The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 20

Jose Chung's From Outer Space

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 12, 1996 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (28)

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out of 10
431 votes
  • 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!!!!!!!!!
  • 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.
  • 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?

  • 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 episode

  • Classic all the way

    Jose Chung's "From Outer Space" is the episode that got me watching the X-Files regularly. I loved how they used humor to tell the story and I loved the comic book cartoonish feeling of the alien story with men in black and all. One thing that I really like about this which is also present in the other great episode "Bad Blood" is that you get to watch the episode as a part of someone's side of events which allows for easy comic moments. Like when Mulder yelps when he sees the dead alien body and the sheriff constantly saying blankety bleep for everything. I really like the story with the greys being airforce in costumes and the double twist with the real alien showing up. I mean seriously that is a GREAT idea. I also love the way the story is told with revisiting certain scenes in different ways with different characters. I mean there are literally scenes with the exact same lines but with different characters saying them. The interrogation scene, the hypnosis scene, and others. And the Jose Chung character is wonderfully acted by Charles Nelson Reilly. I give the episode a 10.
  • I'm slowly watching this show from the very beginning and just finished watching this episode 2 minutes ago... Definately the weirdest episode this show has ever created (and that is DEFINATELY saying something for The X-Files). And I loved it!!!!!!!

    Holy crap I was DEFINATELY not expecting I'd watch anything like this right now. I'd had a really bad day and got home and watched a few episodes of The X-Files when I finally got to this one. I definately did not expect this onslaught of comedy! I laughed harder than I have for quite some time for a TV show. I nearly busted an arterie when Mulder shrieked when he saw the dead "alien" body in the acount by that man. There's nothing else to say other than this is a classic episode for me. Holy crap I was not expecting that and am still in shock...
  • Definitely NOT an ordinary episode! (if you can even say that for The X-Files...)

    I just started watching The X-Files about a month ago with season one and, to be honest, I wasn't confused very often. Sure, there were mysteries, but nothing that confused me. Until this episode. And truthfully, I loved it. :)

    I absolutely loved Jose Chung's character. I think Carter picked the greatest person to play him: Funny and off-beat.

    I think my favorite parts were the detective's bleeping language, them finding the bleeping body, and Mulder eating the bleeping pie. Did anyone else just about pee themselves laughing when Mulder shrieked and then went completely deadpan?? I know that I definitely did. I had to rewind and watch it again. :D

    Not my favorite episode so far, but definitely one of the most original and funny. Not to mention confusing... PS: Did anyone else notice the poster in the UFO geek's room? "I [big part blacked out] Believe"? Made me smile. :)
  • One the funniest things I ever saw. "How the hell should I know?"

    Silly just doesn't describe it. Greatly and wonderfully insane is more like it. I always love these parody episodes no matter which TV show it is. I almost suffocated from laughing when the aliens "exchanged" thoughts: "Jack, what's that?" - "How the hell should I know"! The funniest scene in the first 3 seasons of the X-files. Maybe the ending was a little too serious. I hoped that the whole episode will be insane. I am writing this review and just can't stop smiling. I think it's really great that the writers sometimes give us some rest from the serious storylines and give us some really great laughs.
  • All those funny things make this episode definitely to represent better half of third season's episodes.

    This is a good episode. It's different and it's funny. At least most of it is funny. I certainly love that garage scene when MIB men come to this guy's garage to tell UFOs really are planet Venus. I also love that scene when Mulder is eating piece of pies and ask different questions from the owner. One funny scene also is when Scully denies that she that threatened somebody. This is also a little bit confusing episode and it doesn't advance the main storyline in anyway. After all I think that all those funny things make this episode definitely to represent better half of third season's episodes.
  • "The X-Files" pays homage to "Rashomon."

