WRITERS: VALERIE MAYHEW/VIVIAN MAYHEW
A devil-worshiping cosmetic surgeon in search of immortality compels his colleagues to commit murder through overly enthusiastic liposuction and chemical peels, turning a Windy City hospital unit into Chicago Hopeless. Creative casting: Richard Beymer (West Side Story, Twin Peaks) as the doc who takes face-lifts to a new dimension. Critique: Lots of juicy gore redeems this installment, but the fourth consecutive phoned-in performance by Duchovny and Anderson has us worried. B-
79. MUSINGS OF A CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN
In a Forrest Gumpian retrospective, Cancer Man reviews his life story through an eavesdropped conversation between Lone Gunman Frohike and Mulder and Scully. We are told of his seduction as an Army officer into the black forces, and that he is responsible for virtually every major historical event since then from Daley Plaza in 1963 to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion every March. Historic moments: Just a sample from this box of chocolates: Fellow Army officer Bill Mulder tells Cancer Man of his 1-year-old son Fox's first words (''JFK''); and we learn the true pain underlying Cancer Man's desolate demeanor (he's a failed writer of Tom Clancy-esque spy novels under the nom de plume Raul Bloodworth). Critique: Given its incredibly arch, near-satiric tone and absurd allegations, one has to wonder to what extent this episode is intended as information, and to what extent sheer entertainment. Then again, this is Frohike's version of Cancer Man's life, so the truth is probably still out there. A-
The following episode critique is based on scripts for a two-part conspiracy episode airing Nov. 24 and Dec. 1. Read at your own risk.
80, 81. TUNGUSKA, TERMA
The smuggling of a strange alien rock which crashed to earth in 1908 Russia sets Mulder on a globe-trotting chase that takes him from a right-wing militia group in Queens to a cell in a Russian gulag. Seems the rock contains 4-billion-year-old oily worms that transmit a deadly ''black cancer,'' and both America and the Russians want to exploit it. Historic moments: You thought the Cold War was over sorry. Smallpox vaccinations get another workout. More evidence that X's heir is the blond U.N. operative Marita Covarrubias (Laurie Holden). Plus, Mulder at his most intimate with Scully! Based on script alone: A-