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Top 3 (Non-Mythos) Episodes of The X-Files

June 21, 2010

de palmalicious!

[In anticipation of my deconstruction of The X-Files, I’ve decided to spread the new hotness over a couple of posts. Each with a specific concern and concluding with a yummy deconstruction post. Wow, I hope I’m not over selling this thing. Today, we look at my favorite non-mythology episode.]

Despite being a huge fan of The X-files, the mythology arc of the show does not especially thrill me. I tolerate it because it is often accompanied by humor, wit and tons of excellent acting. Plus, Duch’s really freaking hot. Gills is foxy too. Foxy people being intense, engaged in chow chowery while solving crimes: pure pop bliss.

1. “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” – Season 3 Episode 4

    I am an unrepentant ‘shipper and devotee of the monster-of-the-week episode formula, and Clyde Bruckman is absolutely my favorite episode of the MotW format. The late, great Peter Boyle plays the titular Clyde Bruckman – an insurance salesman who can predict people’s deaths – who finds himself thrust in the middle of a spree of prognosticator killings, and unwittingly a suspect. While there were certainly excellent episodes of the show prior to CBFR, none of them captured the quirkiness as effectively and with less problematic elements (X-files typical -ism abuses are sexism, ableism and classism) but is by no means devoid of it. Propelled by the strength of Boyle’s performance – who earned an Emmy for his efforts – and Darrin “Eddie Van Blundht” Morgan’s writing, it’s one of the episodes I never tire of watching.

2. “Hollywood A.D.” – Season 7 Episode 19

    Arguably one of the best episodes of season 7 (as far as non-mythos go, the other being “X-Cops”), I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at an episode of the show! Even harder than Jose Chung! This another stellar performance by Duch, but Gills steals it with her hilarious “running” demonstration for Tea Leoni (Duch’s on again, off again wife) who is playing “Scully” in a Hollywood version of one of their cases. Gills booking it in her iconic Scullyboots was nearly too much for my laff box! (RIP Scullywear Auxiliary Brigade. Yeah, I’m old school!) Skinner comes alive – like Frampton – and is even more fun than his comedic bit in…

3. “Triangle” – Season 6 Episode 3

    The bulk of my favorite non-mythos episodes tend to come from the third, fifth and sixth seasons, with all my favorite mythos episodes in season two (I see you, “Duane Barry” Mulder gratuitous Speedo scene!) Triangle was an event. All my friends were talking about this episode and couldn’t wait to gather around the “Tube” (remember those) to watch what we were told would be a dazzling episode. Part of what makes the non-mythos/MotW – because not all non-mythos were MotW, in my opinion, “The Field Where I Died” is an example – is because the characters get to do act in ways outside their norm. Plus, there was a chance Mulder and Scully might brush up against each other a beat too long and descend into a mad passionate kiss. Technically, they would not kiss as Mulder and Scully until season 7’s “Millennium”, though there is a lost Memento Mori kiss, that’s more poignant than passionate! Anyway, “Triangle” is hot, weird and makes you squeal. It also is one of the most cinema-sexy of all of the episodes. There were some long continuous takes and all kinds of split screen action. Very De Palmalicious. Very 3 Days of the Condor!

Rounding out the list:

4. “Detour” – Season 5
5. “Bad Blood” Season 5
6. “Pusher” Season 3
7. “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” Season 3
8. “Field Trip” Season 6
9. “Monday” Season 6
10. “Arcadia” Season 6

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2010 12:37 am

    I now have a new desktop wallpaper. I thought I had watched a lot of X-Files in my day but I need to see these, stat!

  2. June 21, 2010 12:58 am

    They needed to show more naked Skinner. Damn, I watched some real corny eps merely because Skinner was topless, pantless and usually on the lam.

  3. cath permalink
    June 21, 2010 1:57 am

    My love for Skinner is also pure and true. Even to the point where I’ve re-watched the crappy Criminal Minds ep that he guest stars in several times.

    Clyde Bruckman is a fantastic episode because it also introduces QueeQueg, which is a plot device of pure awesome in the Big Blue ep. And the “autoerotic asphyxiation” line is worth the price of admission every SINGLE time.

    My top tips for other eps:
    Mythos eps: The Sixth Extinction (I love Scully being in a faraway place, but there is some -ism action going on.), 731, Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man,

    non-MotW eps: All Things (7×17, I think, which is one of my favourite eps ever), Millennium (the dude who plays the necromancer is a good actor and plus uber Frank Black), Jump the Shark (although does that count as a Mythos ep because it’s got the LGs?)

    MotW eps: Audrey Pauley (I liked Annabeth Gish, dammit), War of the Coprophages, Syzygy (I think this counts), Signs and Wonders. ..

    Christ, I can go on too much for this.

    Oh, and the Tooms eps. They’re scary as fuck.

    This is gonna be fun!!!

  4. June 21, 2010 2:02 am

    Skinner is effing hot. I mean don’t me wrong, love me some Fox Mulder and all. But Skinner? Dang.

  5. June 21, 2010 2:06 am

    non-MotW eps: All Things (7×17, I think, which is one of my favourite eps ever), Millennium (the dude who plays the necromancer is a good actor and plus uber Frank Black)

    Donnie Darko’s DAD. Holmes Obsourne! Yeah, he’s a really great actor.

