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.