10 best episodes of The X-Files, ranked

This year is the 30th anniversary x files, one of the most popular genre shows in the history of network TV. Over the course of nine seasons, from 1993 to 2002, series creator Chris Carter and his team of writers treated viewers to some of the strangest and most horrifying cases of the paranormal they could imagine. Anything from aliens to monsters and demons were in play while the show developed its own mythology and an overarching story.


  • 10. Requiem (Season 7, Episode 22)
  • 9. Drive (Season 6, Episode 2)
  • 8. One Sun (Season 6, Episode 12)
  • 7. Beyond the Sea (Season 1, Episode 13)
  • 6. The Smoking Man’s Thoughts (Season 4, Episode 7)
  • 5. Memento Mori (Season 4, Episode 14)
  • 4. The Last Rest of Clyde Bruckman (Season 3, Episode 4)
  • 3. End Game (Season 2, Episode 17)
  • 2. Ascension (Season 2, Episode 6)
  • 1. Jose Chung’s From Outer Space (Season 3, Episode 20)

In honor of the show’s 30th anniversary, we’re looking back at its 10 best episodes x files And ranking them from worst to best. Unlike some previous best-of lists for this show, we’re not just focusing on standalone episodes or monster-of-the-week installments. It has become fashionable to criticize the show’s mythological themes because Carter and company could not bring the story to a satisfactory resolution. But those episodes were a big part of why the show was so great at its peak, and it would be a disservice to the series itself if we didn’t give those stories their due.

10. Requiem (Season 7, Episode 22)

David Duchovny in The X-Files.
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This is not the last episode of x files, but it certainly feels like it is. Duchovny had one foot out the door on this show, and “Requiem” found Mulder almost completely deprived of the purpose that had fueled him for the first seven seasons. Mulder finds some answers, but never the whole truth. And that only led to more unanswered questions.

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Furthering the sense of finality, Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lee), Marietta Covarrubias (Laurie Holden), and the Cigarette-Smoking Man (William B. Davis) return for the last time. Yet those reappearances seem less significant given the way the episode brings Mulder and Scully closer than ever while simultaneously pushing them further apart. By the end, Mulder is gone, and Scully is facing a major turning point in her life.

9. Drive (Season 6, Episode 2)

Bryan Cranston and David Duchovny in The X-Files.
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To drive Is x files‘Take the movie pace, which puts Mulder behind the wheel at gunpoint by Patrick Crump (Bryan Cranston), a man whose violent illness can only be alleviated by traveling west at high speed. This was before Cranston’s breakout role malcolm in the middleAnd this is also the episode that is widely credited with landing Cranston the lead role breaking bad,

Vince Gilligan, creator of breaking bad, she gave Crump some really mean things to say when he put the gun on Mulder. And if that was all Crump had left, no one would have remembered this episode. Instead, the script allows Crump to become genuinely vulnerable as his time starts to run out. Cranston’s performance actually makes Crump sympathetic, which was no small feat.

8. One Sun (Season 6, Episode 12)

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in The X-Files.
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a son Presented as the episode that was supposed to answer x files Fans have been waiting years to learn. Unfortunately for the show’s creative team, it looks like many fans weren’t as happy with the revelations. That is why this episode is ignored. The reason it ranks so highly here is because the story is a masterclass of rising tension and for most of the hour it feels like the end of the world is nigh.

With alien colonization now almost inevitable, Mulder is promised a reunion with his long-missing sister. Yet in the end, neither the colonists nor the syndicates that collaborated with them got what they wanted. And after half a season when they were officially out of the FBI’s X-Files, Mulder and Scully were back where they belonged.

7. Beyond the Sea (Season 1, Episode 13)

Gillian Anderson in The X-Files.
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the silence of the Lambs the vibes were high across the sea, the first season episode that reversed the traditional Mulder and Scully dynamic. In this case, when a serial killer, Luther Lee Boggs (Brad Dourif), claimed to have psychic knowledge about a kidnapping, Scully was a reluctant believer. Boggs also said he had a message from Scully’s late father, Captain William Scully (Don Davis). To prove his competence, Boggs tells Scully details about her father’s funeral that he did not know.

The episode brought Anderson more into the spotlight as Scully grappled with the implications of Boggs’s powers. But she also decides not to return for her father’s last message. This proved to be one of Scully’s defining decisions.

