X Cyclopedia: The Ultimate Episode Guide, Season I

15. YOUNG AT HEART
WRITERS: SCOTT KAUFER/CARTER
DIR.: MICHAEL LANGE
Homicidal bank robber and prison escapee John Barnett strikes a pact with a mad scientist who has found a way to reverse the aging process. Now he's after Mulder, whose testimony put him in the big house. Critique: A very old theme (eternal youth) doesn't get new life here. Not helping: far-fetched allegations of government involvement. C

16. E.B.E.
WRITER: MORGAN/WONG
DIR.: GRAHAM
Scully and Mulder track a truck transporting an alien salvaged from UFO wreckage in northern Iraq to a secret government facility in Washington state. Historic moments: Introduces the always-entertaining Lone Gunmen — Frohike (Tom Braidwood), Byers (Bruce Harwood), and Langly (Dean Haglund) — Mulder's helpful trio of super-paranoid conspiracy geeks; Deep Throat reveals something of his past and his intentions — we think; and Scully's conflict deepens: She's slowly — by way of sheer respect for Mulder — having to accept ''extreme possibilities'' while maintaining her scientific grounding. Critique: Dense, dazzling, and dark. An ab-so-lute must for those with any hope of unraveling the master plan. A

17. MIRACLE MAN
WRITER: GORDON/CARTER
DIR.: LANGE
Mysterious deaths surround a teenage faith healer and his father's evangelical crusade. In a parallel to ''Beyond the Sea'', this time it's Mulder who is shaken by a psychic evocation of a lost loved one, in the form of his missing sister. Critique: Scott Bairstow as the reluctant healing prodigy keeps you watching, but an ultimately contrived plot and a stereotypical Bible-thumping Southern milieu make for a case more suited to Jessica Fletcher than Mulder and Scully. B-

18. SHAPES
WRITER: MARILYN OSBORN
DIR.: NUTTER
Garden-variety werewolf plot set near a Native American community in Montana. Historic moment: Prompts mentioning of the first X-File, initiated by J. Edgar Hoover in 1946, which also involved a werewolf. Critique: Mulder and Scully dogging it, and nothing much to sink your teeth into. (Sorry, we couldn't resist.) D+

19. DARKNESS FALLS
WRITER: CARTER
DIR.: NAPOLITANO
Life-sucking prehistoric wood mites are unleashed during felling of ancient trees in a remote logging outpost. In yet another torn-from-today's-headlines backdrop, treehuggers battle big bad lumbermen. Critique: Another eerie outing far from civilization. B

20. TOOMS
WRITERS: MORGAN/WONG
DIR.: NUTTER
Liver Boy returns (see episode 2), and once again it's Mulder's job to convince an unbelieving world of the 100-year-old killer's strange culinary appetites and hibernating habits. Historic moment: Cancer Man speaks; we meet Mulder and Scully's boss, Assistant Director Walter Skinner. Creative casting: Mitch Pileggi (the bad guy in Wes Craven's ''Shocker'') as Skinner doesn't make much of an impression here, but he'll prove to be an engagingly steely presence. Critique: Another sublimely slimy performance from Hutchison as Tooms. If you fear escalators, this won't help. A