The X-Files
May 19, 2002 9:29 PM   Subscribe

The X-Files TV series is officially over. Two years too late, probably. But the finale definately is in my list of favorite episodes. What are some of yours?
posted by gsteff (44 comments total)
I like the one where Lisa is selecting among the "Monopoly" variants available in the Simpsons' living room: "We've got Star Wars Monopoly... Rasta-Mon-Opoly... Galip-olopoly... Edna Kraboloppoly..."

Wait — am I talking about the right show?
posted by nicwolff at 9:59 PM on May 19, 2002

The last episode synopsis (green on white? ow, my eyes) was posted a few hours ago. I didn't see the show, but it sounded sort of like "All Good Things...", the last episode of Star Trek the Next Generation. I guess trials are a good way to end a television series (even Seinfeld went out that way), although there has to be some other way to visually reconstruct a narrative. Tying in the Mayan Long Count sounded interesting, as well as the oil aliens and the ice age, but overall it doesn't sound like anything was answered, yet again.

I used to watch X-Files religiously, but stopped a few years back after the season finale where the aliens torched half the previous supporting cast. At that point I became convinced that Chris Carter had no idea where he was going and had written himself into a corner.
posted by joemaller at 10:18 PM on May 19, 2002

I used to be a big fan.

I would tune in occasionally over the last couple of years, and was consistently disappointed by what I saw. Tonight, I owed 'em a look.


The worst part for me was seeing Scully turned into a noncharacter, and the ridiculous side characters whose role is unclear. They should have hung it up long ago.

Oh, and the Cigarette Smoking Man as Native American mystic? Laughable and marginally insulting.

Too bad.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:21 PM on May 19, 2002

Well, the side characters apparently have solid personas if you've been watching regularly the past 2 years (I haven't). And I think the CSM mystic thing was there primarily for the "oh shit, he's actually been alive this whole time" effect and to give him a fitting death finally.

But Chris Carter was making the mythology up as he went along, sometimes painfully obviously. The show was much spookier when you knew NOTHING, back in the first 2 seasons, only questions, no answers.

I thought the episode gave closure as well as was possible. With some great spiels thrown in througout (especially Scully's at the end).

Oh, and my fav eps: Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose (the guy who can predict when people will die) and the cockroach one.
posted by gsteff at 10:27 PM on May 19, 2002

Personally, I thought it was fantastic. I loved the religous undertones that pulled things together at the very end.
posted by tomorama at 10:32 PM on May 19, 2002

I watched the first hour of tonight's X-Files, and thought it was mildly interesting - the little kid creeped me out in a Tin Drum sort of way. But at 9pm, when I was getting ready to juggle the whole X-Files/Cosby/Survivor thing, I got phone call from a stranger and spent the next hour on the phone with them. And as I have no TiVo/VCR set up here, the whole Fox/Bill/Vee thing is still a mystery to me. But I think I'll be ok.
posted by gluechunk at 10:34 PM on May 19, 2002

Favourite episodes: All the ones written by Darin Morgan.
posted by krisjohn at 10:37 PM on May 19, 2002

final episode can be summed up in one word...POOPY.
posted by tiger yang at 11:00 PM on May 19, 2002

It was a good wrap-up, not great, but good.

They have to leave something out there for the next movie.

The stand-alone episodes (aka creepy spook of the week) are the best episodes, BTW.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 11:32 PM on May 19, 2002

Me and my allergies spent the evening sneezing and watching Martha Stewart making cakes. And I liked it.

As a longtime Replacements fan, this disturbs me.
posted by Tacodog at 11:33 PM on May 19, 2002

Favorite Episodes:

Any before the film. The film seemed to explain the entire conspiracy. After that, they never bothered to use any of the answers that the film provided. BTW, there is a secret message on the X-Files Movie Soundtrack. Carter comes on at 10min 13sec into the last song (by Noel Gallagher) and explains the entire game. I gave up really watching the show soon after. It seemed that Carter was not only making things up, but had zero sense of continuity, something the show desperately needed.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:41 PM on May 19, 2002

I kinda liked tonight's show. It was enough to keep me interested while glossing over the details enough to make me want to see the next movie.

