The X-Files

Season 1 Episode 20

Darkness Falls

4
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 15, 1994 on FOX
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
444 votes
23

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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When a group of loggers in the Washington State National Forest disappear in the same way that another group disappeared 50 years ago, Mulder and Scully go along to investigate and find themselves trapped in a cabin surrounded by flesh eating insects that only attack at night.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • One of the best

    10
    Here we have killing insects, millions of years old, Mulder and Scully almost killed, and some great chemistry between them. No conspiracy in this one unfortunately.
  • Darkness Falls

    9.5
    Mulder and Scully investigate the disappearance of a logging crew where they find at nigh green flies called wood mite come out and kill anything in their way and cocoon them.Mulder and Scully go with a Ranger and some other people that later fall victims to the wood mite and later Mulder and Scully only narrowly escape.This was really a good episode which I think is one of the best of the season.moreless
  • Darkness Falls

    7.0
    I did not know of the existence of the term "ecoterrorism" to see this risky episode of "The X-Files," which did very well see the "monster of the week" clumsy way. It is valid because it possibly be alien, but to a swarm of insects micro green aliens? Not needed. Starting at the approach of eco-terrorists' attacks, which are extreme and violent environmentalists, able to kill and break the law to see that the environment is not harmed by what is decided by the government or governing bodies, everything goes walking to the delicate situation the central . Here, agents are quarantined again, no chance of escape or enough energy (almost equal to the situation of 1x08), guaranteed moments of despair among the four survivors. It's fun to see how the plot was well developed, especially if considering the small space it occurs and the freaks monsters . Of course, the plot in its bottom interior reveals a major protest pro-ecology, with the mortal danger released by felling trees and devastation of entire forests, in addition to insect pests, causing disease and death in human contact. The nature rebels, releasing their concealed weapons, new species are discovered and proximity to death almost never got so close to our heroes as here. As I said earlier, a good episode when it comes to the topic and extreme situations, but weak if we consider only the insects.moreless
  • Darkness Falls

    8.0
    Darkness Falls was a great episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of action, mystery and some environmental issues. It was fun watching the agents in the beautiful forest trying to solve a peculiar case. The bugs were pretty interesting and I liked the special effects used to portray them. There were some things that didn't make sense or add up, but I was still entertained. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • "Darkness Falls" is not one of the show's more popular episodes. However, it has several points to recommend it, and remains one of my favorites for various reasons.

    7.0
    The best characters in this episode were non-human: the magnificent woods of British Columbia and the tiny insects responsible for the deaths of the loggers. The sequences in the woods looked rainy and cold and isolated, bringing the brooding silence of the woods home to us in our urban dens. The 'bugs' were a fine hook into Freudian fears shared by most of us--oo, ick, spiders!--as good as the toilet sequence in "Tooms". And the shocking conclusion, which nearly kills our heroes, was a refreshing change which underscored the constant danger Mulder and Scully place themselves in. I must cite both the excellent cinematography and the outstanding score for contributing to the lonely, apprehensive feeling of this episode; Mark Snow's music just continues to delight and chill.In "Darkness Falls" Mulder and Scully are essentially spectators. I don't particularly mind this: "X-Files" is in many ways an anthology series, telling a complete tale every week, without ongoing story lines to ease the burden on the writers. So there will inevitably be episodes of "The X- Files" with less tension, less involvement of Mulder and Scully, less immediacy. The question now becomes: how well did the secondary characters succeed in carrying the story?I would say that, in the case of "Darkness Falls", their performances were average. The characters of Doug Spinney and Steve Humphreys are flat and one-dimensional. Both Humphreys and Spinney are less than full-fledged characters, functioning instead as propagandists for one extremist view or the other.The unchallenged use of the terms "eco-terrorist" and "monkey-wrencher" by every character in the show, implying that these are widely used, acceptable descriptions of environmentalists, is inflammatory. In fact, they are terms used by the timber industry and its allies to defame those who oppose their agenda.One minor feature of "Darkness Falls" is significant: I believe it was the first episode to show Mulder making a tactical mistake. Although his actions in permitting Spinney to return to his companions with the last of the gasoline turns out to be a life-saving decision, he could not have known that in advance when he acted unilaterally. This kind of lone-ranger behavior is precisely why large organizations such as the FBI are suspicious of the Fox Mulders of the world. More often than not, this kind of risk-taking with other people's lives turns out tragically. It was great to have Mulder realize this and to have Scully call him on it. I only wish Mulder had been a little humbler about it. He shows a certain amount of arrogance in refusing to acknowledge the justice of her accusation of high-handedness.When Carter writes his own stories, like this one, he feels free to show us more details of Scully and Mulder's relationship, which makes this show so interesting. We see the two playing into one another's strengths, supporting one another. While there was more of the much-ballyhooed understated sexual tension than we have seen in the second season, their professional fellowship took precedence and achieved real depth. I suppose there's nothing like being cocooned together to cement one's relationship with one's partner.There were major plot holes in "Darkness Falls", which must reduce its effectiveness: for example, if Scully and Mulder needed a light to fend off the bugs, why didn't they just build a fire? It's not like they were short of firewood. But the concept of the ancient bugs sleeping in the heart of the tree for a thousand centuries catches the imagination wonderfully. Again we are shown the inventiveness at the heart of this show's appeal. If not always perfectly executed, we must applaud the effort.While the plot holes are still annoying, the creepy, eerie use of the deep woods, the relationship between the leads, and the sheer weirdness of the green bugs lands this a score of 7.moreless
Jason Beghe

