The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 9

Nisei (1)

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 24, 1995 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
317 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

An investigation into a video of an alien autopsy puts Mulder and Scully in the middle of a conspiracy involving WWII Japanese scientists brought to America to continue their experiments which may shed light on Scully's abduction.

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  • Nisei

    Nisei was a perfect episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of character and plot development. The story was awesome and very well written. The acting was superb and the over all production was perfect. It was cool to see the alien autopsy and also to see the Japanese transport a living hybrid onto the train. The drama and intrigue were intense as Skinner tells Scully to do whatever to make Mulder not get on the train, thought to no avail. I was on the edge of my seat as there were so many juicy sci fi moments with in this episode. I look forward to watching how every thing will play out in the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • First the Germans, now the Japanese!

    While I enjoyed the subplot that furthered the abduction subplot involving Scully, I found myself wanting to skip through the chasing-hiding-behind-corners-tense-music-leading-nowhere scenes with Maulder. I admit that I prefer the stand alone episodes that are more like the Outer Limits and Twilight Zone, where they visit a specific x-file. (Though I could do without the inevitable "But Maulder, that's crazy!",... I mean, seriously what does it take to get this woman on board!?!) I have never particullarly enjoyed the alien/covert government stories. I find it hard to believe that in the light of Maulder and Scully's actions in these episodes that feature their lack of compliance to the FBI and government agencies, that they would be allowed to continue working as agents, let alone being fully reinstated time after time. Give me more like Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose and Ice.moreless
  • Mulder gets a videotape of what appears to be an alien autopsy and chaos ensues

    Once again, The X-Files focuses on my favorite, and what I'm sure is everyone else's favorite, plots: alien abduction, government conspiracy and experimenting on humans. However, this two part episode is a lot more complex and intriguing than previous episodes. It all begins when Mulder buys a videotape of an alien autopsy, and learns there may be some validity to it.

    From here, Mulder and Scully take two separate paths: Scully finds a group of women in Virginia who have all been abducted like her and been experimented on. She learns that the micro-chip in the back of her head is similar to ones other people have and that it has the potential to read the thoughts of the person it was in. Meanwhile, Mulder learns that a group of a Japanese scientists have been using a secret train path to conduct autopsies and other experiments on alien life forms, perhaps creating human/alien hybrids. The way Chris Carter and the rest of the crew slowly and steadily build up the suspense here is just a testament to how talented they are.

    The episode couldn't have ended in a more cliffhanger-ish way: Mulder on top of a train and Scully warning him to get off. It was really nice to see the return of the "X" character, somebody that has helped Mulder as many times as he has screwed him over. It was also nice to see Skinner, although he was completely void of help.

    I love it whenever Mulder gets himself into these situations and I would love to see him one day find the truth. But who knows if that day will ever come...moreless
  • New discoveries

    It's interesting how Mulder always gets his hands in weird pieces of evidence, getting him, most of the times, in grave danger.

    The shock about the episode is what Scully finds out. She's told something she was probably afraid of knowing and she has more doubts than before. Staying in the X-files is more important now than anything else.

    Now the question, what really happened to Scully? Was she taken by the aliens or was she part of some government experiment? I think we all know the obvious, unless it's a combination of the two.

    Mulder, as always, ditches Scully and worse, doesn't really listen to her. But hey, we all know Mulder... The truth comes always first.moreless
  • good episode

    This episode reminds me a lot of what Season 1's Mythology used to be. You know, when it was very slow and didn't really reveal much. But was good due the writing and characters.

    the biggest revelation in this episode was the revealing of Scully's abduction. They hadn't really spoken about it in a while so it was nice that the writers hadn't forgotten about it. I liked the scene where all the women showed Scully their chip. Kinda creepy. The biggest reveal in all of this is that the women believe to be fatally ill.

