Even though we didn’t approach season six with a sense of dread, we found ourselves pleasantly surprised at how solid most of the episodes were. The move to Los Angeles resulted in both a tonal and visual shift for The X-Files, but even though many people classify “classic” X-Files as the episodes from the Vancouver years, season six had a lot to show for itself. While it’s true that the experimentation and forays into comedy occasionally had a negative impact on the season’s pacing, this was a season where the writers were still pretty creative and the actors still appeared to be having a good time.
We’ve got our favorite and least favorite episodes of the season below, along with some thoughts on an episode that didn’t quite fit into either category but still gave us something to think about.
TOP 5 EPISODES OF SEASON 6
Drive – This Monster of the Week episode featuring Bryan Cranston before he became Walter White is suspenseful, not entirely formulaic and incredibly well written. It’s a great example of when some of season six’s experimentation worked well without deviating from The X-Files‘ core themes.
Triangle – Time-traveling hijinks, experimental filming styles and spunky Scully from both past and present make this episode a blast to watch to this day. And shippers… you sorta get to enjoy a Mulder/Scully kiss. Sort of.
Tithonus – A magnificently moody episode that delves into questions about immortality, “Tithonus” shows that season six hasn’t forgotten how to be spooky.
Monday – The X-Files takes on Groundhog Day in an episode about a seemingly ordinary day that goes extraordinarily wrong over and over again. The episode remains compelling even on repeat viewings.
Field Trip – Potentially the last, truly solid “classic” Monster of the Week episode on the series, “Field Trip” is delightfully trippy and has both viewers and characters questioning reality throughout.
WORST 5 EPISODES OF SEASON 6
The Beginning – While we didn’t actively dislike “The Beginning,” it pales in comparison to some of the show’s stronger season openers — and frankly, it feels a little lackluster after being preceded by a motion picture event. Maybe we’d like it a little more if Fight the Future hadn’t been the last installment of The X-Files prior to the sixth season.
Terms of Endearment – Enjoyable enough, but “mostly harmless,” this episode would probably be even less memorable if it didn’t have one fantastic guest star, Bruce Campbell. We don’t hate this episode, but it’s also not on any “must watch” lists for us.
Agua Mala – Yup, bad water all around. This episode had a couple of redeeming qualities, but is oddly dull and full of caricatures… and well, The X-Files can be better than that.
Alpha – Something something dogs… killer… oh, forget it. With the exception of Mulder getting a new “I Want to Believe” poster, this episode is painfully dull and has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Trevor – Perhaps only a step above “Alpha,” this is not one of the strongest episodes of the season either. It’s ultimately pretty forgettable, so there’s really no need to spend a ton of time with this one.
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING
Milagro – Though this is an episode we both enjoyed greatly the first time it aired, a rewatch brought us to consider some issues with Scully’s portrayal. While it could be argued that the episode is something of a [twisted] love letter to Scully, we’ve seen her character through the male gaze throughout the series and this episode doesn’t do anything particularly progressive for her character. The episode still remains atmospheric and intriguing to watch though, so it is an episode we would recommend watching at least once. It just sits in a separate category for us these days.