    What makes this episode work is Charles Nelson Riley, the carrier of a ridiculously brilliant name Jose (Hispanic) Chung (Chinese)tacked onto an old white guy. Another stroke of genius casting by Carter. Full of insightful laughs ("if your soul can avoid...the lava men") or deep thoughts (Chung's thoughts about hypnosis) to Mulder's rant against the "military, industrial, entertainment complex." Asimov once told of a lady he met who didn't think "Hamlet" was very good because it was just 'one quotation after another.' The same can be said for this episode. "The people have a right to know! Roswell, Roswell!" "I read every book on extraterrestrials not because I had to but because I wanted to." And my personal favorite, "I didn't play Dungeons and Dragons all those years and not learn a little something about courage." All capped off by a funny, touching, heartrending epilogue by Chung. Brilliant!
  • I don't really know what to say about this one...

    A comedy episode that was kind of hit or miss with me. This isn't really my favorite, but I could see where some other people might like it. I prefer the episodes that progress the plot of the show, and develop the central characters. This episode didn't really have that, and was more of an amusing "monster of the week" There were a couple of entertaining moments, but overall I think that this one is a little over rated. Maybe you have to be in the right mood though for it. Sometimes a little lightheartedness goes a long way. amusing.
  • Your scientific illiteracy makes me shudder....

    After reading the previous reviews, what more can be said? This is, indeed, a classic episode and a true Darin Morgan masterpiece. He packs in so much stuff, so many allusions, in-jokes and references to past episodes that you have to watch the episode multiple times just to get everything.

    I loved the CSA (cigarette smoking alien)! Brilliant, just brilliant. I replayed Mulder's little yelp over and over, it was so funny. Charles Nelson Reilly was surprisingly good. The diner scenes were reminiscent of Twin Peaks, although they skipped the coffee. ;)

    The great thing about Morgan's scripts is that, yes, they are funny, and hysterically so, but they go deeper than simple comedies. He manages to spoof and critique the very essence of the X-Files series, while bringing up deep themes such as the nature of truth, perception and our very existence. All while making us laugh. That's pretty remarkable and it's a shame that he was not given the opportunity to write any more episodes for the series.
  • "They Found You're Bleepin' UFO"

    This was an Excellent Episode I absoultly loved! it's one of my favorite episodes, It's like the X-Files Verison of "Closer Encounters of the third Kind" that Smoking Alien was funny I loved it. also loved what scully said to Mulder when the sherif called her "They Found your Bleepin' UFO" LOL! and Mulder's quote "Have you ever been abducted by Aliens?" LOL Great episode!
  • Pretty good, for a comedic episode. Original and creative.

    For some reason, I didn't like this episode as much as I hoped I would. It was so hyped up, perhaps, that I came to expect too much from it. I did thoroughly enjoy it, but only for its really creative direction and writing. It was an emptier episode than the usual comedic routine, so maybe that's what makes it less in my mind than the others. It was an interesting approach, by far the most interesting I've seen so far, and I did like the jump cuts of Mulder eating pie. Brave editing. It all seemed very surreal and not really.... reliable? I'm sure that's the wrong word for it, but it's the closest I can come to describing how I feel. I almost don't trust this episode because it's in a different voice. But I guess it's not supposed to be taken seriously. It was funny and entertaining and very well done. I really liked the clever twist to the ordinary abduction, and the mindgames and the stories within stories. I liked the parallels of the hypnosis experiences, and I liked Mulder's plea at the end. All in all, a "Great" episode.
  • very funny

    “Jose Chung’s from ‘Outer Space’” is a very funny episode. The intro is brilliant and the story is great. It amazes me how some of the stupid episodes are some of the best ones. Skully meets famous writer Jose Chung and gives him insight for his latest book. The story has many flashbacks and there are many laughs. This is a great episode because even though this episode is amusing, it still retains its X-file serious-ness about it. I would have to give this episode 10 out of 10 as I thoroughly enjoyed it for all its silliness and everything else.

  • A bizarre, confusing, hilarious take on alien abduction.

    This is one of the most bizarre, confusing, but funny episodes of the X-Files and it's so great.

