The X-Files

Season 7 Episode 16


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 02, 2000 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
230 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

As Mulder investigates a missing person case with a key feature being a menacing raven, he learns to enjoy the creature comforts of a well-tended home while Scully must tough it out on an uncomfortable stakeout.

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  • Chimera

    Chimera was a perfect and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was awesome, the characters intriguing and the editing was superb. I liked how Mulder and Scully were on a stake out watching prostitutes and Mulder just left Scully there to pursue an X-File. Their phone conversations were hilarious and very in-tune with the character's personalities. I liked how every thing played out and there was definitely some small town drama happening. I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Mulder looks into a case involving broken mirrors, ravens and dead people.

    Looking through these reviews, I saw many people lauding the show's return to the classic "Monster of the Week" style of episodes, and while I agree that I liked the laid-back feel of the episode, I didn't like it with the same fervor that other people did.

    The episode focuses mostly on Mulder after Skinner calls him onto a case where a woman's disappearance is made more mysterious by the presence of broken mirrors and a raven. Mulder visits the household of the Sherriff and stays there, meeting his wife, a worried woman who was friends with the victim and has a child.

    The episode works well because David Amann, the writer, refuses to just let things unfold as normal episodes would. Instead, he keeps us on our toes, not letting us know who the true culprit is until the very end, and even then, we're left wondering how it happened, meaning a second watch may be necessary to track everything. But it's definitely an enjoyable episode, one that I thought was quite good but not necessarily a highlight of Season 7.moreless
  • An exciting and frightening MOTW. Hey, are we back in Vancouver?! Yay!

    This episode is a great MOTW for Season 7. I was trying to learn to suppress my disappointment that every location for the X-Files seems to have changed from Maine, or some other dreary New England area to Los Angeles and other California locales. But here we are, with gloomy weather and drizzling rain that forces David Duchovny to shield his hair from the weather. HOorah! It felt like we were back in Vancouver. This episode could just as easily have been in an earlier season. Although there is less Scully, which works against the rating, I really enjoy the fact that this episode seems to go back to the old creepy standalone times of the X-Files. Also, "Not in the widely understood sense of that term." I like that line because it shows that in Mulder's mind, he is with Scully. And then of course, he goes right into his human lie detector amazing phenomenon show of awesome detective work skills!moreless
  • Martha's Monster

    With so many poor and disappointing episodes littering Season Seven, this back-to-the-basics MOTW episode arrives late in the season like a breath of fresh air. Too bad the series needed a gale-force wind to save itself by this time.

    The writing is surprisingly clever for Amann, who is generally considered one of the series' lesser writers. The revelation of the monster's true identity is a surprise, although this surprise is achieved in part by the use of a cheat. Ellen is chased by the monster midway through the episode, which would have been impossible since they share the same physical body, as demonstrated when Ellen notices the stab wound on her back. Now, I realize that only the monster's mirrored reflections are shown as it chases Ellen through the house, but she is carrying her baby and running AWAY from the mirrors, while the reflected monster is shown moving forward with nothing in its arms.

    Duchovny easily carries the episode, despite Anderson's relative absence, and he does so with an easy, laconic humor. He seems relaxed and in control, which is a change from the pinched, disjointed performances that he delivers through most of Season Seven. My only gripe is that the writers again rely WAY too much on the use of the telephone to tie Scully into the action, which has become an overused cliche since Darin Morgan introduced this plot device so brilliantly in "Coprophages."moreless
  • A decent monster-of-the-week with enough character development to distinguish it, but not much else.

