Editor’s Note: This article contains X-Files spoilers. If you prefer a spoiler-free review, click here. We’re still updating our references guide, so feel free to comment or drop us an email at email@example.com if we’ve missed any!
To the delight of X-Philes all over the globe, Fox re-opened The X-Files in early 2015. We saw the hints of a revival coming for months and then in an instant, it was official: Chris Carter, David Duchovny, and Gillian Anderson agreed to again test the limits of science and faith more than 20 years after they changed the course of sci-fi television forever.
For months we gathered up every bit of news on the revival, talked with old friends and new guests, and reflected on the history of a show that means so much to so many people. It was all leading up to the premiere episode of The X-Files truncated 10th season. With the season now available on Blu-ray, as we’ve done in the past, we attempted to collect all the easter eggs and references for new episode of The X-Files.
The X-Files spanned nine seasons and 202 episodes, meaning there is plenty to pay homage to in the new episodes. This is a major task and some goodies are destined to fly over our heads. So, we need your help. If there’s something we missed, let us know in the comments, on Twitter or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we can verify it, we’ll add it here.
To make it easier to avoid spoilers, we’ve broken the article into pages based on episode.
The X-Files Season 10 Episode 1: “My Struggle”
The first new X-Files episode since 2002 opens with several spoonfuls of nostalgia. Voiceover master David Duchovny begins the hour-long mission to fondly reminisce and catch viewers up on what happened during the X-File-less days of the mid-2000s and beyond. As Mulder narrates an epic monologue about his personal history with The X-Files to get viewers up to speed, he also makes it rain easter eggs in a minute or less!
We see a hand (presumably his) setting down a series of photos to illustrate his info dump. Each one is a production still taken during episodes from different eras of the show. Since we’re so detail oriented, we listed them all here for you, in order.
“Drive” – What better way to start off our trip down memory lane with a promo shot of Mulder and Scully from one of the series’ finest standalone episodes?
“The Host” – A glamour shot of the Flukeman, the most iconic X-monster ever.
“Home” – One of the Peacock brothers makes an appearance, because they’re also one of the most memorable creature features the show gave us.
“Tooms” – Eugene Tooms himself, straight from his parole hearing at the beginning of the episode.
“Hungry” – Hey, look! It’s Rob Roberts, the guy that eats brains and works at a fast food restaurant. He was the focus of a Vince Gilligan penned season seven episode that was told from his perspective rather than Mulder and Scully’s, which was a twist at the time.
“Pilot” – The next two shots are of Mulder and Scully after they meet during their first case together in Oregon. Aren’t they cute?
“Jersey Devil” – Mulder and Scully crouch down in the woods while searching for a mysterious woman in a classic first season adventure.
“Dead Alive” – We take a huge leap in time here, right to the middle of the eighth and penultimate season of the show’s first run. This shot is from a key scene in its serialized narrative in which Scully embraces Mulder after he’s brought back to life following his rather complicated alien abduction. This major yet fantastical storyline is something the franchise continues to downplay, as “My Struggle” goes on to prove.
“Trevor” – This photo backtracks to a forgettable Season six monster-of-the-week about an escaped inmate who can walk through walls. It’s just a shot of them standing around looking cool, nothing big.
“Requiem” – Some fans consider the Season seven finale to be the true end of the original series. This picture captures a pivotal moment from this episode in which Scully faints after being affected by a force field in the woods where they first met. (It’s not as silly as it sounds.)
“Per Manum” – Season eight, again? This hug is from a series of flashbacks Scully had of the days before Mulder went missing. What were they talking about? His sperm donorship. Nope, we’re not kidding.
Now let’s get into the episode, shall we?
-The Roswell crash site bears a strong resemblance to another from the show’s history: the buried UFO in the Season 9 two-parter “Providence/Provenance.” Yes, the series is filmed in Vancouver, B.C., but maybe the second unit filmed this in the same location in California where they set up shop last decade? Just a thought.
-It’s good to see Dr. Scully’s still employed and doing the good work for challenged kids at Our Lady of Sorrows. The last time we saw her in 2008’s I Want To Believe, she was caught up in a moral debate with the hospital board over using stem cell research as a solution to help heal certain conditions for her pediatric cases. Looks like she weathered the storm like she usually does, and is still an asset to the hospital’s community. Go Dana! We’ll always love you, even if your hair looks different now.
