Top 10 Episodes: The X-Files Season 5
10. The Red and the Black – March 8th, 1998
A continuation of what “Patient X” started, with Scully being hypnotized the highlight. We see some pretty cool visuals during her experience, and the end of the episode is also exciting as Mulder climbs onto a truck in order to see what is being smuggled off a military base. It’s possible what Mulder experiences (and an earlier visit from an old “friend”) may lead him to come back around into believing what he’s pursued all these years.
9. Bad Blood – February 22nd, 1998
The X-Files takes the comedy route in this episode, and while the subject matter is a little over-the-top (vampires) the method in which they tell the story is well done. Taking advantage of telling the same story from two different perspectives, we witness how Scully see’s Mulder through her eyes, and vice versa. The resulting caricatures of Mulder & Scully is fantastic, not to mention the way Mulder remembers Luke Wilson’s character (yes, Mitch from “Old School” Luke Wilson). Perhaps not the most paranormal episode you’ll ever see, but definitely an entertaining one.
8. Redux II – November 9th, 1997
Everything comes to a head in the last 5 minutes of this three-episode long arc, and it is quite the climax. One constant throughout and is most evident in “Redux II” is the relationship between Mulder and Scully and the strength they both get from each other. With such willingness to sacrifice one to save the other, it’s no surprise they make such a great team, or that their relationship as the series progresses begins to grow beyond the professional realm.
Mulder’s sister makes another appearance in the flesh, but is she the real McCoy? Considering who brought her to meet Fox, there is plenty of reason to doubt her validity.
7. Patient X – March 1st, 1998
They’re baaaaack. Krycek and the shape shifters have returned, albeit with a bit of a make-over for the latter. Also a bit of change is the standpoint and beliefs of our two agents. After being introduced to a multiple abductee named Cassandra (played by Veronica Cartwright, who was part of the stellar cast of the 1979 Ridley Scott classic “Alien”), Mulder is forced to dash her hopes of any of Fox’s insight as he has become extremely wary of all he believed due to events that took place at the start of this season. No longer is Mulder the believer, he’s become the skeptic. Meanwhile, Scully is the one that is starting to believe in the alien abduction story, as she and Cassandra share some similarities, most notable the implants in their necks, which Cassandra has never had interest to remove. We’re also introduced to Agent Spender, a fellow FBI agent that is conveniently Cassandra’s son. We’ve seen this actor before as he has played a younger version of the Smoking Man in flashbacks throughout the series. Is there a reason they would cast an actor we’ve seen several times before in a key role? We’ll have to keep watching…
6. Redux – November 2nd, 1997
I hope you like voice-overs.
In the season premiere and a continuation of the story started in season 4’s finale, Mulder and Scully decide that turnabout is fair play and decide to fight fire with fire. They have apparently been lied to for years, so it’s time to do a little lying back and get to the truth. Scully’s cancer and where it came from is on the verge of being exposed, while Mulder’s life’s work may have been all for not since the beginning.
Some good use of actual historical footage is shown in “Redux” to help bring legitimacy to the story, (also some flashback visuals to the very first X-Files episode – oh how young M&S were!) and don’t look now but this tale STILL isn’t over. Another “To Be Continued”, making this bad boy a three parter!
5. Detour -November 23rd, 1997
So the concept might be a little hokey, nature manifesting itself into camouflaged beings that are fighting back against commercial development buuuuuut…it’s still a good episode. Also the fact that Mulder and Scully are hunting these almost invisible creatures in the forest has a similarity to a 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger action/sci-fi movie might have something to do with it as well. There is also a fun scene similar to “Quagmire” from season 3 that has our two heroes “stranded” with nothing to do but have some rather interesting conversations, and we even get to hear Scully sing.
Yes, Scully singing. A fun episode.
4. The Post-Modern Prometheus – November 30th, 1997
Comedy. Tragedy. Fantasy. This entirely black and white surreal storybook episode exists just above reality and is presented in a way that only The X-Files could deliver. It is certainly one of THE most outside-the-box episodes they ever did, is fun to watch, and has a great ending which involves a performance from Cher (sort of). Jerry Springer and J. Peterman (from “Seinfeld” for the uninitiated) also appear in this beauty.
3. Kill Switch – February 15th, 1998
We open with a man talking to his laptop sitting alone in a diner. Then we watch as several different groups of low-lives get anonymous tips to unknowingly all go to this same diner for different reasons. Put all these guys in the same place, the US Marshalls show up and the Metro Diner becomes a war zone.
It turns out the loner with the computer was a prominent figure back in the day when it came to the development of the internet, and computers in general. From here the episode deals with software, hacking, tracking systems and the piece de resistance: artificial intelligence. What’s most fun about this episode is the technobabble and all the “high-tech” computers and programs there are – for 1998. What used to be amazing and so advanced is fun to look back at, and we even hear a good old fashioned dial-up connection.
(Computer monitors used to be so big…..)
2. The Pine Bluff Variant – May 3rd, 1998
Ooooooo this one is intense.
Mulder is working undercover trying to determine where a terrorist group attained bioweapons, and who developed it. The weapon has the effect of eating away human flesh (“Its gas that melts your face, Isaac.” Dead Space 3?… Xbox 360? Anyone?) and a scene in a movie theatre full of corpses watching “Die Hard with a Vengeance” makes that extremely evident. A bank robbery scene later in the episode is also very cool, with all the thieves (including Mulder) wearing assorted Halloween masks for cover.
Bernard from LOST is one of the guest stars, and one of the main antagonists is Mr. Krueger himself, from Seinfeld. (Kay-OO-gar!)
1. Mind’s Eye – April 19th, 1998
A very interesting concept in this one as young woman who has been blind since birth can actually “see” through the eyes of a killer.
Lili Taylor does a great job playing the character of Marty Glenn, and her attitude towards Mulder is compelling as it starts off cold but ends with tenderness. It’s an impactful scene as Marty “see’s” herself for the first time when she is in police custody – being watched by the man she has this unique connection with. A good story with some solid performances makes this installment of the better stand-alone episodes of season 5.