    "Chimera" is a decent follow up to "En Ami." We get a pop-psychology approach to Mulder through his stay with a suburban family. Mulder is portrayed as somewhat pathetic, and not used to having anyone take care of him. Like in his dream in "Amor Fati" he enjoys the creature comforts of such a life, but here, he doesn't fall into it as a trap. He now understands his place in life. After helping the imaginary boy in his dreams rebuild the spaceship in the sand and then the discovery of his sister in "Closure," he has had to redefine his journey. In "Theef" we see that he still enjoys his investigations into the paranormal and they are still fulfilling to him. The fact that he is quick to abandon Scully is a nice nod to the end of "En Ami" when Mulder, for the first time, felt abandoned by Scully. As confirmed by the very next scene with Skinner, he doesn't really care about his new case and probably was more interested in the one he was on. The actual investigation does take an interesting turn. It provides a somewhat normal and satisfying explanation for everything happening. It falls into a familiar category, though. Most of the villains in tv and the x-files are men. Here, we get a female villain, but like the one in "Schizogeny," she is only acting out of her repressed emotions, as she, herself is a victim. It's sad that we can't have more Lucy Butler's on tv. Overall, a decent MOTW with some decent character development, but not as engrossing or insightful as "Theef."moreless
Wendy Schall

Wendy Schall

Martha Crittendon

Guest Star

Charles Hoyes

Charles Hoyes

Howard Crittendon

Guest Star

Ashley Edner

Ashley Edner

Michelle Crittendon

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • When the sheriff goes to visit Jenny in the hotel room, he gets up in the middle of the night. In spite of the room being murky you can see daylight coming in through the windows, the same daylight that is coming through the next morning when Jenny is being attacked by the chimera.

    • Even with Easter Sunday at its latest, you would not see blooming roses, fully green trees, and other blooming flowers in Vermont at that time of year. In most cases, foliage would just be budding out and in some cases there might even still be significant snow on the ground.

    • There is much made of ravens in the episode, but from the look of it, the birds used weren't actually ravens. The common raven is a very large bird - up to almost 30 inches in length at maturity. They also have little 'beards' of feathers. These look more like crows, which belong to the same family.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • (On the phone)
      Mulder: Mulder.
      (Scully is still on the stakeout. She looks miserable, huddled in a coat.)
      Scully: Mulder, please tell me I can go home.
      Mulder: (Cheerfully) Oh, hey, Scully. How's the stakeout?
      Scully: Well, the furnace broke and I can just about see my breath in here.
      Mulder: Ouch. I'm sorry to hear that.
      Scully: That... and I've witnessed a couple hundred things I'd like to erase from my brain. Eww.
      (Scully looks through the telescope again. The Jesus Saves van pulls up outside the club again.)
      Scully: But as of yet, no mystery woman.
      Mulder: Well, she'll come, you know? It's just a matter of time. She'll show up-- I'm sure of that.
      Scully: Yeah, well not before I die of malnutrition.
      (She picks up a slice of cold pizza, then drops it again, disgusted.)
      Mulder: Hey, Scully, tough it out. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Right?
      (At the table, Ellen Adderley filling Mulder's plate with assorted side dishes.)
      Mulder: (to Ellen) No, no, no, no. No capers, thank you.
      Scully: I'm sorry. What?
      Mulder: I said, "What a... what a crazy caper." I'll talk to you later... and, uh, keep warm. Bye.

    • Skinner: Two weeks ago a woman named Martha Crittendon disappeared from her home in Bethany, Vermont. Local police haven't turned up any sign of her. I'm hoping you may be able to.
      Mulder: I'm already on a case.
      Skinner: You're on a stakeout. I'm confident Agent Scully can continue in your absence.
      (Mulder looks at Skinner suspiciously.)
      Mulder: Why? What did I do?
      Skinner: There may be aspects to this that... speak to your strengths as an investigator.
      Mulder: Specifically?
      Skinner: Ravens. What do you know about 'em-- their mythological or... paranormal significance?
      Mulder: Well, the, uh... th-the raven is considered a-a very powerful symbol in certain Norse, Celtic and Native American cultures uh, mostly, a negative one. Indians view it as a deceiving spirit, Christianity mostly associates it with evil and, then, of course, there's Poe's Raven and, "Nevermore" and all that stuff.
      Skinner: Martha Crittendon's seven-year-old daughter claimed that she was attacked by a raven earlier the day her mother disappeared. Later, she heard one inside the house before she discovered her mother was missing.
      Mulder: No, really, what did I do?

