X Cyclopedia: The Ultimate Episode Guide, Season III

64. APOCRYPHA
WRITERS: SPOTNITZ/CARTER
DIR.: MANNERS
In this conclusion to ''Piper Maru,'' we learn the twisted history and subsequent cover-up of the oily alien and its downed craft. Mulder escorts Krycek back to the U.S. to retrieve the MJ file — only Krycek isn't exactly himself. Historic moments: In a flashback to 1953, we see a young Cancer Man and Mulder Sr., already knee-deep in ''plausible deniability;'' Mulder comes face to face with the Well-Manicured Man; the Lone Gunmen on ice (as in skates). Critique: Some interesting progressions in the grand theme, though worth it just for the awesome missile site finale. A

65. PUSHER
WRITER: VINCE GILLIGAN
DIR.: BOWMAN
Pusher, a self-styled American ninja, has the ability to cloud the minds of his victims and wreak psychokinetic mayhem. Historic moment: Pusher to Skinner: ''Take a walk, Mel Cooley.'' This just before the assistant director is beaten up — by a girl! Critique: Much inscrutable warmth between Mulder and Scully parallels some inscrutable detective work. But the climactic mental tug-of-war between Mulder and Pusher makes up for any lapses in logic. B+

66. TESO DOS BICHOS
WRITER: JOHN SHIBAN
DIR.: MANNERS
Archaeologists in the Ecuadorean highlands (of Vancouver!) unearth the remains of an Amaru — a female shaman — thus unleashing its vengeful jaguar spirit. When the Amaru's urn is moved to a Boston museum, the deadly cat is out of the bag. Critique: !No es bueno! C

67. HELL MONEY
WRITER: VLAMING
DIR.: TUCKER GATES
A clandestine Chinese racket is preying upon recent immigrants through a grotesque raffle, which in turn is a vehicle to supply a black market with human body parts. Bingo was never like this. Creative casting: B.D. Wong (M. Butterfly) as a Chinatown cop whose loyalties are questioned by Mulder and Scully. Critique: Gorgeously shot — particularly the lush, smoky gaming sequences. Ironically, the twisted grotesquery of this story makes you think it must be based on a true story. (Not so, says Carter.) A-

68. JOSE CHUNG'S 'FROM OUTER SPACE'
WRITER: DARIN MORGAN
DIR.: BOWMAN
Told in flashback via an interview with Scully by ''nonfiction science-fiction'' novelist Jose Chung, this is a character-by-character (or should we say caricature-by-caricature) recounting of an alien visitation. Creative casting: The adorably flaky Charles Nelson Reilly as Chung; if that weren't enough, pro wrestling's Jesse ''The Body'' Ventura and Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek appear as two Men in Black. Critique: A series so bleepin' ripe for parody brilliantly turns the tables on itself. Two (of many) guffaw-worthy moments: Mulder's squeal and the smoking alien. A

69. AVATAR
WRITER: GORDON
STORY: DUCHOVNY/GORDON
DIR.: JAMES CHARLESTON
From the ridiculous to, well, the ridiculous. Cancer Man and Co. seek to discredit Assistant Director Skinner and frame him for murder by exploiting a nightmare that has haunted him since Vietnam — the vision of a haglike, murderous succubus. Critique: Did somebody say suck? The clench-toothed Skinner deserves more air time, but not this USA Network reject. D+