Season five was an interesting season to watch. On some levels, we found it pretty strong — possibly stronger than season four’s overall track record, partially due to the shorter episode order brought about by having a feature film to wrap up. But we started to see more cracks in the mythology as well, from Mulder’s abrupt journey as a skeptic to Scully’s abrupt time as a mother. It was a time for the show runners to get more creative with filming and episode tone, and we certainly enjoyed that. But when episodes fell flat, they fell flat.
Check out our favorite and least favorite episodes below. (Multi-part mythology episodes continue to count as “one” episode.) We’ll see you all soon for our coverage of The X-FIles: Fight the Future!
TOP 5 EPISODES OF SEASON 5
Detour – The classic formula of Mulder and Scully getting lost in the woods, with a side dish of delirious, humorous and heartfelt banter can rarely go wrong. And this season five offering of said formula is an excellent choice whenever you want something with a classic Monster-of-the-Week feel.
The Post-Modern Prometheus – While we did notice a couple of possible issues within the story, this 1990s re-imagining of the Frankenstein tale for The X-Files audience is a whimsical delight. (We’re serious: Black and white, along with tunes by Cher? Maybe we just stepped into The Twilight Zone.)
Bad Blood – Conflicting points of view, Mulder’s rendition of the “Theme from Shaft,” and Luke Wilson with questionable buck teeth will make you laugh until you cry in this vampire story.
Mind’s Eye – A strong, but flawed female protagonist played by Lili Taylor are just icing on the cake in this well-crafted episode about a blind woman who can see through a murderer’s eyes.
The Pine Bluff Variant – Just a couple of episodes before The X-Files: Fight the Future hit theaters, this episode — which feels an awful lot like a mini movie — hit the small screen. It’s probably one of the most straightforward, realistic episodes of the series, with biological weapons at the center of the plot, instead of the usual Flukemen and creatures that go bump in the night, and that’s probably what makes it such a compelling episode to watch.
Honorable Mention: Travelers – We had two episodes going back to the days before The X-Files this season: This one and The Lone Gunmen-focused “Unusual Suspects.” Both were enjoyable for their individual reasons, but this one won our hearts a little more, showing us how many decades of conspiracy led us to the days of Mulder and Scully. We felt it deserved a shoutout.
WORST 5 EPISODES OF SEASON 5
Christmas Carol / Emily – While we didn’t necessarily eviscerate these episodes while reviewing them, we feel that these are mythology episodes that eventually helped contribute to the convoluted reputation the mythology ultimately had as the show went on. Plus, a barren Scully finds out she has a daughter she doesn’t know about, only to have her ripped away? Enough Scully abuse, we say!
Kitsunegari – Robert Patrick Modell is back, sort of, in this sequel to the classic season three Monster of the Week episode, “Pusher.” But his appearance is so neutered, this episode just left us with a strong resounding “meh.”
Schizogeny – Something something killer trees, teenage angst… no idea how to explain this one, best left off your viewing list.
Chinga – Stephen King wrote an X-Files episode and all we got was a killer doll. At least some of the Mulder/Scully banter is amusing.
All Souls – This is one of the hokier episodes focusing on spirituality and the attempts to readdress the Emily plot did not sit so well with us. Better luck next time.