Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 9 (Part 2) - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 9 (Part 2)

September 8, 2023 by  

THE X-FILES Season 9 (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 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 finishing season 9!

(These were viewed on the original season 9 DVD set—released back in 2004. The episodes are also streaming for free on Freevee or with a Hulu subscription.)

“John Doe”:

The show has played with amnesia before, but this was a really effective use of the trope. We got a great juxtaposition of Doggett trying to figure out who the hell he was, mixed with Reyes and Scully back home trying to figure out if he was alive and where he might be. (It was also nice to see Doggett’s instincts kick in, as he called in information about himself, hoping someone had reported him missing.)

It also led to a really gorgeous side plot about grief. As John struggles to remember anything, the only thing he does place is his son. When he and Monica eventually reunite, she tells him about Luke…and has to tell him that Luke is dead. When he’s questioned later about getting his pain back (as his memories return), he says simply, “Because it’s mine.” We all might like to ETERNAL SUNSHINE some things out of our lives—because, oooh boy, yes—but ultimately our history does make us us.

  • “Please don’t speak Spanish anymore.” The lawyer probably wasn’t trying to be funny, but LOL. 
  • Annabeth Gish and Robert Patrick were truly great as they discussed Luke. Monica’s horrifying realization she’d have to break the news to John, and his grief at losing his son all over again was absolutely gutting.
  • Yeah, they absolutely indulged in the “Mexico filter” here.


I think season 9 episodes/cases are actually underrated, but for some reason this episode entirely slipped my brain. Why? I don’t know. It’s fascinating, and deals with reincarnation in a truly twisted way. (I certainly like it more than “The Field Where I Died.”)

Also, my God, the visual of the guy being skinned and still being alive?! Absolutely messed up on every level, terrifying, a whole lot of nope. (But in a good way.)


The episode, on paper, is not terrible. It’s certainly not as terrible as I remembered. What the biggest issue is, however, is that Scully doesn’t feel like Scully, and it’s hard to reconcile that when she’s supposed to anchor the episode.

Scully looking for answers about William, in theory, makes sense. If there are issues she needs to protect him from, either health-wise or from outside forces, she should know that. But it also leads to her being reckless in a way that’s actually dangerous to them both.

Do I get why she’d let a man bleed out on her nursery floor because she wanted answers about why he wanted to kill William? Sure. Is that the smart move? Absolutely not. (Also not good policing, but let’s not pretend half of this stuff was ethical.) Ditto Scully leaving William with the Lone Gunmen. Of course they’d try to protect the baby, but you also need someone who can physically protect him if you’re that concerned? 

It’s also weird that Skinner so easily believes Mulder might be dead. It makes sense he’d be concerned it would upset Scully, but Mulder has fake died. He’s died-died. You’re believing he’s dead without a body? In what world?!

  • I know it’s not good, because, God, wouldn’t it have been nice if William was just entirely normal, but the visual of the piece of the alien spacecraft hovering over his crib is very, very cool.


As much as I appreciate the friendship between Scully and Reyes, it’s absolutely silly that Scully throws Skinner to the side because he did not instantly fill her in on a possible Mulder lead. This man has gone above and beyond to try and protect her and William, and now he’s untrustworthy? Okay. 

While obviously it would have been nice if the Gunmen had done everything in their power to keep William from being taken, at least they were smart enough to slip a phone in his car seat and be able to ID his kidnapper. But, again, why were they the only ones tasked with keeping this infant safe?

  • “They failed you once with your child, they’re going to fail you again.” Ouch, Monica.
  • Honestly, after spending so much of season 8’s mythology focused on Mulder and the William of it all, it would have been nice if they had a different focus in 9. (No, I’m not talking about supersoldiers, that does not count.)

“Audrey Pauley”:

I know Doggett and Reyes aren’t as popular or iconic as Mulder and Scully, but it’s really underrated how good Patrick and Gish were in a fairly thankless position. An episode like this wouldn’t work without viewers buying into the characters’ deep bond—the show occasionally liked to allude to Doggett’s feelings for Scully, but his care for Reyes was a lot more plausible and apparent—and the way they could connect through a go-between. (And going against what Doggett might believe is plausible.)

