1×21: Tooms

“Mulder, I wouldn’t put myself on the line for anybody but you.” — Dana Scully
“If there’s an iced tea in that bag, it could be love.” — Fox Mulder
“Must be fate, Mulder. Root beer.” — Dana Scully

Our agents revisit the case of liver-eating serial killer Eugene Victor Tooms when he’s released on parole. But in addition to stalking new prey for his next meal, Tooms is also out to get a certain special agent in trouble.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: “Tooms” serves as a sequel to the show’s very first Monster of the Week, “Squeeze,” and it’s just as rich — if not richer — than its predecessor. We see the return of Eugene Victor Tooms, the mutant serial killer with a taste for human liver, who has a tendency to kill his victims every 30 years. In this episode, Tooms, who was incarcerated for an assault on Scully without being charged for any murders, is released on parole… and of course our agents, especially Mulder, are not happy. Continue reading

1×20: Darkness Falls

“Get the impression that we’ve walked into the middle of a war that’s already started?”
– Dana Scully

Our heroes decide to take a nice trip to the forest, but instead come face to face with a swarm of apparently hundreds-of-years-old insects, hungry and with a score to settle…

Darkness Falls

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: “Darkness Falls” is a better episode that I have given it credit for over the years. Yes, the idea of tiny insects being able to swarm and cocoon human beings thousands of times their size is a bit on the ridiculous side, and the special effects used to manifest them laughably outdated by today’s standards, but the tension of what might happen when the sun sets is palpable and works effectively here. Chris Carter, not necessarily known for writing the best episodes of his show, does a bang up job here. And for once, the real world issues that are brought into this episode work to our benefit.

After a logging company loses contact with a group of its employees and a Forest Service team sent into investigate disappear as well, Mulder and Scully are put on the case. Continue reading

1×19: Shapes

“They told me that even though my deodorant is made for a woman, it’s strong enough for a man.” — Fox Mulder

Our agents are called in on a case about a shooting on a farm close to a Native American reservation, and soon discover that they’re dealing with an old-school spooky creature: the werewolf.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: “Shapes” is a bit of a middle-of-the-road X-File. On one hand, I appreciate that it’s a callback to a more traditional type of monster (with a Native American element), but on the other hand… I’m always a little underwhelmed when I watch it.

“Shapes” has the trappings of your traditional X-File — the shadows, the trench coats, the general dark atmosphere. But I personally feel the story moves too slowly, and I’m not sure the Native American characterizations are my favorite. But I’m also not going to profess to be an expert on the subject, and at least we’re not seeing some Lone Ranger-esque stereotypes here. (Of course, we know there will be more Native American elements to come on The X-Files, specifically in the form of Navajo references.) Continue reading

1×18: Miracle Man

“I think people are looking hard for miracles … so hard that maybe they make themselves see what they want to see.” – Fox Mulder

Our heroes are called in to help assist the local gendarmerie in a Tennessee town regarding the mysterious circumstances regarding the death of a woman who once had terminal cancer and was supposedly healed by the son of a reverend.

Miracle Man

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: “Miracle Man” is, after the highs of “E.B.E.,” somewhat of a disappointment as we plunge back down to terra firma in a rather rote MOTW. Investigating the abilities of one Samuel Hartley, a so-called faith healer who has a crisis of ability and faith after one of the people he saved died under mysterious circumstances. The 1990s was a period of revivial for evangelists, and given the by then widespread appearance of televisions in most homes in America, gave rise to a legion of “televangelists” who used this mass medium (pun intended) to spread the gospel to untold legions. This new cadre of the cloth naturally also included swindlers and pretenders, like Peter Popoff and Benny Hinn, to prey on the faithful to line their own pockets and quench a rapacious egomania. Howard Gordon (this time without his usual writing partner Alex Gansa) taps into this phenomenon to look at the dark underbelly of religion in America. Continue reading

1×17: E.B.E.

“Mulder, the truth is out there, but so are lies.” — Dana Scully

As our heroes investigate the possible smuggling of a UFO and an extraterrestrial being, they soon realize they’re being watched and are possibly entangled in an even bigger web of lies than they could have imagined.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: And so, the mythology thickens. This is an episode that has a bit of everything: The show’s evolving mythology, a paranoid atmosphere and some good quips, as well as the introduction of the fans’ beloved Lone Gunmen.

“E.B.E.,” short for Extraterrestrial Biological Entity, starts off in classic X-Files fashion, with Mulder and Scully investigating a possible UFO sighting in Tennessee before being shooed away. Somewhere along the line, the two agents realize they’re being watched, as well as being misled: Scully finds a surveillance device within her pen, and Mulder realizes that his trusted informant Deep Throat has provided him with a photo of a fake UFO, delaying access to the possible discovery of an actual extraterrestrial biological entity. Continue reading

1×16: Young At Heart

“You’re aware that this… freak of science you’re negotiating with is a murderer?”
– Fox Mulder
“The information he has… could change the course of mankind. Consider the options.”
– Deep Throat

Our heroes get roped into a case involving Mulder’s first assignment with the FBI, and things take a turn for Conspiracy Crazytown….

Young At Heart

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: “Young At Heart” is another episode that goes into the life of either Mulder or Scully before the X-Files. This time, we revisit Mulder’s first case as a green FBI agent, a serial armored car robber with a violent streak by the name of John Barnett. After his mentor Reggie Purdue calls him in to the aftermath of a jewelry store robbery, Mulder learns that apparently the man he locked away is on the loose again, despite having died in prison in 1989.

As with the other episodes we’ve seen thus far where we delve into the agents’ pasts, “Young At Heart” is meant for us to contrast the person then with the person now. Continue reading

My First Time: Of Sunday Nights and Mothmen

Welcome to “My First Time,” a recurring section on the blog where we query fellow X-Philes about how they came to the show, and then later on how their fandom developed and evolved over the years.

Before we reach out though, we’ve taken the opportunity to tell you all our stories.

Radhika's personal stash of some of The X-Files magazines collected over the years.

Radhika’s personal stash of some of The X-Files magazines collected over the years.

I have a confession to make: I am a big chicken. I only like watching horror movies with friends, and even then, I duck behind whatever person or object I can find. A childhood fear of clowns prevented me from watching any Joker-centric episodes of Batman: The Animated Series (now one of my favorite shows of all time) for a good year or so. I’ll read just about anything, but don’t expect me to watch something that scares me without whimpering. So you might wonder how a person like me got into The X-Files. Continue reading