The X-Files

Season 1 Episode 17


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 18, 1994 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
415 votes

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Episode Summary

A dramatic increase in UFO sightings and a bizarre attack on a transport truck convince Mulder that he's on the trail of a live alien being covertly transported cross-country. For her part, Scully, equally wary of the involvement of the Lone Gunmen as she is of Deep Throat, suspects a rather more earthly explanation.moreless

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  • At Last, Real Character Development

    Here we have an episode that's memorable for the characters and their dialogue and not a awcky monster. Not a lot really happens in this installment, but that's okay every now and then. Paranoia is the villain here, and we find out that even Deep Throat shouldn't be trusted. The following-the-truck sequence was a bit tiresome, but the first appearance of the Lone Gunmen made up for that. I'm amazed at how well defined the nerdy characters are in their introduction episode; it's obvious that they'll be a hit and return in later episodes.

    THIS EPISODE WANTS US TO BELIEVE IN: Government Conspiracy that stops at nothing.


    All-in-all, a good and believable episode--as long as one believes that the government would bother with such elaborate tricks to hide what they are doing and worry so much about Mulder (it would be so much easier to grab him and give him a total mind-wipe, if not just get rid of him entirely!)moreless
  • Mulder and Scully chase the truth of a crashed UFO.

    An entertaining episode where I just wanted Mulder and Scully to get to the truth but unfortunately denied again by a government that was tracking them everywhere they went.I thought when the government was tracking them like that something big was happening.In this episode Mulder and Scully could trust no one with Deep Throat lying to them but helped Mulder in the end when he thought he found what the truck was carrying.Mulder knew something was in that truck but Deep Throat said he killed it but couldn't show Mulder what it was so now we may never know.moreless
  • E.B.E.

    "Trust no one." It is around this phrase, one of the most famous series, that the whole episode is built in a spiral of lies, threats and conspiracies absolutely hypnotic. The initial plot, giving an image of an episode common logo fades and all lies are desmascaras and distrust settles everywhere. Scully and Mulder has seldom been so vulnerable this season as "SBS" (Extraterrestrial Biological Entity), a suspenseful episode incredible theories very well exposed and the danger of larger organizations are watching them or even controlling them. The first appearance of the famous "Lone Gunmen" and its shocking revelations, UFOs in the skies in abundance, be it Iraq, be it the U.S., aliens being transported in ordinary freight trucks, hidden secrets in the Cold War finally coming to the surface, many false leads disseminated and deception ... The truth is out there, just as the lies. This time, the conspiracy goes much further than the U.S. national security and intelligence programs of NASA. Everything is high on a global scale, with a chance of governments within governments, falsification of information and widespread manipulation, international agreements to eradicate any trace alien. The men responsible for this arrogant and corrupt power, concealment of the truth and forging evidence, carefully decide what is or is not appropriate or safe to disclose and enable the population known to exist, and worse, investigate such facts. The Deep Throat makes an appearance key to the episode, and plays so well with our heroes with their truths and lies that is hard to believe or not in his words, especially when it comes to ultra-secret project of the largest world powers, if any alien or UFO is identified in their territories, be immediately destroyed. He, with his extreme ambiguity, add the fog dark as well as answers to the questions raised, which will continue from the smoke of the unknown. An episode of constant tension, threat and conspiracy, just as it should be.moreless
  • E.B.E.

    E.B.E. was another perfect and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of significant character and plot development. The story was extremely well written with a a good balance of truth, mystery and skepticism. It was great seeing Mulder and Scully working together on this case because they were very in sync with each other and it helped them to succeed in their own way. I liked learning more about Mulder's confidential informant from a higher level. It was nice that they actually showed some stuff, which to me means that it really happened in the story so it is real. I look forward to watching the next episode and how mysteries unravel in the future!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • The X-Files works best when Mulder and Scully are treated as intellectual equals. In EBE they are. They're a team. That is why this episode is not only the conspiracy story arc at it's finest, but it is also Mulder and Scully at their finest as a team.moreless

    To put it simply, EBE is the conspiracy mytharc at it's best. Unlike in future seasons mytharc episodes, here we are never shown too much in regards to whether or not there are or are not aliens among us, nor is too much withheld from us that it feels like a never ending tease that leads no where. This episode strikes the perfect balance in almost every way imaginable.

