The X-Files

Season 7 Episode 7


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jan 09, 2000 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
275 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A series of prison breaks bring Agents Mulder and Scully face to face with Scully's former kidnapper, Donnie Pfaster, as Scully is forced to question her faith and confront the clash of morality and religion. But Scully soon learns that Donnie is very keen on going after the one victim that managed to escape him, Dana Scully when Reverend Orison breaks him out of prison...moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • Orison

    Orison was a haunting and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the man who kidnapped Scully and almost killed her escapes and tries again! The story was compelling and well written. The character and plot development was psychologically thrilling and intriguing. It was scary when Scully was face to face with her former captor. I liked the way every thing played out and the whole religion aspect was interesting as well. I liked the ending and look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • The creepy guy from an earlier Season 2 episode returns to torment Scully,

    The writers of the show must be pretty brave to assume that people would be able to remember this guy from Season 2. Honestly, I had to go back and look at the episode just to remind myself of the guy. The episode revolves around Donald Pfister, the man from the "Irresistible" episode of X-Files who sought after Scully and was obsessed with women's hair and fingers. I don't think that this character was as memorable as Robert Patrick Modell from the "Pusher" episode, so I'm not sure if it warranted a return, especially five seasons later, but the episode quickly turned from a real disappointment to an okay episode.

    The thing that made the episode a disappointment was the presence of the Priest who could supposedly hypnotize people. What in the world was the purpose of him? The episode seemed to be going in three different directions at once: Scully coming to terms with the fact that the man who tormented her is released, the idea that some people will always be evil and some religious ideas. If the episode just took one of these episodes, it might've been better, but unfortunately, there was just too much going on. The fact that the priest is killed halfway through the episode made everything better.

    The whole point of the episode is that the Pfister guy escaped by jail by putting people in a daze and simply walking out. The show really used that song to good use.. every time it was used, it got creepier and creepier, and by the time we get to the end, the tone has been established and the episode actually got great. The episode as a whole, though, was pretty weak.moreless
  • The writers bring back possibly the creepiest bad guy in the show's history, Donnie Pfaster, a sadistic serial killer who has spent the last 5 years in prison thinking about Scully, the one who got away.moreless

    When I first saw this episode it quickly became my favorite. At the time I hadn't seen many of the older episodes and didn't know much of the show's history, so I have different favorites now, but this episode is still one of them. It is one of those rare episodes in which Scully is faster to accept the supernatural (that she's getting signs from God in the song and her alarm clock) than Mulder. That in itself makes this episode great, but there is more. Donnie Pfaster is a terrific villain. In "Irresistible," (his first episode) there isn't anything supernatural or paranormal about him---he's just a creep. While the supernatural does play a role in this episode, it takes a backseat to the emotion and drama. Mulder gives us another example of how well he knows Scully right in the beginning by suggesting she stay away from this case, but she remains true to her character and puts on a strong face, pretending she can handle it. The emotional strain gets to her, though, and she willingly returns to DC once the x-file portion of the case is solved. Donnie beat her there, however, and what ensues is one of my favorite scenes from the show's entire 9 years. Scully gives an impressive show of girl power at first, but Donnie manages to tie her up and get her in the closet. Mulder comes to the rescue but Scully beats him to it and shoots Donnie dead in an artistically brilliant slow-motion sequence. This episode gets high marks from me for character development, artistic quality, suspense, action, great writing and great acting.moreless
  • Super-creepy Donnie Pfaster is back.

    Of all the villains in X-Files, Donnie is definitely one of the truly memorable ones, also one of the creepiest. He also happens to be one of the few criminals Scully has crossed paths with who really scarred her. Which means I was surprised at how Scully lets her guard down when she gets home, leaving her gun on the dresser. A serial killer is on the loose who has attacked her before, I would have expected more paranoia.

    That was just awesome. Scully actually shot Donnie. He was genuinely evil and he never would have stopped killing. Not to mention that after failing to kill Scully twice, there's no doubt he would try again if given the chance. I'm glad the writers didn't do the 'right' thing here and have Scully take the higher ground, having her shoot him felt right for her character, far more so than if she hadn't.

    A disturbing episode, it's always fun when an old favourite is resurrected.moreless
  • Pfaster gets a second shot.

    WONDERFUL! Not only did the writers bring back Pfaster they did so very convincingly!

    A Reverend is hypnotising people to free murderers who only got life so that he can kill them on the outside. Only with Pfaster he took on more than he could take. Pfaster kills the Reverend and after 30' you think (as Mulder) that the episode is over but ooooh it's just getting started.

    Pfaster awaits Scully in her apartment and wants to wash her hair (or whatever) but she kicks his ass! What a nice change of pace, I just love it when GA gets to act out. Be it Three of a kind (where she is drugged) or Kill Switch (where she kicks three nurses asses ;) ) those are the scenes you get a glimpse of what GA is capable of. That even these scenes feel like Scully although she is not that distant sceptical ice-queen she aparently feels the need to be. (now I know Scully is no Ice-Queen but maybe she has to come off that way so that her male co-workers respect her for her work - not her beauty.)

    All in all this is one of my favourite episodes, don't miss it!moreless
Nick Chinlund

Nick Chinlund

Donald Pfaster

Guest Star

Steve Rankin

Steve Rankin

US Marshal Daddo

Guest Star

Emilio Rivera

Emilio Rivera


Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Singer John Hiatt recorded a cover version of the song "Don't Look Any Further" specifically for "Orison."

    • The song that plays often through out the episode is "Don't Look Any Further" by Dennis Edwards & Siedah Garrett.

    • When Pfaster tips off the police as to where to find Orison's body, Mulder remarks that the case is over - he's dead in a grave he dug himself. How would Mulder know who dug the grave?

