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Season Three

49- THE BLESSING WAY 3-1

WRITER: CARTER

DIR.: GOODWIN

Mulder (rescued and nursed back to health by Navajo healers) has his near-death encounter with Dad, who urges him to return to the living and complete his search for the truth. Back in D.C., Scully--convinced Mulder is alive--is suspended for helping conceal the MJ files and discovers a computer chip implant in the base of her neck. What could that mean? Historic moments: We meet the Well-Manicured Man (John Neville)--part of the mysterious New York-based consortium that seems to be pulling all the strings. And Mulder discovers an old photo linking his father with Cancer Man and Deep Throat, among others. Critique: Skinner rocks big time and provides a knockout finale. B

50- PAPER CLIP 3-2

WRITER: CARTER

DIR.: BOWMAN

The title of the final third of this triptych refers to Operation Paper Clip, a postwar alliance formed in the wake of the Roswell discovery and seemingly bent on creating human-alien hybrids. Mulder and Scully are reunited and meet former Nazi scientist (and OPC member) Victor Klemper, who directs them to an abandoned coal mine containing the medical records and tissue samples of virtually everyone born after 1954. And Skinner, now holding the MJ tape, takes on Cancer Man in the hopes of reinstating Mulder and Scully. Historic moments: Scully's sister is killed by Krycek; Scully seeks to uncover the meaning of the implant; Mulder learns why his sister was taken instead of him. Critique:Outstanding episode, but it exacerbates a maddening trend: Scully has literally "made contact" but will not or cannot open her mouth about it. B

51- D.P.O 3-3

WRITER: GORDON

DIR.: MANNERS

A videogame geek--Darin Peter Oswald--turns out to be a lightning conduit. He uses his power to destroy his enemies, barbecue the occasional cow, and impress his schoolteacher crush. Creative casting: My Two Dads' Giovanni Ribisi as the sardonic Oswald, everyone's suburban teen nightmare. Critique: Not much in the way of action, but this episode has excellent photography. C+

52- CLYDE BRUCKMAN'S FINAL REPOSE 3-4

WRITER: DARIN MORGAN

DIR.: NUTTER

A serial killer is preying on the fortune-tellers of St. Paul, Minn. When one of the bodies is discovered by insurance salesman Clyde Bruckman, Mulder and Scully are introduced to a true, if reluctant, prognosticator who tells them more than they want to know. Creative casting: Peter Boyle, as the beleaguered Bruckman, delivers the series' most hilarious performance. Critique: Boyle gets lots of help from another superlative, laugh-a-minute script (for which Morgan won Emmy). Nicely captures one of the overarching themes of the show: fate and man's isolation. A

53- THE LIST 3-5

WRITER: CARTERxeg3lil.JPG (16686 bytes)

DIR.: CARTER

An executed murderer makes an electric-chair vow of reincarnation and revenge, promising five deaths as payment for his. When a guard is found murdered, Mulder and Scully must determine whether it's penal politics or transmigration of the soul. Creative casting: Ever-evil J.T. Walsh (Dark Skies) as the warden; Ken (Dawn of the Dead) Foree as a guard. Critique: Standard but well executed, if you will, and one of the show's few unsolved mysteries, as it were. B+

54- 2 SHY 3-6

WRITER: JEFFREY VLAMING

DIR.: NUTTER

Translator of Renaissance Italian poetry Virgil Incanto (!) is a chat-room chubby chaser whose genetic mutation requires him to literally suck the fat out of his victims. If that's not scary enough, this plot is set in Cleveland. Critique: Incanto (Timothy Carhart) is yet another fine example of an unassuming villain (Ó la Eugene Tooms and Donnie Pfaster) with strange physiological predilections. Lots of yucks (and we don't mean laughs). B-

55- THE WALK 3-7

WRITER: JOHN SHIBAN

DIR.: BOWMAN

Through astral projection, Leonard Trimble, a bitter, quadruple amputee Gulf War vet, is making life hell for his former superiors: After killing all their loved ones, he forces the officers to live alone with their presumed guilt. Critique: If you're going to repeat mind-over-matter murder again, at least come up with a couple of transcendent characters. C

56- OUBLIETTE 3-8

WRITER: CHARLES GRANT CRAIG

DIR.: MANNERS

Kidnap survivor Lucy Householder simultaneously manifests the experiences of her abductor's latest victim. Mulder uses her condition as a road map to solving the crime and in the process is once again reminded of his sister's disappearance. Critique: Scully's in aggressive I'm-not-buying-it mode, and what should be a roller coaster of terror isn't, but worth it for Lucy's channeling sequences and the dramatic ending. B-