– The “Mindquad” video player that hosts Tad O’Malley’s show could be a reference to the fictional series of the same name we see commercials for on American Dad, which is based on the season 3 episode of The X-Files, “The Walk,” in which a quadriplegic veteran is killing people psychically. (H/T James Webb)
– Though there’s a reference to Sveta being interviewed as a child by Mulder, she’s a new character that did not previously appear in The X-Files.
-If you look closely enough at the brief flashes of Sveta’s abduction, you’ll notice that there are visual references to the abduction scenes from the quintessential X-File “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.” I mean, come on. Look at that table!
– Actor Hiro Kanagawa, plays Garner in “My Struggle.” He’s one of many actors (more below) who have played multiple characters in the X-Files universe. You may remember him as Dr. Yonechi in season two’s “Firewalker.” He’d return to reprise that role in season four’s “Synchrony.” Kanagawa also appeared in Millennium and an episode of The Lone Gunmen as Jimmy Bond. (H/T fancyfembot)
-Mulder’s pencils are still stuck up on the ceiling, huh? Geez, the FBI really procrastinates when it comes to cleaning stuff. They’ve been up there since, what, 1998? (“Chinga”) Heck, they were there long after Mulder left for the second time in season nine (“Nothing Important Happened Today”).
– In the series finale, the “I Want to Believe” poster is left on the floor in Mulder’s vacant office. Agent Doggett picks up the poster, roles it up, and takes it with him. In “My Struggle” the poster is back on the floor of the office. Did aliens recover it from Doggett?
– Scully finds “Don’t Give Up” written in dust on her car. The famous last words of Byers and The Lone Gunmen were “Never Give Up.”
– In “Patient X,” there’s a Syndicate scene where one of the elders, mentions, when implying about the later known vaccine plan, “We are fifteen years away” to the colonization plan, which based on the air date of the episode would fall around 2012, which at least ties into what is learned in the 2002 finale. We’d also hear of a more specific date from CSM, December 22nd, 2012, for alien colonization. As we now know, none of that came true. This could possible give merit to the O’Malley/Mulder theory of “men against humanity,” rather than aliens against humanity as we were lead to believe.
– Cars mysteriously stopping in the middle of the road is a staple of The X-Files, from the dark Oregon forest in the pilot, to the aforementioned “Jose Chung.”
– Speaking of CSM, remember that rocket he took to the face? It’s all cool, dude. Just a couple of scratches and a weird mask thing. No one ever really dies on The X-Files right?
The X-Files Season 10 Episode 2: “Founder’s Mutation”
– The second episode of The New Adventures of Mulder and Scully is in the same vein as the original series. The teaser is highly indicative of this, as it emulates one of the most memorable from moments season five: the beginning of “Chinga,” the notorious episode co-written by Stephen King. Both of these involved someone stabbing themselves in their own head. In “Chinga,” it was a knife in the eye socket. Here, it’s an letter opener to the eardrum. The question is: who wore it better?
– This is a very subtle production related detail, but did you notice the way the crime scene was lit in green and blue? It’s reminiscent of another cyber themed crime scene – the mainframe from “Kill Switch”, another season five episode written by a famous author (William Gibson). Both share a common visual aesthetic. Was this intentional? Did the production crew sit around re-watching classic episodes for a visual reference guide? Who knows. But it’s there.
– Okay, who else thought that when Mulder was freaking out and hearing noises, he was experiencing the same phenomena he did in “Biogenesis,” the season six finale? (Great episode, by the way.) So how can Mulder think that aliens are fake when he was affected by that ancient spacecraft? Sigh. Forget it.
– Hey, look! It’s Christine Willes (aka Delores Herbig from Dead Like Me.) She used to play Scully’s therapist Karen Kosseff. She and Anderson got real during some very powerful moments in episodes such as “Irresistable,” “The Calusari,” and “Elegy.” This time, she’s cast as a different character in Dana’s life: her boss, Sister Mary. Judging by her disapproving nature, we prefer Kosseff instead.
– Here’s small detail spoken in passing that may clue us into what happened between the former lovebirds. Scully says she’s worked at Our Lady of Sorrows for “seven years,” meaning she remained in Washington after the events of I Want to Believe.
