In 1993 a very different television show hit our screens. At the time sit-coms were the norm on cable television and the ratings were so saturated with the genre that anything new would have been refreshing, enter the X-Files. The show followed the exploits of Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, two F.B.I agents who investigated cases that had a paranormal aspect to them.
The overarching story for the entirety of the series followed Fox’s continued search for proof of extraterrestrial life. This story is what kept the series going for nine seasons and is what excited fans and brought them to their television sets.
Outside of Fox’s search for the truth, the X-Files explored other fantastical stories involving mythology from all around the world. These stand-alone episodes told some great stories and helped to break up the alien/government conspiracy storyline that dominated the series.
Below we will take a look at some of the best of these stand-alone episodes.
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X-Cops (Season 7, Episode.12)
We meet up with the agents on the streets of Los Angeles, where they are joining with the LAPD in a manhunt. The subject of the manhunt is confusing to many of the police officers because each person encountering the subject has described something different. Some described Freddy Krueger, a Werewolf and a Human Wasps. What Mulder and Scully soon discover is that there is an evil entity stalking the streets of L. A that manifests itself based on the worst fears of the person it is attacking.
Cops was one of the more popular television shows in the ’00s so it was great to see the X-Files piggyback off the success of the show. Telling the story in a real-time format was creative and brought a sense of realism to the story that was being told.
Duchovny and Anderson were at their usual best during the episode but the side character performances were what made this special. The main deputy, with his fear of the human wasp, and the two men living together were particularly entertaining and pushed this episode over the top.
The premise of the episode alone is good enough to make it one of the X-Files all-time greats. We all have that unjustified fear that looms in our minds and keeps us up at night. This episode played off those fears and introduced a truly unique creature.
The Host (Season 2, Episode.2)
After the X-Files has been cancelled by the F.B.I, Mulder is sent to New Jersey, as a punishment, to investigate what is an apparent mob dump. However, Mulder soon realizes that the body that was discovered has strange bite marks on it and that leads him, and us, to a terrifying creature that is trying to reproduce inside the bodies of its victims.
The Host received many positive reviews from critics upon release and rightfully so. The fluke man, inspired by Chris Carter’s dog having worms, was a truly disgusting sight. The audience’s skin crawled every time the creature was on the screen.
There is one particular scene where we see the fluke man crawling his way back into a porta-john that still gives us nightmares to this day. It was a great way to sell the creepiness of the creature and leaves a lasting impression.
Helping The Host to be one of the best stand-alone episodes of the X-Files has to be the amazing effects work done by Toby Lindala. Toby did fantastic work at creating a unique character in the X-Files universe. When the audience was finally shown the entirety of the fluke man we saw how much work Lindala put into this memorable creature.
Bad Blood (Season 5, Episode.12)
We begin the episode with Mulder chasing a young man through the forest. When Fox catches the boy he plunges a stake through his heart believing that he is a vampire. To his Mulders’ shock, the boy is wearing fake vampire teeth.
What follows is an explanation by Scully and Mulder to their supervisor, Assistant Director Skinner, about the events that brought them to the beginning of the episode. However, the stories told by both agents are vastly different and this begins a hilarious dive into the events surrounding the killings in Chaney, Texas.
Throughout its nine-season run, the X-Files has dealt mainly with the serious subject matter. That is why it was great to see Chris Carter break the seriousness up with some comedy. While other comedic episodes came before Bad Blood few are on par with the comedy of this vampire story.
Luke Wilson and Patrick Renna were great additions to the cast of this episode. Both are accomplished comedic actors and their chemistry with Mulder and Scully was apparent. As good as Duchovny and Anderson were in this episode they can not carry it alone. That is why the strong supporting cast helped to make this one a very funny addition.
Ice (Season 1, Episode.8)
In an outpost in Alaska, a team of geophysicists commits a mass murder/suicide. In an attempt to figure out what went wrong, Mulder, Scully, and three other scientists are sent to the outpost to investigate. Once there the five people discover a parasitic worm that infects others and causes violence and paranoia in its victims. What follows is a claustrophobic search for which of the team members is infected before it becomes too late for everyone.
Carter drew inspiration for this episode from the 1938 novella Who Goes There, which also spawned John Carpenters’ 1982 The Thing and The Thing From Another World, from 1951. All three stories had themes of tension and mistrust amongst team members. These themes continued on Ice, and they were captured very well. Sometimes, it is hard for a movie theme to translate over to the small screen but the actors and director did a great job of selling the paranoia and claustrophobia associated with the story.
This was also the first episode in the series to explore a different relationship between Mulder and Scully. While Scully was sent to essentially spy on Mulder from the beginning of the series they developed a strong bond since the pilot. This was the first time that the two agents were pitted against each other and it added another layer to their developing relationship.
Home (Season 4, Episode. 2)
During a baseball game, some kids unearth a deformed baby that was seemingly buried alive. This brings the two agents out to Pennslyvania to investigate and what they find is horrifying. A family has been living in a civil war-era house and is inbreeding with their quadruple amputee mother. The three brothers of the family wage a war against the Mulder and Scully and the local sheriff for interfering with their family affairs.
This episode of the X-Files is easily the most disturbing entry in the entire series. It was the first episode to have a disclaimer to start the show and it also was the first to gain a TV-MA rating.
The Peacock family became an infamous family after this show. The inbred family was gruesome and terrifying. The effects work done presented a hideous image of the family. In the history of the show, very few monsters got the same reaction as the loathsome Peacock family.
Home may also be one of the more violent entries into the X-Files story. Getting a TV-MA rating was quite an accomplishment and once one watches the show they will see why. There are some truly gory and tense scenes between the Peacock family and the F.B.I agents. These battles are more reminiscent of a Texas Chainsaw movie than a cable television show.
On the whole Home is the most famous of the X-Files episodes not involving aliens. The ending of the episode is still a cringe-worthy moment that leaves a terrible imagine etched on the viewer’s brain.
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