The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 20

Jose Chung's From Outer Space

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 12, 1996 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
428 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

An alien abduction of two teenagers with different versions of the same facts prompts a science-fiction novelist to write a book about the incident. However no one involved with the investigation can tell him the full story with any accuracy.

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  • Lets go over this one again shall we

    Well now lets unpack this episode. Aside from the non linear and zany plot unfoldment we also had Jesse Ventura, a dude that looks like Alex Trebeck, some odd alien being that looks like it was a Ray Harryhausen creation, every other bleeping scene seem to have something different going on. This wasn't a compelling or gross out episode of the show, it was one of the most fun ones.
  • Jose Chung's From Outer Space

    Jose Chung's From Outer Space was a perfect and extremely entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was brilliant, campy and fun. The actors were awesome and seemed to have a lot of fun in their roles. The guest cast was great and the way every thing played out was perfect. This is definitely a classic episode of the series and one of my favorite so far. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Mulder screams like a girl, aliens smoke cigarettes and teenagers get abducted in the weirdest episode of TV I've seen in awhile

    I wasn't sure how to take this episode after it was finished, and I think there's nothing else to do but respect it for what it is: yet another one of Darin Morgan's well-written, quirky and dark episodes that mixes genres effortlessly. He's already done quite a few episodes that are just as funny as they are dramatic, and this may be his best one yet.

    In a way, this episode was sort of "X-Files" making fun of itself by focusing on an alien abduction plot. A genre writer named Jose Chung visits Agent Scully (a fan of his work) in order to get details on a recent alien abduction case. As the episode progresses, we hear about the events through a number of different perceptions a la Rashomon, and similar to that movie, we never really discover the truth.

    Actually, I think there sort of is an ending, but who can really tell? I think that the humans were actually the aliens, in costume, and that the government, or the air force, was tricking people, but again, I'm not convinced in the end. Instead, I choose to agree with Jose Chung: that with something like alien abduction, truch is subjective.. you never can really pin down the truth of such a subject.

    Once again, Darin Morgan proves he's an excellent writer and a great fit for the show.moreless
  • By the time I got off this ride, I wasn't sure what had happened or why or how. But it sure was a fun ride.

    Jose Chung's From Outer Space is by far the weirdest episode of the X-Files. That being said, it is witty, smart, and surprisingly profound. I had a ball watching it. Chalk full of memorable lines ("This is not happening") and memorable scenes (Mulder ate an entire pie), this episode was just good plain fun.

    Beneath the fun there was something exceedingly deep lurking. Jose Chung's final words of the episode, "we are all alone," was the perfect way to top off an episode where it was clear that the truth was only a matter of perception.

    The question remains then, what did happen that night? What is the truth? If the truth is subject to perception, can there be such thing as truth at all?moreless
  • This is not happening. This is not happening. This is not happening.

    Alien #1:"What the hell is that?" Alien #2:"How the hell should I know!" Two aliens abducted by a larger alien. What more could you ask for. Oh, and we even get a cigarette smoking alien. Move over cancer man.

    Writer Jose Chung interviews Dana Scully for a book called From Outer Space, about alien abductions. Flattered by the attention of one of her favorite authors, Scully opens up about a recent case where two teenagers out on a date disappear, only to reappear later with tales of abduction and hypnosis. Mulder and Scully investigate, only to find the case unraveling before their eyes when Scully's autopsy reveals a dead alien body to be an Air Force officer decidedly out of uniform, and the girl's second hypnotic trance reveals that she was put under not by a grey skinned alien but by an Air Force doctor. Every witness who steps forward gets weirder and weirder, until we are faced with hollow-earth enthusiasts and Dungeon & Dragons burnout-cases seeking escape from their mundane lives in the arms of alien space brothers. The infamous Men In Black wear the faces of Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Alex "Jeopardy!" Trebek (what genius cast this episode?). Flashback segues into flashback, stories conflict, cross over, and reduplicate like the storylines of an old Marvel Comics cosmic makeover. Mulder emits a classic girly scream and Scully threatens a man with death if he talks about finding a dead alien body. Talk about out of character!

