7 X-Files episodes to whet your appetite before the revival

As veterans of our favourite show The X-Files, we here at Filed Under X have looked upon the emerging lists of “what to watch before the revival” with …lets face it, scorn. We’ve often shouted (ok, typed in caps) has this person even watched the show? How on earth could a newbie follow the series with that list?

The truth is, you can’t. There’s 201 episodes, two movies and a mythology so intense, even fans like us, who rewatch at least once year, get confused following. Without watching from start to finish, a newbie is going to be flailing in the dark without an over-sized flashlight. Come the revival, you’re bound to have too many questions from watching a list of solely monster of the week eps, or confusion from a list that excludes huge chunks of the mythology.

So what was our solution? Episodes to wet your appetite. Something we think may grab a newbies attention and get them watching the old stuff once the revival is over. We thought it would be easy picking these episodes, it wasn’t. But we harshly cut our list of over 20 to bring you the seven episodes to, hopefully, get you interested in The X-Files:


1. Pilot

Agent Dana Scully is assigned to work with Agent Fox Mulder on the X-Files in an attempt to debunk his work on the paranormal. Their first case has them investigating apparent alien abductions. A near comatose man, Billy Miles, is taking his classmates, into the woods, where they are killed in a flash of bright light.

The premiere episode stands the test of time (except maybe for technology and fashion) its a fantastic 44 minute ride that establishes that partnership we know and love for the next nine seasons and the shadow government that plagues them.

Listen to our podcast on this ep: Episode 1 Pilot
2. Beyond The Sea

A death row inmate named Luther Lee Boggs claims that he is psychic and can lead Mulder to a serial killer in exchange for a lesser sentence of life in prison. The agents’ roles are reversed in this episode, with Mulder doubting Boggs’s claim and Scully believing him after she is told that she can communicate through him with her recently deceased father.

An episode that has been criminally overlooked by many ‘catch up’ lists, Beyond The Sea was specifically written to show off Gillian Anderson’s amazing talent. There is no doubt she brings it in this Scully-centric episode where her faith in science and position as a sceptic is challenged.

Listen to our podcast on this ep: Episode 8: Beyond The Sea (and Gender Bender)
3. Irresistible

Mulder and Scully are in Minneapolis on the trail of a serial killer who likes to collect trophies from his victims. Mulder creates a working profile of the suspect as a death fetishist and Scully realises the case is more personal than she thought. As the killer is starting to kill to retrieve, and she may be the next victim.

An episode that still gives us the creeps to this day because of its
real-world feel. Lets just say you will never hear the words “girly-girl” the same again after this one!

Listen to our podcast on this ep: Episode 20: (Aubrey and) Irresistible


4. Tunguska/Terma

When a man carrying a sample of the mythical black oil into the US is detained and the sample is released, the hierarchy involved in its concealment must act. Led by a revived and vengeful Krycek, Mulder and Scully seek to find its origin, its purpose, and perhaps its cure.

A double episode that tackles some of the ongoing and most famous
mythology, the black oil. We realised that while there may be elements that confuse the hell out of newbies, these two episodes stand alone enough to be entertaining without being too confusing. An action packed ride from start to finish there’s nothing you can do but hold on and enjoy! Plus the bonus is you see Skinner and Krycek in these eps, hooboy!
5. Memento Mori

Fear for Scully’s health sends Mulder to investigate the bizarre
circumstances that may explain her mysterious abduction two years ago, while Scully takes a more practical course to quell her illness.

A beautifully written episode by Carter, Spotnitz, Gillgan & Shiban its often a favourite among fans and X-Files crew alike. The consequences of Scully’s abduction come to a head with some devastating results. You’ll need to bring the tissues and comfort food with this one.
6. Bad Blood

While investigating bizarre exsanguinations in Texas, Mulder kills a teenage boy whom he mistakes for a vampire. Awaiting a meeting with Skinner, Mulder and Scully attempt to get their stories straight by relating to each other their differing versions of what happened during their investigation.

Gillian Anderson has voted Bad Blood as her favourite episode and with good reason. While it’s a light episode, with an easy to follow plot, it is the retelling of the events, in Mulder and Scully’s point of views that make this on many fans top 10 list. Which version of the story will you believe?


7. The Truth

After not knowing Mulder’s whereabouts for the last year, Skinner and Scully learn he’s being held for the murder of a military man he couldn’t possibly have killed, one of the government’s secret Super Soldiers. Mulder’s tribunal seeks to justify and prove the very existence of an alien conspiracy — and the X-Files.

The action packed finale to the series covers a lot of ground as members of the X-Files team justify the divisions existence in military court. While elements may get a little lost on newbies, we added it as a look at where the series ended and to get you intrigued about what came before.
Special mention:


A seemingly unmotivated murderer, who can apparently talk his victims into killing themselves is on the loose and it is up to Mulder and Scully to study the clues left to them by the person and capture him.

Pusher narrowly missed the top 7 but deserves a mention for being another brilliant Monster Of The Week. Another almost realist story where the only paranormal element is that killer is able to force his will on others. Stay tuned for the intense Russian roulette scene!
After you check these out and no doubt, watch The X-Files Revival, we highly recommend you start the series over, it’s worth the long journey.


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