    Also, to the Skinman lovers, how much do we like Skinman stripping down to his goodies in “Avatar”?

  6. June 21, 2010 10:09 am

    You are an evil, evil woman!

    I have not progressed past “Emily” in S5–my PhD comps started on Friday and I am reduced to loud music and re-runs of things I have watched 8 times to which to write.

    But there is naked Skinner in a bathtub! And kissing!

    *must write faster*

    Re: -isms. Yeah, I have been increasingly bothered by these as the series goes on. It maketh me feel the squeechy squeechyness. Sadly, my energy to deconstruct is pointed at Important Cultural Artifacts ™ for the next five days.

  7. cath permalink
    June 21, 2010 12:30 pm

    OMG HE WAS DONNIE DARKO’S DAD!

    I just love how he’s so jolly in his necromancy. Like it’s totally awesome and great and he’s not raising zombies.

    But what’s best is that Mulder figures it all out from a salt circle. That man jumps to conclusions to serve plot more than I eat steak. I love him.

    And dear god, it’s best if I don’t think about nudie Skinman. Christ. Or skivvie Skinman. Just. . .motherfucker. UNF.

  8. June 21, 2010 3:23 pm

    These are my two honest X Files memories that have stuck with me since childhood.

    -The episode with the shapeshifter that takes over Mulder’s “form” in an attempt to impregnate Scully with his child…. when it’s the cut sequence of Duchovny trying to dribble a basketball (and failing), listening to his answering machine and saying “losers for friends”, and admiring himself infront of the mirror in a suit. …it stuck with me the same way it did whenever Agent Cooper on Twin Peaks talked about pie.

    -Just as strong, though not for the same reason, the episode when – I can’t remember why, Skinner is suddenly shirtless and KICKING THE CRAP out of people in his house. He was DESTROYING those dudes! Not only was he out from behind his desk (he has legs?!) but he was in his house, AND without a shirt on! And BEING VIOLENT! It was so amazing.

    I rewatched the entire series last year, but between the original air date and last summer, those are somehow my strongest and favourite memories.

    Just thought I’d contribute, lol

  9. June 21, 2010 3:51 pm

    /shipper alert

    Mulder and Scully are OTP, but you have to admit, Skinner would be a better husband. Dude is more stable. And he loves her like whoa.

    But she does not wuv him so!

    /shipper alert

  10. June 21, 2010 11:38 pm

    The episode with the shapeshifter that takes over Mulder’s “form” in an attempt to impregnate Scully with his child…. when it’s the cut sequence of Duchovny trying to dribble a basketball (and failing), listening to his answering machine and saying “losers for friends”, and admiring himself infront of the mirror in a suit. …it stuck with me the same way it did whenever Agent Cooper on Twin Peaks talked about pie.

    Oh yes, Darin Morgan! That was an odd episode, and totally memorable.

  11. June 21, 2010 11:47 pm

    /shipper alert

    Mulder and Scully are OTP, but you have to admit, Skinner would be a better husband. Dude is more stable. And he loves her like whoa.

    But she does not wuv him so!

    /shipper alert

    Yes. Oddly, Skinner is married to Arlene Warren, who is Gillian’s stunt double and plays his assistant! She’s also the one who kicked the crap out of Skinner when Pusher twisted her mind. At least I think that’s her. Anyway, she’s definitely Scully’s stunt double and married to Skinner.

  12. Leah permalink
    June 23, 2010 10:31 pm

    Do you have feelings/thoughts about the controversial “Home,” or are you neutral?

  13. June 23, 2010 10:56 pm

    I find Home to be so disturbing because of the classism, ableism and framing of disabled folks as “monsters”, sexually deviant and criminal. At the same time, I am definitely imposing my own framework of “right and wrong” which is has been instilled due to class and ability status, so there are probably way more elements that I’m missing. Like I said, the most common -ism fuck ups on the show are ableism, classism and sexism, but those are by no means the only ones.

    I have only seen Home once, and found it too upsetting to watch again. It was also more graphically violent that I am generally comfortable with, so it has that problem as well. It’s kind of the same thing with episodes like, Humbug, Tooms and a couple of really creepy episodes in season four. I tend to stay in seasons 3, 6, 7 and sometimes a few eps here or there in 2, 1 and 4.

  14. June 23, 2010 11:36 pm

    I was really squicked out by the violence in Home–but then, I have noticed that I often do not enjoy it when X-files tries to step from “supernatural law enforcement serial” into “serial killer/psycopathic drama” procedural.

    Something about it becomes….off. Like the episode with Scully and the fetishistic grave robber, or Home, or the one with the guy doing lobotomies on women. They can never get the tone quite right, Scully always seems to end up getting caught by the Big Bad and tied up so Mulder can save her, and the -isms multiply like frogs falling out of the sky on Mulder’s birthday.

  15. June 24, 2010 1:54 am

    I was really squicked out by the violence in Home–but then, I have noticed that I often do not enjoy it when X-files tries to step from “supernatural law enforcement serial” into “serial killer/psycopathic drama” procedural.

    ME TOO. I definitely am wary of the “Save Scully!” episodes, which usually come at the hands of a sexist sadistic violent killer whose exploits I have to suffer through, only to have the person usually remain elusive – at least until a later episode.

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