Best episode: the one with the inbreeding pig-people, hands down.
posted by ttrendel at 1:09 AM on May 20, 2002

I'm developing the theory that Chris Carter is actually a clone of L Ron Hubbard...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:38 AM on May 20, 2002

I didn't like it much at all. Scully was broken, Mulder was acting out of character, Mulder's motivations made no sense, Dogget and that other agent were worse than useless and forfeited any credibility they built up these past two seasons, the alien invasion thing did not have nearly the drama it would have needed to work (because that card has already been played a dozen times), and the mind-reading kid was very poorly used. Other than that, though, it was decent.
posted by Nothing at 3:23 AM on May 20, 2002

I was thankful to have everything explained to me, since I stopped watching the show at about the same time joemaller did. This was also the first episode I've seen with Daggett and Reyes, and oh my god, neither one of them, especially Reyes with her melodramatic high school thespian monologues, can act their way out of paper bags.

More than anything, the last episode made me thankful I hadn't watched the show in three years.

(I was doing other things while it was on, so I might have missed a subtle nuance, but did the Lone Gunmen just randomly appear from behind a shrub while Mulder was talking a leak on the side of the road? What the hell was that all about?)
posted by jennyb at 4:07 AM on May 20, 2002

It is often said that a good guest knows when to leave. I'm thinking the X-Files overstayed its welcome by about three seasons. Don't get me wrong: it was a fantastic show, a groundbreaker, and I've been watching from the start. But you've gotta know when to let something go. IMHO, the show probably should have ended around the time Carter started adding new characters.

Oh, and my fave episodes: D.P.O., Pusher, Wetwired, and War of the Coprophages. (Yes, all from season 4...which was probably one of the best. ^_^)
posted by Spinderella56 at 4:21 AM on May 20, 2002

Dude, what the hell was up with the religious thing? I felt like Chris Carter was witnessing to me.
posted by wfrgms at 5:34 AM on May 20, 2002

Jennyb, the Lone Gunmen were killed off a couple of weeks ago, so they reappeared in ghost form just like Krycek and the informant. (Did anyone else almost fall off their chairs laughing when the ghosts appeared behind the jurors? I was just waiting for Krycek to moan, "Use the force, Fox...")
posted by dreamsbay at 6:14 AM on May 20, 2002

dreamsbay - LOL! Where the ghosts started appearing to Mulder, I was thinking that X-Files was taking a cue from "A Beautiful Mind," with Mulder as John Nash. ;)

I was thoroughly dissatisfied with this final episode. Waaay too many loose ends left hanging, even as a teaser for whatever upcoming movie they can come up with from this.

So what's next? X-Files: The Next Generation?
posted by brownpau at 7:07 AM on May 20, 2002

It was much better than I thought it would be. They glossed over several major issues, but I suppose walking the audience though all nine seasons with flashbacks would have taken three hours.

I'm probably alone in this, but I always enjoyed the episodes that had nothing to do with the overreaching alien conspiracy plot. The later season finales were just began to get too melodramatic for me.
posted by ry at 7:09 AM on May 20, 2002

The missus and I, lapsed X-Files fans from way back, watched the finale, the first one we'd seen in years. We were thankful we got to see Scully et al explain how the whole deal was supposed to work. "Just think of all the time we saved over the last two years."

Fave episodes: vampire town (with the pudgy vampire pizza delivery boy) and the inbreeding family that kept Momma on a cart under the bed.

Here's the real question for former X-philes: Will you go see the next movie?
posted by sacre_bleu at 7:19 AM on May 20, 2002

It seemed that Carter was not only making things up, but had zero sense of continuity

Um. It's a TV Show. Carter is the creator. It is fiction. Therefore, of course he was making it up!!!

BTW, pre-movie episodes were best. My favorite was the town of carnival freaks.
posted by plaino at 7:30 AM on May 20, 2002

From a Salon article that ran last week:

"In this week's TV Guide, however, Carter says the next film will be a stand-alone mystery, unrelated to the show's overarching mythology."

so, uh... yep, that's a bleeping dead conspiracy if I ever bleeping saw one.

Duchovny is said to be signed for the movie project, if I understand correctly, so if the Mulder-and-Scully good-old-days nostalgia factor is high enough, perhaps I'll end up seeing it in spite of my better judgment. I just hope it doesn't turn into a long line of increasingly bad and self-indulgent schlockfest paycheck movies like America's last favorite sci-fi series did...
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:22 AM on May 20, 2002

Decent overview of the show's mythology. Overall, it was mighty lame as many have described above.