    Mulder's part in this episode is to once again reveal the existence of extra terrestrials. His part of the story was a little too slow and not interesting enough. But it was well-executed and ended with the cliffhanger of Mulder jumping on a dangerous train that might've been carrying an Alien.moreless
Stephen McHattie

Stephen McHattie


Guest Star

Raymond J. Barry

Raymond J. Barry

Senator Richard Matheson

Guest Star

Robert Ito

Robert Ito

Dr. Takeo Ishimaru

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

Tom Braidwood

Tom Braidwood


Recurring Role

Dean Haglund

Dean Haglund


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • About 38 minutes into the episode, Scully is watching a videotape on what appears to be a wide-screen television (16:9 ratio). In 1995 this would be a very rare (and expensive) set in the USA. The video (allegedly obtained as a off-satellite video tape recording) would have been recorded in the NTSC 5:4 format on a standard VCR, so the playback should have either had black bars on either side to maintain the aspect ratio, or the image should have been obviously stretched and distorted to fill the screen. The scenes on the tape were probably filmed with the same 35mm cameras the rest of the episode was filmed with and made to look like a video tape (i.e. tracking lines during pause mode).

    • Principal Settings: Knoxville, Tennessee; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Newport News, Virginia.

    • The alien autopsy boxcar number changes during the episode. At the beginning we see 82594. Halfway into the episode when Mulder is scoping out the railroad the number is 82517.

    • The uniform of the Coast Guard officer that meets with Mulder is incorrect. The Coast Guard has not worn a khaki duty uniform since the 1960s. The current Coast Guard duty uniform is blue. Nor does the Coast Guard issue a black commando sweater. Additionally, the rank insignia that the officer is wearing - two gold bars - is not a rank insignia used by the Coast Guard. In actuality, the uniform used in this episode is probably a re-use of the US Navy uniforms seen previously in the show.

    • The location ticker reads "Substation C, Allentown, Pennsylvania 10:02, but the letters on the building read "Los Angeles Police Department"

    • It seems very odd, given that X puts his life in danger every time he goes to see Mulder, that he would go to see Scully simply to get her to ring Mulder and warn him. The man seems to have access to the darkest of secrets, so presumably getting access to Mulder's cellphone number shouldn't have been too much of a problem for him and he could have phoned himself from a payphone!

      Response: Scully places tape on the window in the shape of an X signaling to meet with him. This should explain his appearance.

      Response to response: If Scully signaled him, why is she so surprised when he shows up?

      Response: Since Scully states that Mr. X has lied to them before, maybe he approached her because it was the only way Mulder could've believed what he was about to say since he couldn't be trusted anymore.

    • After Mulder breaks into the ship, he leaves the door open. It is closed in a subsequent shot.

    • When Senator Richard Matheson tells Mulder about the four Japanese Nationals had been murdered, he says that the murders had occurred several weeks ago, but when Mulder brings Scully up to speed a scene or two later, he tells her that someone must have been able to identify the four doctors who were performing the autopsy because they were murdered YESTERDAY.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Scully: Hi. Besty Hagopian?
      Lottie Holloway: No, I'm sorry. Besty's not here right now.
      Scully: Is there some way that I can get in touch with her? I'm sorry, my name is Dana Scully.
      Lottie Holloway: I know you.
      Scully: No, I think you must be mistaken.
      Lottie Holloway: We saw you. Penny? Penny come here.
      Scully: I'm afraid I'm not who you think I am.
      Penny Northern: Oh my God. She is one.
      Scully: One what?
      Lottie Holloway: One of us.

    • Scully: How do I know you're not mistaking me for someone else?
      Woman: You have the mark, don't you?
      Scully: What mark?
      Woman: Here (She turns around and shows Scully the back of her neck) On the back of your neck.
      Lottie Holloway: We all have them. It's where they put the implants.

    • Scully: But you understand I'm not a member. I'm an FBI agent.
      Lottie Holloway: That's what you said.
      Scully: But at the door you said I was one of you.
      (The two women look at each other)
      Lottie Holloway: Did you have an unexplained event in your life last year?
      Penny Northern: Were you missing for a period or time that can't be accounted for?
      Scully: Why did you ask me that?
      Penny Northern: I think you'd better sit down, Miss Scully. I think there's some people you're going to want to meet.

    • Skinner: I'm afraid you're going to have to release him.
      Mulder: What are you talking about?
      Skinner: According to the Japanese diplomatic corp, the man you arrested is a high ranking diplomat.
      Mulder: This man sitting in here?
      Skinner: If that's Kasuo Sakurai.
      Mulder: Well, I didn't get his name. I was too busy getting my ass kicked.