I really like this episode (it’s one of my favorites of the season, for sure), but I never realized how many of the cases of the week this season hinged on Doggett or Reyes being in grave danger. Of the 12, arguably, MOTW installments, they were either on the verge of death or missing/sans memory for the bulk of the episode in three of them. (If we add in cases from their past, it goes up.) But it works, despite the repetition.

And, yeah, I really like Doggett and Reyes as a possible couple, in part because they aren’t Mulder and Scully. (This is nothing against M/S, obviously.) They’re linked by their own tragic history, but still have the ability to be light. (Their conversation about cat versus dog people is very cute.)

In this case, saving Reyes’ life also requires Doggett to take a leap—there’s no natural reason why Audrey should be able to communicate with the seemingly brain-dead Reyes, but he buys into it, in part because Reyes mentions the dog person thing as a message. It works to help push him outside his comfort zone.

(But also congrats to Doggett and Reyes in following the grand tradition of being near death, wanting to kiss your partner, but chickening out when they’re actually saved.)


Honestly, a fine, if quasi-unmemorable episode. It dives into Doggett’s past, but with less weight than the Luke of it all—a case that helped make his career. We get to see him grapple with finding out a friend planted evidence and also that their suspect’s religious guilt basically formed a whole new entity. Doggett struggles with both, Patrick is good, but it’s just…fine. 


The show has earned the right to take the swing. Burt Reynolds is good and the actors look like they’re having fun, but, yeah, wow, no. Even as someone who tends to love/give grace to the comedy episodes, it just does not work for me, at all.

“Scary Monsters”:

It was a sweet choice to bring back Leyla Harrison, who served in some ways as the audience’s stand-in, to once again use her knowledge of past XF cases, and also give her own approval to the new team.

We also see Doggett and Reyes having to contend with their own differences from Mulder and Scully…which in this case, saves their lives. I don’t know if the show would have ever worked separated entirely from Mulder and Scully, but it could have been interesting to see.

  • WE DO NOT NEED TO SEE A DEAD CAT. (This is verbatim from my notes; honestly, it’s probably a miracle I didn’t use a curse.)
  • Gavin Fink, the kid who plays Tommy, is really good. There are parallels to the TWILIGHT ZONE episode where a kid controls a town with his mind–in this case, a kid’s fear that’s controlling them all—and it works well, because it’s not like you can take out the kid/he’s being intentionally cruel.
  • (That being said, the “twist” at the end so the way to keep his power—and imagination—under control would be by him watching constant TV? Haha. Well played.)

“Jump the Shark”:

I struggle with the Lone Gunmen episode, but this is certainly one I enjoy…less. With the end of the series around the corner, I get why they wanted to wrap up the short-lived THE LONE GUNMEN series, too. 

But this? This is just depressing. It would have been nice to think the Gunmen were out there, fighting the good fight, even after the series ended. And them sacrificing all of their lives when one could have done it? I get you don’t want to split them up/they’d grieve their fallen friend, but it feels short-sighted.

(Also, I know Morris doesn’t remember the events of “Dreamland,” but it’s also always so sad that it seemed like him seeing how much he broke his wife softened him a little and then every subsequent appearance…he’s back to his old shtick.) 


This episode is frustrating on two fronts: 1) the William twist and 2) the fact the hour would be pretty good/great if you removed the opening and closing scenes.

Logically, we knew David Duchovny wasn’t back for this episode in a traditional way—he co-wrote the hour and directed it—but we did know he’d be back for the upcoming series finale. But the possibility this mysterious, disfigured man who showed up might be Mulder is compelling.

