The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 24

Gethsemane (1)

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 18, 1997 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
298 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

While investigating the discovery of a preserved alien body found in the mountains of Canada, Mulder is contacted by Michael Kritschgau who tells him about a government conspiracy not to keep alien activity a secret, but to make people believe in them without question and Mulder has been the prime target. With the idea that everything he believes is a lie, Mulder appears to take his own life.moreless

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  • Oh nooo it can't be.

    Season 4's ending finds Mulder once again at the deep end of breaking the truth about aliens among us and is a distinct episode because this creature is different from the other alien stories in the series so far (black goo, the flask etc). The other stand out is the ending but its also flawed in a way. They make it definite that Muldor is dead, Scully see's the body and the report confirms it. At the time this must have been a great ending because there was no knowledge about the future of the series, folks may have thought there would only be one more season. Knowing that there are 5 more seasons and movies plus a reboot at the time of this post you know this ending isn't all it seemed and that removes some of the drama.

    So again this is a heartfelt ending on its own but knowing Muldor isn't dead makes it less impactful.moreless
  • Gethsemane

    Gethsemane was a perfect episode and season four finale of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was awesome as Mulder investigated a possible Extraterrestrial Biological Entity preserved in glacier ice. I loved the format how Scully was giving her testimony on The X-Files to a committee of higher ups in the F.B.I. and what transpired was in the recent past. It was interesting to learn "The Truth" or the lie behind the supposed truth. The ending was great and unforeseen. I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Mulder finds an extraterrestrial hidden in northern caves while Scully learns something about her illness

    Unlike last year, which ended the third season on such a lame and obvious cliffhanger that I realized I didn't care much what happened, this cliffhanger does everything right. It doesn't exactly stick us in the middle of a situation and say "To Be Continued." Instead, the episode ends definitively, and the ending line/moment makes us wonder whether or not we'll see agent Mulder again.

    Of course, it'd be foolish to assume Fox is dead.. he's the star of the show along with Scully. However, I'm finding myself very curious as to how in the world they're going to pull off Mulder being alive. For one, they never showed his face when Scully identified him, so there may be some hoax going on. At the same time, that's what makes the cliffhanger so effective: we're left wondering still why Scully seems to be discrediting Mulder so heavily.

    The episode itself had a lot of conspiracy stuff going on, but there was no inclusion of the Cigarette Smoking Man yet. However, there was a great plot involving Mulder and some friends finally finding an alien and doing a legitimate autopsy on it. It was a great revelation for Mulder, who has spent four seasons looking for the truth and having it elude him every time. This time, it appears he may get very close.

    However, a new development arises: a man from the D.o.D appears and claims that the government has been creating all of these "extraterrestrial" hoaxes as a cover-up for secret government missions they're doing. Of course, it's absurd to believe that after all we've seen, but I think the writers do a good job of making us feel like Mulder. It feels like we're getting jerked around, but that's probably how Mulder feels, and by the time the episode ends, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Mulder was actually dead.

    Scully's illness isn't ignored either; the chance that her illness may have been administered simply to keep Mulder believing in the lie is horrifying to think, and hopefully, that doesn't end up being the case. It would turn Mulder from a guy who won't give up at finding the truth into an obsessive guy who lets his compulsions hurt others.

    I'm pumped to see what happens next.. I would definitely say that this is the best season finale so far.moreless
  • Gethsemane is a great episode of the X-Files in which, for the first time in the show's nine-year run, Mulder and Scully are forced to deeply examine not only their own beliefs, but also the degrees to which their personal quests converge and diverge.moreless

    Gethsemane is a nearly superb episode of the X-Files that kicks off one of its best multi-part stories. The episode is impressive in its creation of high drama around a pair of internal quests, and in that it does this by keeping Mulder and Scully mostly apart throughout the episode. Perhaps the only drawbacks of this episode are the wordy dialogue and its theatrical delivery during Scully's hearing, and Mulder-is-dead cliffhanger redux. While I appreciate that Mulder's death seems a logical end to his journey through Gethsemane, suicide doesn't fit Mulder's character, and it furthermore distracts us from the exciting ideas in this episode, reducing Gethsemane to an is-he-or-isn't-he moment.

    The art of this episode then is how Chris Carter introduces and interweaves a blend of interpersonal drama, conspiracy mystery, and truly wondrous glimpses of alien life, all wrapped up in a melodramatic framing device. No episode or arc since the Anasazi three-parter so winningly got us excited about all of things at the same time, nor introduced new characters as fresh and well-acted as Bill Scully and Michael Kritschgau. This pair of foils effectively begins to derail both Mulder and Scully, but yet remains sympathetic, an especially remarkable feat for Kritschgau, who knocks a cancer-ridden Scully down a flight of stairs. Also appealing, is the contrast between Scully's spiritual, family-oriented journey and Mulder's solitary, intellectual journey. Particularly in Mulder's case, where we often find him accompanied by the baggage of her sister, by Cancer Man, or by his mother, it's refreshing to see him go this one alone, and it further helps to paint him in the anti-social, maverick light that the show keep telling us about.