    There were, of course, innumerable in-jokes. As long as Darin Morgan can hold a pen, David Duchovny's "Jeopardy!" appearance will never be forgotten. Japp Broekker returns as the Stupendous Yappi, flogging an "alien autopsy" conducted by Dana Scully!

    The quick-cuts of Mulder eating pie and asking questions reminded me forcibly of the endless cherry pies of "Twin Peaks", while scenes beginning in one location and ending up in another teased our sense of place and time.

    Beneath the subtle in-jokes and the fractal geometry of the plot, however, lies the heart of this story: alienation. As Jose Chung says at the end, "Although we may not be alone in the universe, in our own separate ways, on this planet we are all alone." In his earlier scripts for "Humbug" and "Clyde Bruckman", Darin Morgan went below the surface of comedy to discover the tragedy of the human condition: that we long for connection but cannot quite achieve it.

    My congratulations on an excellent episodemoreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Principal Setting:
      Klass County, Washington

    • The fictional characters "Diana Lesky" and "Reynard Muldrake" are incredibly thinly veiled potrayals of Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. In fact,"renard" is the French word for "fox" (pronounced similar to "Reynard").

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Schaefer: I'm absolutely positive that me, my co-pilot, and those kids were abducted. But I can't be absolutely sure it happened. I can't be sure of anything anymore.
      Mulder: What do you mean?
      Schaefer: I'm not sure we're even having this conversation. I don't know if these mashed potatoes are really here. I don't know if you even exist.
      Mulder: I can only assure you that I do.
      Schaefer: Well, thanks, buddy. Unfortunately, I can't give you the same assurance about me.

    • Schaefer: The Germans used to project the image of the Virgin Mary over the French trenches in World War I. The enemy is always willing to fire on an invading force, but on a holy miracle?
      Mulder: Or on visitors from outer space?
      Schaefer: Yeah, the enemy sees an American recon plane, they start shooting. They see a flying saucer from another galaxy... they hesitate.

    • Scully: In short, Roky showed signs of being what is known as a fantasy-prone personality.
      Jose Chung: Agent Scully, you are so kind-hearted. He's a nut!

    • (Mulder screams a very high-pitched scream)
      Detective Manners: That's a bleepin' dead alien body if I ever bleepin' saw one.

    • Jose Chung: Evidence of extraterrestrial existence remains as elusive as ever, but the skies will continue to be searched by the likes of Blaine Faulkner, hoping to someday find not only proof of alien life, but also contentment on a new world. Until then, he must be content with his new job. Others search for answers from within. Roky relocated to El Cajon, California, preaching to the lost and desperate. Seeking the truth about aliens means a perfunctory nine-to-five job to some. For although Agent Diana Lesky is noble spirit and pure of heart, she remains, nevertheless, a federal employee. As for her partner, Reynard Muldrake... that ticking timebomb of insanity... his quest into the unknown has so warped his psyche, one shudders to think how he receives pleasures from life. Chrissy Giorgio has come to believe her alien visitation was a message to improve her own world, and she has devoted herself to this goal wholeheartedly. Then there are those who care not about extraterrestrials, searching for meaning in other human beings. Rare or lucky are those who find it. For although we may not be alone in the universe, in our own separate ways on this planet, we are all...alone.

    • Mulder: Don't write this book. You'll perform a disservice through a field of inquiry that has always struggled for respectability. You're a gifted writer, but no amount of talent could describe the events that occurred in any realistic vein because they deal with alternative realities that we're yet to comprehend. And when presented in the wrong way, in the wrong context, the incidents and the people involved in them can appear foolish, if not downright psychotic. I also know that your publishing house is owned by Warden White, Incorporated ... a subsidiary of MacDougall-Kesler, which makes me suspect a covert agenda for your book on the part of the military-industrial-entertainment complex.
      Jose Chung: Agent Mulder, this book will be written. But it can only benefit if you can explain something to me.
      Mulder: What's that?
      Jose Chung: What really happened to those kids on that night?
      Mulder: How the hell should I know?

