The X-Files

Season 2 Episode 6

Ascension (2)

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 21, 1994 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (16)

Write A Review
out of 10
402 votes
  • "Deny Everything"

    I remember watching it as VHS back in the 90s... it's part 2 of the previous IS SCULLY?

    Well, watching it now, may be it's just conspiracy theory made by government not what's true and what's not..

    Must see part 3
  • Strong mythology

    Very well written with fantastic mythology and pace. But despite having all the right tools, this episode doesn't have the same kick as the previous ("Duane Barry").
  • Ascending to the stars

    Continuing from the previous episode Mulder finds that Duane Barry has abducted Scully and he races to find her but remembers that Duane Barry said that the abductee sight was in the Skyland mountains at ascending to the stars which was a aerial tramway.Mulder is slowed down why trying to get to Scully because of Krycek who is actually working for the smoking man. Like Deep Throat said trust no one.This saying also proves right when it is too late when Scully gets abducted and Duane Barry is caught and before Mulder could get any clues off him he is poisoned and later proves its Krycek.Before this Mulder finds out about Krycek secrets when he uses his car and finds the smoking man's cigarettes in his car and Mulder immediately goes to Skinner.The best part of the episode is when Mulder proves that Krycek works for the smoking man and he killed Duane Barry and the man at the skyland mountain and Skinner finds out Krycek has ran.Skinner and Mulder know that there is nothing they can do but Skinner knows what they are afraid of.So Skinner re opens the X files.This was a gripping episode and a perfect ten.
  • Ascension

    Ascension was a perfect episode of The X-Files and I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of character and plot development, action, drama and intrigue. It was awesome watching Mulder investigate the case and to see Krycek working his own angle. It was also interesting to see the cigarette smoking man play a part in the story. It was crazy to see that Scully was seemingly abducted, and the government may have played part in it happening. I love how intense the mystery has become and it was great seeing aliens. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • "Duane Barry"/"Ascension" features many defining moments and characterize"The X-Files" more sharply than anything else that has appeared in the series so far


    While I was never convinced of Duane Barry's story, he struck me as a deranged man, whose story was wholly untrustworthy, I was convinced by Steve Railsback's performance. When dealing with someone so divorced from reality as a brain damaged psychotic, even direct evidence in the form of scars and assorted implants does not "prove" his story. We still have to rely on his testimony, and what he thought he saw may not have been what was really happening.

    Steve Railsback gives a fantastic performance, probably the best guest starring role to date. In a few scenes he showed a shy geniality and an almost childlike bafflement.

    While Railsback gives an amazing performance, I am a bit reluctant to criticize David Duchovny's performance in this two parter; he is carrying a hell of a load in Gillian Anderson's virtual absence. In "Little Green Men" and "Ice", he has shown us that Mulder can show strong emotion believably. Parts of "Duane Barry" show his intensity, his command of nuance and implication, his sharp grasp of understatement and control. Having said all that, however, I have to say he disappointed me in this story. I know Fox Mulder is not given to hysterics, but there comes a point when you have to pull out some stops. Like Sam Spade says in "The Maltese Falcon":

    "When a man's partner has been killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him, he's your partner and you're supposed to do something about it."

    When Mulder found Scully's necklace, when Duane Barry (the only witness to her whereabouts) died, I needed to see some reaction from him. Consider the resonances of this story for Fox Mulder: the only person in the world whom he trusts has been snatched away from him, while he is powerless to do anything about it--just like his sister. A normal man would be driven half mad with guilt and anger and fear. Mulder either looks sleepy or puzzled. Duchovny neither raises nor lowers the temperature, right up to the last scene. Is he looking for Dana Scully in the stars, or figuring his income tax? From his face, you could never tell.

    Despite this, overall I absolutely loved this two part story arc. I cheered when Deputy Director Skinner re-opened the X- Files. How typical that he did it in a fit of pique, rather than as an administrator who saw, finally, the value of those extreme possibilities. I must give writer Paul Brown credit, however, for not making Walter Skinner a hopelessly evil bad guy. This scene was one of the best of the entire story, showing Skinner as a frustrated, hard-nosed cop who cannot seem to get a grip either on the slippery characters he's up against or the obsessed agent before him. In fact, this time around he was more human than Mulder.

