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

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

July 13, 2023 by  

THE X-FILES Season 2 Part 2

Credit: © Fox Home Video – All Rights Reserved

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 season 2!

(These were viewed on the original season 2 DVD set—released back in 2000. The episodes are streaming for free on Freevee or with a Hulu subscription.)

“The Host”:

An iconic episode for a reason…and it speaks to how truly messed up Flukeman is that an episode with Mulder and Scully not actively working as partners can still make the list.

I’ve said this before with other episodes, but the writing and directing choices really elevator how they play with the terror elements. Ol’ Flukey might not be the scariest of creatures if you frequently saw him straight-on (and brightly lit), but the angles and shadows are freaking terrifying. Also, the Flukeworm making itself known first through the teeth-brushing and then the man choking in the shower? Absolutely NOT.

  • Mulder having a temper tantrum in front of other agents while trying to confront Skinner is just funny, I’m sorry.
  • But I AM surprised Mulder never tried to quit and go rogue during this brief XF shutdown. Later on, yeah, it makes sense he sticks around, but if he felt his time was being wasted, you’d think he might have tried another avenue.
  • Skinner acknowledging everyone takes their orders from somewhere…ooh boy, is that (good, painful) messy foreshadowing.


It’s an episode that is so dependent on old tech…but I love it. Machines mysteriously telling people to do evil things? What’s relatable about that right now?! And, yes, there are sinister, human, things behind it, but it manages to feel timeless despite the obviously dated elements.

It also had one of my favorite episode closings ever: Mulder’s (very old) cell phone displaying the message: All Done. Bye Bye.

(Why is that one of my favorites? Hell if I know. But it absolutely delights me.)


For as important as this episode is, the case itself is just not it. But it’s paired with the introduction of Krycek and the in-person introduction of X, two figures who become so important in the show’s mythology.

Mulder and Krycek’s partnership is an interesting flip from what we saw with Scully: While he and Scully respected each other from the jump, it’s not like they were eager to team up. Krycek, meanwhile, is practically falling over himself to make this partnership work (HM, WONDER WHY??), but there’s no real respect there.

  • Krycek trying to shake Scully’s hand as she was mid-autopsy and him not being able to handle the body—I’m sorry, I laughed. 
  • Spoiler alert: X saying Deep Throat’s death (in the name of helping Mulder) is “a sacrifice I’m not willing to make.” Well. We’ll see how that goes for you, buddy.
  • Krycek telling CSM and co. that Scully was a larger problem than they had described and CSM’s vague “every problem has a solution” remains absolutely messed up and unnerving. 
  • (I’m not saying I blame a lot of the next few episodes on Krycek, but…the shoe fits.)

“Duane Barry”:

Deeply love this episode, and it’s one of the series’ high points in terms of mythology, at least in my mind.

A dear friend and I debated our favorite episodes per season the other day—I mean, it’s clear from this entire rewatch project that I’m a nerd, but…yes, a nerd, always—and this one was my choice for season 2. The rising tension as Mulder tries to de-escalate Duane Barry is real, even on a personal level. Mulder wants to believe Duane, which helps, of course, but there’s also an active hostage situation going on.

It’s extraordinarily grounded, even with Duane’s claims. It’s also easy to see how and why Mulder was good at his job outside of the X-Files of it all. It was a small, personal episode, and feels wildly effective at balancing the human with a possible supernatural touch.

And then, after his capture, Duane targets Scully.

Due to Gillian Anderson’s real-life pregnancy, Scully had been minimally in the season as it was, so her being on the outside of this episode made sense. Scully was still key to the episode, but it wasn’t a jarring difference compared to the first few episodes of the season…they had established a pattern of behavior where if you don’t know the twist is coming, it’s truly a blindside.

It’s also a fascinating precursor for what they do later in the series….where something feels like a standalone episode, until it suddenly becomes very tied into the mythology. In this case, it kicked off a three- (arguably four-)part arc that changed the series forever.

  • If you can see Mulder in his speedo and not think of THE SIMPSONS crossover, congrats on being a sane human.
  • Hello to CCH Pounder!! 
  • Do we think Mulder has stopped hearing that terrifying Scully voicemail in his nightmares? Because not only did he have proof of her kidnapping, he had her calling out for his help, and she was gone (spoiler alert) for a significant amount of time. If you told me he was still having nightmares that featured that, 29 years later, I’d believe you.


For as small (in a good way) as “Duane Barry” feels, “Ascension is the exact opposite. It’s a larger-than-life attempt to rescue Scully from Duane, with Mulder literally ending up on top of a cable car trying to save his partner.

We know Mulder has a photographic memory, and that paired with his experience with crime scenes means he’s able to recreate what likely happened to Scully in her apartment when she was attacked. The show flashing back to the Scully versus Duane fight using Mulder’s inspecting the crime scene was a really chilling framing device.

Logically, I know Mulder is never going to be able to get to Scully in time, but every time I watch the episode I hope I’m wrong; maybe this will be the time he’s able to preemptively prevent the trauma and heartbreak to come. (Reiterating I’m not saying this is logical or sane.) Every time he doesn’t make it there in time, I’m crushed for them both, all over again.

  • It’s interesting that Maggie is more of a believer than Scully; Maggie notes she had a premonition of her daughter being in danger, but she knew Dana would never believe her. We see Maggie so quickly embrace Mulder, and I wonder how much of that is seeing a (quasi) kindred spirit.  
  • I’m not saying all the cool ‘90s horror-related films and shows used “Red Right Hand,” but I’m also not not saying that.
  • Steve Railsback gives a great performance as Duane, balancing the man’s wild desperation and deep brokenness. 
  • Okay, Krycek deserves more than a little punching for the active sabotage he did to Mulder’s attempts to save Scully. (It’s a miracle Mulder didn’t kill him here, honestly.)
  • Mulder alluded in the previous episode what is done to women when they’re taken, but seeing it done to Scully? And watching it with the awareness of what it actually means for her future? Oh, I wanna fight everyone who touched her. 
  • “Kill Mulder and you risk turning one man’s religion into a crusade.” – it should be stitched onto a pillow at this point.
  • Shoutout to the agent who exhaustedly asks, “Why are you so paranoid, Mulder?”
  • But also: Yes, Mulder is right about Krycek. However, once again he gets the tiniest of clues and goes from point A to point Z. Maybe the dude was just a secret smoker?! You’ve known him for approximately 17 seconds…it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s buddy-buddy with CSM. (I mean, we know that. But Mulder is reckless with his accusations.)
  • Skinner being a rebel and re-opening the X-Files sans the higher-ups’ authorization…honestly, spoiler alert, how did HE survive this series? (I’m thankful he did, to be clear.)

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


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