57- NISEI 3-9

WRITERS: CARTER/GORDON/SPOTNITZ

DIR.: NUTTER

A suspiciously realistic alien autopsy tape puts Mulder on the trail of a salvaged alien craft, a clandestine group of Japanese doctors who appear to be experimenting on alien life-forms, and a secret railroad on which these postmortems are taking place. X advises Scully to dissuade Mulder from pursuing the train. But does he listen? Historic moments: Lots of excitement for Scully. She's "recognized" by a kaffeeklatsch of abduction survivors; she finally seeks the meaning of her extracted implant-cum-computer chip, with help from Agent Pendrell (Brendan Beiser), a semi-regular Scully luster; and she identifies one of the doctors on Mulder's tape in a flashback of her abduction, opening up the possibility that it wasn't aliens who took her. Critique: Mulder and Scully on separate--but equally gripping--ground. A

58-      731     3-10

WRITER: SPOTNITZ

DIR.: BOWMAN

Continuing where "Nisei" left off, Mulder discovers that a secret railway car contains not an extraterrestrial, but an alien-human hybrid. Moreover, the car has been rigged with a bomb, and he's trapped with an assassin sent to kill the cargo. Meanwhile, Scully has stumbled upon a modern-day Holocaust at a West Virginia research facility, where massive graves are filled with what appear to be the same kind of hybrid Mulder has discovered. Critique: Strangely tension-free, and another one of those episodes where Scully's bullheaded allegiance to provable fact makes you want to slap her. B

59- REVELATIONS 3-11

WRITER: KIM NEWTON

DIR.: NUTTER

Scully plays guardian angel--and scrutinizes her own lapsed Catholicism-- while protecting a boy, "chosen by God," who is being pursued by a serial killer of supposed stigmatics. Historic moment: Despite her ever-present cross, Scully has never addressed her faith until now. Presents a nice paradox for her science-driven character. Creative casting: The usually monstrous Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes)as Owen Jarvis, the boy's saintly and "incorruptible" protector. Critique: Strangely, this script's inventiveness derives from its choice of the most mainstream paranormality of all--Christianity. Bonus points for the always welcome Scully/Mulder role reversal (she believes in the face of his disbelief). A-

60- WAR OF THE COPROPHAGES 3-12

WRITER: DARIN MORGAN

DIR.: MANNERS

Roaches appear to be overrunning a Massachusetts town in this homage to '50s horror classics like The Blob, replete with cheesily ominous soundtrack and a crazed local populace. Creative casting: Bobbie Phillips (Murder One) as Bambi Berenbaum, the bodacious entomologist who elicits moon eyes from Mulder and eye rolling from Scully. (Personal aside: Phillips has since gotten booed at an X-Files convention for coming between Mulder and Scully.) Critique: Irreverent camp that's infested with laughs (and creepy-crawlies) but throws credibility out the window. A

 61- SYZYGY      3-13

WRITER: CARTER

DIR.: BOWMAN

Heathers has got nothing on teen hell-raisers Margi and Terri, who gleefully eliminate their high school foes one by one. Then again, the entire town of Comity seems to be exhibiting bizarre behavior--including a vodka-swilling Mulder and a butt-smoking Scully. The cause? An extremely rare planetary alignment resulting in a grand square, a geological vortex, a"cosmic G-spot." Fine. Whatever. Creative casting: Wendy Benson and Lisa Robin Kelly as the not-so-clueless teens with the "hate him, hate him, wouldn't want to date him" mantra. Critique: Another uproarious send-up, this time of teen venom, B-movie paranoia, and our agents' painfully restrained rapport. Also includes one of Mulder's and Scully's funniest exchanges. Scully: "Why do you always have to drive? Because you're the guy? Because you're the big, macho man?" Mulder: "No, I was just never sure your little feet could reach the pedals." A

62- GROTESQUE     3-14

WRITER: GORDON

DIR.: MANNERS

FBI legend and longtime Mulder foe Bill Patterson inexplicably enlists Mulder's help in catching a murderous gargoyle prone to mutilating its victims' faces. Critique: Dark and scary as Mulder dives into a killer's mind with the viewer wondering if he really could be the killer. B

63- PIPER MARU      3-15

WRITERS: SPOTNITZ/CARTER

DIR.: BOWMAN

A French salvage ship arrives in San Diego with its crew dying of radiation burns, which tips Mulder off to possible alien contact. Indeed, this introduces us to a whole new extraterrestrial life force--one that enters and leaves humans as an oily film. Mulder travels to Hong Kong in search of--what else?--the truth and encounters the now renegade Krycek, still in possession of the MJ file. Historic moment: Skinner gets shot for his persistent investigation of Scully's sister's death. Critique: A tough and sentimental Scully and action-packed detective work by Mulder enhance an already crackling scenario. B+

64- APOCRYPHA      3-16

WRITERS: SPOTNITZ/CARTER

DIR.: MANNERS

In this conclusion to "Piper Maru," we learn the twisted history and subsequent cover-up of the oily alien and its downed craft. Mulder escorts Krycek back to the U.S. to retrieve the MJ file--only Krycek isn't exactly himself. Historic moments: In a flashback to 1953, we see a young Cancer Man and Mulder Sr., already knee-deep in "plausible deniability;" Mulder comes face to face with the Well-Manicured Man; the Lone Gunmen on ice (as in skates). Critique: Some interesting progressions in the grand theme,though worth it just for the awesome missile site finale. B 

