The X-Files

The Erlenmeyer Flask

Season 1, Ep 24, Aired 5/13/94
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  • Episode Description
  • When Deep Throat points out a news story about a fugitive who apparently drowned, Mulder and Scully cannot see what makes the case special but they follow it up anyway. With Deep Throat's insistence, they discover evidence of secret government project code-named Purity Control, which uses human test subjects and infects them with extraterrestrial DNA. However, the evidence and everyone who has seen it is quickly being eliminated.

  • Cast & Crew
  • David Duchovny

    Special Agent Fox Mulder

  • Gillian Anderson (I)

    Special Agent Dana Scully

  • Chris Carter

  • R.W. Goodwin

  • Lindsey Ginter

    Crew-Cut Man

  • Fan Reviews (20)
  • in my opinion

    By sremnes, Aug 03, 2014

  • groups within groups...

    By Michael_Mythos, Jun 14, 2014

  • Alien DNA being put in human test subjects

    By 7dixob, Aug 27, 2012

  • The Erlenmeyer Flask

    By arkanitoo, Jul 08, 2012

  • The Erlenmeyer Flask

    By TrueTvWatcher, May 29, 2012

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (11)

    • Deep Throat: Roswell was a smoke screen, we've had half a dozen better salvage operations.

    • Deep Throat: no one.

    • Deep Throat: Calling it a night, Mister Mulder? Mulder: My mother usually likes me home before the streetlights come on.

    • Scully: You don't know that this isn't just a game with him. He's toying with you. Rationing out the facts. Mulder: You think he does it because he gets off on it? Scully: No. I think he does it because you do.

    • Mulder: As far as I can tell, he wouldn't pull over for a moving violation. Scully: Well, that ought to put him in the Ten Most Wanted list.

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    Notes (7)

    • This is the first time we see an alien body.

    • Ken Kramer, the man who played Dr. Berube, re-appears in the later episode "3" as Dr. Browning.

    • When Jerry Hardin (Deep Throat) received his copy of the script, a note from series creator Chris Carter was attached to it. The note said: "Nobody ever dies on The X-Files".

    • The main hallway of Fort Marlene was later recycled into the FBI's main hallway.

    • The episode received a nomination for an Edgar Award, an honor presented by the Mystery Writers of America.

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    Trivia (10)

    • Film: Journey to the Centre of the Earth The movie that Mulder is watching in his apartment is the 1959 movie Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The movie was directed by Henry Levin and based on the classic novel by Jules Verne.

    • Goof: Base pairs aren't made up of nucleotides, as the molecular biologist stated, they're as the name states a pair of bases either cytosine and guanine or adenine and thymine in DNA. A DNA nucleotide is a nitrogenous base connected to a sugar (deoxyribose in DNA), a phosphate group and one of the four bases.

    • Principal setting: Washington D.C.

    • In the establishing shot of the Fort Marlene facility it is clearly a 2-3 story building. Once Scully gains access and enters the elevator, however, she proceeds to the 7th floor.

    • Plot Hole: When explaining her findings about the bacteria found in the Purity Control Erlenmeyer, Scully says "they (the bacteria) also contain something that looks like chloroplasts, plant cells". That's not correct, chloroplast is an organelle found inside plant cells and eukaryotic algae that conducts photosynthesis.

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    Allusions (8)

    • Mulder:...doing a Louganis out the window... The reference is to famous Olympic diver, Greg Louganis, who was a world-class diver, but is probably best known for a disastrous dive when he hit his head on the board on the way down, the outcome of which could have been very serious indeed.

    • Carpenter: We've come a long way from Colonel Mustard in the Den with the Rope haven't we? An obvious reference to the popular board game, Cluedo (or Clue as it was renamed in America), where people have to discover whodunnit, where and with what! In England the Den would have been the Study. The allusion is to the fact that we no longer have to take a best guess, but that science can pinpoint the culprit based on a number of factors, such as fingerprints, DNA etc.

    • Movie Reference: Raiders of the Lost Ark The final scene, where the Cigarette Smoking Man places the box containing an important item on a storage shelf in a vast warehouse space in the Pentagon filled with nondescript boxes, is very reminiscent of the final scene of the 1981 movie. In that movie, the first to feature the Indiana Jones character, the crate containing the Ark of the Covenant is placed on a storage shelf in a vast warehouse space in an unnamed government building. In both cases, the scene makes the point that the government is covering up important scientific finds and storing them out of the reach of the public.

    • Location: Zeus Storage, 1616 Pandora Street According to Greek classical religion, Pandora was the first woman. Zeus, the King of the Gods, was angered because Prometheus stole fire and gave it to mankind. Zeus ordered the Gods to create a woman as a punishment for mankind. Pandora is credited (or blamed) for opening a box and releasing a host of troubles on the world.

    • Mulder: The man we met yesterday kept this place like he was waiting for the people from Good Housekeeping to show up. Good Housekeeping is a women's magazine which was founded in 1885.

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