The X-Files

Season 9 Episode 13


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 07, 2002 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
241 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Reyes uses numerology to connect the murders of several women to an obsessed serial killer, she and Scully become trapped with a mysterious checker-playing man who may or may not be the killer. The question then becomes who is going to be the next victim.

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  • Improbable

    Improbable was a superb and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because Reyes uses Numerology to track a killer and it was great watching how Doggett and Scully interacted with this information. The story was well written and full of action, intrigue and suspense. It was great seeing Burt Reynolds and I liked the Italian men who sang at the end. There was a lot of character and plot development. I liked the ending and look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!moreless
  • Wow...


    This was a really bad episode that never went anywhere. A quirky attempt to recapture the humor of Darin Morgan, and failing. The actors are trying: the stories just aren't there anymore. And what was up with that fake Little Italy and all the lip synching numbers? Are people giving 9s and 10s actually fans of the show?

  • Burt Reynolds played god and kept trying to get Wayne "Numbers Serial Killer" to stop killing becuase he had the power to stop but kept doing what his number told him to do and he was finally killed by John Doggettmoreless

    This episode my friends told me they hated it, but I love this episode it's my favourite one best in the series and Chris Carter wrote this episode so great it makes it fantastic. Love all the number/numerology things in it eg-Scully's autopsy, the pairs of three in the street when Burt Reynolds is singing to the song,the number six comes up a lot-the windows, dominos etc. Plus the music I love as well I admit I sing to this episode when I watch it the music is so nice that it gets stuck in your head and has a good beat A big 10! YAY! for this episode don't care if people hate it, I love it number 1 in my votemoreless
  • One of the funniest X-Files in the series

    FINALLY! All was going to hell in season nine and then Chris Carter swoops in and delivers us with (what I presume to be) one last fine example of his writing skills.

    Certainly after all this dark mythology business over the end of the world and a weak to month old savior of the human race one might not expect such a light, funny episode.

    After all these badly written episode that were directed and acted out even worse (excempting Robert Patrick and Gillian Anderson) one might not expect such a well written whole.

    There is no X-File per se here. Numerology is much like astrology not exactly paranormal. But the dialogue is funny and my favourite scene in the entire series takes place in this parking garage. GA facial expressions are hilarious and Burt Reynolds obviously does great.

    The last scene though was overdone and basically useless. Shame not to end on a pun.

    Overall a light hearted, funny episode with a positive ring to it one could enjoy more than once (which I definitly will). Something that is saying a lot given that we're in season 9!moreless
  • I usually hate such silly episodes but this was really sweet.

    Burt Reynolds was just wonderful here, a combination of mysterious, charming and entertaining. This is one of those cases where I think it might not have worked had another actor been cast. The local FBI office was hilarious in itself and the girls sitting around playing checkers while they should be hunting the serial killer.

    Best quote: "Go to Hell." "Are the reservations in your name?" followed by Scully's demand that Burt Reynolds keep his hands up and he asks why and Scully whines "I don't know."

    I completely didn't understand the musical at the end but hey, I still enjoyed it. Very cute.moreless
Robert Patrick

Robert Patrick

Special Agent John Doggett

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson

Special Agent Dana Scully

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Annabeth Gish

Annabeth Gish

Special Agent Monica Reyes

Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds

Mr. Burt

Guest Star

Robert Scheid

Robert Scheid


Guest Star

Amy D'Allessandro

Amy D'Allessandro


Guest Star

Travis Riker

Travis Riker

Baby William

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Goof: When the numerologist, Vicki Louise Burdick (Ellen Greene) is lying dead on the examination table at 22:45, you can see her eyes moving under her closed eyelids.

    • As Agent Reyes gets into lift near the start of the episode there are 7 passengers with her. They line up in the lift like an 8 in a deck of cards.

