The X-Files

Season 9 Episode 15

Jump the Shark

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 21, 2002 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
220 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Morris Fletcher approaches agents Doggett and Reyes with information related to "Super Soldiers", they turn to the Lone Gunmen. The Gunmen, however, are knee-deep in a bio-terrorist's plot to release a deadly toxin into the population but the Gunmen find that they may have to make the ultimate sacrifice for their cause.moreless

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  • Fantastic

    Its one of the absolutely best X-Files episodes ever. We say goodbye to 3 legends. Fantastic acting, its so sad that David Duchovny chose not to be part of this episode. The chemstry between hom and the Lone Gunmen was fantastic. This was the ening to the too short lived Lone Gumen series, wich was great too.
  • Jump the Shark

    Jump the Shark was a superb and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching this ode to The Lone Gunmen who were awesome and courageous patriots of the U.S.A. and it was touching to see that they were honored in their deaths. I liked the story and how bizarre it was relating to Shark Cartilage. It was touching to see the Lone Gunmen accept their fate and protect others. I am sad to see them go but it was a fitting farewell for these beloved characters. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Farewell to the Real Heroes

    I have since discovered that Jump The Shark makes a heck of a lot more sense if you've seen "The Lone Gunmen (TLG)" spin-off series, which is quite good, by the way. I can see where people might not like this episode, having not seen the other series, oh, and for killing off the beloved Gunmen.

    That aside, Jump The Shark is still a very good episode. I like how Mark Snow incorporates the theme music from the "TLG" series throughout the episode. It has a very interesting plot, with a deadly virus being grafted into a terrorist's body.

    Obviously, the episode must cater to the X-Files fan who never saw "TLG", and doesn't know the characters of Yves and Jimmy who were an integral part of the series. Sadly, that means that Jimmy's role was hugely diminished. Morris Fletcher returns having starred in the series finale of the TLG series. Morris is always a slime bag character but still likable. But in this episode, he comes across as an even bigger jerk and less likable.

    I don't know if I buy college professors as terrorists willing to do suicide killings. It's a bit of a stretch.

    It's interesting that Yves sends the lone gunmen after the terrorist and tells them they must cut the virus out of his chest if they found him. Though, I'm pretty sure none of them had a knife on their person. Yes, their death scene was a bit contrived. How would they know that giant blast doors would come down and seal them off when the fire alarm was pulled? They could have pulled the alarm and escaped underneath while keeping the terrorist inside.

    Jump The Shark stands as the only X-Files episode to make me cry. It is so sad to see the lone gunmen meet their demise. Scully has some touching words at the end where she makes a cameo along with Skinner.

    Jump The Shark is not a perfect episode, but it makes me emotional each time I see it. Since they were made to look like bumbling idiots in 'Provenance/Providence', it was nice to seem them redeemed and fitting to see them go out as selfless heroes, and doing whatever it takes to save the world.

    I give 'Jump the Shark' an 9.5 out of 10.moreless
  • The Lone Gunmen saddle up for one last adventure.

    OK, if you haven't heard by now, let me give a brief SPOILER ALERT! There, that's out of the way. In this X-Files episode, the Lonegunmen series comes to an end. That's right, this is a finale episode for another series. I never watched much of the Lonegunmen series, but I enjoyed their characters throughout X-Files, and liked how they were portrayed. Here, in "Jump the Shark", we see Byers, Langley, and Frohike in their last adventure. They start out the episode as really down and out, one step away from bankruptcy, hocking all there gadgets and gizmos, and having put off printing of their beloved conspiracy paper for months. Things do not look rosy for our geeky trio. They find themselves reuniting with old friends from both shows to get to the bottom of a bio-terrorist plot, and in the end, they have a choice to make on how they will be remembered. They chose to sacrifice their lives (and yes, they do die) for the sake of thousands who never knew they were in danger in the first place. Their deaths were meaningful, without any pomp and circumstance. Their funeral service was small, and yet the impact that they had on the lives of others is shown as the few who knew their sacrifice reflected on their passing and their lives.

    In my opinion, the Lone Gunmen were true heroes, putting their necks on the line and receiving no thanks for it. This is how most heroes bow out, making a stand and getting little recognition for it. It was nice to see that their deaths were meaningful yet not flashy. They gave their lives for a good cause, and that was it. All I can say is that the only thing missing from this episode was Fox Mulder, the closest X-Filer to these three Nerds Supreme. It would have been nice for Mulder to have had something to say about his friends, either in this episode or in later episodes, and what they meant to him. Scully was able to do a good job of this on her part, but Mulder's relationship with them was deeper than anyone else's.moreless
  • Blood In The Water

    Uh oh, another Lone Gunmen-centric episode. You would think that with the "The Lone Gunmen" spin-off series being cancelled after only 13 episodes, the writers would have had a clue as to the viability (or lack thereof) of our three nerdly heroes as leading actors. Ah well, perspective can be a difficult thing to maintain....

    The writers apparently intend this episode to be the finale for "The Lone Gunmen," which they never had the opportunity to make due to the abrupt cancellation of that series. As such, there are an awful lot of new characters and subplots from the "Lone Gunmen" series that will be new to the X-Files fan who has never seen the spin-off (which is probably most of them.)

    I've never seen any of the "Lone Gunmen" series and therefore much of this episode comes across as muddled and confusing to me. Who is this Yves woman? Who is the Gunmen's new sidekick, Jimmy? Why is Morris Fletcher back? What the heck is up with the imbedded virus and how does it tie in with the Super Soldiers storyline? (I'm guessing it doesn't, really.) There is simply too much in this episode to absorb without some knowledge of the "Lone Gunmen" series.

