It has been twenty-eight years since The X-Files first graced our screens and now with all the episodes hitting Disney+ I figured it might be time to revisit a televison show that at one time held the whole world in its paranoid hands.
Beginning with Ep. 1: Pilot we start our adventures in Bellefleur, Oregon, where teenager Karen Swenson (Laura Lee Connery- now a renowned Hollywood stuntwoman) is seen fleeing through a forest at night, as expected she falls over just as a dark figure approaches her. They get surrounded by a bright light. We then cut to a later time where Swenson’s body is discovered by Bellefleur detectives. It is revealed she has two small marks on her lower back.
Now we get the introduction of Dana Scully, played by Gillian Anderson (her biggest credit at this point in time was the role of April Cavanaugh in The Turning). It is hard to belive that network TV chiefs wanted Pamela Anderson for the role! Imagine how that would have turned out! Scully is being grilled by Section Chief Scott Blevins (Charles Cioffi) whilst lurking in the background smoking a Morley cigerette is William B. Davis’ “Smoking Man” – up to that point Davis was most recognised as the doctor from Look Who’s Talking- who would of though a background charcter with no lines would become such an important cornerstone of the show!
Then we get Fox Mulder (David Duchovny – known at this point for playing DEA Agent Dennis/Denise Bryson in Twin Peaks) meeting Dana Scully – and just like that TV history was made – whilst we simultaniously all tried to order “I Want to Believe” posters!
Anyway, back to the story! Our dynaimc duo arrive in Bellefleur and as they are driving along their car radio goes crazy! Mulder steps out the car and grabs a spray can and proceeds to mark the spot of this event by spraying an “X” onto the road, more on this later…
Upon arrival, Mulder arranges for the exhumation of another victim, Ray Soames, despite the protests of Dr. Jay Nemman (played by Cliff De Young), the county medical examiner. When Soames’ coffin is opened, a desiccated body is found inside, which Scully concludes is not Soames, but possibly an orangutan. Upon conduction her own examination she discovers a grey metallic implant in the body’s nasal cavity.
Following up on Soames leads Mulder and Scully to the psychiatric hospital where Soames was committed before his death. They meet two of Soames’ former classmates—the comatose Billy Miles (a character who would appear again in the year 2000 played by Zachary Ansley), and wheelchair-bound Peggy O’Dell (played by Katya Gardner). During their chat O’Dell begins to have a nosebleed that appears similar to Swenson’s. Outside the hospital, Mulder explains to Scully that he believes Miles, O’Dell, and the victims to be alien abductees.
At this point we are through the looking glass and fully absorbed into the world of The X-Files especially when we learn about Mulder’s sister Samantha.
As for the case, Mulder was right and later under hypnosis Billy Miles remembers how he was abducted in the forest as his classmates celebrated their graduation. Over time, the classmates were subjected to tests by the aliens, and later killed when the tests failed.
Scully reports back to Blevins with the only pirce or evidence remaining – the metal implant but later, Mulder informs her all the case files are now missing. As the episode ends we see The Smoking Man stores the implant away, amongst other identical implants, in a vast evidence room within the Pentagon!
Verdict: 7/10. The episode still holds up after all these years and it is interesting to see, with the gift of hindsight, the amount of forshadowing they packed in. As far as cases go, this was actually one of the easiest Mulder and Scully ever faced. That said, Billy Miles would play a bigger role in the X-Files story seven years later! You can see how the world got hooked!