    • Mulder: What happens to her, she disappears? Turns invisible?
      Scully: Well I hope we catch her so we can find out. Before we have to spend another night here. You know Mulder, I don't know about you but I find this all very depressing.
      (Mulder continues chewing bubble gum irreverently)
      Scully: This round-the-clock exposure to the seamy underbelly.
      Mulder: It's a job, Scully. Vigilance in the face of privation. The sheer will that it takes to sit in this crappy room spying on the dregs of society until our suspect surfaces. (Scully nods, unconvinced. Mulder grins.) There's something ennobling in that.
      (Mulder's phone rings, he picks up.)
      Mulder: Mulder. Now? All right. (Hangs up) Gotta go. (Grabs his jacket and walks out)
      Scully: Mulder!

    • (Mulder is awkwardly allowing Ellen to serve him breakfast and coffee.)
      Ellen: I get the feeling you're not used to someone taking care of you.
      Mulder: Well, that has a-- a vaguely pathetic ring to it.
      Ellen: No, I just mean that I didn't notice a wedding band.
      Mulder: Oh.
      Ellen: Do you have a significant other?
      Mulder: (Considers for a moment, smiling almost impercetibly) Um... not in the widely understood defintion of the term.
      Ellen: Oh. Well the right woman will come along and change all that.
      (Mulder opens his mouth like he should explain further but seems to think it's too complicated to launch into. Instead, he contents himself with a skeptical nod and a bite of bacon.)

    • Mulder: Are you sure Martha's last name isn't Stewart?
      Sheriff: Tell me about it, last year this place made the cover of "New England Home"

    • Scully: Mulder, when you find me dead, my desiccated corpse propped up staring lifelessly through the telescope at drunken frat-boys peeing and vomiting into the gutter, just know that my last thoughts were of you... on how I'd like to kill you.
      Mulder: I'm sorry, who is this?
      Scully: It's a freak show, Mulder! It's a... it's a nonstop parade of every single low-life imaginable.
      Mulder: Well, the view may not be too different here. It's dressed a little nicer, but underneath the surface it's the same seamy underbelly.
      Scully: It's not the same, trust me!

    • Scully: Yeah, well I hope you realize there's no evidence whatsoever that this mystery woman of yours has even committed a crime... although her wardrobe comes close.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Scully appears only in brief cameos in this episode. She is in the usual Mulder/Scully 1st scene of act 1, and then all her conversations with Mulder are short, by phone, and spread throughout the episode

    • Writer David Amann's wife Michelle Deschamps is mentioned in this episode. The little girl in the teaser is named Michelle, and the psychiatric hospital featured is the Deschamps County Hospital.


    • Title: Chimera
      This is a reference to the fabled monster from Greek mythology, said to be made up of different parts - usually a lion's head (or three heads, one of which is a lion) a goat's body and a dragon's tail - and breathing fire. Descriptions have changed from story to story, and it's even a description of a particular medical condition when two twins fuse in the womb to become one and have traces of DNA from each. Though the monster in this episode is not really a chimera in the distinct sense of the word, it works on the idea of one person with two separate personalities, one of whom carries out the atrocities the other couldn't countenance.

    • Mulder: Are you sure her last name wasn't Stewart.

      Given the impeccable housekeeping and the character's first name of Martha, this is an obvious reference to the queen of house and home, Martha Stewart, whose advice on cookery, centrepieces, decor and all kinds of things have been followed by people everywhere for quite a few years.

    • Mulder: ...and, then, of course, there's Poe's raven and, "nevermore", an-and all that stuff.

      This is in reference to the writer Edgar Allen poe who wrote a poem called "The Raven". In the poem the word "Nevermore" is repeatedly used.