TV Article

X Cyclopedia: The Ultimate Episode Guide, Season IV

A look at '96-'97 episodes of 'The X-Files'

73. HERRENVOLK
WRITER: CARTER
DIR.: GOODWIN
Mulder and Smith are pursued by the Bounty Hunter to Alberta, Canada, an apparent nursery for drones — both bees and mute adolescent clones; the girls are all replicas of Mulder's sister, Samantha. Meanwhile, Scully unravels the real purpose of Smith's work at the Social Security Administration. Historic moments: Mulder's mother — who has suffered a stroke after her confrontation with Cancer Man in ''Talitha Cumi'' — is healed by the Bounty Hunter at Cancer Man's directive; X is seemingly shot dead, directing Mulder to his could-be successor, U.N. operative Marita Covarrubias (where do they come up with these names?). Critique: Episode makes good use of locations, particularly in its Children of the Corn-like opener. And we're happy that the fate of sympathetic crusader Jeremiah Smith has been left unresolved — but then, this chapter opens the door to all sorts of provocative potentialities. It also finds Mulder with a new bad hairdo. A-

74. HOME
WRITERS: MORGAN/WONG
DIR.: MANNERS
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Brother's Keeper, as our dynamic duo encounters an oasis of genetically induced depravity in a Norman Rockwell town called Home. Historic moment: Mulder and Scully examine their feelings about parenthood — perhaps their scariest moment in an episode packed with them. Creative casting: Local Canadian Karin Konoval as the fiercely protective mother/sister/daughter of the Johnny Mathis-lovin' Peacock boys. Critique: Simply put, one of TV's most disturbing hours. At the same time, a cinematic feast for the eyes, packed with audacious wit (and one excellent Babe reference). A

75. TELIKO
WRITER: GORDON
DIR.: CHARLESTON
African-American men are turning up dead, with all the pigment drained from their bodies. The suspect? A ghost creature from West African folklore who can transmogrify into any size or shape. Critique: Basically, a sub-Saharan ''Squeeze'' (episode 2) without as, uh, colorful an antagonist. C-

76. UNRUHE
WRITER: GILLIGAN
DIR.: BOWMAN
Gerry Schnauz, a paranoid schizophrenic-turned-kidnapper, is giving lobotomies to young women he deems troubled. Mulder and Scully track him through the only clue he leaves: a Polaroid depicting his image of his victim's distress. Creative casting: Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heavy) as Schnauz gives new meaning to shifty-eyed. Critique: An interesting concept, ''Thoughtography,'' quickly devolves into boilerplate Scully-in-distress shtick. C

77. THE FIELD WHERE I DIED
WRITERS: MORGAN/WONG
DIR.: BOWMAN
A botched federal raid on a Koresh/Jim Jones-esque cult leaves our agents 24 hours in which to come up with a prosecutable case against the zealots. In the process, one of the sect leader's six wives is found to be channeling past lives (one sounding suspiciously like Joe Pesci in GoodFellas), and Mulder becomes convinced he's shared one with her. Critique: There's an evil conspiracy afoot, and it's the creative team responsible for this stultifyingly awful episode. The only thing Duchovny is channeling here is William Shatner. F

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