Top 10 Episodes (EVER!): The X-Files

Top 10 Episodes (EVER!): The X-Files

We’ve done the Top 10 Episodes of every season. Now it’s time for the Top 10 Episodes of The X-Files.

Ever. (Well, at least from the entire initial 9-year run.)

10. Piper Maru – February 9th, 1996

A superb episode. This one see’s Mulder off to Hong Kong to follow a lead, Scully pursuing her own trail and taking a brief emotional stroll down memory lane in the process, and Skinner paying the price for trying to do the right thing. Krycek also makes his return, and it’s safe to say that Mulder isn’t too pleased to see him again. The back and forth between Mulder and Jeraldine in Hong Kong is good and what IS the deal with that black oil, anyways?

9. Humbug – March 31st, 1995

While the show’s comedic timing has never been in doubt (based on some of the killer lines Mulder has busted out at the most unexpected times in previous episodes) this one is loaded with great dialogue juxtaposed with some bizarre imagery for some pretty solid laughs.

Staying true to the X-Files style they still bring the creepiness. The story’s main protagonist is a *detached* conjoined twin accused of murdering several circus “freaks” in their trailer park community.  Complete with an escape artist, the bearded lady and a former dog faced boy, this is a pretty fun episode to watch.  It also leaves you wanting more of Mulder and Scully flexing their comedic muscles.

8. War of the Coprophages – January 5th, 1996

A fantastically quirky episode that allows the viewers to watch Mulder and Scully flex those comedic muscles we first saw back in season 2.

The script is so sharp it’s almost as if the show is poking fun at itself at times when Scully keeps coming up with “reasonable” explanations for the constant victims Mulder comes across.

I’m a BIG fan of the show “breaking the fourth wall” with the use of a cockroach. This episode also started raising the bar as to where “The X-Files” could go as far as stories and how they wanted to tell them.  Especially when it comes to breaking away from established norms of television at the time.  Peppered with genuine laugh out loud moments, War of the Coprophages is one of the best in season 3.

7. The Erlenmeyer Flask – May 13th, 1994

The season 1 finale touches on one of the ongoing “mythologies” the series has started to generate, focusing on the possibility of extraterrestrial life and if the government has encountered them but choose to withhold the truth.

From that first car coming over the hill and getting some MAJOR air in the opening teaser, it’s non-stop until the end. Mulder gets roughed up, there is a man oozing a mysterious green liquid for blood, a human cloning project is being covertly run and Scully has to infiltrate a high security facility. “Deep Throat” makes another appearance, casting doubt at every turn as only his character can do. Having Mulder and Scully work together for the majority of the series thus far, it’s interesting to watch how the more scientifically minded Dana goes forward.  Especially once Fox and his ultimate faith and belief in the extraordinary is out of the picture.

Everything comes to a head in the final moments, and when the dust settles it looks like M&S have something more pressing to worry about. The way Mulder spits out Skinner’s name with pure disgust at the end shows just how upset he really is.  And frankly, it’s pretty funny.

6. E.B.E. – February 18th, 1994

This episode taps into the very essence of what the series was all about: What is the truth? – And in classic X-Files fashion, you’re still asking that question when the end credits roll.

Mulder and Scully are turned onto a case of what seems like a genuine UFO sighting and encounter, after interviewing a truck driver who was found in the very center of the experience. However, when they check out the trucker’s story, they find that everything he told them during their interview was a fabrication, a lie set up in hopes to throw M&S off from finding the truth. Much of the episode has both agents questioning who they can trust and what information is true after several leads turn out to be false. After several brief appearances throughout the season, we finally get to know a little more about the “Deep Throat” character, and start to wonder if he really can be trusted, as Mulder was led to believe.

There is a scene that HAS to be an homage to Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Conversation” (with Mulder playing the Gene Hackman role) as he practically tears his apartment apart trying to find a possible bug planted for audio surveillance by an unknown observer. That feeling of “being watched” carries through much of the episode and forces you to wonder if you can trust ANY new character you see on the screen.