    In future seasons Alien shapeshifters and a convoluted conspiracy end up showing us more than we should have ever been allowed to see. As the years went by, we saw too much. We saw so much in fact that Scully's skepticism made her look more like a clueless fool than the intelligent woman she is supposed to be. Not so in EBE.

    As I said earlier, EBE strikes the perfect note. Not only in terms of what we the audience are allowed to see, but also in the way the script keeps Scully and Mulder on equal intellectually footing. Mulder is wrong about Deep Throat. Scully is right. Mulder thought the UFO photo Deep Throat gave him was authentic while Scully thought it was a fake. Again, Scully was right. Here we see Scully's skepticism playing a vital role. She keeps Mulder grounded. If not for her skepticism, Mulder would have naively believed everything Deep Throat told him and followed his bogus leads, such as the fake photograph, to a dead end. Instead, Scully's skepticism keeps Mulder on the right path. In future seasons however, Mulder is always 100% right, while Scully is always wrong. Primarily because in future seasons we saw so much of what should have remained hidden from us, that Scully's skepticism just looked plain silly in the presence of such overwhelming evidence. Or as Jerry Hardin's Deep Throat character tells Mulder: "There are some secrets that need to remain secret." If only the X-Files writers had taken that advice to heart in future seasons.

    But this episode has a lot more to offer. First and foremost, we are introduced to the Lone Gunmen. But we also get some terrific dialogue between Deep Throat and Mulder, especially at the shark tank scene. A scene which is one of my all time favorites, perhaps because of the back and forth dialogue or perhaps because I just love ocean life and the color teal.

    The pacing of this episode is also top notch. Nothing is rushed. No hot shot cutting between scenes. It's a dialogue driven episode as opposed to some of the more action oriented mythology episodes in the years to come. And who doesn't love a cross country road trip. Especially when you're following an 18 wheeler carrying on board a potential EBE.

    I loved the paranoid feel of this episode. Mulders apartment being bugged, not to mention Scullys pen. This stuff is much more disturbing and unnerving than anything in later years involving shapeshifters, killer bees, or cloned Samanthas, because it's believable. Those other things don't exist, whereas the fear that someone out there could be watching or listening to our every move is a common fear we all share. Invasion of privacy is far scarier than invasion of the body snatchers.moreless
Allan Lysell

Allan Lysell

Chief Rivers

Guest Star

Peter LaCroix

Peter LaCroix

Ranheim/Frank Druse

Guest Star

Tom Braidwood

Tom Braidwood


Recurring Role

Jerry Hardin

Jerry Hardin

Deep Throat

Recurring Role

Bruce Harwood

Bruce Harwood


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • This episode marks the first appearance of The Lone Gunmen. They originated from a UFO convention that Glen Morgan and Marilyn Osborn (who wrote Shapes and some Space: Above and Beyond epsiodes) saw at the airport. ".. three guys behind a table, one in a suit and tie, one in a really crummy t-shirt with long hair. They didn't seem to connect, and then they literally started ripping up people's $20 bills! They were the scariest guys."

    • Whoever was listening to Mulder stopped when he began making all that noise to look for the microphone in his apartment. So why did he think that telling Scully that they should stop looking for the truck would mislead the bad guys?

    • Conspiracy Info: The Conspiracy has a policy of executing any living extraterrestrials, presumably so they do not inform their kind of the Conspiracy's deception.

    • Factual Errors: Deep Throat tells Mulder that following the Roswell incident of 1947, a secret conference of the world's major powers was held which included the People's Republic of China - but the People's Republic of China was not founded until 1949.

    • Factual Errors: Byers said that Vladimir Zhirinovsky is the leader of the Social Democratic Party in Russia. The name of his party is actually Liberal Democratic Party.

    • Revealing Mistakes: Although the first scene after the opening credits, when Ranheim is driving his truck down the road in Tennessee, is supposed to take place around midnight (and most of the scene does look very dark), the cop car that appears in the side mirror of the truck looks like it's driving in daylight, and when the camera follows it as it pulls ahead of the truck, you can briefly see that up ahead on the road the sun is out!

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Byers: Do you have a twenty dollar bill?
      Scully: Hmm. I think so.
      (Hands Byers a twenty, which he promptly rips.)
      Scully: Heeeey!
      (Mulder chuckles)

    • Scully: I think you give the government too much credit. I mean, they can't control the deficit or manage crime. What makes you think they could plan and execute such an elaborate conspiracy?
      Frohike: She is hot.
      Mulder: Settle down, Frohike.

