The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 1

Herrenvolk (2)

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 04, 1996 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
291 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Jeremiah Smith and Mulder are on the run from the alien bounty hunter and Smith takes Mulder to a small farm tended to by identical sets of children and all the girls are clones of his sister when she was still a child. Mulder prepares to take Jeremiah and one of the clones to see his mother in hospital but the bounty hunter catches up with them and kills Jeremiah. Meanwhile, the Syndicate suspects that they have a traitor in their midst and plan a trap which results in X being executed by the CSM.moreless

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  • Herrenvolk

    Herrenvolk was a perfect season four premiere episode of The X-Files and picked up right where last season ended. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of character and plot development, action, drama and intrigue. It was interesting yet sad to see Agent X outed and executed. The Cigarette Smoking Man really seems to have a wide reach. Mulder and Scully were both excellent. I liked how every thing played out. It was interesting to see the farm with Clones of Mulder's sister. The implications for the imagination were astounding. I certainly look forward to watching the rest of the season!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • GEORGE COSTANZA: I broke my glasses playing basketball. JERRY SEINFELD: He was running from a bee. (Much like George Costanza, in Herrnevolk, Fox Mulder is running from the bees)


    Picking up where last season left off, Mulder and Scully zero in on mystery man Jeremiah Smith, who has promised to reveal the Cigarette-Smoking Man's secrets to them. Naturally, once they escape from the assassin sent to kill him, Smith dummies up, and hence forward expresses himself in cryptic locutions which conceal as much as they reveal. Mulder discovers his silent sister, still eight years old, working in a bee-filled greenhouse with other equally silent children. Mulder finds out that "Samantha" is one of several clones, and when he tries to bring one of them with him, Smith protests that "She's not your sister." "Then what is she?" he angrily asks--and of course gets no answer. No self- respecting X-File character would ever come right out and say something as obvious as "They've cloned your sister and turned her into a serf. From the final clue X left scrawled in his own blood, Mulder pursues his investigation about the Canadian farm at the United Nations. Meanwhile the assassin, in a surprise twist, heals Mrs. Mulder at the behest of the Cigarette Smoking Man.

    The introduction of "the bees" was never my favorite X-files story arc. It was never fully explained. Then again, not much was explained in this episode. Its' frustrating how Jeremiah refuses to answer even the simplest of answers from Mulder. Although it did make me relate to Mulders own sense of frustration. Perhaps thats the purpose. To put us in Mulders shoes. But I think it has more to do with this story arc not being fully thought out. And why was the assasin effected by the bees? When the bees sting him he has red spots on his face and body, but isn't his blood green?

    I did like how this time around the interaction between Mulder and Scully harked back to the earlier Carter scripts like the pilot and "Deep Throat" where they function as two halves of the same brain. They are a great team even when they are split up, so much so that now Scully is accused of mouthing Mulder's theories.

    It seems to me a great turning point has come for Fox Mulder in "Herrenvolk". In the hospital scenes in Act Four, I was struck by his silence, his anguish, his hopelessness. Yet Mrs. Mulder is still alive, and Samantha may be. What has so crushed him? I believe Mulder is mourning the death of hope. He now knows that Samantha cannot be restored to him, and that there is no hope of healing his broken past. Samantha is dead or cloned or otherwise changed beyond human ken, and if anything of his sister or his past is restored to him it will not be his peace of mind.

    Scully marks a milestone of her own, as she publicly and irrevocably aligns herself with Mulder by validating his paranoid conspiracy theories to a host of government bureaucrats.

    There were some interestingly nasty moments in "Herrenvolk", not least of them the implication that the Assassin murdered the Samantha-clone left in the car when Mulder was knocked out. And how did the First Elder get his hands on X's photos of the Smoking Man and Mrs. Mulder arguing outside the summer house? We last saw them as Mulder handed them to Assistant Director Skinner.

    So Mulder's family is enlarged by a host of clonesisters, Scully comes into her own as Mulder's equal in the eyes of the Bureau , and the Cigarette Smoking Man stuns us all as a compassionate Machiavelli. Once again Chris Carter re-invents his show's format, proving that he has more facets than Jeremiah Smith has faces.

    A good opener, but this season premiere and last seasons season finale were not as strong as the story arc that ended season 2 and began season 3.moreless
  • Mulder and Scully attempt to hide Jeremiah Smith from the assassin and Mulder learns some new information

    The season 3 finale left a bitter taste in my mouth; not that it wasn't as exciting as previous episodes or finales, but it left us on such a cliffhanger that it felt as if it was lazily done. The second part does nothing to make me necessarily feel like this is a great installment of X-Files, but it definitely opens the doors to many different ideas.. but still, I feel just as in the dark as I ever was.

    Most of the episode is dedicated to the alien shapeshifter from Season 2 chasing after Mulder and Smith while Scully attempts to stop Mulder from a distance. Meanwhile, we also see the passing of "X," the man who has been helping Mulder since the beginning of Season 2. It's a shame to see him go, as he had most of the answers that Mulder needed, but at least he left behind a message for Mulder to follow.

    The thing that frustrated me the most about this little plot was that we were given only the bare necessities to understand what was going on. We really weren't given anything close to an answer or even a hint of an answer. Sure, it was nice to see Mulder reunite with his sister, but Jeremiah Smith tells us it's not his sister, simply a clone, which makes us wonder what in the world these clones are being invented for. Mulder keeps saying "colonization," but what does the Cigarette Smoking Man have to do with that, let alone Mulder's mother? It just doesn't make sense, and it would help if we were given some background information or something.

