Top 10 Episodes: The X-Files Season 4

Top 10 Episodes: The X-Files Season 4

Season 4 has the distinction of being the season that is “Home” to one of the most disturbing, yet popular episodes of the entire series. If there is one episode that every X-Philes fan remembers, it is the number 1 episode of this Top 10.

Season 4 is also when Mulder’s part in his hair moved to the centre, (a very mid-90’s look) and introduced us to Marita Covarrubias.  A character (and name) that never really caught on and may have been meant to replace Mr. X. Marita will be much more popular with Walking Dead fans as they recognize her as someone else – Andrea.

Here is a countdown of the Top 10 Episodes of season 4 of The X-Files.  Beware the Peacock family.

10. Demons – May 11th, 1997

Mulder wakes up in a hotel room unsure how he got there and covered in blood. Upon calling for Scully’s help and further investigating, it looks as though Mulder may be responsible for a double homicide with quite a bit of evidence stacked against him.

The memories Mulder is trying to access tie into his sister’s disappearance and what really happened all those years ago, with a young Smoking Man apparently part of the mix. Fox has some pretty heavy accusations for his mother and once again Scully shows quite a bit of patience in trying to help her ailing partner. How about that “futuristic” tech in the doctor’s office?

9. Unrequited – February 23rd, 1997

This week’s phenomena: Invisibility.

High ranking military officials are being murdered and it’s up to Mulder and Scully to find out who is responsible. The killer leaves virtually no trace but it is discovered that he has the ability to “shield” himself from his targets field of vision, thus making himself virtually invisible.

It is an interesting concept and it turns out his cause is just. Another episode that takes the “Tarantino” approach, opening with what will eventually be the climactic scene.

8. Zero Sum – April 27th, 1997

This episode opens up with a postal worker getting attacked by thousands of bees in the ladies room while on a break from work. Then we cut to Skinner deleting all records of the case off Mulder’s computer. Then he goes to the crime scene and cleans it up erasing all evidence of it ever happening. THEN he goes to the morgue, steals the body and disposes of it in an incinerator. THEN he assumes the identity of Mulder and gains access to the victim’s blood work and swaps it out for a new sample!! AND THEN!….

You can see where we’re going with this. There is a lot happening in “Zero-Sum” as this is a continuation of one of the series’ larger story arcs. Skinner (who apparently is a briefs kinda guy) is covertly working for The Smoking Man in return for some important medical information (or so he was told). The Smoking Man has Skinner jumping through hoops, a thorough Mulder picks up on this anyways and is unknowingly investigating his own boss…just be sure to pay attention. It’s a goodie.

7. Tempus Fugit – March 16th, 1997

An episode that is the tale of two halves; the first half is your standard M&S story of trying to crack a conspiracy and find out who or what is responsible for the crash of a commercial airliner.

The second half of “Tempus Fugit” has a runway car chase that involves a game of chicken with a landing jumbo jet, a bar shoot-out, an unidentified flying object, and Mulder snorkeling and coming across someone that is not of this world. All the makings of another two-parter!

6. Tunguska – November 24th, 1996

So both Krycek and the black oil are back. Well, well, well. Considering how we left Krycek the last time we saw him one wouldn’t think it possible but there he is. And now he’s vulnerable and under Mulder’s control. Boy oh boy, is Mulder taking advantage of THAT.

Although well deserved, Mulder’s treatment of Krycek borders on cruel. However it is quite entertaining none-the-less. Mulder better enjoy getting his shots in while he can because, come the episode’s end, it looks like the agent with a grudge is in one HECKUVA pickle.  We’re not too sure Scully can charge to the rescue this time. “To Be Continued” here we come!

5. Unruhe – October 27th, 1996

Scully falls victim to a kidnapper who lobotomizes his victims to “cure” them of the horrors they apparently have in their heads. The only clue this guy leaves behind which he is unaware of at first are psychic photographs – pictures that reveal his darkest fears and fantasies. It’s a cool idea and an interesting scene when Mulder and a technician are breaking down the imagery in a picture to search for clues on the kidnapper.

4. Leonard Betts – January 26th, 1997

An EMT that has the ability to not only regenerate a new head but even a whole new body.  He murders his former co-worker to maintain his secret and Mulder and Scully are on the case to figure out just what this person is and how he does the things he does.

It turns out Leonard Betts has cancer in every cell of his body, can “see” cancer in other people and actually ingests cancerous cells to stay alive. The scene with M&S elbow-deep in a body-part waste disposal in the hospital searching for Betts’ head is quite…gross.

In what seems like a one-off episode Betts drops a bomb on Scully during the penultimate scene; he tells her she has something he needs:

Cancerous cells.

Scully’s life is about to change in a big way…

3. Gethsemane – May 18th, 1997

It’s the season finale and they certainly bring the heat in this one.

The very core and fabric of the X-Files is put to the test.  Most notably, Mulder’s belief in his life’s work. This is made evident near the start of the episode as Scully has been summoned to a meeting of the FBI higher ups of to report on her work with the X-Files over the past four years. However, this also takes place after the opening scene that has Scully reporting to Mulder’s apartment – to identify a body.

A cool use of real life footage from the past with a young Carl Sagan adds an authentic quality to Mulder’s beliefs.  Apparently, Scully had a brother all this time that we never met. After mostly seeing shots of aliens in shadows and brief glimpses here and there, it’s neat to finally have Mulder see one in plain sight, despite the question of it being genuine or not.

Scully’s final line of the episode is quite the dagger and must have made the summer of 1997 pret-t-ty long for X-Philes everywhere.

2. Paper Hearts – December 15th, 1996

The ongoing mystery of what really happened to Mulder’s sister is addressed in this episode as a dream had by Fox leads to a victim of a serial killer being found and the realization that there are still more missing victims that were previously unknown.

With the exception of the dream connection between Mulder and the killer, the paranormal element in this one is rather light as it is based more on “good old fashioned” police work. That doesn’t take away from the intensity whatsoever.  The interactions between Mulder and the killer are very good with Scully getting emotionally involved as well. What appears to be a streetcar “graveyard” makes for a very unique setting during the episodes climax, and hey! – Mulder in glasses! He hasn’t worn those since what, season 1? Overall, “Paper Hearts” is a VERY solid entry in season 4.

1. 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.

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