– Kyle Gilligan’s (is that their ode to Vince?) house bares resemblance to the Peacock Brother’s estate in “Home.” James Wong co-wrote “Home” with Glenn Morgan.
– Dr. Goldman used his own daughter for his testing and research. That animal! Hmm who else subjected his own daughter to various tests as collateral, which ultimately led to her death? Oh yeah, Bill Mulder.
– On a TV in the background of the hospital was the third Planet of the Apes film – Escape From The Planet Of The Apes – where they travel back in time with Zera pregnant and the birth of Ceaser, which made the choice fitting considering that the theme of the episode had to do with parents, children, and Mulder and Scully’s fears about what could happen to William.
– Mulder and William are watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was fitting as that film dealt with ancient astronaut theory. The connective tissue with both clips being about apes, the origin of our evolution, hence, this was touching on what our next evolutionary step is going to be. The X-Men indeed.
The X-Files Season 10 Episode 3 “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”
– Darin Morgan’s script (originally titled “The M Word”) was written for Frank Spotnitz’s The Night Stalker, which ran for one season on ABC. The monster’s name in that script was also Guy Mann. You can read more on that here. Guy Mann’s attire is a homage to Carl Kolchak.
– The title of the episode is likely a nod to “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,” the classic horror comedy from 1948.
– Poster-Gate continues. Doggett rolled that old “I Want to Believe” thing up and took it with him in the finale. When Mulder opens the door to his old office in “My Struggle,” the poster is mysteriously back on the floor. He kicks it, tearing the poster in half. In “Were-Monster,” Scully walks in on Mulder throwing pencils at the new poster, to which she says “Mulder, what are you doing to my poster?” Who’s the believer now?
– The picture on the portable toilet is a wolf howling at the moon. Because that’s the kind of imagery you want to see as you exit an outdoor shitter late at night.
– In a nice wink back to “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” Scully says “I’m immortal, remember?” If you recall, Clyde can see how people die. When Scully asks about her impending demise, he responds by saying that she doesn’t die.
– Mulder’s red speedo is a throwback to another classic episode, “Duane Barry.”
– The tombstones in the cemetery pay homage to two beloved members of the X-Files production staff. Longtime X-Files director Kim Manners passed away in 2009 at the age of 58. Manners first sat in the director’s chair for a 1978 episode of Charlie’s Angels. Bouncing around all over television, Manners found a home on The X-Files, helming 52 episodes in the series. The headstone reads “Let’s Kick it in the Ass,” which is a phrase Manners was known for. The other tombstone honors Jack Hardy, who was an assistant director on Chris Carter’s Millennium and The Lone Gunmen, as well as I Want to Believe.
– Mulder’s ringtone is iconic X-Files theme song composed by Mark Snow. How freakin’ cool is that?
– Once you’re an X-Files guest, you’re welcome back any time. Tyler Labine and Nicole Parker Smith play the paint-huffers in the beginning of the episode. They both appeared in two season three episodes: Darin’s Morgan “War of the Coprophages” and “Quagmire” (which Morgan did a rewrite on). The seedy motel owner is also an X-Files alum. Alex Diakun had roles in three of Morgan’s X-Files episodes (“Humbug,” “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” and “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'”), and appeared in I Want to Believe. (H/T Vulture)
The X-Files Season 10 Episode 4 “Home Again”
– Since The Band-Aid Nose Man is inspired by so many Monsters-of-the-Week from the show’s classic run, it’s hard to pick just one. However, what stuck out for the most was how much he reminded us of Billy Miles from Season 8, jumping into trash compactors and surviving being crushed and the like. Also, the ripping people apart with his bare limbs thing. Maybe this was a direct nod to “Exodus/Existence,” the two-part finale in which William was born that features Billy Miles himself? Hey, his name is William too! This show has four characters with that name so far. Is that illegal?
– Okay, Mulder. We know you’ve been away from the job for a decade or so, but we’re going to call you out on something. When the mysterious graffiti artist was explaining how his creation was a Tulpa that he inadvertently created with his talented mind, you were so quick to correct him.
“Tulpa is a 1929 Theosophist mistranslation of a Tibetan word ‘tulku’ meaning a manifestation body. There is no idea in Tibetan Buddhism of a thoughtform or thought-as-form, and a realized tulku would never harm anyone, let alone kill.”