65- PUSHER 3-17

WRITER: VINCE GILLIGAN

DIR.: BOWMAN

Pusher, a self-styled American ninja, has the ability to cloud the minds of his victims and wreak psychokinetic mayhem. Historic moment: Pusher to Skinner: "Take a walk, Mel Cooley." This just before the assistant director is beaten up--by a girl! Critique: Much inscrutable warmth between Mulder and Scully parallels some inscrutable detective work. But the climactic mental tug-of-war between Mulder and Pusher makes up for any lapses in logic. A-

66- TESO DOS BICHOS 3-18

WRITER: JOHN SHIBAN

DIR.: MANNERS

Archaeologists in the Ecuadorean highlands (of Vancouver!) unearth the remains of an Amaru--a female shaman--thus unleashing its vengeful jaguar spirit. When the Amaru's urn is moved to a Boston museum, the deadly cat is out of the bag. Critique: íNo es bueno! D-

67- HELL MONEY 3-19

WRITER: VLAMING

DIR.: TUCKER GATES

A clandestine Chinese racket is preying upon recent immigrants through a grotesque raffle, which in turn is a vehicle to supply a black market with human body parts. Bingo was never like this. Creative casting: B.D. Wong (M. Butterfly)as a Chinatown cop whose loyalties are questioned by Mulder and Scully. Critique: Gorgeously shot--particularly the lush, smoky gaming sequences. Ironically, the twisted grotesquery of this story makes you think it must be based on a true story.(Not so, says Carter.) B

68- JOSE CHUNG'S 'FROM OUTER SPACE' 3-20

WRITER: DARIN MORGANxeg3lil2.JPG (12778 bytes)

DIR.: BOWMAN

Told in flashback via an interview with Scully by "nonfiction science-fiction" novelist Jose Chung, this is a character-by-character (or should we say caricature-by-caricature) recounting of an alien visitation. Creative casting: The adorably flaky Charles Nelson Reilly as Chung; if that weren't enough, pro wrestling's Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek appear as two Men in Black. Critique: A series so bleepin' ripe for parody brilliantly turns the tables on itself. Two (of many) guffaw-worthy moments: Mulder's squeal and the smoking alien. A

69- AVATAR 3-21

WRITER: GORDON STORY: DUCHOVNY/GORDON

DIR.: JAMES CHARLESTON

Cancer Man and Co. seek to discredit Assistant Director Skinner and frame him for murder by exploiting a nightmare that has haunted him since Vietnam--the vision of a haglike, murderous succubus. Critique: Good just for the hooker shock value, even though the succubus seemed unnecessarily thrown in just to make this an x-file. C+

70- QUAGMIRE 3-22

WRITER: NEWTON

DIR.: MANNERS

"Scully, do you think you could ever cannibalize someone?" This is Mulder's idea of small talk when stranded with his partner on a rock while in search of a legendary prehistoric lake monster--that's Mulder's theory on what's killing local citizens, anyway. Scully, well, you know... Creative casting: The stoner kid of "War of the Coprophages" turns up again with a whole new way to get high. Critique: Notable only for Mulder and Scully's classic Moby Dick digression. But, hey, the show kinda had to tackle Loch Ness. B

71- WETWIRED 3-23

WRITER: MAT BECK

DIR.: BOWMAN

A tweaked cable-TV signal is turning people's anxieties into psychosis, and Scully discovers the true dangers of couch potato-dom. Historic moment: X and Cancer Man make their relationship known. Or do they? Critique: Anderson gives good unhinged. B+

 72- TALITHA CUMI 3-24

WRITER: CARTER STORY: DUCHOVNY/CARTER

DIR.: GOODWIN

The Project. The Process. Colonization. These are the cryptic terms thrown around in this third season-ender. What do we really learn? That there's a renegade alien clone, Jeremiah Smith, who is challenging "the greater purpose" represented by Cancer Man, and that Smith is being stalked by the Bounty Hunter, last seen in episode 40. Plus, a visit from Cancer Man to Mulder's mother reveals an unexplained relationship between them. Creative casting: Roy Thinnes (of 1995's sci-fi miniseries The Invaders) as the messianic Smith. Critique: Another frustratingly provocative cliff-hanger, and a tour de force Cancer Man-Jeremiah Smith confrontation. "That is really a summation of my feelings about science," says Carter. "That it has definitely usurped religion and can explain everything now. [Cancer Man's] speech was greatly inspired by 'The Grand Inquisitor' chapter of The Brothers Karamazov, where the Inquisitor imprisons Christ and won't let him speak." A-

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Episode Guide: Season 5

Season 1

Season 6

Season 2

Season 7

Season 3

Season 8

Season 4

Season 9