The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 19

Hell Money

1
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 29, 1996 on FOX
7.5
out of 10
User Rating
272 votes
10

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
The deaths of several Chinese men found to be missing vital internal organs that were removed prior to death leads Mulder and Scully to a deadly Chinatown lottery where men wager their body parts for a chance to win a cash jackpot.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Hell Money

    9.0
    Hell Money was a superb and entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was interesting as it dealt with Chinese customs and beliefs. The Game was intriguing and suspenseful because of the risks involved. It was fun watching Mulder and Scully investigate with the help of an American born Chinese Police Officer. Every thing played out as could be expected. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Takashi Miike should have done it

    7.0


    “Hell money” sees Mulder and Skully delve in to the Chinese underworld. With a plot that could have been taken from a Takashi Miike film, the plot unfolds to reveal a deadly game where losers must donate organs. There are some nice touches to this episode but it is a rather slow paced affair. Overall its Average, but with a nice opening and ending. There’s not really much to say about “Hell Money” apart from that it offers insight to Chinese culture that the viewer may have not know about. There’s quite a bit of subtitle reading in this one too! 6 out of 10.

    moreless
  • Mulder and Scully investigate a strange game

    7.3
    Following the previous episode, which struggled hard to find direction, this episode seemed to have found one, but it still didn't make it all that interesting. Sure, the plot was unique and very dark and fit in with the atmosphere of an X-File, but to me, it didn't feel like there was that much supernatural going on here. In fact, I think the episode would've worked better if there was less focus on the "ghosts" or supposed ghosts and more on the interaction between Mulder, Scully and Chao. Instead, we get very quick scenes leaping from one scene to the next, never fully focusing on anything.



    I was really interested with the plot though. Even for The X-Files, this was a pretty dark thing.. the idea of a group conning people out of their organs is crazy and it's the craziness that works so well (most of the time) on this show. There was still some of Mulder's sarcasm, but the last two episodes have left me feeling high and dry in terms of the Mulder/Scully connection. Sure, they send jabs at each other, but in other episodes this season, even the stand-alone ones, you get the sense that these two care about each other and care what happens to one another.



    Much better than the last episode.moreless
  • Unfairly Maligned

    7.8
    I have to disagree with the Note for this episode that says it is completely devoid of paranormal activity. Did no one see the ghosts that mysteriously disappeared into thin air when they were discovered? And what about all the talk of Chinese ghost myths? Although not as overt as in most episodes, there is enough "X" stuff here.



    This was a well-written and well-directed episode. The shot of the guard's eye looking through a pinhole to see a man writhing as he is burned alive was brilliant. The surgical stitches on the victim during the autopsy were harrowing. The whole episode has a finely-tuned sense of dread, which was well done.



    The influence of this series is shown by yet another appearance of a young actress (Lucy Liu) in a bit part who would later become quite famous. It's fun to see these appearances (Jack Black, Tony Shaloub, Terry O'Quinn, J.T. Walsh, etc.)moreless
  • Not exactly an X-file

    8.0
    There's nothing paranormal about this episode, there are aliens in the background and no conspiracies to deal with, and while this plot could be that of a show like Law and Order or NYPD Blue, Hell Money is entertaining and tells a sad and desperate story of someone trying to save a loved one.



    I've probably said this before, but I really enjoyed the change in the Mulder and Scully dynamic after the events of One Breath/Paperclip. They grew closer with every episode.



    Also, this episode gives us a little to think about: The desperate struggle from someone who needs a new organ and the big demand they have making anyone do terrible things to get one and save someone's life.moreless
BD Wong

BD Wong

Detective Glen Chao

Guest Star

Michael Yama

Michael Yama

Shuyang Hsin

Guest Star

Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu

Kim Hsin

Guest Star

Doug Abrahams

Doug Abrahams

Detective Neary

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Scully: What about you, Detective? Do you believe in Yu Lan Ji?
      Det. Chao: I find it hard to argue with 2,000 years of Chinese belief - the stuff my parents and grandparents believe in. But the truth is, I'm more haunted by the size of my mortgage payment.

    • Scully: What a way to go... Have you seen this MO before Detective? A man cremated alive?
      Detective Neary: Yeah. Third time this year.
      Mulder: Eleventh time actually.

    • Scully: So you're saying that the ancestral spirits pushed Johnny Lo into the oven and turned on the gas?
      Mulder: Well, it would sure teach him to respect his elders, wouldn't it?

    • Mulder: You think this guy was selling his body parts.
      Scully: A kidney, a portion of the liver, bone marrow, a lobe of the lung. A cornea. A person can lose these things and live to cash their social security checks.

    • Dr. Wu: In my belief, death is nothing to be feared. It's merely a stage of transition. But life without hope...well, now that is a living hell. So, hope was my gift to these men.
      (Scully sighs angrily.)
      Dr. Wu: I don't expect you to understand.
      Scully: I understand this. You are going to prison for a very long time.

    • Scully: Do you know how much the human body is worth, Mulder?
      Mulder: Depends on the body...

  • NOTES (4)

    • David Duchovny and Lucy Liu were dating while this episode was filmed.

    • B.D. Wong now has a recurring role as police psychologist George Huang, a specialist in aberrant sexual behavior on "Law & Order: SVU".

    • In postproduction, the producers realised that several actors spoke Chinese in the Mandarin dialect although the script called for the Cantonese dialect. These actors were called back and their dialogue was dubbed with the help of a vocal coach.

    • Lucy Liu would later become famous playing a lawyer in Ally McBeal.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Mulder: Who you gonna call?

      This is Mulder's response to the first mention of the "Festival of the Hungry Ghosts". It is, of course, one of the taglines from the 1984 comedy film Ghostbusters.

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