Uh, Mulder? What about that one tulpa back in Season 6’s “Arcadia” that killed people in a suburban nightmare scenario just because they painted their mailbox the wrong color?! Did you forget about that? Don’t worry, we came prepared with sound byte from that particular episode, that you yourself said, ready to refresh your memory.
“A tulpa. It’s a Tibetan thought-form. It’s a living, breathing creature willed into existence by someone who possesses that ability– an ability I think you picked up on your whirligig-buying excursions to the Far East. Why’d you do it? I mean, is it so damn important for everybody to have the same color mailbox? But you didn’t know exactly what you were getting into, did you? I mean, you can summon its existence, but … you can give it life, but you can’t control it. The best you can hope for is to stay out of its way.”
– Oh? And why would he do that, Mulder? I thought tulpas — excuse me, “tulkus” were harmless. And that Tibetan-Buddhist don’t believe in thoughtforms. Hmm. Well, in your defense, Wikipedia wasn’t around in 1999, so we’ll cut you some slack.
– For those of you who’re interested, the flashbacks we saw today were from “One Breath,” “Existence,” and “The Truth,” respectfully.
– Back in Season 1, Scully’s father passed away suddenly in “Beyond The Sea,” one of the series’ most haunting episodes. Now, in the first season of the show’s revival, her mother passes away and Scully again immediately wants to get back on the job to cope with the pain. We’re starting to notice a theme here…
– Charlie Scully has been seen on the show before, actually — in child form, in a flashback during Season 2’s “One Breath.” He’s also assumed to be standing with the group of people at their father’s funeral in “Beyond The Sea.” And, apparently, he sent gifts to Dana and the rest of the Scully clan for the holidays in Season 5’s “Christmas Carol.”
– The death scene set to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” is a sweet throwback to classic X-Files horror sequences that use golden oldies to amp up the creepiness factor. This is also somewhat of a trademark for Glen Morgan, who pulled this trick in certain episodes of Chris Carter’s Millennium, too. (The best being the teaser of “Beware of Dog,” where an elderly couple are terrorized by wild dogs while “Close to You” by The Carpenters plays in the background.)
– Mulder and Scully take her mother’s ashes to a cloudy, rocky beach, very similar to the one in which they spread her father’s back in, again, “Beyond the Sea.” Though we’re not exactly sure if it’s the same location, shot in “Home Again” was filmed in North Vancouver’s Cates Park.
– Was anyone else reminded of John Mostow’s sadistic art studio from Season 3’s “Grotesque” when we entered into The Trash Man’s underground lair? The Band-Aid Nose Man’s sculpture looked just like one of those gargoyles…
The X-Files Season 10 Episode 5 “Babylon”
– Look down there, it’s the FBI’s most unwanted! Scully has a little fun with Mulder’s famous first words from the pilot. You bet she’s always wanted to say that.
– This isn’t the first time mushrooms were prominently featured in an episode. In season 2’s “Excelsis Dei,” patients of a nursing home are given a herbal drug that allows them to channel the spirits of the deceased, mostly for sexual assault purposes. Yeah, The X-Files gets really weird sometimes.
– The Lone Gunmen made the ultimate sacrifice in season 9’s controversial “Jump the Shark.” They make a bigger sacrifice as Mulder’s honky-tonk-ing wingmen during his mushroom trip. No one in a million years could have guessed The Lone Gunmen make their X-Files return like this.
– Agent Brem (Eric Breker) is a very familiar face in these parts. He also appeared in “Emily,” Christmas Carol,” “Demons,” and “Apocrypha.”
– The final overhead shot of Mulder and Scully is similar to the end of I Want to Believe, only this time, thankfully, they aren’t on a tiny rowboat.
The X-Files Season 10 Episode 6 “My Struggle II”
– The apocalyptic ending was similar to the season 2 finale of Chris Carter’s Millennium. You can read more about that here.
– “It’s been in motion since 2012.” Why won’t you just tell us what happened with the planned alien invasion???
– When Agent Reyes was introduced in season 8, she was seen smoking a Morley cigarette, a favorite of The Cigarette Smoking Man. Was this foreshadowing planned? No, says Chris Carter.
Did you notice any easter eggs, themes or references we’ve missed? Let us know if the comments or drop us an email at email@example.com.