The X-Files

Season 7 Episode 18

Brand X

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 16, 2000 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
236 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When an employee of Morley Tobacco Co. is apparently killed by tobacco beetles, Mulder suspects that the beetles have hatched inside his lungs and found their way there through inhalation of smoke from an experimental cigarette.

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  • Brand X

    Brand X was a great episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was decent but guest actor Tobin Bell was phenomenal. It was interesting to see him in this role. I liked how the bugs factored into the story. It was awesome to see Skinner take action with the investigation and Scully was great as well. There were definitely some slow or dull parts to the episode and I think there could have been more to the story. The ending was great and I certainly look forward to watching what happens in the next episode!!!!!moreless
  • Secondhand smoke kills people in this sometimes thrilling, sometimes lame episode.

    I really wanted to watch the seventh season of X-Files and be able to find that it wasn't nearly as bad as a lot of people seem to think it is. I thought the first six seasons were great (six being a lesser but equally ambitious season) and that the first five are among the best sci-fi television (and perhaps regular television) shows around. However, seven has been too inconsistent. The myth-arc is basically non existent and completely insane, the great episodes of the season, compared to the great episodes of other seasons, can only be considered average in the grand scheme of the show, and the bad episodes are truly terrible.

    I don't want to necessarily call this a terrible episode, but it was just lifeless. It was the same old format: an X-File is brought up, the group fights until the last two minutes to save everyone, cue an ambiguous ending where we don't know what to expect, and bam, you have an X-Files episode.

    I'm really trying not to be negative. The case itself was interesting and had the potential to be great. Morley's, the (I'm assuming) fictional cigarette company that the Cigarette Smoking Man likes ends up being responsible for the death of a former employee who was about to testify against them. He dies of what appears to be suffocation, but when Mulder and Scully get on the case, they learn that tobacco beetles were actually responsible. It turns out that the secondhand smoke from a new type of cigarette is infecting people with beetle larvae that hatches and chokes the people to death.

    The rest of the episode is dedicated to Mulder and Scully trying to track down anybody who was involved in this and trying to find a cure. We once again get a creepy guest-star (Tobin Bell, as he usually does in most roles, kills it here), Mulder being in danger, even though we know that he won't die, and a last minute cure that is ridiculous. All in all, it's an episode that is once again filled with grandoise ideas and bad writing to back it up.moreless
  • Secondhand Writing

    This one's another snoozer, folks. A bland pseudo-message episode that contains no paranormal "X" stuff or, really, anything very interesting. You would think the writers would have at least snuck in some sly "Coprophages" in-joke references, given the presence of the cockroach-like bugs, but sadly this doesn't happen.

    The writing is just terrible and the plot is painfully contrived. For example, after Weaver's neighbor collapses and dies one night while Weaver watches TV, Mulder and Scully are on the case investigating his death at 6:14 AM the very next morning. Now that's some fast police work! Also, when Mulder goes into pulmonary arrest, his attending doctor can only manage to rather weakly whip out his stethoscope, leaving Scully to take charge and actually do something useful. Hilarious!

    The idea itself is interesting. It's too bad the idea wasn't allowed to be developed by more skilled writers.moreless
  • Skinner to the forefront of the investigation for a change. Procedurally solid. Emotionally lacking.

    I put this episode in between "Theef" and "En Ami" in my chronology because this is a classic case of writers not communicating. There is no way this was intended to play after "all things" or "Hollywood A.D." for that matter. If production schedules would have allowed, it would have been moved up, but the post-production could not have been completed in time to air in this order.

    The story is fairly interesting but Mulder's peril is slightly unbelievable and seriously unemotional. I felt very little empathy when Mulder's prognosis was grim. This is the writers' fault. Steven Maeda would turn out to be a decent writer of x-files and a great writer for "Lost" but in his first effort here, he fell short on the emotional level. On the procedural level, the ep is pretty solid. The idea of putting Skinner in charge of the investigation is also interesting since until now episodes that focused on him have dealt almost exclusively with his personal life and/or the mythology. Overall, it was pretty uneventful but not a failure by any means.moreless
  • Daryl Weaver...what a freak!

    So, I actually really love this episode! I know its not most peoples favorite of the season, but I DO like it!

    First off...I thought it was exciting that it included tobacoo. I'm not a tobacoo fan but I liked it and I have no idea why.

    Well, actually, that's not entirely true. I found that I was right on the edge of my seat once Mulder started caughing up blood. How awesome! Yeah, so I'm a shipper a heart! What are ya going to do about it? *Smirks* When was in the hospital and Scully was talking to him and he couldn't breathe...*GASP* I mean I knew he wasn't going to die because, well, it's Mulder! But it was still...SAD!

    Then at the end, when Mulder bought a pack of much as I find some men (VDO for instance), hot when they smoke, I just don't see him being one of those I'm glad they didn't show him in the next episode taking a drag. I think it would be too OOC!

    In all, great episode!

Arthur Rosenberg

Arthur Rosenberg

Lead Counsel

Guest Star

Ron Marasco

Ron Marasco


Guest Star

Pat Destro

Pat Destro

Joan Scobie

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Given that Scully had already surmised that the bug larvae were being transferred by inhaling smoke, and knew from where it was coming, how come nobody was wearing any protection, like a gas mask or something when they went to investigate the guy responsible? Even as Skinner goes to step on the cigarette to put it out towards the end, it is still giving off significant amounts of smoke and he knew the dangers. Seems a little incongruous.

  • QUOTES (4)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Morley is, of course, the cigarette brand our most beloved villain, Mr. CGB Spender aka Cigarette-Smoking Man, is famous for inhaling.


    • Brand X

      Brand X is the generic term advertisers give to a competitor's products. It is also a play on words here as in The X-Files 'Morley' is the brand of choice for Cigarette Smoking Man amongst others which makes it the X-Files brand of choice.

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