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THE X-FILES For Dummies (and Smarties)

The age of binge watching television shows is upon us! I’ve assembled for you a delicious, hot, steaming baker’s dozen of The X-Files for you to gorge upon.

Regardless of if you’re new to the show, watched while it was on the air, or you’re a die-hard fan, this is for you, my friend.

Presently, all of The X-Files is available to you on Netflix, so go to town!

I fell in love with the The X-Files by watching from beginning to end, one episode at a time.

However, if you’re a normal human with a job, a family, or maybe you just don’t have time to sit down and watch 202 episodes, then here’s this ultra enjoyable sample of The X-Files. 

We here at FOG! decided it’s best to present you predominantly with what creator of The X-Files, Chris Carter, calls “Stand-Alone” episodes. This way, you can jump in without having to know too much of Mulder and Scully’s detailed backstory.

So, if after watching these thirteen episodes, you feel the inherent need to watch the rest, do so! But, for now, sit down, dearie, and help yourself to this mostly chronological list.

Enjoy the goodness that is Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as they try to solve the unsolvable FBI cases, The X-Files.

1. Squeeze
Season 1 (Episode 3)

Scully and Mulder are called to a murder investigation where a man was found murdered in his locked office. No clear signs of breaking or entering. The only evidence found, an unusual fingerprint on a vent. Here’s the kicker, the victim had his liver removed. I’m sorry, more like torn out. By hand.

When Mulder begins to put the pieces together (Oof, bad pun, forgive me!), he sees that this type of murder reoccurs every thirty years.  

Squeeze is a stellar example of classic, perfect The X-Files.

Whenever someone says to me, “I just want to watch one episode to get a feel for it,” I always recommend this one. Of course, only after recommending they watch the whole thing, like a nerd.

So, if you dig this one, see recommendation number 12 on this list, where Scully and Mulder are confronted once again by the evil from this episode.

2. The Host
Season 2 (Episode 2)


Strange deaths, all surrounding septic and sewer systems, are plaguing New Jersey. While Scully is doing an autopsy of one of the victims, she finds a grody, little flukeworm inside his body. All events seem to lead back to a septic tank upon a Russian freighter that just so happened to be off of the New Jersey shoreline.

Eventually, they find themselves face to face with a humanoid fluke, aptly nicknamed Flukeman.

Flukeman is perhaps one of the most memorable monsters from the series. I recall the first time I saw Flukeman appear in The Host, I shouted, “GOO!” at the screen and promptly hid under my blanket.

Honestly, after watching this episode, however many times I have, I’m still grossed out by him. I feel that is a testament to the staying power of Flukeman.

3. Irresistible
Season 2 (Episode 13)

Being born and raised a horror fan, I find that this episode is right up my alley. Funeral worker turned serial-murderer, Donnie Pfaster, just loves lady hair and lady fingernails. So much so, he collects them by any means. A real go-getter! However, after attacking a woman in a parking lot, he gets arrested. While at the police station, he sees Scully who, as Scully is prone to do, entrances the devious man.

Why, Donnie has just found his next victim.

Having the tables turned on Scully presents a new, vulnerable side to her character. And, yes, I know I shouldn’t play favorites, but I’m about to. Pfaster is hands down my favorite The X-Files villain.

He’s eloquent, charming, handsome and utterly insane. Luckily, we receive a little gift in the seventh season where Donnie Pfaster comes back for one more episode, Orison.

If this interests you, which I truly hope it does, see the thirteenth recommendation on this list. Pfaster, pussycat! Kill! Kill!

4. Humbug
Season 2 (Episode 20)

This episode is centered around the murder of sideshow performer, “Alligator Man.” All of their persons-of-interest are other awesome, sideshow performers which makes for an extra fun episode.

Hellbent on learning more about the Fiji Mermaid, Mulder makes this case a priority. However, the Fiji Mermaid is not what they thought it would be.

In fact, the truth is pretty gnarly. Some awesome special effects, sideshow gags, and an overall enjoyable episode are what earned Humbug a place on this list.

5. Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose
Season 3 (Episode 4)

A deranged killer is on the loose, murdering supposed psychics all over the city. Mulder and Scully come in contact with a man who possesses actual psychic abilities and, albeit reluctantly, he agrees to help them find the ghastly killer.

The legitimate psychic, Clyde Bruckman, is played by the wonderful Peter Boyle. I enjoy and recommend this episode because it’s rooted in humor and naturally heartfelt.

The end is a tearjerker, so have tissues ready if you’re an easy crier!

6.  Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’
Season 3 (Episode 20)

A novelist interviews Scully about a case where two teenagers are abducted by aliens.

The novelist, Jose Chung, not only interviews Scully, but also a UFO nut and the man who supposedly witnessed the original abduction. The witness writes a screenplay about his ordeal, while the UFO nut finds what appears to be an alien corpse.