Gillian Anderson is great in this, as Scully grapples with being so, so sure this man is not Mulder…but also holding on to a tiny part of her that wants to be reunited with her partner. There’s a really delicate line to walk for Anderson, Chris Owens, and Duchovny as a director, because you need that pull to be real, but Scully also shouldn’t be entirely conned, even when DNA seems to prove the man is Mulder. They handle it beautifully, even knowing that Owens’ “Daniel Miller” is actually Spender.

The problem is Scully giving up William makes no sense. It made no sense then, it makes no sense now. The show was ending; even if it wasn’t, it’s not like Scully was working on the X-Files regularly—or that Anderson would have likely been around for another season. William might be normal now, but we’ve seen (via the Lone Gunmen!) that you need someone who can actually protect him around. If Scully was so worried, why didn’t she pick up and leave to move to the middle of nowhere? It just feels so unnecessarily cruel to Scully.

  • Scully singing a modified version of “Joy to the World” to William? Ugh, my poor, dumb heart is overflowing.
  • Doggett doing pushups at 11:21 PM in the office. Sir, go home?!
  • The makeup/effects job to make Spender look so burned is really incredible.
  • But, also, Spender is a big dumb-dumb. Scully knew him! Yeah, maybe she threatened him at one point, but she also knows what his father did to him and would have probably invited her into her home without the theatrics. (As it is, it’s so silly the—fairly!—protective Scully would invite a strange man into her home, where William is residing.)
  • I do love the shot of Mulder in Scully’s eye as she considers this could be her Mulder.
  • It is interesting that the show used this episode to confirm, officially, that CSM is Mulder’s father. The entire premise hinges on the men sharing the DNA via their biological father. (Both men deserved better.)


I really, really like this episode, but if you’re going to air this episode after “William,” it feels like a disservice to the show, Scully, and Doggett to not acknowledge the very recent loss of William. Yeah, it was Scully’s choice and he’s not dead, but Scully had to be grieving her son; he wasn’t given away because she didn’t love him. It would have been nice to acknowledge it, even if it was just Scully and Reyes discussing the issue.

As it is, it’s lovely Doggett got this closure, and they spread it out a bit from the finale so it didn’t feel like an afterthought. After going through the Samantha of it all, we didn’t need a seasons-long arc about who killed Luke; instead, we got a throwaway character—albeit one connected to Reyes’ ex, Brad—who did it and we got the (hypothetical) reasons why.

(It’s also very funny Doggett’s ex is basically a Doggett/Reyes shipper, but it’s lovely she still cares about her former husband.) 

“Sunshine Days”:

“Why are people still watching a 30-year-old TV show?”

I’ll admit, that line unexpectedly made me tear up; we’re days away from THE X-FILES’ 30th anniversary, and while probably not intended to have quite the weight it does, I love that the final case of the week is about someone who sought comfort in a world inspired by television via to their power. (Also, hello to the always-lovely Michael Emerson.)

Maybe most of us don’t have supernatural powers, but television is there, through the good and the bad. This ends up being a love letter to fandom, in a way that still resonates more than two decades later. I remembered really enjoying this episode the last time I saw it, but, man, it’s great.

  • Monica being a BRADY BUNCH nerd is delightful. (Love that she took a photo of the real house/knew where it was actually located.)
  • Okay, I laughed out loud at the 2002 version of video chatting. It works, and if there had been a season 10 in 2002-03, maybe we would have gotten more of that. But, man, technology.
  • Scully is so giddy about the inexplicable in this episode. The reaction to Skinner levitating? Priceless. Literal laugh-out-loud worthy.

“The Truth”:

I think this may be a quasi-unpopular opinion, but I actually like the original series finale. Even if you remove IWTB and seasons 10 and 11, Mulder got his truth. Everyone around him had to defend his work. It was once again Mulder and Scully against the world. There were open-ended elements, but there was hope.

In light of what’s to come, part of me will always mourn that this wasn’t the end of the story. Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for IWTB and 16 “extra” episodes of Mulder and Scully together, even if the mythology of the revival makes me want to scream with rage. Personally, I’m selfishly thankful for being able to cover the show in real-time, with amazing experiences. But somehow Mulder and Scully’s journey turns even more tragic, and, eesh, who would have thought that was possible?