    Some friends of mine told me Seasons four, five and six were his favorites, so it should be interesting to see what we get out of them.moreless
  • Eardrum Buzz

    Nice, bright cinematography to open Season Four. It's almost liberating to see Mulder and Jeremiah Smith go traipsing across the golden countryside under a bright blue sky - quite the contrast from the usual shadowy, backlit X-File sets. Not a fabulous episode (too much chasing and running going on) but very important for the plot points it opens up (the bees, the crops, the cloned children, the healing of Mulder's mother, etc.).

    I really dislike the alien hitman - he's too much like the Terminator and it's unfair and illogical that he doesn't die like the other aliens when Mulder spikes him in the neck. I also thought it highly unlikely that Mulder could have avoided being stung by a single bee in the beehive, even after dousing himself with gasoline. The beehive set was awesome, though - very effective, and I loved the buzzing soundtrack.moreless
  • Diminishing Returns...

    This episode of the X Files to me demonstrates the more tiresome side of the series' efforts to create a mythology and backstory. It could be argued that even by this relatively early stage, the format was getting stale. Since series 1, soap-opera elements (Mulder's abducted sister, the loss of Dana's father, the Melissa subplot, the involvement of Mulder's parents with Cancer Man, and so forth) had been getting in the way of vastly more effective stand-alone stories. In "Herrenvolk" - the beginning of series 4, and denouement to the series 3 cliffhanger - we have Mulder mom melodrama, more appearances from Deep Throat 2 than in probably any other episode, a repetition of the cloned-Samantha idea, and a shape-shifting Roy Thinnes. The result is a demonstration of diminishing returns which left me missing the crisp, exquisitely entertaining writing of the Darin Morgan episodes, and looking forward to the hardcore "Home". Looking at X Files episodes like this, one is struck by the specious nature of many paranoid conspiracy stories. Lee Harvey Oswald firing the headshot from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository really is the most obvious and compelling solution to the JFK assassination, despite 1000 Oliver Stones trying to spin an enigma out of something palpably clear. By the same token, one listens to Cancer Man's gratuitously enigmatic schtick in this episode and is led relentlessly to the question: why would any of these Men in Black bother?moreless
Garvin Cross

Garvin Cross


Guest Star

Roy Thinnes

Roy Thinnes

Jeremiah Smith

Guest Star

Vanessa Morley

Vanessa Morley

Young Samantha Mulder clone (uncredited)

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

William B. Davis

William B. Davis

Cigarette Smoking Man

Recurring Role

Rebecca Toolan

Rebecca Toolan

Mrs Mulder

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Principal Settings:
      Rural Alberta, Canada; rural Maryland; Providence, Rhode Island; Washington, D.C.; United Nations Headquarters; New Yok City, New York.

    • In this episode, X becomes the second of Mulder's informants to be shot and killed. Like Deep Throat, he too leaves a dying message for Mulder, scrawling 'SRSG' in his own blood. We later learn that this stands for 'Special Representative to the Secretary General' of the United Nations. This information leads Mulder to his third informant Marita Covarrubias.

    • When the Bounty Hunter is trapped in the barn and stung all over by the bees, how come their piercing his skin doesn't release any toxic vapours? Bees can draw blood, especially in those numbers and if a person is fighting and disloging the stings violently, but none is evident.

      For that matter, how come when he gets back and attacks Mulder again his skin is covered in RED spots, which would be a normal human's reaction to a sting? And why, given these guys' ability to repair themselves so quickly from gun shots, would a few pesky stings be particularly bothersome?

    • The shape of the X that Scully makes with masking tape on the window changes from scene to scene - from the X she actually makes to one that is presumably what the prop team did. Hers has a much longer left to right top to bottom diagonal.

    • After Mulder realizes that the children are clones, Jeremiah says he's going to look for gas. However, that wouldn't do them much good as they'd left their car 10 miles back. It's doubtful that the children would have had a car and walking all the way back to their own car would have wasted a lot of time.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Power Line Worker: Bee just stung me eh?... Well, Don't you all just take the cake. Your mum ever mix you up?

    • Scully: Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it.

    • Bounty Hunter: I need to know the reasons why this should be.
      CSM: So that the work may continue. So that the project may proceed unabated by removing an unnecessary obstacle.
      Bounty Hunter: What obstacle?
      CSM: Agent Mulder, actually. If his mother were to die, he would...
      Bounty Hunter: He what?
      CSM: You see... the fiercest enemy is the man who has nothing left to lose. And we both know how valuable Agent Mulder is to the equation.

    • Bounty Hunter: He shows you pieces, but tells you nothing of the whole... because he's inconsequential... a traitor to the project.
      Mulder: Kill me, let them go.
      Bounty Hunter: You'd trade your life for his?
      Mulder: For my mother's.
      Bounty Hunter: Everything dies.

    • X: Don't unlock doors you're not prepared to go through, Agent Scully.

  • NOTES (4)

    • When Mulder encounters the dead body on the road he pulls a work order from the dead man's pocket. The work order is for a company named Telus. Telus is an actual phone company in Canada where the show was often filmed.

    • Vanessa Morley, playing Samantha Mulder, got stung by one of the bees during the scene where Samantha, Mulder and Jeremiah Smith enter the bunker. After the shoot Gillian Anderson presented her an award for 'bravery beyond the call of duty' that had been made up by the props department.

    • William B. Davis is now billed under the "Also Starring" heading along with Mitch Pileggi.

    • The season's premiere begins with yet another altered tagline: 'Everything Dies', spoken by the Bounty Hunter and then followed up by Marita Covarrubias who informs Mulder that "Not Everything Dies".


    • Episode Title: Herrenvolk
      The word "Herrenvolk" is German and roughly translates to "master race", a term coined by the Nazis to refer to the projected end result of their genocide, the creation of a "superior", "pure" human being.