As the nut retells his version of finding the body, he portrays Mulder as one the the infamous “men in black.” Which is perhaps one of the funniest moments in The X-Files.

All the stories are conflicting, but that only adds to the dry hilarity of it. This episode is loved across the board by most, if not all, hardcore The X-Files fans and with good reason.

A classic case of “he said, she said” meets alien abduction makes for a happy audience.

7. Home
Season 4 (Episode 2)

Oh, c’mon, who doesn’t love a tale of dead babies and inbreeding?

The case: a deceased and deformed infant is found buried at a baseball diamond. The rumor is that the violent, inbred Peacock family is the cause behind it.

Even Mulder and Scully are taken aback in this one. I don’t want to spoil too much, but scenes of graphic violence and amazing practical effects are only heightened by the perfect musical selection.

The dreamy “Wonderful, Wonderful” by Johnny Mathis frames this episode wonderfully, wonderfully.

8. Small Potatoes
Season 4 (Episode 20)

A slew of women who have had difficulty conceiving children are not only getting pregnant, but they’re giving birth to happy, healthy babies!

Hooray, a happy X-Files episode!

Well, for about a minute at least. Although the babies are healthy, there’s a catch. They have tails. One of the women claims that the father of her baby is from another planet, which of course captures Mulder’s intrigue.

However, the actual culprit is a man who can change his face to resemble anyone.

He just so happens to have a tail.

You know, because The X-Files.

Even Mulder and Scully aren’t safe!

9. Post-Modern Prometheus
Season 5 (Episode 5)


So much Cher.

Will and Grace didn’t even have this much Cher.

Okay, I just had to get that out. Shot entirely in black and white, this episode is so aesthetically pleasing. The title pretty much gives away the plot. It’s essentially Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein had it been set in present day.

A unique spin on the classic story and it’s beautifully done. A tad hokey at times, but I feel it endears the show even more. Definitely one of the more “feel good” episodes.

10. Monday
Season 6 (Episode 14)

It’s Groundhog Day for Mulder and Scully!

In an ingenious episode, Mulder keeps waking up to the same crappy morning only to perish later in the day. The day repeats itself over and over until he can figure out a way to change his fate. This episode has an interesting dynamic.

On one hand you have Fox’s hilarious morning, but on the other hand you can’t shake the feeling of “Can this really be it for Mulder and Scully?”

Monday can be emotionally taxing, but it’s well worth the watch.

11. X-Cops
Season 7 (Episode 12)

Filmed as though it were really shot for COPS, Mulder and Scully aim to track down a werewolf that had been sighted in the area. As the plot develops, we find that some creature is attacking the people of Los Angeles at an alarmingly frequency. Like many of their other cases, looks are deceiving and no one is safe.

Due to the COPS style of filming, it has a pretty realistic vibe. However, be warned that there is indeed a lot of the “shaky cam” ever present in this episode.

Once again, the effects are great and they manage to make it look believable. I mean, you have to respect a show that pokes fun at itself, which The X-Files has no fear of doing.

All of that being said, I highly, highly recommend this one for a newcomer!

12. Tooms
Season 1 (Episode 21)

Eugene Tooms is back for round two!

Released from prison, against Mulder’s wishes, he’s back at his old habits. We get to learn more about Toom’s background and previous crimes he’s committed. They finally acquire definitive proof that Tooms is not only the murderer, but is indeed decades older than he seems. Once again, Scully finds herself in danger, this time of losing her precious, juicy liver.

If you liked Squeeze, this one is a no brainer.

Or no liver. Your call.

13. Orison
Season 7 (Episode 7)

Oh, Donnie Pfaster. You sly dog, you. Donnie escapes prison with the help of the good Reverend Orison. Orison is played by Scott Wilson, most widely recognized as Hershel from AMC’s The Walking Dead.

It’s in this episode we learn that Donnie is just a tad more evil than originally thought. Picking up hookers left and right, murdering them, and discarding their bodies wherever he sees fit. But, we come to realize it’s all just practice.

The entire time he was in prison, he obsessed over the one who got away, Dana Scully. Scully keeps hearing a song from her youth, which Mulder urges her to take as a sign. However, Scully being the skeptic she is, refuses to do so and finds herself confronted with the face of evil itself.

An eerie, episode where Scully genuinely fights for her life. Glory, Amen!

So, there you have it! I hope you’re stuffed from this Baker’s Dozen.

Of course you know there’s more where that came from. So, if you dig this, start from episode one. Sooner than you know, you’ll get lost in the mythology of the series, it’s easy to do and well worth it. Unless of course you have to go outside, use the bathroom, or get off the couch.

Everyone’s priorities are different. Just know, I support you no matter what, darling.


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