To commemorate the 20 years since the X-Files saw the light of day I decided to rewatch all the episodes and share my opinions and thoughts the episodes provoke.
Season 1, Episode 0: “Pilot”
Director: Robert Mandel
Writer: Chris Carter
Holy smokes, the show nailed the story structure right from the start. To kick things off, a young F.B.I. agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is assigned to partner up with an agent that’s running the section of the Bureau that investigates cases that deal with the paranormal and unexplained phenomena. Scully soon meets up with her new partner, Special Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny). Mulder and Scully (you’ll be hearing that a lot from now on!) have different opinions on the possibility of the fantastic, Mulder being the believer and Scully being the skeptic, but they’re still able to form a good professional relationship. However Mulder doesn’t know that Scully’s superiors (including a first appearance of William B. Davis’ ominous Cigarette Smoking Man) sent her to gather evidence against Mulder and the X-Files that could shut down his operation for good.
Mulder and Scully’s first assignment together sends them to the woods of Oregon, where a young girl is found dead without an apparent cause of death. It’s a good mystery to start things off. Duchovny and Anderson have a really good chemistry together that make the procedural scenes a hoot to watch. And I swear I felt some erotic tension between the two characters that I’m pretty wasn’t there at the writing stage. Like the scene, where Scully’s lying on the bed listening Mulder confessing about the disappearance of his sister (she was abducted by aliens, of course). It just occurred to me that they could’ve had sex before that scene. Because before that scene Mulder was embracing half-naked Scully, who was afraid that she had the same marks on her lower back that the dead girl (and also earlier teenaged victims) had. It’s funny how the pilot had their relationship be more openly sexual than I remembered. I wonder if the later episodes are as charged as this one. I don’t remember that being the case. However, intriguing stuff!
The pilot has excellent character writing, but ultimately the mystery of the week is solved by deductions which in the end don’t make a whole lot of sense (“I know who did it!”). However the lead pair makes the show worth while and it’s one of the better pilots I’ve seen. The pilot wraps things up nicely ending on a reveal that made the viewer want for more. Thank heaven we got what we wanted…
Best scene: Mulder’s bedroom monologue.
Most memorable bit: Half-naked Scully.
Special Agent Fox Mulder: When convention and science offer us no answers, might we not finally turn to the fantastic as a plausibility?
Special Agent Dana Scully: …What I find fantastic is any notion that there are answers beyond the realm of science. The answers are there. You just have to know where to look.
Special Agent Fox Mulder: That’s why they put the I in FBI