    The episode just doesn't work as an X-Files and it's a bit unfair to dump it into the tail end of the series just to placate the wounded feelings of the writers who had their series yanked before it completed even a single season. I love the Gunmen characters, but they are supporting players and not suited to carry entire episodes. A little goes a long way. It's unfortunate that the writers choose to kill them off and I sense some bitterness mixed with petulance behind this rather "final" decision. What happens if the fabled second feature film manages to get made? Are we then to endure the ghosts of the Gunmen, as we must in the series' final episode?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

Michael McKean

Michael McKean

Morris Fletcher

Guest Star

Stephen Snedden

Stephen Snedden

Jimmy Bond

Guest Star

Zuleikha Robinson

Zuleikha Robinson

Yves Adele Harlow

Guest Star

Bruce Harwood

Bruce Harwood


Recurring Role

Tom Braidwood

Tom Braidwood


Recurring Role

Dean Haglund

Dean Haglund


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Michael McKean played Lenny on Laverne and Shirley, a spin-off of Happy Days. Michael first appeared as Leonard 'Lenny' Kosnowski on Happy Days, the show that "Jump the Shark" was coined for (referring to the show where Fonzie jumped a shark tank). Today "jumped the shark" is slang used for any TV show that has tried too many gimmicks to promote ratings, or more generally to refer to anything that has gone on too long and lost its way.

    • During the funeral scene, it is obvious that the caskets are simply sitting on the ground and that there are no holes dug under them.

    • Since when are firedoors air-tight enough to contain a virulent virological plague?

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Scully: (About The Lone Gunmen) They meant so much to me... I don't think they ever knew that.

    • Langly: You want to know why Joey Ramone's my hero? 'Cause people like you never managed to grind him down. They never stole his spirit. He never gave in, never gave up, and never sold out. Right till his last breath. And he's not dead. Guys like that, they live forever

    • Morris Fletcher: I was a 'Man In Black'.
      Doggett: I saw the movie.
      Morris Fletcher: Yeah, well there were a lot of technical inaccuracies in that.

    • (talking about the Gunmen)
      Morris Fletcher: Once upon a time there were shall I put this? Geeks.

    • Byers: We never gave up. We never gave in. If, in the end, that's the best they can say about us, it'll do.

  • NOTES (10)

    • The theme of "The Lone Gunmen" is played in the first scene after the credits showing a shark swimming in the ocean.

    • This is the last episode written by John Shiban. He wrote 24 of the 202 X Files episodes.

    • Writer Thomas Schnauz (who gave us 'Lord of the Flies' and 'Scary Monsters') portrayed the 'Speaker' in this episode.

    • There is no Hartwell College in Kearny, New Jersey.

    • Although they are billed in the main opening credits Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi only make a brief appearance at the end of the episode.

    • The phrase Jump the Shark comes from the episode of Happy Days where Fonzie literally jumped over a shark on water skis which was considered "the end of Happy Days".

    • This episode marks the deaths of the three Lone Gunmen, effectively making the cancellation of the Lone Gunmen spin-off permanent.

    • The guy named "John Gillnitz" is a long running in-joke - a combination of parts of the names of writers John Shiban, Vince Gilligan and Frank Spotnitz.

      Characters named "John Gillnitz " appeared in six different episodes over the course of the series. Even if they were not explicitly identified in the credits, the characters were referred to by that name during the course of the episode.
      The occurrences are:

      1. Episode 72/3-23, Wetwired, victim in hammock (uncredited)

      2. Episode 85/4-12, Leonard Betts, bearded man/murder victim (Ken Jones)

      3. Episode 103/5-6, Christmas Carol, DNA technician (uncredited)

      4. Episode 122/6-5, Dreamland: Part 2, mentioned in passing, does not appear on screen.

      5. Episode 153/7-14, Theef, reporter (Mark Thompson)

      6. Episode 197/9-15, Jump the Shark, man with bioweapon (Marcus Giamatti).

      With the exception of Wetwired, which was written by Mat Beck, who introduced the character, the trio wrote the episodes their "namesake" appeared in.
      The amalgamated character name John Gillnitz also appeared in an episode of "The Lone Gunmen", spinoff to the X-Files, in the episode "The Capt'n Toby Show," which Shiban, Gilligan, and Spotnitz also wrote.

    • This marks the reunion of writers Gilligan, Shiban and Spotnitz, who together have written some of the most memorable X-Files stories and are also co-creators of the short lived Lone Gunmen series. Their first episode was season 4's 'Leonard Betts', and the trio took a short sabbatical to work on TLG after season 7's 'Theef'.

    • Jump the Shark is a term referring to the point when a popular show reaches it's peak and begins the downward slide towards possible cancellation. The saying has been popularised by the website Jump The Shark, where visitors can post their opinions on when their favourite shows went bad.
      Go to for more information on what it means to "Jump the Shark".


    • Movie Reference: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

      In their final scene, the Lone Gunmen place their hands on the glass where their intern Jimmy has his hand. This is in referrence to Spock's famous death scene in the movie.

    • Maurice Fletcher Voiceover: Once upon a time there were three, how shall I put this, geeks...

      The whole of the opening to this episode is an obvious reference to the original Charlie's Angels TV series, which always began with 'Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the Police Academy' etc. Much of the whole text of the opening is lifted from the CA voiceover, with additional jokes. It works really well. Even the opening image is of the Lone Gunmen in separate rectangular shots, much like all the Charlie's Angels episodes.