    But the highlight of this two part story arc, aside from Railsback's perfomance, was the introduction of Krychek: Rat Boy. Everyones favorite double crossing double agent. He's my third favorite character of all time, after Scully and Mulder of course. Although I can't help but feel the scene where he double crosses Mulder could have been so much more effective if it had not already been revealed to us who he was really working for. That information shouldn't have been revealed until the end. Aside from that minor detail, I still give this story arc a 9.5 out of ten. IF revealing Krychek as a spy had been handled better, I'd be giving this a perfect 10.

  • “There are no answers for you, Mr. Mulder. They have only one policy: Deny Everything.”

    This is where the events laid out in Duane Barry really take off. At this point the conspiracy realizes they made a fatal mistake in making Scully Mulder’s “handler”, instead of debunking his work she came to lend a degree of credence to his claims of paranormal phenomena, and government cover-up. So Scully’s abduction makes sense in that the conspiracy would be desperate to remove Mulder’s support system, the legs on which he stands. It is also crucial to the conspiracy that Mulder survive, one surmises that the conspiracy needs Mulder alive for some future purpose. When Mulder and Scully are reassigned it is a plausibility that the conspiracy assumed that the bond between the two agents was not so strong that Scully would continue to be Mulder’s support system, this was not the case, Scully continued to back him with all the power and resources at her disposal. She continued to invest her skill and emotion in his personal crusade. It is quite clear in this episode that no aliens are involved in Scully's abduction, Duane Barry is simply a pawn of the conspiracy, a very damaged tool. The first tangible evidence of just how far the conspiracy extends is given in this episode. Ascension is also the place where Skinner takes a step away from minion of the conspiracy towards being Mulder’s ally. It is also interesting to not the oft used conspiracy excuse for keeping Mulder alive, that is, they don’t want to turn him into a martyr, however, this episode gives that excuse a false ring as clearly the conspiracy is powerful enough to eliminate Mulder without making him a martyr or turning his personal quest into a crusade, it is obvious that Mulder is kept alive for some other purpose. This is an excellent and entertaining episode, and it serves as a starting point for many subsequent events.
  • Scully is taken and Mulder must deal with it

    This episode is very hard for me to watch. Scully is taken and there's nothing Mulder can do. But Mulder knows there's something nasty going on and he is determined to find out who is behind it.
    He is reluctant to give up the case. He conducts his own investigation but unfortunately Krycek is helping him and he is giving out information to the CSM. In the end, Mulder can't do anything and Scully is taken and Barry arrested and then dead. This is when it became personal for Mulder and Scully. They wanted to stop Mulder from finding the truth: they took Scully away and that kept him busy for a while. Again, this is the first of many excellent arcs with classy perfomances and amazing stories. David Duchovny's performance can't be ignored as he is the center of this episode. We get to see Margaret Scully again and she meets Mulder under terrible circumstances. Poor Mulder, he has all the evidence and it must've been so frustrating for him not able to do anything to save Scully or discover the authors of her abduction. And last, Mulder obviously has developed a different feeling for Scully that has him thinking of her in so many ways.
  • This is where it all begins.

    From this episode on Mulder and Scully form a bond that is unbreakable. In this episode Mulder fights to try and get Scully back. The only way he can do that is if he can track Dwane Barry down in time. But there is one problem they don't know where he is. So with the help of Krychek Mulder and him travel to skyline mountain.

    But we also learn that Krychek is working for CSM and that he wants to stop Mulder, so on a cable cart ride up the mountain Krycek stops him, but this does not stop Mulder. He continues on forcing Krychek to restart the cart. But he is too late Scully is gone... Before we know it Barry is dead too and Mulder is all alone. Mulder knows it is a conspiracy as does Skinner who reopens the X Files. I have to say that this is a fantastic episode. It is definatly one of my all time favourites.
  • The mytharc continues

    After the giddy heights of “Duane Barry”, the follow-up episode “Ascension” is basically just a chase story with little in the way of tangible results for the beleaguered Agent Mulder. His desperation in his search for his kidnapped partner is very real and very effectively portrayed by Duchovny – perma-stubble and all – and he’s able to impart a real duality to his performance. At one level, he’s back to being the same hollowed-out agent that we saw at the start of the second season. At another he’s an intensely driven man with only one goal in mind, and nothing to dissuade him from it. And if that includes murder, so be it. Actually Mulder is able to apply the brakes in his interrogation of Duane Barry, and stops just short of strangling the man. But the fact that he does resort to violence in his dealings with Scully’s abductor, shows the extremities that he’s prepared to go to and also the depth of feeling he has for his partner. In this episode we also see the real duality of Krycek. At first this seemed like a rather anodyne, by-the-book agent. It came as a real shock to learn that he is in cahoots with the Cigarette Smoking Man. It comes as an even greater shock in this episode to learn the extent of that alliance, and the fact that Krycek too thinks nothing of stooping to murder to further his own goals. (This enables the stuntmen to do their stuff with some good work atop a cable car as it makes its way up a mountain.)

