season 1, episode 1, “pilot”
i wish i had been a fan from the beginning. i wonder what it felt like to watch this episode when it first aired. i bet it was thrilling. i bet those people that watched it when it premiered knew they were watching television history in the making. the themes that make “the x-files” so great are all here in this first episode. alien abduction, government conspiracy, and great chemistry between the two leads. solid acting, an eerie score, and well-paced action round out a superb hour of television.
after the spooky teaser opening, we see dr. dana scully receive her new assignment. a mysterious smoking man lurks in the background. scully sees right through their request of her. “am i to understand that you want me to debunk the x-files project, sir?” she’s smart enough to get that, but she has enough integrity to find out for herself. you can tell from the beginning that she’s not going to be used as a pawn. but, agent fox mulder doesn’t know that yet, does he? scully heads down to the basement to meet her new partner. “nobody down here except the fbi’s most unwanted.” “spooky” mulder is down in the bowels of the the j. edgar hoover building surrounded by files and a poster with a spaceship hovering over the words “i want to believe.” their witty rapport is instant. mulder harmlessly taunts scully and scully holds her ground without being a bitch. she wants to prove herself, but she’s not cocky. when he says they are off to oregon to investigate her smile shows that she’s excited about her new detail and the challenge of working with agent mulder.
mulder is impressed by scully, but still wary of her motives. scully is fascinated by the passion of his beliefs, but still skeptical. they balance each other out. the audience figures that out as quickly as the characters do. they will make a good team. by scully not dismissing mulder’s theories outright, they are able to investigate a case with very little substantial evidence and even less once their documentation and computer files mysteriously go up in flames. our first indication of a possible cover-up. scully starts to get caught up in mulder’s notions, thinking that mosquito bites are the same marks that the supposed abductees have. mulder softens when he sees this. she no longer seems like a threat, but an ally. he opens up and tells her about his sister’s alleged abduction and how he came across the x-files and why he’s able to pursue this division outside the bureau’s mainstream. the beginning of their trust in each other is forged.
like so many of the cases to come, they are left with an unsubstantiated resolution and no more evidence than a young man’s statement given under hypnosis and an unidentified metal object found in one of the victims’ nose. in a creepy and ominous ending the smoking man in black stores that implant along with others like it in a large storage facility located in the pentagon. such a great beginning to the mythology that will continue through the series.
I got goosebumps when the man in the opening says after the girl is found dead, “it’s happening again, isn’t it?”
first appearance of mulder’s sunflower seeds
scully’s look when mulder spray paints an ‘x’ on the road is like “what have I gotten myself into??”
scully trying to play it cool when mulder asks if she wants to go running. “I’m not losing any sleep over it.” liar, yes, you are.
super creepy nose bleed.
love it when mulder sees the light and the whirlwind and its abrupt end and the first thing he says is “scully” and then goes to find her.
did you know? behind the scenes facts:
only episode to have the disclaimer “the following story is inspired by actual documented accounts” in the beginning.
the beginning of their trust in each other:
when scully gets caught up in the craziness and mulder has to remind her that she has to put this all in a report to their superiors.
scully runs to him when she discovers the marks. she’s a medical doctor, for crying out loud, she can’t figure it out?
their hug when she’s relieved that they are mosquito bites.
the first late night phone call (at 11:21, no less).
m: “sorry, nobody down here except the fbi’s most unwanted.”
m: “I was under the impression that you were sent to spy on me.”
s: “do you have a theory?” m: “I have plenty of theories.”
m: “that’s why they put the ‘i’ in fbi.”
s: “you’re saying that time disappeared. time can’t just disappear. it’s a universal invariant.” m: “not in this zip code.”
s: “I’m not part of any agenda. you’ve got to trust me. I’m here, just like you, to solve this.”
s: “agent mulder believes we are not alone.”