The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 21


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 26, 1996 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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out of 10
292 votes
  • 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.
  • 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!!!!!!!!!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • perfect example of chrises writing skills one of my favourite X-Files episodes ever!

    had to watch the episode twice before i totaly understood what was happening, Skinner wakes up in a bed lying next to a murderd prostitute and he is the prime suspect. When Mulder and a reluctant Scully head out to try and prove Skinners inosense we find that he has been having frequent "visitations" from an elderly woman who Mulder suspects is a ghost. After more murders follow in connection with the first one Mulder and Scully must try to find the real killer before he gets to Skinner. When the two find Skinner has already killed the murderer we find it was all planned by the government in an attempt to replace Skinner and close the X-Files.
  • This is a very interesting episode revealing more about AD Skinner and his relationship with Scully and Mulder.

    This is a very interesting episode revealing more about AD Skinner and his relationship with Scully and Mulder. It shows how important to Skinner Scully’s opinion of him and how much Mulder respects Skinner.

    A nagging question about this episode: Does Mrs. Skinner actually survive? And if indeed she did, did the couple reconcile?
    The episode implies that they still love and care about each other so when we see Skinner put his ring back on at the end of the episode does that mean that Mrs. Skinner is still alive and they’re giving it another go!?

    I guess we’ll never know. An interesting episode none the less.
  • Revealing Skinner, and leaving some questions

    Skinner is an otherwise mysterious character, so this episode gives us some insight into the boss. The conclusion is a bit murky, as it left me wondering who was behind the killings. Was is the old woman, or was it some underlying conspiracy? I'm assuming that the FBI bought the conspiracy story and let Skinner go, however I was left thinking that the killings had more to do with the old woman from the assistant director's past. Overall, interesting character development of an otherwise mysterious and complex subject, but the looming questions don't do much to develop the plot. Interesting.
  • Unlucky at love

    I never really liked the Skinner character; too one- dimensional and something about the actor just bugs me. So with that disclosure out of the way, it's no surprise that I didn't care for this episode at all since it is Skinner-centric.

    This far into the series, it is a bit jarring to introduce Skinner's wife, especially since I don't believe she ever reappears in the series. Where was she when he got shot? Her character just seems like a kludge to buy quick and easy sympathy for Skinner and I wasn't buying it.

    And what's with the succubus? I mean, they throw it in but never really develop it beyond a couple of sightings by Skinner and it goes nowhere. People complained that "Hell Money" contained no paranormal content but this episode arguably contains even less since it is not made clear whether the succubus is real or just a remnant of Skinner's bad dreams. Also, the succubus angle made no sense to me in the context of the series. Did the syndicate somehow have the power to conjure succubi as a means of going after Skinner?

    I did like how Mulder and Scully work to clear Skinner's name, given the favors he has done for them throughout the series. Mulder's resolute belief in Skinner is touching and satisfying. Other than this aspect, however, I really didn't see the point of the episode.
  • Skinner gets laid

    “Avatar” is the 21st episode of series 3 of the X-files. It see’s Skinner get laid (with the woman from Stargate SG-1) only to find her dead in the morning. Did Skinners libido kill this poor woman? Mulder and Skully investigate. They uncover many secrets, including that Skinner had a wife (that he was divorcing) and that he is haunted by the dream of an old hag. This is a great episode and develops Skinners character quite a lot. We also see that Mulder and Skully value him even though he is a pain in the ass at times. 8 out of 10

  • the one with the saccubi

    Finally an episode that’s about Skinner and develops his character, well sort off. He still doesn’t trust anyone at the end of it.

    It begins with Skinner going out and a woman starts to talk to him and goes with him to bed, there she sleeps with him but then when he sees an old woman lying on him. When he wakes up the woman is dead next to him.

    The detectives all suspect him and he, himself is acting rather suspicious as well. Scully finds out that the girl was a hooker and her boss ends up dead as well.

    When Scully turns off the light she finds some glowing things on the woman, but the substance is unidentified and disappears when she tries to show it to Mulder.

