The X-Files

Season 5 Episode 17

All Souls

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 26, 1998 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
258 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Scully and her Catholic faith must confront the loss of her daughter Emily when she is asked to help a family whose adopted daughter was found dead in a position that looked like she was struck down by God himself.

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  • All Souls

    All Souls was another perfect and entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching this episode because the story touched upon God, Angels and the Devil and four innocent girls. The story was interesting, the production and special effects were amazing. I liked watching Scully try to reconcile both her work and faith. It was an interesting change of pace to see a religion related X-File. I liked how the story played out and the ending was great as Scully grows from the experience. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Scully is forced to face her faith once again.

    Scully's faith is a factor that occasionally comes into the show, and when it does, it's usually hit or miss. This episode actually gave me a Supernatural feel to it; the aforementioned show deals with more religious themes while the X-Files always focused more on straight-forward supernatural/sci-fi-ish feel. However, Scully was always the religious link in the chain of her and Mulder, and this episode actually deals with it pretty well.

    Scully tells a recent case to a priest during confession; there's a series of girls who are being found on their knees with their eyes burned out of their skull. One of the parents of the girl claimed that she was mentally challenged and couldn't even walk, yet she was found walking around outside, on her knees praying. Scully and Mulder together come to realize that it's likely t four girls were all related and that they are offspring of angels in a way. This brings Scully to connect the case with her own situation: as she tries to save the girls, she remembers the fact that she couldn't save her own daughter, Emily.

    The episode benefits from an extremely strong Gillian Anderson performance and the way the show brings back the plot of Emily, but at the same time, it is brought down by a complete lack of Mulder once again. What in the world is up with the show splitting the two agents up in Season 5? It feels like they're either together at first then split up halfway through or are just split up the entire time. Keep them together for once!

    However, the show has pulled off these looks at religion fairly well throughout the show. It's interesting to contrast belief in a God to belief in extra-terrestials. Mulder is so quick to put his faith in one and not in the other, so I always like it when Chris Carter and co. address this.moreless
  • Into The Light

    After so many disappointing episodes, Season Five begins to redeem itself with this well done Scully-centric episode.

    I'm a sucker for the religious-themed episodes. It seems that a lot of the religious myths make for good X-File fodder, especially Catholicism. From an abstract enough perspective, of course, the essence of most religions (Good Versus Evil) is identical to the Myth arc in this series. We even have parallels between the rebel firebringers in "Patient X" and "Red And Black" and the Seraphim in this episode.

    I could have done without the running confessional scenes. They seemed awkwardly done and not as necessary to illustrating Scully's spiritual turmoil as the producers might have thought. Anderson does a great job here. Duchovny phones in another weak performance in what is, after all, a rather thankless part.

    The best part of this episode was the opportunity for Scully to obtain closure for the loss of her daughter, Emily. The Emily scenes here are heartbreaking, but very powerful. The final scene with the fourth Nephilim was one of the series' best ever scenes. Finally, the score to this episode, while simple, was well done and highly effective.moreless
  • Scully's faith is tested by a case of four girls who may be the 'Nephilim'. It's a weird episode, but it just shows how good an actress Gillian Anderson is.

    It's really not my favourite ever episode - the 'killer' is fairly obvious soon into the story, there is some slight confusion about the good and evil elements (which I guess could be deliberate, since Scully's faith is at risk here). The upside-down cross is cleverly used to suggest Satanism, as it has often been used in that way in other shows and films.

    But the thing that makes this episode special is Gillian Anderson's performance. She is obviously a truly gifted actress, and while it is fun to see her being scientific and running after the bad guys and beating them up from time to time, this is a much more understated performance and all the stronger for it. Her reactions to Dana's faith, the death of the daughter and trying to save these four young girls and believing she was responsible are terrific. No hystrionics, minimal tears, but you can see the soul-searching going on through so many small gestures and looks.

    It's a very clever story, because although it has X Files supernatural stuff going on, that isn't the main thrust, and it's a way of finalising (nearly), Scully's grief over her own child.

    Kudos too to the actress portraying the young woman who is the focus of the quest. Though she doesn't have any lines, she is brilliant portraying this very troubled young person.