6. The Smoking Man’s Thoughts (Season 4, Episode 7)

William B. in The X-Files  Davis.
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Who is the man who smokes cigarettes? It seems that the person who had all the answers was on the show from the very first episode. But in the semi-comedic episode, Thoughts of a man smoking a cigaretteAudiences learned that the man who may have been linked to every major conspiracy decades ago was actually a writer at heart who just wanted to be a published author.

Chris Owens played the young CSM in flashback scenes, before later portraying the character’s son, Jeffrey Spender, in the fifth and sixth seasons. The episode also leaves some doubt as to whether this was actually the origin of the Cigarette Smoking Man or whether it was just another story he came up with to hide the truth.

5. Memento Mori (Season 4, Episode 14)

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in The X-Files.
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This is the episode where Scully confirms she has cancer, marking a major turning point for the series. It is most notable for the way that Mulder and Scully demonstrated that their relationship went beyond being merely ideal work partners, even though they were far from romantic. Mulder is so shaken by the revelation of Scully’s illness that he even entertains the idea of ​​making a deal with the cigarette smoker to save Scully’s life.

Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) advises Mulder not to do it, for all the right reasons. ..and then mortgaged his soul to CSM for the same reasons. The entire episode was a great setup for events to come.

4. The Last Rest of Clyde Bruckman (Season 3, Episode 4)

Peter Boyle, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in The X-Files.
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Clyde Bruckman’s final resting place is usually the episode that people choose as their number one choice out of the top 10 x files Episode Lists. Make no mistake, this episode is a masterpiece. There is more humanity in this single story than in any other episode. And it’s all thanks to a brilliant performance from the late Peter Boyle as Clyde Bruckman, an eccentric man who has the gift of predicting how people will die, including himself.

Darin Morgan wrote some of the greatest articles x files The stories were adapted into films, and it was one of his best stories. The way Scully bonds with Bruckman is really special, especially when her prediction about his death comes true. The script and performances made us think about this unique character and it was impressive.

3. End Game (Season 2, Episode 17)

Steven Williams and Mitch Pileggi in The X-Files.
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game over It is the second installment of a two-part episode that had a major impact on the entire series. After Mulder is reunited with his kidnapped sister, Samantha Mulder (Megan Leach), his hopes are dashed when he learns that she was a clone. Clone Samantha and her clone sisters lost their lives at the hands of an alien bounty hunter (Brian Thompson).

The episode is also remembered for the intense confrontation between Mulder’s contact, Ax (Steven Williams) and Skinner, leading to a brutal fight over Mulder’s fate. game over A great episode from start to finish, and it sets the tone for years to come.

2. Ascension (Season 2, Episode 6)

Gillian Anderson in The X-Files.
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The reason Scully was abducted by aliens at the beginning of the series was because Anderson was pregnant. This proved to be for the best, as the episode where Scully is taken, ascension, one of the show’s finest hours. In the previous episode, Scully was attacked by alien abductee Duane Barry (Steve Railsback). But in this episode, Barry succeeds in getting the aliens to take Scully instead of himself.

ascension Alex Krycek was also established as one of the show’s recurring antagonists. However, what made this episode such a lasting impact was Mulder’s intense grief over Scully’s disappearance, and his hope that he would eventually be able to find her.

1. Jose Chung’s From Outer Space (Season 3, Episode 20)

Gillian Anderson in The X-Files.
20th century studio TV

It would have been really easy to fill this list with episodes written by Darin Morgan. He was not a prolific writer x files, but his offbeat stories and his incredible character work always made his episodes stand out from the rest. and as much as we love Clyde Bruckman’s final resting place, jose chung from outer space is the series’ finest hour. This is also the funniest episode of the entire show so far.

Subsequent episodes may have learned the wrong lesson jose chung Like most comedies x files The stories turned heavily into self-parody. It nailed every joke, and also included a truly hilarious performance by Charles Nelson Reilly as Jose Chung, an author who is writing a book about alien abductions. Chung’s interviews with the victims in the latest case, as well as his conversations with Mulder and Scully, reveal vastly different views of what actually happened. The offbeat celebrity cameo was also Chef’s Kiss. Some great episodes followed jose chung, But none of them could recapture the lightning in this bottle.

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