Series creator Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz continue the mythology arc story they began in Piper Maru with Apocrypha, which first aired on 16 February, 1996.
While Scully (Gillian Anderson) runs down leads on the man who killed her sister, something that has caused AD Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) to end up in the hospital with a gunshot wound and leading him to more risk, Mulder (David Duchovny) has captured Krycek (Nicholas Lea) who is supposedly in possession of the stolen DAT tape with all the government’s secrets about UFOs and aliens, which prompted the season two finale.
Unfortunately, Krycek is possessed by an alien entity that is using black oil as a medium to move through, and take over a host. And it has one purpose, to return to its ship, which has been captured, and hidden away by the Syndicate, who in turn,calls in Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) to remind him who he works for – there’s definitely shifting power dynamics in this group, and CSM doesn’t seem to be happy with his position or with who he has to answer to.
In a flashback, we see the evidence of the crew that were exposed to the alien’s radiation aboard the submarine, and CSM and Mulder’s father’s involvement with it. We also get to see The Lone Gunmen in action for an all too brief moment as they work on recovering the tape.
While Scully works to protect Skinner, and hunt down the man who shot him and her sister, she eventually repairs with Mulder as they head to North Dakota and a deserted series of missile silos in pursuit of Krycek…
But will they reach Krycek in time? Will CSM and the Syndicate stop them? And what will Krycek’s fate be? That last shot of the episode is, if contemplated, horrifying.
Pusher features another (brief) appearance by Roger Cross – with moustache this time, Written by Vince Gilligan, it first aired on 23 February, 1996, and was a huge episode for shipper fans who wanted a relationship between Mulder and Scully.
The agents are called in on a strange case involving a man named Modell (Robert Wisden) who is dying, and has recently developed a strange ability. His voice can influence people, make them do or see whatever he wants, and he’s now after being pursued by someone he felt was below him, has found a worthy opponent in Mulder.
So begins a game of cat and mouse which leads to an incredibly tense game of Russian roulette with Mulder under Modell, or Pusher’s control.
It’s a tense, well-written episode that demonstrates the series exemplary writing as well as the performances of the leads. This one gets me every time I watch it, and I know how it plays out!! Every one is on point in this episode, and the shared looks between Mulder and Scully feed those shippers (which, lets be honest, were most of us).
There’s more casework to come Thursday with more x-files, because the truth is out there!