When a main character returns for a series finale, there are really only two ways you can handle the approach: you can do what THE OFFICE did, and have it be an emotional, meaningful subplot or the hour can focus on them. THE X-FILES chose the latter, which, frankly, was probably the only way they could go. It would have been odd to have a finale not centered on mythology, and with William out of the picture, Mulder was still the biggest element they had to work with.

The trial is effective to me, even though I suppose it could be argued it’s a quasi-exposition dump. But we see people from Mulder’s history return—both in the flesh and via his hallucinations—to guide him as he struggles with the “truth” he learned. Why he was so desperate to hide it from Scully when they’ve stopped and prevented other world-ending things, I don’t know. But Mulder has always been secretive, so while it’s frustrating, it’s also entirely in line with his character.

The episode also concludes with a stunning five-and-a-half minute long scene between Mulder and Scully. Before we even get into the content of the scene, can we take a second to marvel at the amount of time that is for network television? These days, it feels lucky to get a three-minute scene, and this was almost twice that. Just Duchovny and Anderson in a room, still on the bed and floor for nearly the entire sequence, talking. It’s quiet, it’s intimate, it’s important. It’s allowing these two powerhouses to give a proper farewell to these characters and this relationship.

The scene itself is a beautiful full-circle moment, too. We have Scully asking Mulder what he is thinking about after the episode starts with Mulder being questioned about the same thing by prison guards. (One of his answers to the guard—“About my son. About his mother.”—kills me every time.) And, of course, it’s a parallel to the pilot, where Mulder tells Scully about Samantha and how it shaped him.

This isn’t a happily ever after; they’re on the run, the world is ending in 2012. But they have each other. And the episode ends with a line that has stuck with me, and I’ve clung to, for 21 years: “Maybe there’s hope.”

  • “Woo. Now it’s a party.” Mulder is a comedian!
  • (It is so freaking funny and petty that Mulder and Scully’s first kiss post-reunion—and arguably the first real passionate kiss they share—is absolutely shrouded in darkness. Also, even more hilarious that Skinner had to witness it.)
  • I still vehemently disagree with the William decision, but I can begrudgingly acknowledge it was probably the right move to have Skinner tell Mulder, so we didn’t have to see Mulder react and Scully/Mulder’s conversation about it could be more centered on her grief and worry he would never forgive her. Mulder’s reaction was painful enough as he was trying to comfort Scully, and them both falling apart probably wouldn’t have allowed for us to see how truly distraught Scully still was about it all.
  • (If Scully was willing to go on the run for Mulder, again…why was this not an option with William? Sigh.)
  • It’s very cool that ghosts/hallucinations can hand you papers!
  • The visual framing of the trial scenes were so well executed. By putting the witnesses in the same frame as Mulder (and making it easy to get close-ups of him, too), we got to see some great subtle acting from Duchovny as he reacted to the changing world around him. (Mulder’s reaction to seeing how disfigured Spender was and the subtle sigh when Monica was talking about William were two of my favorite moments.)
  • “Liars do not fear the truth if there are enough liars.” Ouch, this is…upsettingly relevant to modern times.
  • “You’ve come to see a wise man, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Look, CSM’s season 7 death was arguably the dumbest, because they just shoved him down a flight of stairs and didn’t seemingly check. Amateur hour. So it makes sense he was back for the finale. And at the risk of spoiling season 10, it is absolutely enraging that his “The Truth” death didn’t stick. We. Saw. His. Skin. Melt. Off. His. Face. WE SAW BONES. You can’t undo that, no matter how much power and influence you have. This was the kind of death sequence when you want to be like, “We know we’ve faked you out multiple times, but we swear THIS time is it.” And then they UNDID IT. Veto. 
  • I have…so much to say about the 2012 alien invasion date. But it’s better saved for the season 10 premiere. (Good luck.)

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


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