    • Scully: How did you get a copy?
      Jose Chung: One was sent to my publishers. I don't know what was more disturbing - (Roky's) description of the inner core reincarnated souls' sex orgy...or the fact that the whole thing is written in screenplay format.

    • Man in Black: Even the former leader of your United States of America, James Earl Carter Jr., thought he saw a UFO once, but it's been proven he only saw the planet Venus.
      Roky: I'm a Republican.
      Man in Black: Venus was at its peak brilliance last night. You probably thought you saw something up in the sky other than Venus, but I assure you, it was Venus.
      Roky: I know what I saw.
      Man in Black: Your scientists have yet to discover how neural networks create self-consciousness, let alone how the human brain processes two-dimensional retinal images into the three-dimensional phenomenon known as perception. Yet you somehow brazenly declare seeing is believing? Mr. Crikenson, your scientific illiteracy makes me shudder, and I wouldn't flaunt your ignorance by telling anyone that you saw anything last night other than the planet Venus, because if you do, you're a dead man.
      Roky: You...can't threaten me.
      Man in Black: I just did.

    • Schaefer: Y'ever flown a flying saucer? Afterwards, sex seems trite.

    • Scully: She was suffering from what my partner calls "missing time". She recalled nothing of the previous night, nor how she had arrived at her present whereabouts. Her body exhibited signs of physical abuse, and all of her clothes were on inside out and backwards.
      Jose Chung: Hm. Have I had my share of mornings like that.

    • Blaine: (to Jose Chung) Well, hey... I didn't spend all those years playing Dungeons And Dragons and not learn a little something about courage.

    • Chrissy: Oh, it's you. What do you want?
      Harold: I just wanted to tell you... I still love you.
      Chrissy: Love... is that all you men think about?

    • Mulder: WHERE'S SCULLY?!
      Man In Black: Oh, uh... she went to get some ice.
      (Scully walks in carrying a bucket of ice.)

    • Jose Chung: Alex Trebek? The game show host?
      Scully: Mulder didn't say that it was Alex Trebek. It was just someone that looked incredibly like him.
      Jose Chung: Did he? I mean, you were there.
      Scully: Well, not exactly. I don't have any recollection of this. I was surprised to wake up the next morning to find Mulder asleep in my room.
      Jose Chung: Oh!

    • Blaine Faulkner: The proper authorities showed up with a couple of men in black. One of them was disguised as a woman, but wasn't pulling it off. Like, her hair was red... but it was a little too red, you know. And the other one, the tall lanky one, his face was so blank and expressionless. He didn't seem human. I think he was a mandroid. The only time he reacted was when he saw the dead alien.
      (Mulder screams like a woman)

    • Scully: (Hanging up the phone) That was Detective Manners. He said they just found your bleepin' UFO.

  • NOTES (8)


    • The opening sequence to this episode, where what appears to be the underside of a huge spaceship moves slowly across the scene, is an obvious reference to the opening of the original Star Wars film. The fact that it turns out not to be a spaceship is very fitting with the rest of this episode.

    • Mulder sitting in the diner eating sweet potato pie seems to be a nod to Duchovny's previous TV role as an FBI agent on Twin Peaks, although the writer, Darin Morgan, has claimed that it was not so intended.

    • Jose Chung: "In my book 'The Caligarian Candidate'..."
      The title of Jose Chung's novel "The Caligarian Candidate" (which Scully says is "one of the greatest thrillers ever written") combines two famous film titles: "The Manchurian Candidate" and "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari".

    • References: Place/Character names
      The names of several famous UFO researchers and skeptics show up in this episode:

      Klass County is named for Philip Klass, who writes books debunking UFO sightings. In his book "UFOs Explained" he says: 'No single object has been misinterpreted as a flying saucer more often than the planet Venus'. This line sounds very close to the one spoken by one of the Men in Black played by Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

      The fake alien pilots, Robert Vallee and Jack Schaffer, take their names from UFO authors Robert Schaffer and Jacques Vallee.

      The MP who arrests Schaffer, Sergeant Kynek, is named for J. Allen Kynek, a researcher who once worked for the US Air Force and who wrote "The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on UFOs".