Thanks to my weekly podcast, X-Philes Talk X-Files, and the fact that shooting on the revival started yesterday, I’ve got X-Files on the brain at the moment.
Appropriate, then, that this week’s Top 3 Tuesday is dedicated to the show – specifically my personal top three episodes of the very first season…
Beyond The Sea
When Scully’s father dies suddenly, she is stricken with grief and left with a great deal of uncertainty considering that he questioned many of her life choices. Simultaneously, a death row inmate that Mulder had a hand in arresting many years before claims to have a psychic ability that could help catch an at-large serial killer – as well as deliver a message to Scully from her recently deceased dad.
Glen Morgan and James Wong masterfully combined these two story strands to deliver an excellent episode which is equal parts character study and paranormal investigation. Undoubtedly the strongest episode of the first season.
The Erlenmeyer Flask
Over the course of the preceding 22 episodes and pilot, Chris Carter diligently established the world of the show and the characters that inhabited it. Although there had already been several episodes dealing with extraterrestrial and UFO lore, this was the first that really took a stab at introducing some original sci-fi concepts that eventually played out in the show’s larger alien mythology storyline. Not all the pieces are yet in place, of course, but the season finale does a superb job of combining the various elements already introduced, while simultaneously ensuring the first season went out with a bang and providing a solid stepping stone to take the show forwards.
To this day, Ice remains a fan-favorite episode, and it’s not hard to see why. It is an intense hour of television that pits Mulder and Scully against each other (and several others) when they are stranded in the Antarctic with a parasitic killer that could be anyone. The fact that it was actually only the seventh ever regular-season episode of the show is a testament to the writing of Morgan and Wong, and it set the benchmark that all future episodes would be judged against.