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The X-Files Newbie Recap: Season 9 & I Want To Believe

Think of me, think of me fondly when we've said gooodbyeee...

Quotes of the Season

  • “You can call me Sheriff John when I haul your dumb ass off to jail”
  • “This kid had crap for brains, the flies couldn’t resist”
  • “Your lack of an imagination saved our lives”
  • “Come here to me, you big bald beautiful man”
  • “The only thing you’re going to be kissing, Mulder, is your sweet ass goodbye”
  • “All these ETs running around, it’s hard to keep track without a scorecard”

Notable Guest Stars

  • Lucy Lawless (“Nothing Important Happened Today”)
  • Adam Baldwin (recurring)
  • Cary Elwes (recurring)
  • James Remar (“Daemonicus”)
  • Aaron Paul (“Lord of the Flies”)
  • Jane Lynch (“Lord of the Flies”)
  • Burt Reynolds (“Improbable”)
  • Terry O’Quinn (“Trust No 1”)
  • Neal McDonough (“Provenance”, “Providence”)

And finally…

I’m finished The X-Files! I can’t believe this epic journey is finally at an end. Thank you to one and all for reading and for all your kind comments and support since I’ve been writing these. It’s been so much fun discovering the show with a hardened bunch of fans and I’m so grateful you’ve stuck with me right through to the bitter end—all of 18 months later! I think it’s safe to say the show can claim its place in my library of all-time favorites. I’m so excited to rewatch it and start picking out even more hints and clues, now I know how it all turns out.

And, to seal this series off with a ribbon, let’s go through some of my favorite episodes. I want the comments section to go out on a high so I heartily invite you to reserve any lingering irritation you have over S09 and focus instead on the things which made this show great. Without further ado…

My heart hurts

(1) The Unnatural

If you didn’t see this coming, you haven’t been paying attention. Whimsy and fairytales and symbolism and beauty and all that pure unbridled heart but the real reason I know this is my favourite is ‘cos I’ve rewatched it several times already and cried every single time. “Will you tell them what I did on the field?” “It’s just blood, Ex.” [inconsolable wailing]

(2) Quagmire

I too aspire to flirt with someone through a prism of quotes from Moby Dick. Or Lord of the Rings, whichever, I’m not fussy. Being marooned on a lake in the middle of the night while hunting an ancient sea monster is mandatory.

(3) The Field Where I Died

A lot of things pissed me off over the course of this show but there is no fault more unforgivable than writing an episode so evocative and chilling and then…never mentioning it again.

you pest

(4 – 6) Anasazi, The Blessing Way, Paper Clip

The first episodes that actually made me sit up til 4am to see what happened next. Guys. I lost it. The headlock, the CSM showing up on Bill Mulder’s porch, Krycek appearing in the bathroom mirror, the boxcar blowing up. Scully finding the implant in her neck. The concept of memory as a subjective token against the victors who write history. The Well-Manicured Man. The facility in the mountain and the little aliens scuttling by Scully. Skinner telling the CSM to pucker up, and Krycek almost being torched. There were great mytharc episodes after these but this was definitely the high point.

(7) How The Ghosts Stole Christmas

Twisted, dark, macabre, hilarious. The finest and most sadistic guest characters in the show’s entire run.

(8) Tunguska

Alex loves America. His parents were Cold War immigrants. Going underground means learning to live with rats. Mulder thinks Alex is a stupid face (“an invertebrate scumsucker” but I’m paraphrasing). Space rocks. Sexual tension. Warm thoughts. Fan service. “Stupid-ass haircut.” Consider it a testament to how good the above episodes are that this doesn’t sit squarely at the top.

(9) War of the Coprophages

Her parents were naturalists.

(10) Detour

(11) Bad Blood

I turned on my TV the other day and found Gillian Anderson talking about her favourite episode of TXF and how that “stupid flying vampire who delivered pizzas” gave her children nightmares for weeks. In related news, my Facebook bio is “the chloral hydrate’s in the pizza.”

(12) Clyde Bruckmann’s Final Repose

The funniest episode ever to make you cry.

(13) Pilot

“Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?” “Logically, I would have to say no.”

(14) All Souls

There is a strong argument to be made that what Catholicism really worships is pain and this is exhibit-fucking-A.

(15) Darkness Falls

Is it the secluded setting or faceless foe that makes this one so creepy? Or the way the victims are picked off one by one after dark? Or the fact our heroes only just barely escape and have no way of explaining what happened to them? I’ve still got the shivers.

(16) Beyond the Sea

Faith, destiny, ghosts, and visions of the afterlife: so much of Scully’s character arc focused on our roles both in life and after we die. This is never more hauntingly or sublimely captured than in “Beyond the Sea,” an early masterpiece whose ambivalent conclusion remains deeply unsettling.

(17) Memento Mori

“That you should know my heart, look into it, finding there the memory and experience that belong to you—that are you—is a comfort to me now… I might never have been so strong now as I cross to face you and look at you, incomplete, hoping that you will forgive me for not making the rest of the journey with you.”

TL;DR: I have lost all ability to can.

(18) First Person Shooter

Subversion, kids!

(19) End Game

It might be cheating to include this without “Colony,” BUT “End Game” boasts bounty hunter badassery, the Alaskan submarine, huge significance in the mytharc, Skinner brilliance, fisticuffs with Mr. X, and Scully sciencing her way to victory. Remember when the mytharc made sense?

I could have been a doctor

(20) Agua Mala

Arthur Dales (the original), a hurricane in Florida, a monster straight out of Deep Rising and Scully delivering a baby in the middle of it all. The best and kookiest episode I didn’t have room to recap.

More episodes I loved which didn’t fit in this list: “Chimera,” “Hollywood AD,” “Triangle,” “Nisei,” “731,” “Talitha Cumi,” “Herrenvolk,” “Die Hand die verletzt,” “Pusher,” “Home” (the type of storytelling perfection you need only ever watch once), “The Erlenmeyer Flask,” “Kaddish,” “The Post-Modern Prometheus,” “all things,” “Arcadia.”

And with that, I bid you adieu! Let’s chat this one out in the comments. So long, beloved X-Philes. Stay spooky, trust no 1 and never forget:

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Grace Duffy is a pop culture devotée and sometime film critic currently catching up on her classic sci-fi. You can read more on her Tumblr or catch her frequent TV liveblogs on Twitter.

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