    The thing I love about this episode is that you have no idea where its going. It involves the story of two teenagers and their abduction by aliens. Pretty standard stuff but unfortunately no one's stories match up. A writer is trying to get to the bottom of this abduction for his new book and interviews Agent Scully. Where she tells the tale of aliens from outer space, inner space, cursing detectives, men in black, and bleepin UFOs. It makes you wonder exactly what is the truth behind the abduction. It's an episode filled with so many great, bizarre moments (Mulder and his girlish scream! Smoking Aliens!) Very funny.
  • The one with Jose Chung

    A hilarious and fell good episode, I am not a ‘comedy’ person but The X-files’ comedy episodes have all succeeded thus far. But this one is the best yet.

    It begins pretty serious with two kids who then see a spaceship and two aliens try to abduct them but then a third alien (or something) appears and both aliens seem to have human voice and be confused about the creature.

    In this episode Scully talks to a writer, his name is Jose Chung. He wants to write about alien abduction and asks Scully to tell him this story, it all comes to hilarious conclusions that only the audience really gets to know.

    All the characters in the episode tell a different story,

    The abducted boy remembers being locked in a cage with an alien saying ‘this is not happening’ while the girl goes under hypnosis and says that she sees aliens brainwashing her, but the second time she sees the government brainwashing her. But both looked the same except the appearance of them. Someone stole her memories and replace them.

    There was also a guy nearby, he saw a demon (or a big alien) attacking the grey aliens, when he went home he saw the Men in black and then made a strange story about it.

    One of the two grey aliens was found dead, it was a suit on a dead human. The other one was found later, stripped. Mulder talks to him and he tells that they were really abducted but their memories were changed.

    There is also another guy who found the body, he claims that both Mulder and Scully threatened his life.

    So what did really happen? Every time men in black appeared a character lost his memory, like when Mulder went to Scully the next morning he couldn’t remember what he was doing there.

    The humor of this episode was very strong, like probe (if you know what I mean) and all the bleeping

    Also the story was very good, there was also an alien smoking. Obvious who it really was.

    The conclusion was that there wasn’t really a spaceship, the other guy who survived was found dead later on by an accident.

    But my conclusion would be that the government brain washed everyone and that there was a real abduction.
  • Television's finest hour.

    For me, there's Jose Chung's "From Outer Space", and then there's every other television episode. This episode, a pure and simple masterpiece, is the show by which I compare all others. It is, simply put, the best hour of television ever constructed.

    The episode is much too complex to describe. Any description would not do the episode justice. However, it features some of the finest comedy on the series, it contains some brilliant acting amidst even more brilliant, perfectly timed and delivered, sequences. It contains parody, satire, and physical humor. But most importantly, it has a message -- one that is easily understood and perfectly, provocatively delivered.

    While Darin Morgan certainly deserves most of the credit for this episode's awe-inspiring genius, much of the credit also goes to Rob Bowman, the episode's director. Some of his touches were perfect. The "men in black" scenes were perfectly done, mixing an undeniably ominous tension with uproarious satire that results in an interesting combination of edge and comedy. Jesse Ventura gives a wonderful performance in this episode -- his ferocious zeal for the role both serves as the classic combo of dramatic exaggeration and comedic self-deprecation. And the Alex Trebek cameo was the perfect punch-line.

    The whole episode contains scene after scene of genius. Some of the more memorable moments include Detective Manners's lack of oral manners, Scully's announcement of the UFO discovery, the UFO discovery itself (a perfect resolution to the episode's premise), the brilliant voice-over scripted by Morgan and delivered with an amazing sense of melodrama and poignance by none other than Charles Nelson Reilly, and the wonderfully powerful ending -- so perfectly appropriate for Morgan's swan song to the series.

    Through the many years of fine television, this episode wins out because of its multi-layered complexity regarding an actually simple premise. The premise, more or less, is that human perception is never the truth. Perception and truth are always two different things. The more stories there are, the less clear the truth becomes. What the episode eventually tells us is that often human perception ultimately becomes the very thing we debate when truth somewhat falls through the cracks. Thus, when author Jose Chung decides to write about his findings on the case at hand, Mulder tells him to stop. So Chung asks him what the truth really is regarding the case...

    "How the hell should I know?"

    We tend to focus on perception more often, especially in art, because it is much more easily debated. Where does perception come from? Why do humans perceive events so differently? How are all of these seemingly differing perceptions similar in construct? All of these questions are pondered by Morgan. Furthermore, he uses all realms of the history of UFOs and alien theories as support for his case.