    • Scully: From the trucker's description, the shape he fired upon could conceivably have been a mountain lion's.
      Mulder: Conceivably.
      Scully: The National Weather Service last night reported atmospheric conditions in this area which were possibly conducive to lightning.
      Mulder: Possibly.
      Scully: It is feasible that the truck was struck by lightning creating the electrical failure.
      Mulder: It's feasible.
      Scully: And you know there's a marsh over there. Those lights the driver saw may have been swamp gas.
      Mulder: Swamp gas?
      Scully: It's a natural phenomenon in which phosphine and methane rising from the decaying organic matter ignite, creating globes of blue flame.
      Mulder: Happens to me when I eat Dodger Dogs.

    • Mulder: I'm wondering which lie to believe.

    • Mulder: I don't speak Japanese, but I think some businessman told me to stick a piece of sushi where the sun don't shine.

    • Deep Throat: A lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths.

    • Scully: I have never met anyone so passionate and dedicated to a belief as you. It's so intense that sometimes it's blinding. But there are others that are watching you, who know what I know. Whereas I can respect and admire your passion they will use it against you. Mulder, the truth is out there, but so are lies.

    • Byers: That's why we like you, Mulder, your ideas are weirder than ours.

    • Byers: Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Russian Social Democrats, is being put into power by the most heinous and evil force in the 20th century.
      Mulder: Barney?

    • Scully: Those were the most paranoid people I have ever met. I don't know how you could think that what they say is even remotely plausible.
      Mulder: I think it's remotely plausible that someone might think you're hot.

    • Byers: So Mulder, is this your skeptical partner?
      Frohike: She's hot.

    • Deep Throat: Mr. Mulder. If a shark stops swimming it will die. Don't stop swimming.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Writer Glen Morgan based The Lone Gunman trio on real-life UFO fanatics he had once met at a convention. The $20-theory was a direct lift of one of their conspiracy theories.

    • EBE stands for Extraterrestrial Biological Entity.

    • The aliases for Mulder and Scully provided by The Lone Gunmen are Tom Braidwood and Val Stefoff. In reality, these are two of the show's First Assistant Directors. Tom Braidwood also plays the character of Frohike.


    • Mulder: Happens to me when I eat Dodger Dogs.

      Mulder is referring to hot dogs served at Dodger Stadium, home to Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers were established in 1883 in Brooklyn where they stayed until 1958, moving to Los Angeles and becoming the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    • Mulder: 'Like the reaction to the Kennedy assassination, or MIAs, or radiation experiments on terminal patients, Watergate, Iran Contra, Roswell, the Tuskege experiments... Where will it end?'

      All allude to events that may or may not have had some extent of government cover-up or lies. Lee Harvey Oswald has long been thought a pawn in some conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy; MIAs are the ones still thought missing in action in Vietnam that the government did nothing to find; radiation experiments are believed to have been carried out on all sorts of people without their knowledge, Watergate, the Iran Contras and Roswell - all fairly obvious; the Tuskagee experiments refers to a programme whereby 399 African American men suffering from syphilis were enrolled in a testing process but never told what they were suffering from, and never treated. They were basically very poor, uneducated and to the ones carrying out the tests, seemingly expendable. They had no informed consent, no information and basically the tests could only 'prove' something once the men had died - and this went on for over 40 years. By the end in 1972, 28 men had died of directly related consequences, 100 of complications, 40 of their wives had been infected with the disease and 19 children born with congenital syphilis - all supposedly in the name of science. No wonder the Lone Gunmen have their concerns!

    • Film Reference: The Conversation

      Mulder tearing his apartment apart looking for a bug is a homage to the final scene of this 1974 Francis Ford Coppola classic movie.

    • Mulder: Barney?

      Mulder is referring to Barney, the star of the children's show "Barney & Friends." Barney is a purple dinosaur with a green underbelly.

    • Mulder: When I first saw the Gulf Breeze photos, I knew they were a hoax but this…

      Gulf Breeze is a small town in Florida which became famous in 1987 as the site of a large number of UFO sightings.

    • Langly: Agent Orange of the 90's.

      Agent Orange was the code name for a herbicide/defoliant that was used during the Vietnam War by the US as part of its Herbicidal Warfare. Its official purpose was to remove the leaves of trees to prevent guerrilla fighters from the NLF from hiding. Many claim that the use of Agent Orange has caused serious harm to the health of all who have been exposed to it.