season 1, episode 8, “ice”
“ice” is a much needed breath of fresh air after two ho-hum episodes. the tension, the action, the mystery, the science, the agent’s partnership is all there. all the ingredients that make a great x-files episode and make a great hour of television. it’s a well written piece of drama and a study of the human condition under extreme circumstances.
a disturbing video feed comes in from the arctic ice core project revealing that the scientists stationed in alaska have seemingly gone crazy and turned on one another. mulder and scully, along with a geologist, a doctor, and a toxicologist are all sent to investigate. when they get there they see that half the team has been murdered and the last two scientists killed themselves. they find a dog that is infected by some sort of worm and after studying the bodies they find the same parasite in the victims’ blood. each person on the investigative team has had possible contact with the worm and they fear that one of them is infected. they hypothesize that the worm feeds off its host’s hypothalamus gland causing aggressive and violent behavior. the confinement and the paranoia start to sink in leading to tensions running high and patience running thin, in turn, making everyone think the other is acting erratically because they are infected.
when mulder is caught with the dead body of the geologist, they lock him up. scully is afraid that mulder is infected and he might not be who he is. she has no choice but to agree with the rest. after running tests on the worm and blood samples, they learn that two worms in one host kill each other. they introduce a second worm into the dog and their theory proves true. how convenient to have a non-human test subject. the other two scientists now want to give mulder another worm to save him. scully has to be sure that he is, in fact, infected, at risk of actually infecting him. they have a great scene alone together discussing their trust and checking each other for symptoms. scully is convinced that he is not infected and they have to persuade the others. the others attack them and just when they are about to give mulder the worm, the doctor sees the worm move beneath the toxicologist’s skin. they inject her with the infected blood just in time. phew. it’s kind of a hold-your-breath, nail-biting situation for the viewer. oh, and the paranormal aspect of the episode is that the worm was found in ice core samples taken from a prehistoric meteor. so it’s an ancient alien worm. obvs.
bania from seinfeld plays the geologist. gold, jerry, gold!
i had a walkman very similar to bania’s. ah, the 90s…
did you know? behind the scenes facts:
david duchovny adopted a puppy fathered by the dog from the episode. his name is blue.
the UST in that scene is out of control. can you make checking for worms any more erotic? I don’t think so.
m: “before anyone passes judgement, may i remind you, we are in arctic.”