Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 1 (Part 2) - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 1 (Part 2)

July 7, 2023 by  

THE X-FILES Season 1 Part 2

Credit: Fox

On Friday, September 10, 1993, Fox debuted THE X-FILES. Now, ahead of the show’s 30th anniversary, Give Me My Remote is looking back at all 11 seasons (and the two feature films) in a new daily series Take Two.

If you’ve read About Last Night, this will be formatted in a similar way: Each episode will get its own subsection/reaction, though in this case there may be slight spoilers or alluding to what comes ahead in the series. In the event a major spoiler is discussed, there will be a warning to be extra safe. Each Take Two will cover approximately 5 episodes and will wrap up the Friday before the show’s 30th birthday.

(I’ll also note how I’m watching the episodes, because some of the streaming platforms have utilized syndicated cuts of this show.)

Today, we’re continuing with season 1!

(These were viewed on the original season 1 DVD set—released back in 2000. The episodes are streaming for free on Freevee or with a Hulu subscription.)


In some ways, this is the perfect episode to stumble across midday on TV. Is it the best episode ever? No. Is it terrible? Not even close. It’s a perfectly fine case, that is exactly the right amount of engaging—you can watch closely and enjoy it or you can have it on while scrolling on your phone or doing chores.

Honestly, on paper, I should find this episode cheesy, but for some reason I enjoy it.

And, look, a protective ghost might be the least terrifying entity to have stalking you. I get why it’s not fun, but at least it’s not actively trying to torture you.

It is interesting how Scully tells the young woman what she wants to hear in the hopes of getting through to her versus pushing back. It’s a kindness—and Scully is kind—but it’s not the approach she normally takes. In an episode this early, I wonder how much of it was them still finding who Scully was versus it being an intentional character choice.

“Ghost in the Machine”: 

The first surprise of this rewatch—I enjoyed this episode a lot more than I remembered. I haven’t seen this one in years (I last did a full rewatch before the initial revival; I’ve seen episodes since, but this isn’t one I would gravitate to intentionally put on)…some of it may be how close to our modern reality it feels. Minus the very ‘90s visual look of the tech, an AI going awry and causing mayhem? Yeah, that could be a 2023-set episode. (And notably the second XF revival did do a similar episode.)


God, this episode remains so good. The stakes are high, but the tension is higher; it’s incredible how much they pack into a single hour and how fast we were able to get drawn into the various character dynamics. (In some ways, it actually feels like an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Yes, we know and care about Mulder and Scully—and it makes them facing off against each other even more weighted—but it’s such a self-contained hour, literally and figuratively, it could have been a deeply messed up episode of the anthology series.)

Even when Mulder and Scully don’t see eye-to-eye about what they’re investigating, there’s almost always a bedrock of trust between the partners…dating back to the very first episode. And, yes, they may do stupid things (like Mulder ditching Scully repeatedly), but they trust each other. So to play with them not trusting each other is delicious every time it (rarely) comes up in the series. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson play it great as Mulder and Scully keep sliding between wanting to kill each other and then kill FOR the other.

  • “This thing does not like company”…look…I’m just going to say the worm’s mentality is a whole mood.
  • Xander Berkeley, Felicity Huffman, Steve Hytner, and Jeff Kober were great as the people trapped with Mulder and Scully. (Also, I knew there was a lot of overlap between X-FILES and SVU guest stars, but it took Kober for me to realize how many of the early XF episodes were front-loaded with their shared talent.)
  • Unfortunately, the weakest parts of the episode are the effects of the worm/parasite. But it’s not enough to detract from it being a great episode.


On the flip side…I still don’t love this episode. Some of it is, I think, the unfortunate nature of falling directly after “Ice,” which was so well done. And while the stakes were different, there was a similarity in a lot of the action being confined to a single set piece…and this just can’t compare. The effects aren’t good, and it’s just not as engaging.

The bright spots, however, are the always-great Susanna Thompson. And getting to see a glimpse of what Mulder loved as a kid before his life was upended was sweet. 

“Fallen Angel”:

I guess this is a spoiler alert since the episode implies Max dies, but this is not my favorite Max episode. But it does a really interesting job at setting up that while Mulder constantly feels alone, people are very aware of who he is and what he’s doing—whether he knows it or not.

  • I know Deep Throat is a good guy and on “our” side, but the chutzpah of this man to think he can get away with doing something as attention-getting as saving the X-Files and not get caught as an informant? People are going to wonder why you did that, dude. (Also, again, the general “not-great at being stealth” thing. Sorry to that man.) 
  • We can give Mulder a lot of grief for the things he blindly believes, but it’s also bonkers how much he literally sees with his own eyes that no one believes him about. (Or actively gaslights him about it.) It’s honestly a wonder he didn’t lose his mind.
  • It’s great to see the show utilizing Scully’s skills as a doctor here. It comes into play a lot, lot, lot, lot more later in the series, but that is invaluable here.

What did you think of these THE X-FILES episodes?


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