Top 20 Episodes Of “The X-Files”

We are only a few short weeks away from the return of The X-Files. Soon Mulder, Scully, Skinner and some new faces will be back to investigate the unexplained and paranormal and I couldn’t be happier. In honor of the show coming back, The X-Files has encouraged fans on social media to rewatch the entire series from the beginning, one episode a day until the miniseries starts. I went a little ahead of things because I have no self control and after watching it all I’ve narrowed my favorites down to 20.  Multi part episodes were combined for my own sanity and because they aren’t really meant to stand on their own. The episodes range from “monster of the week” standalones to more complex two & three part sagas. As varied as the list is, there are still episodes I wish I could have included and I’m sure after this is in the wild for a while, I’ll have some regrets. Read on for the full list and don’t forget, The X-Files returns January 24th on FOX.

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20. “The Truth” – Season 9, Episodes 19 & 20

The X-Files has an ending that is not completely well received by fans but there are some moments that I truly love in this episode. I love Mulder being visited by the ghosts of his past and I love how many things are outright confirmed. Mulder refers to William as his son and he and Scully share a passionate kiss right in front of Skinner. It’s not by any means a great ending for the series but there’s stuff like that and the final scenes of the two of them in bed that just mean so much after 9 seasons.


19. “Pilot” – Season 1, Episode 1

Unlike the series finale, the pilot is amazing but not better than many of the episodes still to come. It’s a great episode not only for the perfect, immediate chemistry between Mulder and Scully but for the fact that it brought us aliens immediately. This show has a 9 year long story involving aliens and it didn’t spend it’s first season going around it. It would sink of swim on this and despite the very strong “monster of the week” episodes in the first season, this is what made me go forward with watching it.

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18. “4-D” – Season 9, Episode 4

I will admit, the last two seasons of this show aren’t very strong. There are some really forgettable cases in the last part of the series but Monica Reyes is a great character who doesn’t get nearly enough recognition. “4-D” is a Doggett/Reyes episode that deals with alternate universes and the bond between these two characters. They are no Scully and Mulder but they do have something special and “ship” worthy. This episode does a lot to get you invested in the two of them.

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17. “The Rain King” – Season 6, Episode 8

“The Rain King” is really, really cute and for some people that cuteness is it’s weak point. I am not one of them. This may also be the only list you see this episode pop up. There are a select group of episodes of the series that are humorous and breaks up some of the darkness that exists in the show. “The Rain King” follows the story of Holman Hardt, a weatherman in a small town who is deeply in love with his best friend Sheila but has never told her. Mulder and Scully are called to investigate cause odd weather phenomena keeps happening in this town but sporadically. You can probably guess where this goes but the fact that Mulder and Scully end up helping a couple deal with an unrequited love is funny in and of itself. “The Rain King” is not serious and it has no impact on the series as a whole but it’s one of the most enjoyable and definitely the sweetest episode of the entire series.

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16. “Duane Barry/Ascension” – Season 2, Episodes 5 & 6

At this point in the show, Gillian Anderson was expecting a baby so she was written off for a little bit through this storyline. Duane Barry was an escaped psychiatric hospital patient who created a hostage situation. Mulder came in and learned that Barry believed he was abducted by aliens and was trying to avoid it happening again. He eventually abducts Scully to keep himself from being taken. This episode leads to a lot of events in later seasons and it also reveals where Krycek’s alliances lie. It’s a really exciting two parter that has significant importance and still takes place in the time where the alien mythology plot wasn’t so convoluted.

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15. “Die Hand Die Verletzt” – Season 2, Episode 14

This episode features Mulder and Scully going to a small town in New Hampshire to investigate what looks like an occult ritual gone very wrong. This episode has demonic worshipers, a creepy teacher and some genuine scares. It’s one of the episodes I find myself going back to over and over again because of how genuinely creepy it is.

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14. “Anasazi/The Blessing Way/Paper Clip” – Season 2, Episode 25 and Season 3, Episodes 1 & 2

These three episodes pretty much blow the lid off the alien conspiracy because Mulder and Scully learn almost everything. The three parter starts with Mulder being given a floppy disk including files downloaded directly from the government about aliens. Mulder almost dies but a couple of other characters are not so lucky. This puts Scully and Mulder right in the crosshairs of the Syndicate and the Cigarette Smoking Man and in the final part of this saga, a huge truth is revealed to them but they of course can’t prove any of it. This is nearly three hours of TV but this is when this show gets the epic mythos right. It’s exciting and when people start getting hurt, you do begin to worry about anyone that isn’t Mulder and Scully.

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13. “Gethsemane/Redux/Redux II” – Season 4, Episode 24, Season 5, Episodes 1 & 2

Scully’s cancer has forced her into the hospital and it all looks very bleak. She’s terminal and slipping away minute by minute. Meanwhile, Mulder is approached with what seems to be actual alien DNA but his beliefs are completely tested and almost debunked by a Defense Department employee who presents him a completely different story. “Redux/Redux II” packs a lot in but it makes this list because of Scully’s cancer and how far Mulder goes for her. He’s willing to give up so much to make sure she gets well. If you had any doubt that Mulder and Scully were in love, this should completely eliminate that from your mind. This is a heavy and emotional two parter that still doesn’t wrap up the saga of Scully being abducted by aliens, instead it starts a new chapter that doesn’t get wrapped up until she gives up William for adoption. Even then, with the revival ahead, is it all said and done?

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12. “Arcadia” – Season 6, Episode 15

Scully and Mulder pretend to be husband and wife. If that’s not enough to place it on this list then maybe it’s satire of the perfect suburban life is. Scully and Mulder are sent to a closed community to investigate several disappearances and they end up getting involved in the very strict rules of the community. Scully takes the task very seriously but Mulder aims to break the rules to bait whatever is causing the problems in this community. This episode is funny but also delivers a worthy “monster of the week”.

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11. “Avatar” – Season 3, Episode 21

At this point in the show, we don’t really know that much about Walter Skinner. He’s Mulder and Scully’s boss and he helped them out a bit during season 2’s big parter but that’s all we have. In “Avatar”, he gets involved in a murder that he can’t really explain without the paranormal but we learn a lot about him and his life. He has a wife (yay) but she’s divorcing him (sad face). This doesn’t have the strongest monster element but this is where we really end up attaching to Skinner as an integral part of this show.



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