This episode also marks the first appearance of Mulder’s paranoid conspiracy theory buddies The Lone Gunmen, and a very small part for 24’s Curtis, as an unnamed security guard. (How awesome was Curtis in 24? He’s right up there with Tony Almeida.) Covert surveillance, secret meetings and constant second guessing all make this for a very paranoid experience.

5. 731 – December 1st, 1995

The conclusion of what Nesei started, this one is about as intense as Mulder trapped in a train car with a ticking time bomb, an untrustworthy man claiming to be part of the NSA and an unknown humanoid who is potentially an alien/human hybrid can be.

Scully makes some headway on where she went when she was abducted.  We also get some insight on what the purpose of the implant in her neck was. You might recognize the “NSA” agent from “Watchmen”, where he played the older Hollis Mason, and also in “300” when he was Loyalist. He does a fantastic job and the scenes with him and Mulder in the train car are outstanding.

4. F. Emasculata – April 18th, 1995

Escaped Convicts.

Massive cover-up operation.

Dean Norris. (Hank from “Breaking Bad”)

…Huge boils on faces that act as an incubator for a parasitic insect. Did I mention they can rupture at any time spraying any unfortunate soul close enough and subsequently infecting them as well. Gross.

‘Nuff said. This episode was so good.  After watching the first time, I could have sworn it would be continued in a part two.

3. Home – October 14th, 1996

There will be no details divulged about “Home” – except that it was banned from syndication due to its disturbing subject matter. Which means it is a FANTASTICALLY creepy episode. It’s just something you have to see for yourself.

If you only watch one episode of The X-Files in preparation for its return in January 2016 – this is the one to watch.

2. The Host – September 23rd, 1994

This episode is so disgusting it’s fantastic.

You have a young Russian naval officer tasked with removing the blockage in an overflowing sewer system on a boat. He gets pulled in and eventually turns up dead in a sewer system in New Jersey. Disgusting.

You have a live parasitic organism that’s discovered within the organs of the dead Russian officer during the autopsy. Disgusting.

You have a sanitation worker that gets pulled underwater in the sewers of New Jersey and is bitten by some large, unknown creature resulting in another parasitic worm the victim later throws up while taking a shower. He would die as a result of the injuries the organism incurred. Disgusting.

You have the discovery of a cross between a human and a parasitic organism that lives IN sewage and its only way of reproducing is biting a victim so that their body can play host and gestate another organism. Disgusting.

You have a scene where this thing chooses to hide out in an outhouse, and we’re not talking above the seat. Disgusting.

This episode is one of the best they ever did when it came to the “monster of the week”, and with the fantastic job the makeup department did it certainly lives up to the name. Scully smile alert!

1. Ice – November 5th, 1993

This episode pretty much has you right from the beginning.  Two guys who are clearly not right in the head are fighting it out, and then both decide that the best way to settle their differences is to commit suicide SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Roll opening credits.

How’s that for an opening teaser? “Ice” gets right into it, as Mulder and Scully are matched up with a small collection of scientists and whisked away to an arctic location to investigate what caused an entire science team to kill themselves.

We soon learn that there is an infection caused by a worm-like creature that lives just under the skin of the host.  It was discovered deep inside the ice the scientists were sent to study. It doesn’t take long for us to learn that one of the team members gets infected.  Yet,as is the case in almost every other show or movie, he decides against coming forward and hides his infliction from everyone else. This is only the beginning as deaths start to occur, accusations are thrown around and paranoia begins to set in.

Mulder and Scully find themselves at odds with the other scientists, and eventually themselves, which makes for great drama. There is a scene midway through the episode where everyone is on edge about what is going on and it’s time to retire for the night. Each team member, wary of the other, retreats to their own separate quarters for fear of possibly being attacked by the other. There is a great “calm before the storm” feeling that is generated as the show focuses on each team member individually as they deal with the dire situation in their own way. As a viewer you KNOW something is going to go down, it’s just a matter of when.

Using the familiar theme of an unknown threat in a remote location, (John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi “The Thing” was a direct inspiration to this episode) and performances from a solid supporting cast, (yes, that’s Kenny Banya playing the ice specialist; I wonder if he ever called Uma’s number?) this episode is the very best season 1 has to offer.


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