Welcome to the first entry in the Uncovering The X-Files column! For the next 9 weeks I’m going to take a look at each season of the “The X-Files” and break down some of the major events, discuss how adorable Scully and Mulder are, highlight what I think are the best episodes of the season and more. There will be spoilers so if you’re new to the show, you may want to look away. Let’s jump into things right at the beginning with season 1.
In what will become one of the very best partnerships and romance in television history, “Pilot” introduces us to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Fox Mulder is one of the brightest agents at the F.B.I but after spending some time profiling criminals and finding success in that he decided to pursue the X-Files. The X-Files are cases featuring unexplained phenomena and as he grew obsessed with the cases he earned the nickname “Spooky Mulder”. After a couple of years on these cases the F.B.I. assigned Special Agent Dana Scully (she’s a medical doctor) to the X-Files to assist Mulder and report on the validity of the work. Dana Scully trained as a doctor but was recruited to the F.B.I. and joined so she could distinguish herself from other graduates and do important work. In “Pilot” their differing opinions are established right away. Scully (a medical doctor) is a skeptic and from the very beginning she challenges Mulder’s claims about alien abductions. This is a dynamic that will exist for quite some time until circumstances cause Scully’s views to change and at a certain point cause Mulder to begin to doubt what he’s worked on.
The Alien Mythology Begins
“The X-Files” pretty much mastered the “monster of the week” format but over the 9 seasons it aired it told an at times very confusing alien invasion story. The pilot and second episode attacks this immediately. Scully and Mulder’s first case involves an alien abduction in Oregon. A young woman named Karen Swenson is seen in the woods when she’s approached by some kind of bright light. The bright light surrounds her and she is killed. Mulder shows Scully, in their first meeting, evidence of strange phenomena including marks on her body, a substance found nearby and bodies in other states left in similar states. Once in Oregon the two of them experience technical problems on their airplane and again their car. Mulder spray paints a giant X that will come into play a tiny bit in a later season. During the investigation they exhume the bodies of victims and discover an definitely non-human mummified corpse. Scully thinks this is a practical joke but continues to investigate and she then finds a metallic implant in the body. This is something she can’t figure out. After speaking to other young adults in town, Mulder reveals that he believes this is the work of extraterrestrials and later while in the woods gathers dirt that she can analyze. As the pilot goes on, they get to know Theresa Nemman and Billy Miles. Theresa comes to the two of them looking for help and she tells them her story of what happened in the woods. Billy Miles is another victim in this but is initially thought of as a willing participant in the killings. He is taken control of by aliens with Scully and Mulder eventually witnessing the control the aliens have over him in the forest. They continue to gather evidence but when they get to their hotel they find that there has been a fire and everything they had, except for the bit of dirt Scully kept, was destroyed. Back at the F.B.I. Scully cannot provide the evidence needed to prove to Blevins that what she saw was true.
“The X-Files” has a pilot that hits you with a lot of heavy science fiction but it’s one of the only shows that I ever watched that truly grabbed me from the very beginning of it’s run. I saw this and there was no way I was turning away for good. I’ve seen a lot of shows that are called “modern classics” but there has been no pilot I consider better than this one. You get everything you’ll need from this from the alien mythology, the mystery surrounding the show’s biggest villain but more importantly you get a great introduction to the two protagonists that we have to care about. These early episodes, visually, are dated but the show still feels unlike anything else anyone has done. Lots of shows, especially procedurals, have followed in the footsteps of this show with their male/female “will they won’t they” couples but no one really set the tone a well as “The X-Files” did in it’s pilot.
The second episode introduces us to Deep Throat, another character who will be important to Scully and Mulder in the early going of the series. He works on the inside and supplies Mulder with important information about the ongoing alien government conspiracy. Initially he seemingly tries to keep Mulder away but this just fuels his need to investigate further. Mulder investigates a crash that he thinks was a UFO and this investigation brings he and Scully face to face with the highest levels of security in the United States government. They are pushed away multiple times and in the second episode, Mulder sees what he’s always wanted to prove but that is taken away with a mind wiping drug. Deep Throat ends up being crucial to what happens to Mulder and Scully as far as their alien investigation. He provides the information Mulder needs to continue his mission, getting Scully as far as seeing an actual frozen alien embryo in “The Erlenmeyer Flask”. Deep Throat offers information but he stops whenever Mulder gets close to exposing things. He wants Mulder to know things but he doesn’t want the knowledge public because it would cause Deep Throat to risk his life. Deep Throat is killed in the season finale and for all the things I think the show gets right, the death of Deep Throat so early on was a mistake. It had a big impact in the sense that it was a hell of a way to end a season but the character was such a great addition to the bigger mystery. He was an inside man and as the show progressed, I always wondered what things would have been like if he were still around. He goes years without being mentioned but because he provided so much information to Mulder in the first year, his impact is felt throughout the whole series.
Enter The Cigarette Smoking Man
The Cigarette Smoking Man is a character who will become vital to the series. He’s the big bad of the series and he has a history that could fill an entire series all on it’s own. In the first episode, he comes in and shows off his influence. He has access to things that no one else does and he has immeasurable power in the shadows of the F.B.I and the Pentagon. He will work to keep the truth hidden and as the series progresses, we’ll see just how deep his involvement with the aliens are. The first season is just a small tease of what he’s capable of so I’ll leave it here for the time being.
http://www.geekedoutnation.com/uncovering-the-x-files-part-1/Most Notable Episodes