The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 21


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 26, 1996 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
289 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

During a one-night stand in the midst of his divorce, AD Skinner becomes a murder suspect, and Mulder and Scully return the many favors that he has done for them by analyzing evidence that someone doesn't want uncovered to prove his innocence.

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  • Beneath his bald head.

    We get more of Skinner here, the guy we all loved to hate but ended up sympathizing with during this episode and a few before. Mitch Pileggi not only of course nailed it in this episode with Skinner's emotional range but the story surrounding him was great too. Also bringing in past details about him that were mentioned in earlier episodes (the Vietnam days) goes a long way, makes you want to watch every episode even when you think they might be filler episodes. You can't have 9 seasons and NOT get to know the guy who's bossing around Muldor and Scully, or the people bossing him for that matter but that's another story.moreless
  • Avatar

    Avatar was a perfect episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was entertaining and full of character development. The action, drama and intrigue were all fun to watch unfold through out the story. I liked how Skinner was in trouble and Mulder and Scully investigated on his behalf to help him as much as they could despite certain discoveries. Every thing played out in a perfect way and I liked how the episode ended. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • One of the first episodes focusing completely on Skinner

    Skinner has always been in the background of the show, even since Season 1, but he's never been featured as much as he was in this episode and in this season overall. I thought this episode did a good job of bringing us into the supporting character's past and helps make him more than an occasional guest star. However, there's one major problem with the episode, and that's a lack of explanation.

    The episode is about Skinner being found in bed with a dead hooker and being pinned for the murder. All of the physical evidence points towards Skinner being guilty, but Mulder believes that he's not responsible. The following scenes provide a number of different reasons that Skinner could've caused him to be seen as guilty, but none of them are given as a 100% answer. The closest we come to a resolution is Mulder discovering that a group of people (presumably the same people who tried to kill him in the restaurant) are trying to discredit him and make him appear crazy. That's fine, but what about the old woman he sees everywhere? His difficulties sleeping? The unexplainable substance found around the victim's mouth? It doesn't make sense to me how we got from Point A to Point B, and this is definitely not the first time the show has had this problem.

    Overall though, the episode did it's job: it kept me interested for 44 minutes and it really made Skinner from a guest star into a legitimate supporting character.moreless
  • Skinner is part of yet another conspiracy

    Not that it's a bad thing, but it seems that one of the main reasons somebody is trying to get rid of Skinner is because, if they can't get rid of Mulder and his spooky ideas, they'll have to start with the boss. Mulder and Scully do a great job trying to help their boss and they succeed. Their respect and admiration for the only person who believes in what they do is unique and now they are returning the favor.

    Funny it was the only episode that ever mentioned Skinner's marital status and too bad there was never a follow-up. I found several inconsistencies when Mulder and Scully were investigating the case, but well, you can't be perfect in this life. Even on TV.moreless
  • All the information provided but lack of another interests make this episode to represent about average of third season's episodes.

    This is barely a good episode. One thing makes this pretty interesting. It's life of AD Skinner. This episode reveals things about life of one mostly important supporting character. Main storyline is somewhat silly and not very interesting. Skinner wakes up in hotel with female body in same bed and then there is this old woman in Skinner's dreams. Only interesting parts is to see how Mulder, Scully and Skinner by himself react to Skinner's murder accusations. I also liked to see Mrs. Skinner. It doesn't have many scenes that I would remember. After all I think that all the information provided but lack of another interests make this episode to represent about average of third season's episodes.moreless
Amanda Tapping

Amanda Tapping

Carina Sayles

Guest Star

Tasha Simms

Tasha Simms

Jay Cassal

Guest Star

Stacy Grant

Stacy Grant

Judy Fairly

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

Brendan Beiser

Brendan Beiser

Agent Pendrell

Recurring Role

Malcolm Stewart

Malcolm Stewart

Special Agent Bonnecaze

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Principal Setting:
      Washington, D.C.

    • When Mulder and Scully are checking on Mrs. Skinner's car, you can see there is a punch in the front-left side.
      The next car that they're examining, the one that "pushed her out of the road", they find scratches in the same side (left-front), This would mean that the car didn't push her out, but they crashed. In that case, the damages would be greater than they look like.

      There's no way that two cars have the marks on the same side, unless they have crashed front to front.

    • Re the above goof: The character was originally written as a man, but when actress Tasha Simms was cast instead, the first name was changed in the script, but never changed in the closing cast credits.

    • When Mulder and Scully are examining the dead prostitute, you can see her eyes moving beneath her eyelids.

    • AD Skinner's lawyer is credited as 'Jay Cassal', but during the episode Skinner clearly calls her 'Jane'.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Mulder: It's not a strange story... It's age old, actually. You may have heard it - although in slightly less clinical terms. In the Middle Ages, a visitation like the one Skinner described would have been attributed to a Succubus. A spirit that visits men during the night in the form of an old woman.
      Scully: Visits them for sex?
      Mulder: Usually.

    • Scully: (About Skinner) Do you know him?
      Sharon Skinner: I used to think so. I'm Sharon Skinner. I'm his wife.

    • Skinner: I got through that experience like most eighteen-year-olds. By numbing myself with whatever was around. I was no choir boy, I inhaled.

    • Scully: They found no semen samples. There was some irritation, probably an allergic reaction to latex.
      Mulder: At least they were having safe sex.

    • (Scully and Mulder look around the madam's apartment)
      Scully: Looks like business is booming.
      Mulder: I think you mean banging.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The X-Files Game (the first one) takes place between this episode and the episode "Wetwired" (season 3, episode 23). "Avatar" takes place in March of 1996 and "Wetwired" takes place in late April of 1996. The game takes place during the first week of April, 1996.

    • A scene with Skinner and the Cigarette-Smoking Man was cut due to time constraints. In this scene CSM questions Skinner's allegiance.

    • Amanda Tapping would later be reunited with Malcolm Stewart in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Cure" and with Michael David Simms in the SG-1 episode "Fair Game." Tapping and Mitch Pileggi would also appear together in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Be All My Sins Remember'd."

    • 'Avatar' is a Sanskrit word meaning the human incarnation of a deity. The word has also become popular on the internet as the term used to describe a user's screen name in a chat room or forum.


    • Movie Reference: Don't Look Now

      The red coat worn by the old woman that Skinner never quite manages to catch up with is an obvious allusion to the red-coated stranger in the Nicholas Roeg film in which Donald Sutherland is haunted by glimpses of a hooded character he thinks may be the reincarnation of his dead daughter.

    • Skinner: I wasn't a choirboy, I inhaled

      This line is a reference to the famous President Clinton claim that he had had a joint but he never inhaled.

    • Episode Title: Avatar

      An Avatar is the human incarnation of a deity.