    • Mulder: Come on in.
      Scully: What are you watching?
      Mulder: Something that just came in the mail.
      Scully: That's not your usual brand of entertainment... What is it?
      Mulder: According to the magazine ad I answered, it's an alien autopsy. Guaranteed authentic.
      Scully: You spent money for this?
      Mulder: $29.95... plus shipping.
      Scully: Mulder, this is even hokier than the one they aired on the Fox network, you can't even see what they're operating on!
      Mulder: But it does look authentic, I mean the settings, the procedures. I mean it does look as if an actual autopsy is being prepared, doesn't it?
      Scully: Well technically, I don't know why they would be wearing gas masks.
      Mulder: Well maybe it's because of this green substance they seem to be extracting from the subject. Can you identify that?
      Scully: Olive oil? Snake oil? I suppose you think it's alien blood?
      Mulder: It's widely held that aliens don't have blood, Scully.
      Scully: I guess this begs the question; if this is an alien autopsy -
      Mulder: - where's the alien. But what so intriguing to me is the striking lack of detail here.
      Scully: Well what do you expect for $29.95?

    • Scully: I don't know Mulder, it just doesn't track. What would a Japanese diplomat be doing in that house with a dead man with his head stuffed in a pillow case.
      Mulder: Obviously not strengthening international relations.

    • Scully: Where did you get this?
      Mulder: From Someone like you, who wants proof... Who's also willing to believe.

    • Langly: The name of the boat is the Talapus. Just gotta love them German optics.
      Mulder: So you're saying that's from a German satellite?
      Byers: No, the optics are German. The technology is probably ours, but the satellite is most likely Japanese.
      Frohike: Launched from South America.
      Mulder: Gotta love that global economy, huh?

  • NOTES (10)

    • The episode won 2 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.

    • Several locations in this episode are featured prominently in the X-Files video game for the PC and Playstation, The train yard and the shipping docks to name a few. Also, the same train car Mulder becomes trapped in, as well as the exact same boat Mulder investigates early on in the episode are places you can explore in the game.

    • Scully's joke about the hokey Alien Autopsy special on FOX turned out to be ironic since Fox repeated the special the following night. They even even aired some promotional spots for the special during the original telecast.

    • The tactical team in the opening sequence were not actors but real trained Rangers.

    • The storyline of this episode was originally conceived as a stand-alone episode.

    • The number on the boxcar in which the alien autopsy takes place is 82594. This recalls the date, August 25th 1994, when Chris Carter made his directing debut, for the episode 'Duane Barry'.

    • The "Red-Haired Man" is supposedly named Malcolm Gerlach, even though (to the best of my recollection) he's never called by that name onscreen.

    • This episode introduces the love-struck Agent Pendrell, whose hard work in the FBI Sci-Crime lab proves invaluable through the 3rd and 4th seasons. He is more than willing to put in the long hours and get the job done for his favourite agent, Dana Scully.

    • 'Nisei' is the Japanese word for a person born in America or Canada to Japanese parents (who were born in Japan). Translated literally, it means 'second generation'.

    • Stephen McHattie is credited as 'Red-Haired Man' at most sources but on-screen, he noticeably does *not* have red hair, compared to Agent Scully or Agent Pendrell.


    • 82517: This number appears on the alien autopsy boxcar halfway through the episode. While it may be pushing things, 8/25/17 was the start of the Bolshevic Revolution, which could be an allusion to the revolution that Mulder is starting.

      Strangely enough, 5/17/82 is the publication date of a journal article by a doctor named Mulder regarding neonatal menegitis and testing on babies in the womb. Could this possibly be a reference to Scully?

    • Title: Nisei

      A Nisei is a son born outside Japan to emigrant parents. In its original and more restricted meaning, the term applies only to male children born in North or South America to parents who left Japan prior to World War II, but in more casual use refers to any child of emigre Japanese couples.

      The parent (emigre) generation is called Issei; the children of Nisei are called Sansei. In order to be properly considered Sansei, all four grandparents must have been born in Japan.

      The words correspond and are evolved from the Japanese for the numbers one, two and three: ich, ni, san.