      He was speaking figuratively. It was Mulder and Scully's theory that Orison brought the convicts out there to pass judgment on them and dig their own graves. Thus, in a way, Orison brought this upon himself and he "dug his own grave".

    • Continuity: As Scully puts on her pajamas, daylight streams in from the window. After the fight, the scene switches to Mulder, who holds up a clock that reads 10:00. Switch back to Scully's apartment, and Pfaster is preparing the bath and daylight is once again streaming in through the window.

    • Reguarding the comment about Donnie Pfaster being killed. He said to the Orison, "You can't kill me." He never said that to Scully.

    • Reply to goof referencing Orison digging the grave; Orison was caught off guard and when Pfaster transformed, he broke the restraints on his hands, grabbed the gun and killed him - you just didn't see that part - but that's what happened.

    • When the priest was digging Pfaster's grave, asking him to repent, Pfaster says he can't be killed because he is the Devil (in turn killing the priest without a gun and hands tied), but later on Scully's bullets seem to work perfectly well on him...

    • How does Mulder know that Donnie Pfaster escaped at exactly 6:06AM when no-one can remember him walking out of the prison?

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Mulder: It's a cerebral edema.
      Scully: Swelling of the brain - a trauma not uncommon with this kind of head injury or accident.
      Mulder: Except this isn't accidental. The cause, in fact, as it was stated to me is self-inflicted. There's a small hole here in the skull which allows oxygen into the brain cavity, the result of which is the Reverend Orison has three times the normal blood volume pumping through his brain.
      Scully: And he did this himself?
      Mulder: Yeah. My guess is he probably did it when he first got into prison - when he first learned how to use its powers.
      Scully: Its powers?
      Mulder: There's a theory that at this point in human evolution our mental capabilities are limited only by inadequate blood supply. In fact, centuries ago, in the Peruvian Andes, Holy Men used to physically remove parts of their skulls in order to increase blood volume or drill small holes.
      Scully: So this hole in his head enables Reverend Orison to help these prisoners escape?
      Mulder: The practitioners of this found that they could perform certain mental tricks one of which they called "stopping the world."
      Scully: Well, nobody can stop the world, Mulder. I don't care how many holes they have in their head.
      Mulder: Yeah, but maybe they can alter perception of it creating a disparate version of reality which they can then project through hypnosis.
      Scully: But why? I mean, even if he could, why?
      Mulder: Donnie Pfaster is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole. That's the final judgement as far as society is concerned but not in the eyes of God or in the eyes of a man who thinks he's God's tool.
      Scully: Well, then, if Reverend Orison meant to kill Donnie Pfaster then why is he still alive?
      Mulder: I don't know. Maybe he unleashed something that he couldn't control. Maybe he thought he was opening the door of perception but then unwittingly he... opened the gates of Hell.

    • Blueberry: Looking for something to eat?
      Donald Pfaster: Me?
      Blueberry: How about today's special? (She shows off her body, but Donald Pfaster is more interested in her nails) You aren't a narc, are you?
      Donald Pfaster: No.
      Blueberry: You're looking at my hands.
      Donald Pfaster: You need a buff and polish.
      Blueberry: What are you? A freak?
      Donald Pfaster: I... I just got out of prison.
      Waitress: Hey, Missy. Leave the customers alone!
      Donald Pfaster: I'll do it for free.
      Blueberry: You just got out of prison and you want to give me a manicure?
      Donald Pfaster: I'll even do your cuticles.
      Reverend Orison: You receive the Lord's grace and this is your thanks?
      Donald Pfaster: What? (Reverend Orison is standing beside the booth)
      Reverend Orison: Who do you think got you out of prison?
      Donald Pfaster: I don't care. I'm busy right now.
      Reverend Orison: The grace of god got you out and it's the only thing that will keep you out.
      Blueberry: I thought you were kidding.
      Reverend Orison: He's chosen you, Donnie. (Several police cars pull up outside)
      Blueberry: Later.
      Donald Pfaster: You called them on me.
      Reverend Orison: No.
      Donald Pfaster: Then do something.
      Reverend Orison: I have a car.
      Donald Pfaster: We aren't going to make it to the car.
      Reverend Orison: It's within His power. Glory, amen. Glory, amen.

    • Scully: Go back to hell!
      Donald Pfaster: Who does your nails, girly girl?
      Scully: Let me go! The only reason why you're alive is because I asked the judge for life! The only reason why you're alive is because we didn't kill you when we could!
      Donald Pfaster: You're the one that got away. You're all I think about.
      Scully: I'm a federal agent. You do anything to me and they will not give you a break this time.
      Donald Pfaster: I'm going to run you a bath.

    • Reverend Orison: Whosoever shedeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.
      Donald Pfaster: What are you doing?
      Reverend Orison: Taking you home. The wicked... will be punished.

    • Detective: You two people put this man away.
      Mulder: Yeah. Someone forgot to throw away the key.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Mulder is alluding to William Blake's work when he speaks about the "Doors of Perception" in relation to the gates of Hell. Blake says in his "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" that "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite."

    • Musical Reference: "Sheep go to Heaven, Goats go to Hell"

      This phrase is amongst the words scrawled on the prison chapel's walls. This is the chorus line of the song "Sheep go to Heaven" by the band Cake - one of Gillian Anderson's favorite bands.

    • Biblical Reference 666

      Scully's clock malfunctions, showing the time as 6.66. Of course 666, as most people who've seen The Omen will know, is generally taken to be the number of the Beast, i.e. the Devil.

      Interestingly, in 2005, technological advances allowed scholars to read illegible portions of the earliest known record of The Book of Revelations and found the Number of the Beast stated there to be 616 rather than 666.