The X-Files

Season 2 Episode 22

F. Emasculata

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 28, 1995 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
328 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When a plaguelike illness kills 10 men inside a maximum security prison, Scully tries to get into the quarantine site and discover the cause and origin of the contagion, while Mulder and a group of US Marshals track two escapees who may be infected.

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  • A deadly disease spreads and Mulder and Scully must hurry to contain it.

    I really liked this episode how a disease broke out and when into the deep stages it spits something out onto another person infecting them with the disease.At a prison the first person was infected and it spread when the prisoner escaped and Mulder tried to catch up to him because he could spread it also Scully stays at the prison to try and find out what was going on and she was nearly infected.When the Cancer man turned up Mulder tells him he can't keep the truth from the public for long but he manages to because the last person who was infected gets shot holding a boy hostage and the disease is covered up but caused lots of deaths and Mulder believes people should know so they are prepared in case it happens again.moreless
  • F. Emasculata

    F. Emasculata was a superb episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was good, the character development and plot progression were great and there was a lot of mystery and intrigue. I liked how the story played out and the ending was surprising and very fitting. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • Mulder and Scully investigate a new virus

    I think I cringed more in this episode of the X-Files than any other episode to date. Despite how disgusting it was, it was enjoyable from start to finish and focused on what is my favorite trait of Mulder and Scully's: the unending quest for the truth. Whether they're focusing on aliens, viruses or just government conspiracies, overall, the show feels as if it's at its best when the focus is on Mulder trying to discover the truth in a world that is determined whole-heartedly to hide it.

    I've done my fair share of whining about the show's tendency to focus too much on stand-alone plots, but this was a pretty great example of a stand-alone episode giving us something meaningful to care about. The main plot is that a virus outbreak occurs at a prison after a prisoner receives a strange package (it looks like a hunk of ham or something). The prisoner believes it to be a sick joke, but soon enough, he has strange boils and pustules on his face that explode a giant glob of gunk before they die. The virus slowly spreads, and the situation worsens after two prisoners escape who may be infected. Mulder and Scully believe they're being called in to catch the two prisoners, but they slowly learn that the virus is out. Therefore, Mulder teams up with the U.S Marshall to catch the prisoners while Scully stays behind to solve the mystery of the outbreak.

    By the time we get to the end of the episode, the two plots have been resolved, but at the same time, it feels like nothing has been solved. They catch the prisoners and prevent an outbreak, but the origin and cause of the outbreak remains unsolved. Mulder wants to go to the media about the fact that the package originated from a pharmaceutical company, but those responsible covered their tracks well. We also get the return of the man who smokes copious amounts of cigarettes, and although his return is lackluster and short-lived, it lets us know how screwed up the government is in this show. Part of me can't wait to see Mulder finally uncover EVERYthing. Part of me also can't wait to see how much more involved Skinner gets with Mulder and Scully. He's one of those bureaucratic annoying bosses who sometimes does the right thing and he's taken a huge step up this season.

    I really liked this episode and thought it was intriguing and a good indication of just how alone Mulder and Scully are in their search for the truth.moreless
  • Big Spots

    “F. Emasculata” is a really crap episode about biological warfare, some cosmetic company harvest some juice from a bug and then it causes him to die, so they use it as a weapon. But some how some prison guy gets infected and goes on the run with his mate. He gets giant boils all over him that pop on people, which spreads infection. The writer must have a phobia of squeezing his spots. The government try to cover it up, while Mulder fights for truth and Skully is in quarantine. A boring episode, which isn’t really supernatural at all, just a government cover up. Avoid.moreless
  • The pus episode!

