No matter how busy you are, there is always time to sit down with an X-Files episode. Over 25 years, there have been 218 episodes and two movies. So whether you have time for one episode or have a few hours to binge, here are some of our favorites throughout the series.
It doesn’t matter if you are Team Fox or Team Scully, we’ve got the best episodes from all of the many seasons.
1. “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)
The first episode of the entire series introduces you to Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (), the top FBI agents of the show.
Mulder’s whole life revolves around his need to, or rather, his “I want to believe” attitude, and Scully will always be the skeptical one of the pair. We love how they balance each other. We get to see both sides of the story as they solve the cases together. We always want to believe as Mulder does, but sometimes we can’t help but be skeptical about certain things like Scully. In this first episode, Scully is instructed to debunk Milder’s basement FBI project dubbed “The X-Files,” paranormal cases that he’s reopened.
2. “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (Season 3, Episode 4)
Clyde Bruckman (Peter Boyle) is a grumpy older man with psychic powers that show him how someone will die. Bruckman assists the agents with the hunt for a killer who targets psychics. He also reveals to Mulder and Scully their ultimate fates.
The X-Files won its first two major Emmys after these episodes. One of the awards went to writer Darin Morgan, and the other went to guest star Peter Boyle for his performance as the psychic. Nobody in the episode wants to find out from Bruckman about their future, and neither does he.
Bruckman tells Mulder throughout the episode that these “visions” just come to him and can’t be turned on with the snap of a finger. The killer in this episode has you questioning who he really is, and the slightest physical clue that Scully finds leads her and Mulder to the cusp of their demise.
This episode also makes us crave a banana cream pie.
3. “Squeeze” (Season 1, Episode 3)
“Squeeze” follows the story of Eugene Victor Tombs (Doug Hutchison), a humanoid killer whose savage murder spree reoccurs every 30 years. Mulder and Scully follow the clues to catch the killer, who is only set free by his psychologist. After a twist and turn of events, Tombs is finally caught and sent to prison. The ending leaves you hanging when you see Tombs plotting his way out of jail.
4. “Pusher” (Season 3, Episode 17)
“Pusher” shows that average men will go to all lengths to hold on to power. This episode introduces us to Robert Patrick Modell (Robert Wisden), whose brain tumor has allowed him to compel people to do whatever he wants.
Modell uses his ability to talk to victims to do whatever he wants and has weaponized this so well that he can even give a man a heart attack over the phone. We enjoy Modell’s little schemes to get past security with his paper “pass” as an ID badge into a secured building. What makes this episode one we can’t forget is when Modell forces Mulder to turn a gun on himself and then on Scully in a game of Russian roulette. This episode also highlights just how close Mulder and Scully care for one another that helps them be a pawn in Modell’s game.
5. “Conduit” (Season 1, Episode 4)
“Conduit” is about Mulder becoming obsessed with solving a case that closely parallels an “encounter” he experienced as a child. Section Chief Scott Blevins (Charles Cioffi) expresses his concern with the direction of the X-Files department. At the same time, Mulder obsesses about this case because it reminds him of the alien abduction and his determination to find his sister, Samantha Mulder. Mulder’s emotions are hit hard as this case affects him personally as he is on the search determined to find his sister and explore every possibility of what happened to her.
6. “Ghost In The Machine” (Season 1, Episode 7)
“Ghost In The Machine” takes you to Halloween, where Mulder and Scully investigate the death of a corporate executive who a thinking computer may have murdered. This episode makes you question technology and if it’s safe to ride an elevator. These twists will keep you at the edge of your seat and wonder just how far a computer can go and if they can think for themselves.
7. “One Breath” (Season 2, Episode 8)
The episode opens up with Scully’s comatose body discovered at a local hospital. Mulder will do whatever it takes to find out why she ended up at the hospital. Mr. X (Steven Williams) shows Mulder the price he’d have to pay if he wants justice for Scully. Mulder must choose between hope and revenge. We enjoy seeing Mulder getting protective of Scully and wondering if he is developing romantic feelings for her.
8. “Paper Clip” (Season 3, Episode 2)
“Paper Clip” is about a government hit squad that closes in on the agents. Mulder searches for clues about his father’s involvement in a top-secret project. Many secrets are learned, and Mulder wonders how involved his father was in this government project. A search with Scully takes them to the abandoned Strughold Mining Facility, where they uncover a dangerous secret. The secret they discover is a long stretch of filing cabinets containing files and medical histories of their past and even current events. This makes you wonder if the government does keep files like this in real life.
9. “Syzygy” (Season 3, Episode 13)
“Syzygy” is about two homicidal teenage girls who are dangerous with telekinetic powers. This rare alignment of the planet is what powered these girls and drives their small town in New Hampshire insane with satanic panic. Mulder’s interest in the local female detective Angela White (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) is what makes Scully jealous. Events like this make us question if moments like this do happen.
10. “Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man” (Season 4, Episode 7)
“Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man” is about the reveal of the Lone Gunmen’s secret history of the Smoking Man (William B. Davis) to Mulder with the focus of three episodes from his life – the assassination of JFK, his attempts at becoming a novelist, and one of his UFO cover-ups. Mulder, Scully, and Byers meet up with Frohike to find out all the details of the Smoking Man and what effect he has on their investigations. This episode makes us wonder what it was like for those who were around for the assassination of JFK and what kind of toll it took on their mental health.
11. “Kitsunegari” (Season 5, Episode 8)
“Kitsunegari” brings back Robert Patrick Modell (Robert Wisden), aka “Pusher.” Modell has recovered from his injuries and has escaped from a prison hospital. Scully and Mulder lead the search even as Modell may be using his mind-controlling capabilities to target Fox for revenge. The second episode of Modell questions just how he was able to recover after being told in the first episode that he would never regain consciousness. This makes us wonder just how Modell was able to heal, let alone escape from a prison hospital.
12. “Terms of Endearment” (Season 6, Episode 7)
A pregnant woman’s baby is snatched away from her belly by a devil. When she is accused of killing her unborn child, Mulder and Scully discover that the father, Wayne, has his secrets. The investigation in this episode focuses on Wayne. This episode makes you question religion.
13. “First Person Shooter” (Season 7, Episode 13)
The Lone Gunmen summon Scully and Mulder to the headquarters of a video game design company. This new virtual-reality game, which the Gunmen helped design, is taken over by a strange female computer character whose power is more than virtual. Scully must battle this character to save Mulder’s life in this high-tech world.
Virtual reality games are pretty popular today, and this has us thinking that you should be careful about what you play and how much you get involved with it because you never know when it can take over.
14. “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” (Season 11, Episode 7)
“Rm9sbG93ZXJz,” is about the world of artificial intelligence. Mulder and Scully dine in a fully automated sushi restaurant. Things go out of order when the hardware starts to glitch, and they find themselves hunted by diverse robots. Faced with a life-threatening force, they find themselves in a deadly game of cat and mouse. A technical episode makes us question the creators’ intentions.
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