Fans of '90s cult hit The X-Files rejoiced last year when Fox Network announced a 10th season to premiere in January 2016. The new season will follow ex-FBI special agents and estranged lovers Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) in six eye-opening and riveting episodes that promise to uncover (finally) the truth behind the convoluted mysteries surrounding aliens, government conspiracies, and world domination.
The revival sent long-time fans dusting off their collector's DVDs, plunging into their couches, lights off, clutching the remote control while getting lost in the Mulder and Scully fantasy once again (will they, won't they?).
But unless you had the luxury of staying at home these last 10 months like the hermit we all wish to be, it's unlikely that you were able to go through all 202 episodes plus the movies. Besides, not all of them were good and the show suffered a steady decline towards the end.
So which episodes merit a re-watch? Which ones do you show your lover or your kids so they, too, would want to believe? We have a list.
Cue: theme song!
1) Squeeze (Season 1, Episode 3) / Tooms (Season 1, Episode 21)
Of course, The X-Files was also famous for its standalone episodes featuring an array of creepy monsters of the week. The first—and perhaps most iconic—of this fearsome bunch is Eugene Tooms, a mutant/serial killer who crawls through air vents and feasts on his victims' livers. In "Squeeze," Mulder is convinced that he's a shape-shifting SOB who was responsible for a series of crimes in Baltimore in 1933 and 1963. Scully is still at her most skeptical at this point, but a personal attack on her, at her house no less, shakes her belief. Ultimately, Tooms gets confined in an asylum. Later in the season, he returns, thirsting for revenge.
Eugene Tooms is one of the most unforgettable villains due to sheer scare factor (dude can get through air vents!), and these episodes were early proof that you don't have to be into aliens to be into X-Files.
2) Bad Blood (Season 5, Episode 12)
This stellar episode is penned by Breaking Bad creator, Vince Gilligan. In "Bad Blood," The FBI is about to be sued for a gajillion dollars after Mulder allegedly put a stake through the heart of pizza delivery boy whom he suspected of being a vampire. Mulder and Scully spend the next half hour relaying their flashbacks to one another in an effort to get their stories straight and we see the two agents' differing and hilarious points of view. Gillian Anderson herself called this one of her favorite episodes.
3) Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose (Season 3, Episode 4)
Peter Boyle stars as the memorable Clyde Bruckman, an insurance agent with the psychic ability of knowing how people will die. A bunch of fortunetellers are ending up dead in Minnesota, and the two agents have signed Clyde up to aid them. Mulder plays the skeptic in this episode, probably because Clyde predicted that he would die of 'autoerotic asphyxiation' while Scully is apparently immortal.
Though inherently somber due to Clyde's depression, the script is sharp and hilarious at times. The late Peter Boyle took home an Emmy for this episode, as did the writers.
4) Avatar (Season 3, Episode 21)
It was only after three seasons that The X-Files did an episode on the two paternally orphaned agents' office father figure, FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner. He's going through a divorce. What's worse, he's suspected of murdering a woman he picked up at the bar one night. Mulder and Scully stand by their boss and are determined to uncover the truth as all signs indicate that Skinner is innocent. This episode does not rank up there as one of the bests, but it does give viewers some serious heebie-jeebies because who likes seeing the same old creepy-looking woman popping up randomly around town?
5) Post-Modern Prometheus (Season 5, Episode 5)
In every show, there's always an episode that's more special than any other. This might just be it for The X-Files. Series creator Chris Carter wrote and directed this masterfully shot black-and-white episode that had everything from comic books to Cher. The monster in question is called The Great Mutato, a severely deformed "experiment" a la Frankenstein, but viewers are sympathetic to his plight. This is one of the favorites among fans and those who just like to be cheesy because it's a campy break from the increasingly tense overarching alien mythology of the series.
Plus, Mulder and Scully dance at the end.
6) Little Green Men (Season 2, Episode 1)
In "Little Green Men," we see Mulder sans Scully in what looks like an all-time low, primarily due to the X-Files department getting shut down in the Season 1 finale. This is an important episode because majority of the first season ran on Mulder's faith in the paranormal, and here he's looking like he'd been forced to host Ancient Aliens in lieu of the old job.
Scully, meanwhile, feels just as terrible teaching at Quantico, answering mundane questions from students who have no idea that the truth is actually still out there. The two agents are reinstated by the end of the hour but this introspective and emotional episode pulls viewers in and gives plenty of reasons to still want to believe.