Am I now to understand that the set up for the movie is basically Mulder and some ghosts are teaming up to stop the aliens??
posted by quirked at 8:29 AM on May 20, 2002

As far as favorite episodes go, I'd go with that liver-fluke guy who hangs out in chemical toilets. He was tasty.

And Tooms. Very good.

And is there another significance to the crucifix necklace Scully was wearing, besides the religious overtone?
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:39 AM on May 20, 2002

I believe that the talk Mulder gave at the end about the dead speaking to us and wanting to believe in something bigger than them, bigger than any alien race, was taken word for word from one Scully gave a few seasons back, after seeing the ghost of her father. That old episode had very religious overtones, and I believe she gazed at her cross meaningfully at the end of it too (as she has many times, so can't be sure). But I think that was supposed to be another subtle "full circle" technique, showing that Mulder's beliefs, in the end, have always been hers.
posted by gsteff at 8:49 AM on May 20, 2002

I thought Nothing summed it up nicely. I do want to add though that one bright spot was Monica Reyes rant at Kirsch after her testimony - it was her best moment and actually seemed to have some effect on him, which might even begin to explain his seeming 'conversion' at the end a bit as far as adequate writing goes. You'd think that they would have USED Gibson Praise (psychic kid) more in the episode because he had such talents - *sigh* - ahh, well. At least the early episodes are out on DVD. ;-)
posted by thunder at 8:55 AM on May 20, 2002

It was just bad. Seems to me they missed a chance to have some fun with the mythology, but they played it too straight. Also, if they're planning on another film, they certainly didn't leave any questions to be answered.

Even with Duchovny phoning in his part, his presence here made it pretty obvious that the series was doomed by his departure - although it probably should have ended a couple of years before that.

Favorites: momma under the bed, liver fluke man, and the one where smoking man took credit for the JFK and King assassinations (among others) while regretting his failure as a writer of detective stories.
posted by groundhog at 9:14 AM on May 20, 2002

The Reyes speech was a highlight of the show. Her best moment with the series. And evidently she's going to be a jedi in episode III. Now THAT oughta turn Anakin back to the light side.
posted by gsteff at 9:39 AM on May 20, 2002

i like the war of the coprophages :) DIE BUG DIE!
posted by kliuless at 9:55 AM on May 20, 2002

I did not watch the finale, although it did cross my mind. I haven't watched religiously for almost 3 years, and I've never really looked back. Can't remember the last time i saw a complete episode.

Favorite episodes include the one with the cockroaches (you know which one I'm talking about) and the one where they tell the back story of the smoking man, how he's an aspiring writer, and all that.

Oh, and the one with the Cher songs playing while the fumigating tent goes over the house...
posted by schlaager at 10:06 AM on May 20, 2002

The only episode I ever watched was the one last week with the Virtual Brady Bunch house. Pretty entertaining.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:11 AM on May 20, 2002

Gotta second gsteff's mention of "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" (Peter Boyle as a reluctant psychic who forsees people's deaths) as my favorite episode.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:46 AM on May 20, 2002

My favorite scary episode: the one with Donnie Pfaster where he collected fingernails, fingers and hair from dead women...that made my skin crawl! My fave funny one: where Mulder switches identities with a Man in Black, played by Michael McKean.
posted by mariko at 11:59 AM on May 20, 2002

I liked the one William Gibson did about the sentient computer in the mobile home...

or maybe that's just because Gibson wrote it. Yeah, must be.
posted by shadow45 at 1:01 PM on May 20, 2002

Bad info, sorry... I don't think there's any reason to think Gish is in Episode III.
posted by gsteff at 1:47 PM on May 20, 2002

Irresistable is the one with Donnie Pfaster the shampooing serial killer. I almost listed it below, along with Paper Hearts and some others, but the following list is sufficient tribute to a tv series that I enjoyed so much I gave back a little, participating in a Scully Marathon last year. I woulda done it again this year but money's tight.

My original response to this thread got exceedingly long (longer than this even). I'll save the majority of my rambling for my own website. In a nutshell, I hated last night's finale. I've been very disappointed in X-Files since the movie, but have tuned in still whenever I could, hoping things would get better. Occasionally I'd see a glimpse of what it once was, but... well, below I list my favorite episodes. The majority of them are from the first four seasons. The acronym TOW means 'the one with/where/about' a la Friends episode titling. In brackets I've noted special guests with particularly impressive performances.

