Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 5 (Part 1) - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 5 (Part 1)

August 9, 2023 by  

THE X-FILES Season 5 (Part 1)

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 starting season 5!

(These were viewed on the original season 5 DVD set—released back in 2002. The episodes are also streaming for free on Freevee or with a Hulu subscription.)


Oh, my beloved season 5. I’m so glad to be here. 

In many ways this episode shouldn’t work for me: We get context to how Mulder was presumed to be dead, but we end the episode like a minute beyond where the season finale concluded…there’s not a lot of forward movement. But it works, because, at the core of it, it’s Mulder and Scully trying to get out of their messes.

It’s a tiny bit alarming how good Scully is at lying to everyone about Mulder’s death. She’s really, really good at it. It’s also fascinating to see how quickly Scully comes to doubt Skinner. It’s a delicate line to walk, because as an audience member…we just saw how far he was willing to go to save her life.

Just gonna need a moment over the fact that when Mulder is faced with being presented with what he wants most desperately, he doesn’t even have to think before saying he wants a cure for Scully’s cancer. Mulder of season 1 would have been desperate for the truth…now, saving Scully is the key priority. (Okay, I made myself emotional again.)

It’s also interesting to be reminded that for as all-powerful as CSM seems, he’s part of a larger conspiracy where he isn’t the top guy…and things are being done around him. It’s more compelling to see him in this position, frankly.

“Redux II”:

Man, Mulder and Scully worked so hard to make him plausibly seem dead to the real world…and then he blows it in a nanosecond when Scully is hospitalized. (Of course he did/I don’t blame him.) 

For as focused as Mulder and Scully are at times during this episode, their open grief and vulnerability are really heartbreakingly gorgeous to watch. Mulder is already mourning Scully; we see how he physically crumbles every time he has to contend with her weakening health. And Scully is flipping between practical (trying to self-sacrifice so Mulder won’t get in trouble for the dead body in his apartment) and struggling with how her lapsed faith fits into her potential final days.

CSM trying to woo Mulder to his side is a delightful twist in this episode, and makes a lot of sense. Keeping Mulder alive, especially when he was a relative unknown, didn’t make a lot of sense outside of CSM’s ties to him. But even with that fondness, there has to be a limit or reason…and CSM offering Mulder the world (a cure for Scully’s cancer, a reunion with Samantha) for them to team up makes so much sense. Of course, that pairing would never work, but it’s fun to see how badly CSM wants it.

But it all falls apart, at least for the bad guys. CSM is seemingly assassinated, while Blevins is named as a traitor and killed, too. The good guys, at least, fare better: Scully’s cancer goes into remission thanks to the chip CSM gave Mulder. 

  • Bill versus Mulder always makes me cringe. Look, I get where Bill is coming from, but it’s not like he’s been a steady presence in Scully’s life—or in the family—in the aftermath of these tragedies. (Also, given how low Mulder has been this entire arc, again, a miracle this confrontation didn’t push him over the edge.)
  • I struggle with a lot of the Samantha fake-outs, but this one was my favorite, by far, I think in part because it wasn’t the main storytelling device. Yes, Mulder wanted to see her and, yes, she felt like she could plausibly be Mulder’s sister, but…there was a lot more going on. It’s sad for Mulder this wasn’t real, though. 
  • Mulder crying at Scully’s bedside will always destroy me.
  • This is the most effective, but the least believable of CSM’s deaths. (This was a weird sentence to write, but is true, so…)

“Unusual Suspects”:

I understand the production reasons behind it, but I’ll always be a little bummed that this was the show’s 100th episode. 

The best things I can say about it:

  • In this house, we stand by the fact Mulder was unmarried in this episode, despite David Duchovny’s random ring-wearing.
  • This is an episode I never rewatch outside of things like this, so discovering X is in it is always a delightful surprise.
  • “No matter how paranoid you are, you’re not paranoid enough.” Well then…
  • And, of course, John Munch forever.


I used to think I was kind of alone in my love for this episode, but I’ve heard more and more this year (strangely enough; also, sorry to my friends who are getting my texts during this rewatch project) that people also enjoy it, too. Which is good! I find it, strangely enough, to be deeply comforting.

Part of what the episode does so well is a pattern we’ve seen before: Mulder and Scully, out of their element, with no way to call for backup, and having to depend on each other to survive. It sounds simple, but it’s effective. 

It’s also weirdly funny, too. Mulder and Scully being subjected to “normal” FBI agents on the way to a conference? Their hell. Mulder and Scully casually flirting, before she terribly sings for him? Absolutely adorable.

The monster isn’t terrifying, but I do love how they play with the format here. Once Mulder and Scully are rescued, it feels like the episode is over/ending. Instead, Mulder realizes Scully may be targeted and goes back to the motel to get her. Only the audience sees the creature was hiding under the bed/how close she came.

  • It’s crazy this is the first episode for Scully post-cancer. (Also, she survived that to be subjected to THIS?)
  • As an adult, I now finally understand the frustration over missing the wine and cheese reception.
  • Hello to Anthony Rapp!
  • Part of why these “Mulder and Scully versus the elements” episodes work is because of how good Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are when it’s just them. Mulder and Scully are huddled up, barely moving, and talking about life. They go from the aforementioned joking and flirting to really serious as Scully talks about her near-death experience. It’s not easy to navigate a scene like that, making stillness dynamic, but they’re pros at it. 
  • “There has to be a scientific explanation for this.” Oh, Scully. We now have over 100 episodes proving why this is not true.

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


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