    But what comes as an even greater shock in this episode is the fact that Scully wasn’t just abducted by a psychotic madman (who’s actually given short shrift after his starring role in the previous episode). What becomes increasingly clear is that Barry is just one part of a greater whole and that all fingers ultimately seem to be pointing to the Cigarette Smoking Man and whoever he might be representing. Despite his rather spurious meeting with the shadowy X, Mulder inadvertently lucks into this information, and the duplicity of Krycek, and Skinner too knows it. That’s why it’s Skinner who performs one of the episode’s great heroic acts. Not on top of a cable car, but by re-opening the X Files. What normally should have been a cause for great celebration, certainly for Mulder, is heavily muted by the fact that the gesture is personally meaningless to him without Scully.

    And that’s the prevailing feeling about this episode, despite all the revelations and action. The fact that we are without Scully. She makes the briefest of appearances (with a guest starring role for the soon to be born Piper) but her presence is deeply felt. Whether it’s in that gentle and nicely played scene between Duchovny and Sheila Larken as her mother where neither of them particularly have much to say but need to reassure each other anyway, or in Mulder’s bleak return visit to Skyland Mountain where he stands dwarfed under a black black sky, the fact remains that Scully is gone. And so have a lot of our hopes.

  • A very important episode.

    This episode is so important to Scully's character development. It is such an important episode for so many reasons. Scully is kidnapped, where she is implanted with something that later gives her cancer and maybe a litle girl. The X Files are reopened. We see the beginning of Mulders real feelings for Scully and his repect and her importance to him. We learn a great deal about Scully's life. This episode is just so important to the series and a great idea that is very well executed.
  • Rhapsody on David Duchovny's Acting Ability

    The storyline, the fast-paced action, the mysterious nature of Scully's disappearance.. everything tied in so neatly and worked so well together. Not only was this episode well-written and cleverly plotted, but it was riveting. But above all, this episode stands as a true testament to David Duchovny's acting ability. I had to rewatch several scenes because I could not believe that he had really expressed the emotions he expressed by a single flicker of his eyelid and a muscle tensed in his brow. That opening sequence, just watch his face as he listens to Scully's phone message. You get such a wide range of emotions coming from him - exhaustion, curiosity, more intent curiosity, alarm, and finally panic. And he barely moved! I'm deeply, deeply impressed. He characterizes Mulder's slow, spiralling descent with such passion and believability. It just goes to show, TV actors are much more skilled than movie actors. Did you know that TV shows feature close ups and head shots much more than the movies, because they find that viewers like seeing the characters almost life-sized. So TV actors can't get away with a bad acting, especially if they can't control their facial muscles with fine-tuned ability. How did I get on this tangent?

    Oh yes. David Duchovny blew me away. Gillian Anderson's stomach was huge! Excellent episode. Oh, is this the last we see of "green" Krycek? Such a bummer! The scene that he recites the statistics about those disasters linked with sleep deprivation? Genius.
  • Missing


    “Ascension” is part 2 of the “Duane Barry” story line. Skully has been abducted (Poor woman- this is happening on a regular basis now-isn’t it) leading Mulder to search for clues as to where Duane Barry might be taking her. Eventually he finds a clue and he whisks away with Agent Krycek, against Skinners will. This is where we see how corrupt Krycek as he kill some guy for no reason. Anyhow at the end Duane Barry is apprehended and Skully is still missing. He claims she was abducted by aliens, driving Mulder to the edge of his patience. This is another great episode that must be watched by all X-file Fans. Brilliant.
  • The one where they take away Mulder's Lassie

    The second part of the great Duane Barry storyline.

    It all begins with Mulder coming home and he listens to his message machine where Scully tells about those chips in Duane and then the noise of her being attacked.

    When Mulder arrives to her home, he has some sort of flashbacks where he sees what happened, Scully’s mom is there too and she says she had a dream about something like that was going to happen.