    Surely, however, the most interesting thing about Gethsemane is the way in which it anticipates the 'game-changer' trope in TV that wouldn't fully surface for another 5-7 years with serial dramas Alias, Battlestar Galactica, and Lost. Although the season-five episodes that followed wouldn't fully exploit the degree to which Mulder was now skeptical of extraterrestrial life, this episode and arc seemed to promise that the very nature of the show had been irrevocably changed.moreless
  • Perfect Season Ender

    Wow! What a great closing episode! Perfect in virtually every way and with a whopper of a cliffhanger that would make anyone curse the intervening summer before Season Five (pre-DVD, of course).

    The cinematography is fantastic, especially the wipe open shots of the snow-covered Canadian mountains. Anderson looks her absolute radiant best here. She is just gorgeous.

    I liked the religious subtext of this episode and thought it worked well. Both Scully and Mulder are forced to reexamine the strength of their respective "faiths." Scully because of her apparently impending death and Mulder because of the apparent "death" of his alien theories, which are debunked convincingly by an interesting new character, Michael Kritschgau.

    They manage to pack quite a bit in this episode. Not a minute is wasted and lots of possibilities are opened up for Season Five. A truly great closer, perhaps the best of the series.moreless
Matthew Walker

Matthew Walker


Guest Star

James Sutorius

James Sutorius


Guest Star

John Oliver

John Oliver


Guest Star

John Finn

John Finn

Michael Kritschgau

Recurring Role

Sheila Larken

Sheila Larken

Margaret Scully

Recurring Role

Pat Skipper

Pat Skipper

Bill Scully Jr

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Principal Settings: Boston, Massachusetts St. Elias Mountains, Yukon Territory, Canada; Washington, D.C.; Arlington and Sethburg, Virginia.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Scully: Early this morning I got a call from the police asking me to come to Agent Mulder's apartment. The detective asked me, he needed me to identify a body...
      Section Chief Blevins: Agent Scully...
      Scully: Agent Mulder died late last night from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

    • Scully: Mulder, the only lie here is the one you continue to believe.
      Mulder: After all I've seen and experienced, I refuse to believe that it's not true!
      Scully: Because it's easier to believe the lie. Isn't it?
      Mulder: (hurt) What the hell did that guy say to you, that you believe his story!?
      Scully: He said that the men behind this hoax... behind these lies... gave me this disease to make you believe.
      (Mulder turns and walks away)

    • Mulder: You think it's foolish?
      Scully: I have no opinion, actually.
      Mulder: You have no opinion?
      Scully: This is your holy grail, Mulder, not mine.
      Mulder: What's that supposed to mean?
      Scully: It just means that proving to the world the existence of alien life is not my last dying wish.
      Mulder: How about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny?

    • Scully: Four years ago, Section Chief Blevins assigned me to a project you all know as the X Files. As I am a medical doctor with a background in hard science, my job was to provide an analytical prospective on the work of Special Agent Fox Mulder, who's investigations into the paranormal were fueled by a personal belief that his sister had been abducted by aliens when he was 12. I come here today, four years later, to report on the illegitimacy of Agent Mulder's work. That it is my scientific opinion that he became over the course of these years a victim. A victim of his own false hopes and of his belief in the biggest of lies.

    • Arlinsky: It's an awful long way to go for a hoax.
      Mulder: If you're going to go, why not go all the way?

  • NOTES (8)

    • Actress Tea Leoni, then secret fiancee of David Duchovny, visited him on the set during the filming of this episode. Their wedding was only a week away.

    • An entire set was built by the construction crew inside a refrigerated building to shoot the scenes taking place in the wilderness of the Yukon Territory. The temperature hit the 21 degrees Farenheit below zero and everyone involved in the shooting were required, through a memo, to dress very warmly.

    • The flashbacks during Scully's testimony are to "Pilot" and "Paperclip."

    • The first cut of this episode ran 12 minutes too long. Alot of scenes in the mountains were cut.

    • Charles Cioffi, playing Sector Chief Blevins, returns to the The X-Files. He first appeared in the pilot episode.

    • Michael Kritschgau is named for a former drama teacher of Gillian Anderson's.

    • This episode marks the first on-screen appearance of Scully's brother, Bill Jr. after his scene in 'Memento Mori' were cut.

    • The finale's tagline is changed to 'Believe The Lie', which is what Kritschgau was trying to get Mulder to do. Mulder repeats the line in 'Redux'.


    • Episode Title: Gethsemane

      This is the place where Jesus was betrayed by Judas (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12) - probably a reference to Scully's (apparent) betrayal of Mulder.