no one liked this one... because it had a mega-creepy doll very similar to Chucky?

Umm, I would like to point out that the giant clown doll in "Poltergeist" makes me runs screaming from the room. And this, female, non-corny doll (I might add) is Grade A creepy. Not to mention that it is not actually the doll that kills, but it makes the people kill themselves... very unlike Chucky.

6 — Amor Fati [SEASON 7, EPISODE 2]

Mulder is trying to recover from a brain problem involving being part alien, or something. Scully is running everywhere from Michael Kritschgau to Albert Hosteen's ghost to try and cure him. Meanwhile Mulder has dreams of the future, and CSM is apparently his father. Diana Fowley has had enough, and decides to turn in her keycard... and her life.

This is an easy one, because I could say that any episode from season seven is underrated based on the number of viewers alone. A lot of people lost interest with where the mythology was going, and had grown weary of the never ending ignored plots points and forgotten premises. But I didn't! Amor Fati opened season seven with the death of a despised character, a plot twist to Mulder's genealogy, and best of all, a massive dream sequence revealing much about our two favorite characters. Mulder came out of his season six skepticism and began again to see the bigger picture of where this series was steering us.

x Special Effects: Decent end of the world picture not campy.
x Acting: superb Anderson again steals it.
x Execution: Better than Little Green Men

X Thoughts from Andrew:

"Worst Secondary Character: Diana Fowley. She was so bad, you probably don't even know who she is. She was Mimi Rogers' character, a former lover of Mulder's and codiscoverer of the X-Files. The writers brought her in at the end of the fifth season and viewers had to suffer through her wooden and boring character for the entire sixth season.

She never really did anything and added nothing at all to the overall mythos of the series."

~ So Amor's Fati's arguably greatest accomplishment was her demise, and it set a new tone for the upcoming season. But the problem of lost viewers since the start of season six, never came back.

5 — Millennium [SEASON 7, EPISODE 4]

The agents address the issue of the new millennium when a kooky apocalyptic group starts getting murders. But it turns out just one man is killing them off in between his taxidermy business. The zombies fail to turn the world upside down, and Dick Clark still gets to count the ball down on December 31st. And Frank Black gets to see his daughter.

This episode appears on no lists which makes me sad. Not only is it the only crossover episode worth mentioning (Jump the Shark doesn't count, because sadly 'The Lone Gunmen' was barely even a series), but it's the only episode which features zombies! And not to mention the Kiss! Although what some people might argue came a season or two too late, I thought was worth the wait. Very cute.

x Special Effects: Great zombie makeup... for the time
x Acting: Lance Henriksen was fresh
x Execution: Better than Our Town

X Thoughts from Megan:

"Frank Black is a pretty great character, and keeping him in the hospital for the majority of the episode — making him fight our agents instead of collaborate — is a real drag. And it does nothing at all to dispel the notion that Millennium was too much of a bummer to be watchable."

~ Yes, it would have been nice if Black had been more involved, and I think that his lack of hands on involvement was what keeps this episode from greatness. But this is not an episode of Millennium, so I appreciate the writers sticking to focus on Mulder and Scully as the primary focus. Did I say there were zombies?

4 — Quagmire [SEASON 3, EPISODE 22]

Tourists and locals start getting attacked and eaten at a lake. Some suspect a loch ness-monster-like creature (called Big Blue), others suspect biologists. Scully has to bring her dog this trip, and instead of using her to her best doggie hunting abilities, Scully lets her get eaten. Then finally the two agents go out on a boat to hunt the creature Ahab-style. They get stranded on a rock, then realize it was just a really hungry alligator the whole time.

Quagmire comes out of a superb season, but slips through the cracks of other golden episodes like those on my Top Ten and Next Top Ten. It is not a terrifying episode or a humor episode, but it has elements of both. It's not dark, and it's not campy. It remains under the Elite Radar I believe because it is so neutral and safe.

x Special Effects: Cute. Sea creatures are fun.
x Acting: Average.
x Execution: Better than Agua Mala

X Thoughts from Phil:

"Did anybody else find it truly bizarre that Scully could lose her grip on her dog leash
twice in one day? Something tells me she's not trying!"
~ Yeah seriously, Scully! it's not like you have a German shepherd!