    Mulder is send home by Skinner, all the other agents still think that Mulder is some sort of wacko. But like always, Mulder just asks for Krycek’s car and they both leave to find Dana Scully

    Mulder remembers Duane wanting to go to a mountain. When they arrive, the only way to get up fast is by some sort of machine that takes them up. Mulder makes Krycek stay down, and he goes pretty mad and puts himself in danger. Meanwhile Krycek stops the moving machine to stall Mulder, and it that way the aliens can take Scully with them.

    Stopping the machine doesn’t stop Mulder and he climbs the mountain anyway. When he’s up, he sees a helicopter and he sees Duane Barry whom claims Scully to be taken away by aliens.

    We see a scene with Scully, where they do experiments on her and make her belly look huge.

    Meanwhile, Mulder doesn’t entirely believe Duane until he dies a few hours later.

    Skinner is very pissed off on Mulder because he didn’t listen to him…again. Mulder also accused Krycek to be working for the others and when Skinner wants to contact Krycek, he seems to have disappeared. Skinner says that the only way by dealing with this is by re-opening the X-files.

    The last scene was with Mulder and Mrs Scully. She believes that Mulder will find Dana and when she does, he has to give her the necklace back that was taking off her.
  • Ascension was part 2 of The X-Files first 2-parter [Duane Barry was part 1]. The episode is vastly underrated but is pivotal to the show's mytology.

    As the episode begins Duane Barry has kidnapped Scully. Mulder finds out and begins tracking him. He discovers Barry is headed to Skyland Mountain, the site where he himself was abducted. Mulder and Krycek set off to Skyland Mountain to rescue Scully. However, once they arrive Mulder is betrayed by Krycek and Mulder is too late to save Scully. Ascension was one of the most pivotal episodes of the season and the show. It showed us where Krycek's loyalties truly lay, and it opened several plotlines that would be further explored [Scully's abduction, MUFON, the implant in Scully's neck]. Although it is underrated when compared to Duane Barry, it is undeniable that Asecension is a truly pivotal episode for the show. And just to let you all know, I think that Ascension is superior to Duane Barry.
  • The opening for the big great conspiracy and Cigarette Smoking Man and Krycek as Mulder's Nemesis.

    In an FBI meeting with CSM, Krycek, Skinner, among others, Mulder speaks about the possibility that Duane Barry used the metal chip as a tracking device to find Scully. Skinner tells him to get some rest, as he has been one whole day without sleep. Duane Barry takes Scully to the same place where we has abducted for the first time. Mulder finds out that Scully is alive and also the place where she’s being taken, using the tapes from the hostage negotiation. Mulder goes to the place in the mountains with Krycek, who secretly warns CSM and tries to kill Mulder by manipulating the TRAM remote control which Mulder used to go up.
    Barry takes Scully to the place where he was abducted and after a bright light she disappears. Mulder finds and arrests Barry and interrogates him, but Skinner and Krycek think he was trying to kill him and advise Mulder to exit those facilities where later Barry ends up dying, presumably poisoned by Krycek. First scenes with Scully being tested by MEN, not by aliens.
    Mulder goes to Matheson but instead he finds X who tells him: They only have one policy, “deny everuthing” but he doesn't specify who's behind Scully's abduction. Mulder finds Morley cigarettes in Krycek car. He tells Skinner his findings and the relation whith the strange events that happen in the mountain related to Krycek. Skinner asks for him, but as of that moment Krycek goes missing. Mulder also tells Skinner that there’s a conspiracy held by the organisation that hired Cigarette Smoking Man. Skinner tells Mulder that he’s reopening the X-Files: “that’s what they fear to most”
  • Skinner sets a search in motion for Scully and her kidnapper, Duane Barry, but regulates Mulder and Krychek to the sideline. So the two of them go on their own information to get to Scully before it's too late. However, Mulder is unaware of Krychek's tr

    'Ascension' is easily the most intense episode of the season thus far, with an amazing final 15 minutes that includes Mulder on top of a ski lift trying to rescue Scully, all while Krychek attempts to shake him off of it. Krychek blatantly turns on Mulder in this episode, which brings his FBI career to a halt, as we learn he is officially working for CSM and The Syndicate. Skinner finally comes across as a sympathic character, who truly trusts Mulder once he is presented with the information regarding Krychek. Mulder's scene with Scully's mother, where she gives Mulder Dana's crucifix is really touching and becomes a symbol of faith that we see for the rest of the series.
No results found.
No results found.
No results found.