    To appreciate this episode to the extent that I believe is intended, a thorough knowledge of conspiracy and "alien history" is not necessarily required but at least "recommended". The episode cannot be appreciated as much if you are not an avid follower of The X-Files (There are dozens of self-deprecating jokes that will go unnoticed or even misinterpreted). Finally, the show's premise and method of storytelling must be understood and appreciated. This episode is not one-dimensional. It is layered with comedy, drama, documentary, and historical parody/satire. Extreme attention to detail is a necessity.

    The result of this viewing experience, given the above qualifications/characteristics, is one of utter awe at the brilliance that was so zealously presented. This sublime hour of television will probably never be attained again. This would be Darin Morgan's final written work for this series. What a shame. I can only imagine the genius that would come from more of his work. But we can treasure what he created here. I know I will.
  • The best of the 4 episodes done by Darin Morgan, which is saying a lot!

    "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" went on to win the only Emmy for best script The X-Files ever won, deservedly, because it was brilliant. The thing is that I think Clyde Bruckman was much more accesible to the jury (or whomever decides who wins in these award shows), but "Jose Chung's..." was an even better and wilder episode.

    There's not much I can say about this particular episode that hasn't been covered already, so I'm only going to warn people this is not the best entry point to get into the X-Files. I beleive it requires knowledge from the more serious and characteristic mytharc episodes that came before it to really appreciate the humor behind it.

    Darin Morgan wrote 4 of the best X-Files episodes ever: "Jose Chung...", "Clyde Bruckman...", "Humbug", and "War of the Coprophages". They all had the particularity of being funny episodes back when no other X-Files writer was doing funny episodes.

    Darin Morgan's success made the other writers think they could do funny episodes too... well, the results were not always great, not even decent. Vince Gilligan did a couple of nice ones ("Bad Blood" and "Small Potatoes"), but the others and specially Chris Carter rarely delivered (Carter was much better at doing scary stories like "Irresistible", "The Host"). But that's another story...

  • Another brilliant Darin Morgan penned comic masterpiece.

    A wonderful little episode that once again shows Darin Morgan's rare gift for writing. The recollection of events from multiple points of view, providing great little comic asides - a UFO nuts description of Mulder and Scully as an expressionless "mandroid" and a badly disguised "woman" with hair a "little too red", respectively, being a highlight. It rarely has a dull moment, and yet keeps the story intelligent. And don't forget the myriad of references: Star Wars, Twin Peaks, Aliens, Close Encounters all get a look-in. Not to mention added Stupendous Yappi. Brilliant.
  • A most brilliant episode that shows the creators' ability at parodying themselves.

    In order to fully appreciate this masterpiece of an episode, the viewer must have reached a certain level of maturity and have a developed affinity for noticing and realizing the fine art of self-irony the authors portray in here.

    It covers aliens and abductions, follow by the conspiracy theories and government cover-ups, all which have been dealt with in previous episodes, in a most serious manner, but this time it is as if it is told through a skeptic's eyes, mocking the stories that are unfolded, and by doing so, mocking the whole foundation of 'The X-Files' series.

    It is by far one of the most entertaining and professional parodies I have ever seen. It will, unfortunately, go by as senseless and ridiculous to anyone who has not been following the stories of the X-Files closely, prior to seeing this episode.
  • A postmodern classic!

    This is, hands down, the best X-Files episode ever. If you have ever wondered what the term postmodern meant, just watch this episode. It's all about the relativity of truth, which is fitting considering the...well, you know.

    What really happens in this episode? You can't really be sure and that's the point of postmodernism. All truth is relative is to who is telling the story and this episode is representative of that.

    Beyond the philosophic overtones, this episode is great for so many reasons:

    The almost shot by shot homage to the hypnosis scene in the original Manchurian Candidate.

    Mulder's yelping.

    Lord Kinbote. (Hope I have the spelling right.)

    Charles Nelson Reilly playing a guy with Spanish and Chinese names and appearing to have neither heritage in his blood.