Squeeze/Tooms - TOsW a century old stretchy gross liver eater. [Doug Hutchison]
Fallen Angel/Tempus Fugit/Max - TOsW UFO enthusiast Max Fenig [Scott Bellis]
Eve - TOW evil clone girls killing their adopted parents. [Harriet Harris]
Ice - TOW We Are Not Who We Are/trapped in arctic with alien parasites. [Jeff Kober]
Beyond The Sea - TOW Scully's father dies. [Brad Dourif]
GenderBender - TOW the amish hermaphrodites.
Darkness Falls - TOW swarms of green carniverous light-hating flying bugs in the woods.
The Erlenmeyer Flask - TOW Deep Throat dies/Purity Control. [Jerry Hardin]
The Host - TOW flukeman the giant bloodsucking worm.
Duane Barry/Ascension/One Breath - TOsW Scully gets abducted. [Steve Railsback]
Die Hand Der Verletz - TOW evil occultists as school faculty/The Hand That Wounds.
Humbug - TOW Scully eats a bug/the circus sideshow freaks. [Vincent Schiavelli]
Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose - TOW a psychic insurance salesman. [Peter Boyle]
War of the Coprophages - TOW doctor bambi/alien bug probes scaring people to death.
Pusher - TOW a mind controlling loser dying of brain cancer. [Robert Wisden]
Hell Money - TOW a chinatown organ theft crime ring. [BD Wong]
Jose Chung's From Outer Space - TOW Alex Trebek & Jessie Ventura [Charles Nelson Reilly]
Wetwired - TOW Scully goes hypno psycho from television.
Home - the one with the inbreeding pig-people.
Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man - TOW CancerMan kills Kennedy.
Small Potatoes - TOW Van Blundht morphs into Mulder. [Darin Morgan]
How The Ghosts Stole Christmas - TOW Ed Asner & Lily Tomlin
This Is Not Happening - TOW things just get really really weird.
Improbable - TOW Burt Reynolds plays God.
John Doe - TOW Doggett gets amnesia and is lost in Mexico.
Sunshine Days - TOW the Brady Bunch.

With the end of the series it does feel like saying goodbye to an old friend, even though it was a friend who betrayed. The Shippers won. X-Files deteriorated into romantic drivel. Everything else became obstacles getting in the way of Mulder & Scully winding up in bed together. I could bleeping hurl.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:22 PM on May 20, 2002

Twin Peaks made more sense than last night's hogwash. Honestly. I could just hurl.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:27 PM on May 20, 2002

Like everything else in my life, I expected to be disapponted by the series finale. I was. It didn't make any sense, didn't wrap up anything (no surprise since Carter's pushing for another X-Files movie in '03 or '04) and I was so bored by it that I fell asleep around 9:20 (but woke up in time to see CSM get fried by the black helos; like I couldn't see that coming).

The big downfall of X-Files was when it got caught in the endless arc episode trap, took itself too seriously and lost it's darkly humourous nature. It stumbled badly in the last two seasons. Still, it's the best show of the scifi/horror paranoia style to come along since the original "Outer Limits".

Favorite episode not listed by ZacksMind (who covered most of the high points), the creepy, gory Sanguinarium, one of the few bits of TV that ever gave me repeated nightmares. You'll think twice about having plastic surgery after watching that one!
posted by mark13 at 8:25 PM on May 20, 2002

Worst. Episode. Ever.
posted by black8 at 10:24 PM on May 20, 2002

BTW I watched the Survivor Finale while taping the X-Files finale, because I thought I was gonna wanna save the X-Files finale, and Survivor was actually a better finale. And that says a lot cuz Survivor 4 was the most pathetic Survivor thus far. A woman peed on a gay guy's hand. Only one of them could actually walk on stilts. Some lunatic dumb guy thought he was the next Godfather. They voted off resourceful people and opted to be lazy, and the two who made it into the finals were the most lazy of all of them. It became a contest of who could avoid appearing to be the greatest survivor. Survivor sucked this year worse than in the past, and yet it was a better finale than X-Files. Really. I could hurl.

Sanguinarium was good. As was Paper Hearts, Leonard Betts, All Souls, and of course The Pilot. I could go on. There's a lot of good ones, particularly in the earlier seasons. However I tried to list what I felt were the very best episodes. The episodes I would recommend to someone who's not a fan of the show. The episodes that will never get old in reruns.