    One of the most purely enjoyable episodes from the second season, "F. Emasculata" gets everything right from the get-go. Always fondly remembered as being one of the show's more disgusting excursions, it does boast some very simple but highly effective pulsating bladder effects – usually on people's faces – that every now and then erupt with pus. Delightful. Marry that up with a manhunt story as Mulder chases after 2 escaped lifer convicts who might be infected with this contagion and you have "Panic in the Streets" from an X File point of view. But of course there's a bit more to it than that and I think we can detect the hand of Chris Carter in this. Not content with being a simple race against time story, Carter ups the ante by inserting a whole subtext of governmental involvement and cover-up. Nowhere is this better crystallised in probably the episode's best scene, a midnight encounter for Mulder with Skinner in his office and with the Cigarette Smoking Man in attendance. Everything is steeped in shadow in this scene, most notably Skinner's involvement in the case, and of course William B. Davis clearly relishes his chance to be insidiously evil by being so relatively normal. It also clearly illustrates Mulder's all consuming need to expose the truth, and his frustration is all too clear when he finds himself unable to do so. Duchovny gives a strong committed performance here that generates a lot of empathy. So while Mulder does the legwork and proves his investigative worth on the manhunt, Scully has the less glamorous task of being holed up in a prison that is the source point for a highly infectious killer disease. Unabashed by this, she nevertheless spends most of her time being a complete nuisance and ferreting around for some answers. Medical doctor she may be, but Scully does alarm us several times in this scenario by simply not wearing her surgical mask enough. Naturally being a lead in the show, it's highly unlikely that she'll get sprayed with pus, though she still must undergo the less than pleasant task of having a bug strapped to her arm for half an hour. It's a measure of Gillian Anderson's enormous ability as an actress that the scene where Scully discovers that she hasn't been infected and her subsequent relief doesn't need any dialogue. Anderson communicates Scully's feelings with just one telling roll of her eyes. The episode is well paced and well plotted, leading to a tense standoff in a bus station. And typically for this show the loose ends left dangling at the conclusion are done so deliberately. Skinner's warning to the agents that this is just the start of bigger things is suitably ominous, but to tell the truth, these 2 risk their lives week in week out, one can only wonder how things could get any more perilous for them. Still, coming 22 episodes into what has been a consistently excellent season, "F. Emasculata" demonstrates the suppleness and high level of quality of the show to a most satisfying degree.

Charles Martin Smith

Charles Martin Smith

Dr. Osborne

Guest Star

Dean Norris

Dean Norris

US Marshal Tapia

Guest Star

John Pyper-Ferguson

John Pyper-Ferguson


Guest Star

William B. Davis

William B. Davis

Cigarette Smoking Man

Recurring Role

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • In the scene where Scully bends down to retrieve the insect from the dead prisoner's facial wound, her surgical mask is around her neck. As she stands back up with the insect in her tweezers, she is wearing the surgical mask.

    • 18:23 As Mulder turns to look at helicopter, as men pull out the gurney, there is a visible camera reflection, just to the right of his left shoulder.

    • Why would Scully, a trained medical doctor smack in the middle of a prison where an unknown contagion has spread, only put on a mask and gloves when examining the bodies? She should know enough to at least wear a surgical suit.

      Why would she irresponsibly slit open a body bag when she knows the person inside is infected with the disease, and she has no idea how the contagion is spread?

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Scully: According to the briefing, prisoners escaped by hiding in a laundry cart.
      Mulder: I don't think the guards are watching enough prison movies.

    • Mulder: I thought this was about escaped prisoners.
      Scully: It is.
      Mulder: Then who are the men in funny suits?

    • Skinner: Agent Mulder, I'm saying this as a friend. Watch your back. This is just the beginning.

    • Skinner: You never had a chance, Agent Mulder. For every step you take, they're three steps ahead.
      Mulder: Well, what about you? Where do you stand?
      Skinner: I stand right on the line that you keep crossing.

    • Mulder: You can't protect the public by lying to them.
      Cigarette-Smoking Man: It's done every day.

  • NOTES (5)

    • 925, the address of the prisoner's girlfriend, is the birthdate of Gillian Anderson's daughter, Piper Maru.

    • The producers debated whether to delay the airdate because of its proximity to the release of the similarly themed movie Outbreak but ultimately decided that the episode stood on its own.

    • The title of this episode refers to the name of the insect carrying the infection, Faciphaga emasculata. Although this particular insect is fictitious, there are diseases with symptoms which resemble those depicted in this episode, such as myiasis, in which certain species of fly larvae grow under the skin and emerge from abscesses or boils. On the reality side of the story, scientists do hunt through rain forests for plants and insects for pharmaceutical research, like the unfortunate Dr. Torrance.

    • Young actress Jenny-Lynn Hutcheson appears in this episode in an uncredited bit-part and also appears uncredited in season 4's "Paper Hearts" as the body of Addie Sparks in Mulder's dream. In season 5 she returns again in the more substantial role of Polly Turner in the Stephen King co-written episode "Chinga."

    • Chris Carter wrote the part of gas station attendant Angelo Garza especially for X-Files Production Assistant Angelo Vacco.