    All in all, even if you don't like the story, just watch the acting!moreless
  • Scully's question of faith conflicting with the job - beautifully done.

    This episode was really directed with a loving care for the character of Scully and her journey of faith. It deals with her loss of her daughter, something that happened and was subsequently brushed under the carpet for a number of episodes, as it is brought back upon her by a hauntingly spiritual case. Even though I recognize that the world of seraphim and nephilim hardly fit into the X-files world mythology, I thought the story about the seraphim and his four lost daughters was quite beautiful. And it was easy to identify with Scully, someone whose spirituality conflicts with the laws of her country. The final scene where she lets go of Emily and lets her into the light was just... so powerful. I loved it. Overall, an insightful portrayal of Scully's character and very well done.moreless
Arnie Walters

Arnie Walters

Father McCue

Guest Star

Glenn Morshower

Glenn Morshower

Aaron Starkey

Guest Star

Jody Racicot

Jody Racicot

Father Gregory

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • The song "That Episode of the X-Files Where Mulder and Scully Find the Little Girls with Their Eyes Burnt Out Because of Angels" by experimental rock band Technology vs. Horse is named for this episode, though its lyrics contain no references to the episode or even the X-Files in general.

    • The seraphim are described as having four faces; those of a lion, ox, eagle, and man. This is incorrect, as cherubim have four faces; seraphim only have one, which is covered by a pair of wings.

    • If to look upon the saraphim is to give up one's soul then why didn't Scully die when she saw it?

    • When Scully is performing the autopsy (the one where she sees Emily) there's a close shot of the dead girl. You can actually see her hands and head shaking, perhaps it happened because she was lying nude on a steel table, and covered only by a sheet.

    • If the Kernoff's were really devout Catholics why would they have waited six years to have Dara baptized?

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Scully: I was raised to believe that God has His reasons, however mysterious.
      Mulder: He may well have His reasons, but He seems to use a lot of psychotics to carry out His job orders.

    • Scully: As much as I have my faith, Father, I am a scientist trained to weigh evidence… but science only teaches us how … not why.

    • Scully: I've seen things. Things that have made me question whether there aren't...larger forces at work here.

    • Mulder: You know, they say when you talk to God it's prayer, but when God talks to you it's... schizophrenia. What is your God telling you now, Father?

    • Mulder: I know people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones blah blah blah, but that guy is paranoid!

    • Mulder: Look, Scully... I know you don't really want my help on this, but can I offer my professional opinion? You got a bona-fide super-crazy religious wacko on your hands.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The special effects of the four-headed angel weren't finished until literally hours before airtime.

    • The confession sequence that can be seen throughout the episode, was a last minute alteration as it wasn't in the original script. When the first cut of the episode came in, the producers realised that certain aspects of Scully's journey weren't coming through. Thus they decided to add an 8-page scene to flesh out the emotional journey that Scully goes through.


    • Mulder: Well, Scully, aren't you the Secret Squirrel?

      Secret Squirrel was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, an anthromorphic squirrel secret agent who was a parody of James Bond (SS was Agent 000). Voiced by the legendary voice artist Mel Blanc, he was accompanied by his sidekick Morocco Mole His cartoon show debuted in 1965, four months before the fourth Bond film, Thunderball was released.

      This was at a time where the Bond movies were reaching their first peak of popularity and had generated a host of imitators and parodies. The original Secret Squirrel Show only lasted for two seasons, then was rolled into the Atom Ant-Secret Squirrel Show, for another season. Since then, the character has been revived several times over the years as a "guest" on other cartoon shows.

    • Symbol: Four Faces

      The four faces Scully sees on the "seraphim" are animals associated with the four evangelist apostles: Matthew (Winged Man), Mark (Lion), Luke (Bull) and John (Eagle). These animals are used in Christian art to symbolize these saints.

    • Symbol: Inverted Crucifix

      Mulder refers to a crucifix hanging in what is usually considered an inverted position as being a "protest, a sacrilege against the Church". In Roman Catholic symbology, an "inverted" cross is known as the Cross of Saint Peter. Later in the episode Scully gives the correct interpretation, referring to a legend that when Peter was martyred, he asked to be crucified head down because he was unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ. Catholics have about two dozen different crosses with differing significance. Most laypeople are not aware of their different meanings.