Ooh! How about a list of terrible stinkers that made me just roll my eyes? X-Files has had their fair share of those too.

The Jersey Devil - TOW Bigfoot in New Jersey.
Ghost In The Machine - TOW Die Hard versus 2001's HAL.
Fire - TOW a british pyromaniac and Mulder's ex-fling.
3 - TOW Mulder solo's & almost has sex with a vampire.
Soft Light - TOW the killer shadow dude.
the Anasazi/Blessing Way - TOsW they killed off Scully's sister.
DPO - TOW the lightning charged juvenile delinquent.
Teso dos Bichos - TOW rats, rats, more rats, and partial rat body parts.
Unruhe - TOW psychic passport photographs and a short balding serial killer who tries to poke Scully's eyes out to save her from the voices in his head.
The Field Where I Died - TOW Mulder regresses to his past lives.
Never Again - TOW Scully solos & gets a tatoo/Jodie Foster guest stars as a tatoo.
El Mundo Gira - TOW El Chupacabra.
Zero Sum - CancerMan frames Skinner.
Unusual Suspects - TOW The Lone Gunmen origin is painfully revealed.
Christmas Carol/Emily - TOW Scientific Scully uses dreams to solve mysteries/Scully learns she suddenly has a niece.
Kitsunegari - TOW Pusher Robert Modell returns/people die by being forced to pour blue paint all over themselves.
Chinga - TOW an evil china doll that makes people go crazy and kill themselves.

Oh heck. About 70% of all the episodes from season five to season nine. There's a couple exceptions, but - well from this point on I haven't seen every episode but the ones I have seen.. There was one about a werewolf that was worse than Wolf Lake. Or the two parter where Scully & Reyes had to drive to an isolated ghost town so she could give birth to her son in peace and then all these alien super soldiers showed up to give them a hard time. And I love to watch Robert Patrick's acting. The guy's a great actor, but the words Chris Carter put in his mouth were painful. They might as well put Patrick in a Barney dinosaur suit. Doggett was a thickheaded mule. I could hurl.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:31 PM on May 20, 2002

A few that haven't been mentioned:
"Arcadia": Mulder and Scully pose as Mr. and Mrs. Rob Petrie to look into a lethal homeowners association.
"Monday": Mulder unwittingly keeps reliving the same day , which for him always ends with him dead in a bank robbery.
"DPO": A teenager who can control lightning zaps a few people, including his buddy played by Jack Black.
"X-Cops": Mulder and Scully get involved with a case that's being followed by the guys from "COPS." Not the greatest plot, but a cool idea.
"Je Souhaite": The one with the genie.
"Clyde Bruckman," the cockroaches (Dr. Bambi -- hilarious), the William Gibson episode and fluke man are also great. But the Tooms episodes, especially the first one, are my faves. They're some of the creepiest television I've ever seen.
posted by diddlegnome at 2:21 AM on May 21, 2002

Well, I think Zach listed just about every episode ever. Care to do Space 1999 now?
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:19 AM on May 21, 2002

Space 1999 isn't a personal interest of mine, but thanks for the offer Kafka. *smirk* I liked that show when I was a kid but it doesn't hold my interest now. If this thread is to give X-Files a decent sendoff, we might as well walk down memory lane a bit and tip a hat to the most memorable episodes. I listed less than a fourth of all the episodes.

If you hate long lists that mean nothing, I can drop my list down to the eleven best, but others will undoubtedly disagree with my conclusions, and I can't put them in any order other than chronological.

Squeeze - "Spooky? Do you find me spooky?"
Beyond The Sea - "Didja get my message, Starbuck?"
The Host - "Nature didn't make this thing. We did."
Die Hand Der Verletz - "Toads just fell from the sky!"
Humbug - "Must have been something I ate."
Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose - "I'm not smiling. I'm wincing."
War of the Coprophages - "This is no place for an entymologist."
Pusher - "Please explain to me the scientific nature of the whammy."
Jose Chung's From Outer Space - "That's a bleeping dead alien body if I ever bleeping saw one."
Home - "There's something rotten in Mayberry."
Small Potatoes - "I was just here... Where did I go?"

Okay so the list still means nothing. It's still fun walking down memory lane, eh?
posted by ZachsMind at 1:14 PM on May 21, 2002

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