Top 10 Episodes: The X-Files Season 3
With the addition of more supporting characters, multiple show “mythology” story arcs and further expansion into comedic episodes, the show really starts to hit its stride in season 3. This could easily be a top 15 or 16 but alas there is only room for 10. Here are the Top 10 Episodes of The X-Files, Season 3.
10. Quagmire – May 3rd, 1996
What are the odds an X-Files episode with the name “Quagmire”, also the name of Peter Griffin’s neighbor on ‘Family Guy’, has a scene involving a kid licking a toad to get some kind of high out of it, just like the plot of the ‘Family Guy’ episode “Let’s Go to the Hop”? Where was Lando Griffin when we needed him? Anyways. I digress.
This one was a lighter episode, with Mulder dragging Scully along in the pursuit of the Loch Ness Monster. What makes this installment Top 10 worthy is the time Mulder and Scully spend stranded on a rock in what they think is the middle of a lake. The conversation that takes place between them is fantastic and almost goofy. Something we rarely get to see out of M&S given the show’s usual grim and intense undertones. The subtle verbal jabs thrown between the two, and Mulder asking Scully “Are you coming on to me?” after she spews a ridiculous amount of dialogue full of big words and techno babble that only Mulder could find sexy is great. Overall, a fun episode to watch.
9. Pusher – February 23rd, 1996
The pair are tasked with trying to bring in a man who can basically “push” his will on anyone by talking to them and convincing them to do terrible things. Pretty freakin’ good. With an intense climactic scene and even some relationship growth between Mulder and Scully when it’s all said and done. Kudos to the show for once again thinking outside the box by putting the Fluke monster (from season two’s “The Host”) on the cover of a tabloid magazine seen in the grocery store in the opening teaser.
Also Curtis from “24” makes yet ANOTHER appearance, his third so far in the series, as a third different character. At this rate he should be a regular by the fifth season.
Scully smile alert!
8. Talitha Cumi – May 17th, 1996
Wait, so Mulder’s mom knew about the shape shifters and had one of their piercing weapons hidden all these years? There are more clones and apparently they can shape shift as well? Just who IS Mr. X and what are his intentions after all? The bounty hunter is back and he looks determined. Also, the Smoking Man keeps raising more and more questions. A fantastic season finale. Bring on the season 4 premiere!
7. Wetwired – May 10th, 1996
Somebody is going around installing devices in TV cable boxes that send subliminal signals to the viewers causing paranoia and violence. Off the start the episode doesn’t seem like anything special but then Scully is affected and it’s on. Anytime Mulder and Scully are at odds the drama ramps up and that trend continues in “Wetwired”. This episode also has a bit of a false ending. You’d think once the issues are resolved between M&S that would be it but noooooo…. Keep watching because Mr. X is back, and the final scene is a shocker.
6. Paper Clip – September 29th, 1995
In a continuation of the season premiere, Mulder returns, Skinner chooses a side and we see files…..a LOT of files.
What a cool sequence when Mulder and Scully come upon this massive filing system that includes BOTH their names for a purpose they still aren’t sure of.
Let’s not forget about the UFO Mulder spots flying overhead OR a bunch of tiny aliens running past Scully brushing up against her shins. How does one have ANY skepticism after experiencing something like that?
After a season of not being sure which side of the fence Skinner is on, it looks like he’s siding with the good guys and we’re happy to have him.
5. Apocrypha – February 16th, 1996
A conclusion to what “Piper Maru” started, with some good chase scenes and an unfortunate ending for Krycek. Scully shows her instincts are on point when it came to Skinner lying alone in the hospital. We see that Mulder and The Smoking Man have more of a connection than we thought – in the form of a flashback involving Mulder’s father. Should be interesting to see how Mulder reacts when he finds out his dad was hanging with Captain Cancer Sticks back in the day.
Another Scully smile alert! She also cracks one in Piper Maru, making it back to back episodes seeing those pearly whites.
4. Nisei – November 24th, 1995
The first of a two-parter, and it’s a dandy of a set-up.
Scully comes across a collection of women who have also been “taken” and have very little memories of the experience. (referencing Scully’s abduction near the start of season 2) Mulder is hot on the trail of trying to find out if an “alien autopsy” video he purchased for $29.95 has any legitimacy to it. After pursuing his leads it seems that more and more all signs are pointing towards this tape being legit. Mr. X is back, Skinner is in the mix and there is a moving train that Mulder wants to get on despite the insistence of Scully on the other side of the phone telling him not too…stay tuned!
3. 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?
2. 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.
1. 731 – December 1st, 1995
The conclusion of what Nesei started, this one is about as intense with Mulder trapped in a train car, 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.
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.