    All the evidence proves that Skinner is the killer, but Mulder doesn’t believe and Scully doesn’t want to believe either. They find out about a Saccubi that drains energy from a man and kills every woman close to Skinner.

    Skinner sees the old woman again but when he reaches out to her it turns out to be his wife. He hides his private life very well because nobody knew about her, they aren’t together anymore because they hardly ever shared anything.

    When Skinner that night sees the old woman, the detectives take him away because they think he tried to kill his wife. But Mulder finds evidence in the car that turns out to be someone else.

    Someone tried to set Skinner up to get rid of the X-files, when they use a prostitute as bait she gets almost killed but Skinner saves her.

    At the end Mulder asks Skinner how he knew but he can’t tell it.

    This episode was excellent though I don’t feel like everything was answered.

    His wife was dying but that old woman brought him back to life? was she protecting him? Who killed that blond girl then?
    A lot of things felt confusing and unanswered but all in all. It was an excellent and very interesting episode, proving how great Skinner really is.
  • The mystery of Skinner...

    As Assistant Director Walter Skinner, actor Mitch Pileggi made one of the most interesting roles on The X-Files. His loyalties were always a question mark in the early years of the series, and the writers made sure of this by clouding any outside knowledge we had of the man. Only rarely did we get more telling glimpses of the man outside the FBI. In the episode Avatar, we get one such interesting look.

    Skinner gets himself in a world of trouble, waking up one morning next to a dead female companion. When all of the evidence seems to be pointing in his direction, Mulder and Scully look for evidence to the contrary. In their investigation, they meet Skinner's soon-to-be ex-wife for the first time. They learn that he has become distant and closed to the outside world. They also learn of strange sleeping behavior he has been having recently, which leads to the ultimate supernatural aspect of this episode.

    As the investigation continues, it is clear that there is a suspicious cover-up of the crime -- and Skinner is to be framed for the murder. But the story's resolution, while certainly interesting, is superseded by the close look at the loyalties and disloyalties that are growing between the agents and the rest of the government. It is becoming clear that Skinner is there for Mulder and Scully but is often closed at many points, maybe to protect them or maybe to convince himself that the supernatural goings-on are, well, not going on.

    In the end, Skinner remains loyal to the two agents but continues to shroud himself in secrecy -- therefore leaving his true loyalties for us to interpret and to question when the mythology episodes return once again. This is further emphasized by the Cigarette Smoking Man's "retaliation" for Skinner's "betrayals" in past episodes.

    Avatar contains some fine performances. Mitch Pileggi is superb as Skinner, lending just the right amounts of seriousness, depression, vulnerability, and secrecy to his role. Duchovny and Anderson give fine performances as well. Jennifer Hetrick, as Skinner's wife Sharon, also gives an excellent guest appearance.

    "Avatar" is a fine effort and worthy of recommendation.
  • A decent attempt at a Skinner centred episode that is done better in S.R 819.

    By Season 3,Skinner was a more trusted ally for the agents yet there still wasn't much that we knew about his character.This episode looked into his marriage and a murder which he cant remember commiting.

    Assitant Director Walter Skinner is found lying in a hotel bed with a dead hooker with which he slept with last night.He has no recollection of killing her and there is no evidence to support him either way.

    It's good to see the Cigarette man retaliate against Skinner for his help in keeping the lost tape at the beginning of the season.I would of thought it would of came earlier than this as it was so far into the season yet at least wee see some vegenace.The moments between skinner and mulder further develop his character and the pain he suffers.The visitation also caused some pretty scary scenes as well.

    I find it hard to believe though that Skinners wife would only appear to show interest in her husbands troubles in this episode.I mean at Piper Maru/Apocrophya Skinner was in hospital from wounds and his wife was nowhere at sight.It's also careless that we never find out how she was and with the fact that she is never seen again does that mean she died?

    A good look into Skinners character but could of been further looked into by the shows writers.
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