3 — Detour [SEASON 5, EPISODE 4]

Mulder and Scully are off to Florida for a team-building seminar only to get derailed into finding a missing father in some creepy woods. The search party commences, and one by one, a predator, or two, lower their numbers. By the start of the second day, they are able to find the cave where the bodies were brought and put and end to the inhabitants killings spree.

I love this episode and I am flabbergasted it is hardly mentioned. The premise is cool, the monsters/men are cool, and I love the Search Party Adventure Hike. Scully has just recovered from her cancer, and this brought a fun romp after a slew of darker, sad episodes.

x Special Effects: Very good — invisible men still hold up.
x Acting: Believable
x Execution: Drive

2 — Requiem [SEASON 7, EPISODE 22]

As The X-Files are being audited, Mulder get annoyed, so they are given an opportunity to follow up on their old friend Billy Miles in Oregon. They investigate and reminisce and soon Scully falls ill. They head back to DC, and find that bigger forces are at work, so Mulder goes back with Skinner to find the alien ship. He ends up getting taken, along with all the other former abductees, to Skinner's bewilderment.

This episode holds a lot of emotion. The previous seven years of their partnership is starting to wear on Scully and Mulder is also frustrated with countless dead ends and never ending turmoil he subjects to her. This episode is interesting not in its plot so much, but the fact that is was written as possibly being the series finale. I'm sure glad it wasn't because despite the lack of David Duchovny, this episode set up entertaining and worthwhile premises for season 8.

x Special Effects: Impressive... especially the Scully Shakes
x Acting: Wonderful
x Execution: Better than Gethsemane

X Thoughts from Megan:

"There are other melodramas in "Requiem." There is Krycek, and there is Marita. The two of them scheming together, Krycek (accidentally? On purpose? Who cares?) leading Mulder to his abduction, the way he led Scully to hers. There is the Cigarette Smoking Man near death, grey and fragile, and Krycek pushing him down the stairs (to his death? to his coma?) while Marita looks on... 'Requiem' at its best is a requiem, not a prelude. A cliffhanger, technically, but an ending, for sure."

~ Krycek is one of my favorite recurring characters, and I love him in this. He is all over the place and throughout this episode you can't know his true motives!

1 — Existence [SEASON 8, EPISODE 21]

Scully is in an abandoned town trying to give birth, but the super soldiers still find her. Monica fails again, and they all see her baby come into the world. But nothing happens. She returns home with Mulder, and the Lone Gunmen pay a nice visit. And then Monica assigns herself to the X-Files.

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: Only noteworthy Scully throwing boiling water on the
x Acting: Good "Don't let them take it!!"
x Execution: Better than The End

X Thoughts from Jessica:

"Outside, Moronica lights a cigarette and inhales guiltily. Looking up, she sees a blue light shining brightly in the north sky. Is it an alien ship, acting like the star in the Bible, guiding the alien replicants/shepherds to the storefront/barn where the Virgin Scully is getting set to birth her baby? Or is it a star exactly like the one in the Bible (in other words, placed there by God), serving to guide someone else to Scully's side? Or is it just a very slow-moving airplane? Moronica looks thoughtful. Do you think it's possible that she could be evil, and she's under the thrall of this alien/ star/ light/ airplane, and she's going to steal the baby? Wouldn't that be an exciting plot twist? "

~ The parallels in this episode are all over the place, and Monica switching sides would have been amazing. But I think she was meant to stay one of the good guys. You know, for next season.

Jessica is a television show reviewer at televisionwithoutpity.com

Phil Farrand is the published author of The Nitpickers Guide For XPhiles, 1997

Andrew Payne is a Starpulse contributing writer for starpulse.com

Todd VanDerDerff is the writer of "10 must-see episodes of The X-Files" on avclub.com avclub.com

Meghan Deans is a writer for tor.com

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