    • Even if the universe is run by numbers, it would have nothing to do with the way we humans decided to write them, i.e., 2, 5, 8 etc.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • (Mr. Burt opens the trunk of his car, which is full of CDs with a checker board placed on top)
      Scully: What are those?!
      Mr. Burt: CDs.
      Scully: You must really like music.
      Mr. Burt: Oh, I love music. The classics, of course.

    • Mr. Burt: What's this about numbers?
      Scully: Will you just...
      Mr. Burt: I'm very good with numbers.
      Reyes: The killer is driven by an impulse we believe is numerological.
      Mr. Burt: Of course. He's a serial killer.
      Scully: No, that's... that's not what she means. She thinks that his acts are determined by a calculation of numbers.
      Mr. Burt: So the killer is not in control of his actions - the numbers are.
      Mr. Burt: Well, are the numbers helping you catch him, or are they helping him not get caught?
      Reyes: That's a good question.

    • Scully: Sir, does it look like we're here to play checkers?

    • Scully: There's a pattern in the bruising. All four of the victims have it. Three small circles. It might be from a ring that the killer wears.
      Reyes: So you're saying these cases are connected? That numerology may actually be driving the killer, and that I'm definitely not crazy?
      Scully: Or that maybe you're both crazy.

    • Reyes: (answering phone) Hello?
      Scully: All right, I need to know.
      Reyes: What?
      Scully: What my numerology is, and what my number... whatever you call it. What am I?
      Reyes: You're a nine.
      Scully: Which means what?
      Reyes: Nine is completion. You've evolved through the experiences of all the other numbers to a spiritual realisation that this life is only part of a larger whole. Dana, are you there?
      Scully: There's something else that's bugging me.
      Reyes: What's that?
      Scully: Who was that man?
      Reyes: God knows.

    • Mad Wayne: Go to Hell!
      Mr Burt: Are the reservations in your name?

    • Scully: Sir, what are you doing here?
      Burt: Waiting for a friend.
      Scully: At midnight, in a parking garage?
      Burt: We have this regular game we play.
      Reyes: What kind of game?
      Burt: Checkers.

    • Scully: Keep your hands up!
      Burt: Why?
      Scully: I don't know!

  • NOTES (6)

    • Special Agent Fordyce refers to the profile of their suspect as having a rage stemming from a hatred of his mother and was a bed wetter.
      This also refers back to Scully in Piper Maru, back in season 4, saying that the FBI Could track a suspect right down to a killer's attitude towards his mother and that he was a bed wetter.

    • The songs played in this episode are from Karl Zero and they are: 'Ça va ça va', 'Torero', 'I love you for sentimental reasons', 'Ponciana', 'La pense', 'Inouis', 'Io Mamate e tu' and 'El Bodeguero'

    • Props department crew member Tighe Barry plays a homeless man in one scene of this episode.

    • Former Production Assistant-turned-Actor Angelo Vacco makes his fourth and final X-Files appearance in this episode. He previously appeared in the episodes F. Emasculata (Season 2), Talitha Cumi (Season 3), and Milagro (Season 6).

    • Chris Carter's "Executive Producer" credit at the end is in Italian.

    • The usual "The Truth Is Out There" tagline at the end of the opening credits is replaced with "Dio ti ama" - Italian for "God Loves You". Presumably this is a reference to what might be the true nature of "Mr. Burt".


    • Cultural Reference: Ace of Spades

      At the end of the teaser, Mr. Burt is turning over cards, naming the cards just before they're shown. A woman enters the room screaming about a murder, and the final card Mr. Burt turns up is the ace of spades. In divination with standard playing cards (as opposed to Tarot) the ace of spades is the death card. This card was placed on the foreheads of killed enemy combatants during the Vietnam War.

    • Reyes: "God doesn't play dice with the universe".

      Reyes quotes Albert Einstein in a very loose translation. In Einstein's native German, the quote was "Raffiniert ist der Herr Gott, aber bösehaft ist er nicht." A more literal translation of this is "God is clever, but he is not perverse."