Jason Beghe

Ranger Larry Moore

Guest Star

Tom O'Rourke

Tom O'Rourke

Steve Humphreys

Guest Star

Barry Greene

Barry Greene

Perkins

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Principal setting: Olympia National Forest, Washington State.

    • Even though a single incandescent light is able to keep the insects away inside the cabin, Doug Spinney (the ecoterrorist) is attacked standing in front of the jeep's headlights.

    • Scully: What kind of an insect could have gotten a man all the way up into that tree?
      Mulder: Itsy-bitsy spider.

      Funny joke, except that spiders are not insects. They're arachnids. The most remarkable difference between them is the number of legs. Insects have six while arachnids have eight.

    • Plot hole: If the insects are repelled by the light why not just build a fire? A cabin that far in the woods would almost surely be equipped with a fireplace. Granted this problem could be handled by saying all the available lumber is waterlogged or there is some property to the artificial light in particular that repels the insects but the matter should at least be addressed.

      Another question is why the headlights on the cars don't keep them away. When Doug Spinney was attacked he was standing in front of the jeep which had the headlights on so why were they able to swarm him?

    • Continuity: We later find out that Mulder hates bugs in season three's "War of the Coprophages." However, he doesn't seem to have much of a problem with them in this episode.

    • Continuity: When they find the felled ancient tree, the stump that Mulder clambers up onto to investigate the growth rings has a distinctive crack at the center and the growth rings are irregular in shape. However the stump that we get a close up of has no crack and regular circular rings.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Mulder: What would you have done?
      Scully: You mean would I have made a decision alone that would have affected the whole group?
      Mulder: Oh, will you cut the sanctimonious crap?!

    • Scully: These bugs aren't moving any more. They're either dead or they're asleep.
      Doug Spinney: It's the light. They don't like the light.
      Scully: That's weird. I mean usually bugs are attracted to the light.
      Doug Spinney: These obviously are not your ordinary bugs, to say the least.

    • Scully: Well, you're right about one thing.
      Mulder: What's that?
      Scully: It definitely wasn't Bigfoot.

    • Scully: And you suspect what? Bigfoot?
      Mulder: Not likely. That's a lot of flannel to be choking down even for Bigfoot. Come on, Scully. It will be a nice trip to the forest.

    • Mulder: I'm going to suggest we sleep with the lights on.

    • Scully: What kind of an insect could have gotten a man all the way up into that tree?
      Mulder: Itsy-bitsy spider.

    • Mulder: 30 loggers working a clear-cutting contract in Washington state. Rugged, manly men in the full bloom of their manhood.
      Scully: Right, but what am I looking for?
      Mulder: Anything strange, unexplainable, unlikely ... boyfriend?

    • Mulder: I told her it would be a nice trip to the forest.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Ranger Moore: A man caught in some kind of insect cocoon.

      This sort of thing happens in nature but usually not to humans. Spiders trap and drink their prey in similar, but not identical, fashion. Female spiders do spin cocoons - but to hold egg sacs, not to immobilize prey. Spiders also drink their food, but they don't just drain all of the fluids out of it; they predigest it, like most other arachnids.

    • Ranger Moore: Larry Moore, Federal Forest Service.

      The Federal Forest Service along with the National Parks Service is part of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

    • Mulder: They call themselves 'monkey wrenchers' or Eco-Terrorists.
      As explained liberally in the episode, ecoterrorists like Doug Spinney are environmentalists who have decided to take it one step further and begin sabotaging logging equipment and driving spikes into trees which are illegal acts in most places.

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