    Alex Trebek.

    Mulder's yelping. (Yeah, I know I mentioned that, but's so darn funny.)

    The perfect shot at Fox and their propensity to show crap like alien autopsy shows right alongside genius shows like Simpsons and X-Files.

    But most of all, what's really great about this show is that you could write a doctoral thesis on postmodernity in pop culture and place this episode at the center.

    It's genius.
  • The Ultimate

    I like to think (foolishly so) that I want a decent amount of television and I have to say I have never seen an hour of television as good as Jose Chungs From Outer Space.
    Everything about the episode is perfect from the multiple character observations to the cliched alien abduction strand, Jose Chung is the X-Files finest moment (and it has many to choose from).
    It is the perfect mix of humour and mystery that the show specialised in but with the added bonus of intriguing new characters like Jose Chung and Roky to the men in black, plus actual aliens.
    The easiest way to see how good this episode is is to think it was the best script written by Darin Morgan, writer of Humbug, Clyde Bruckmans Final Repose and War Of The Coprophages.
  • A famous author comes to Agent Scully trying to find out what happened to two teenagers, and tries to write the first non-science fiction

    This episode is probably one of the best X-Files episode ever! The plotline is really smooth and quite funny, as no two stories actually collaborate. The "backwards" look is quite well done here causing a funny ending. The retelling of the story by Scully, makes it censored and kinda funny. The guest shot of Jesse Ventura (as a man in black) was very humorous to say the least. One of the best episodes ever!!!!
  • This episode shows the opposite of what X Files constructed during so many years. Serious interesting episodes are spoiled by two or three of these every season, altough i'm thankful for there aren't much of these during the whole series.

    First time i watched i thought it was a mythology episode, because it included de alien storyline, and 5 minutes later i thought it was something between mythology and kind of a "humbug" episode. At the end of the episode i thought i lost 40 minutes of my life, not only because i don't like my favourite characters in science fiction act as clowns (imagine Yoda break dancing in Episode III), but because it makes fun of a storyline that for most of the people is the reason they watch x-files. Even more, for people who look further into the reality of the mythology and the alien abduction storyline, it's kind of insulting having it twisted to mere jokes and "bleeping" as Mulder and Scully loose their credibility. Episodes that build high reputation as Tooms, Grotesque, Pusher... are not to be mixed with episodes as this one, Humbug, as some other.
  • Holy Bleepin' "aliens", Batman! Darin Morgan writes arguably the best episode of tv ever: hilarity ensues. Parae434 counters and writes best review ever: hilarity does not ensue

    See this episode. See it alone or see it with a friend. Hell, see it with a guy who wants to be abducted by aliens, or see it with a dead man. I even suggest seeing it with former govenor Jesse "The Mind" Ventura.

    Who should you see this with? How the hell should I know. But the bottom line is just see this episode.

    I've seen this episode sooo many times and am still not quite sure what happens, that's how complex it is. Yet, it's so well written and structured that I actually LIKE the fact that after each viewing I have this really weird look on my face. Also, it's refreshing to still notice new things about the story after each said viewing.

    The characters are all very quirky but not annoying, a feat that is very rare in TV, or any form of entertainment. Or in real life for that matter.

    The one problem is that this is the last episode that the great Darin Morgan wrote for the X-files. At least he went out on top unlike a certain once great show that tried to go on after its star said bye-bye... Anywho, any show with Alex Trebek, or someone who "looks incredibly like Alex Trebek" is okay in my book.
  • It has the apperance of a regular X-files episode, but this is by no means a regular episode, this is THE episode.

    This episode has what I believe alot of other x-files episodes lack sometimes, it has some extremely well done comedy, I laughed my ass off at several times in this excellent episode.

    I love the take on the Men in Black which opens the discussion , has these MiB been involved in the cover up of several or all of the alien abductee cases involved in the X-files? Were they always in the background?

    The character of Blaine is just hilarious as the stereotype geek who believes in all UFO and aliens.

    In conclusion for this review I would like to say that I wish that more of the episodes in the X-files were like this one, more comedy for the people!

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