The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 8


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 17, 1995 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
301 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Mulder seeks the help of a woman whom he believes has a special connection with a young girl who has recently been kidnapped by the same man who held her captive many years earlier.

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  • Oubliette

    Oubliette was a perfect episode of the X-Files because the story was great though disturbing. There was a lot of character development for Mulder as he found himself becoming emotionally invested in Lucy. It was interesting to see Lucy's connection with Amy. In the end Lucy helped save Amy and perhaps herself in her own way. This was truly a scary episode because being in those circumstances seems like it would be quite terrifying. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • A kidnapper takes a young child and Mulder takes the case very personally

    David Duchovny is a great actor, and he's awesome as Fox Mulder in this show, but I think it was here that he really shined. Mulder and Scully look into a case where a girl was kidnapped and an older woman who was once kidnapped by the same guy begins to experience the same things as the younger kidnapped girl. It's an interesting premise, and once again, Chris Carter and co. prove that they're masters of suspense, milking every scene for all it's worth.

    Duchovny brings some great subtle acting here, never going over the top in his emotions, but you can tell how important this case is to him, especially since it mirrors somewhat his own past: his sister, Samantha, who is still missing. He takes the case personally and even when people, including Scully, begin questioning him, he's resilient in his efforts to find the truth and find the girl.

    Sure, this was yet another stand-alone episode of The X-Files, but it was 100% compelling and it had incredible acting by David Duchovny, somebody who mixes the perfect amount of comedy and drama into his character without letting it tip too far to one side. But after seeing the way he acted around Lucy and his efforts to make the young girl breathe again at the end of the episode, it's clear that he's a damaged man who wants the truth is, and regardless of what the case is, it all comes back to the truth.moreless
  • I love how much Mulder is affected by is a really amazing unfolding of his character...

    I really liked this episode much more than I expected to. It didn't seem very exciting and the summary seemed rather vague and uninteresting. But I found myself really engaged in the relationship, not of Mulder and Scully, but rather that of Mulder and Lucy Householder.

    This was a really revealing episode, especially when Mulder starts to cry after Lucy dies...I really love when he shows emotion cuz usually he has a really stiff exterior. Scully kind of pissed me off in this episode, she didn't seem to really play a big role and didn't really listen to Mulder's ideas at all, not even as much as usual.moreless
  • Vulnerable Mulder... Again

    I still find it amazing how vulnerable Mulder becomes when something reminds him of his sister. Even when he tells Scully that this case doesn't remind him of Samantha at all, he feel sympathy for this woman who is a victim within a victim, that's the way I see it.

    I like how patient Scully is when it comes to this kind of cases that affect Mulder so deeply. She was beside him at all times, even when the theory was far out.

    I guess it was Lucy's fate to end up like this. That was the only way she was going to get rid of her kidnapper.moreless
  • Unforgettable

    The best X Files are those that force the agents into some kind of emotional response as the case they are working on involves them on a personal level. This episode evokes such a reaction from Mulder as a kidnapped teenager and a woman's empathetic response to that makes him bring up memories of his own sister. Such a scenario requires some solid work from its actors and Duchovny brings a level of investment to this story that really brings it to life.

    He is helped immeasurably in this respect by an outstanding guest turn from Tracey Ellis as the beleaguered Lucy Householder (this is the first of Ellis's excellent supporting performances for the series, she would be equally memorable as the eponymous character in Season 9's "Audrey Pauley"). A kidnap victim herself 17 years ago, and now part of life's flotsam, Lucy finds herself reacting to the abduction in the exact same way as the real victim, Amy Jacobs, right down to nosebleeds and scratches on her face. Lucy's life subsequent to her escape from her captor has been an endless succession of not much, so to relive her worst nightmare not just mentally but now physically is an ordeal she is only too happy to check out of. Mulder valiantly struggles to coax her back from the brink, but his powers of persuasion aren't sufficient to the task. At the core of this episode is the very horrifying crime of child kidnapping and (by implication) abuse. There's one scene where Amy is cowering in the darkness of her oubliette with her captor, Carl Wade, indiscriminately snapping away at her with his camera. It's a terrifying scenario that does make us feel distinctly uncomfortable, but that's the thing with "The X Files": adult subjects and taboos are tackled in a fairly responsible way. We learn precious little about Carl Wade so he doesn't register highly in the pantheon of scary villains like Eugene Victor Tooms or Donnie Pfaster, but the horror of what he does to Amy and Lucy is one of the lingering aftertastes of the episode.

    As is Mulder's almost painful supportive reaction to Lucy's plight. Ultimately no matter how well he guards her against full police investigation, there comes a time when circumstantial evidence means that his theory is thrust aside to let the real police do their business. You can see Scully roll her eyes in dismay when Mulder is forced to reveal his theory on Lucy's empathy with Amy to the police and, not surprisingly, it is mocked. (Hey, she should be used to this by now.) Mulder however is quick to refute that dredged up memories of Samantha are making him so involved in this case. He rightly argues that not everything needs to stem from childhood memories. However, his frenzied resuscitation of Amy at the riverbank, and his tears over Lucy's corpse at the end would seem to indicate otherwise. (And what a beautifully composed shot that was, as the camera panned up from the ambulance trolley holding her draped body, with a sobbing Mulder by her side, yet another example of Rob Bowman's cinematic sense.)

    There's a very subtle touch at the start of this episode that underlines Mulder's memory of Samantha when Mrs Jacobs admonishes him before he can come out with the standard FBI platitude to grieving parents. She tells him that he can't possibly know what she's going through right now. And of course the irony is that that is one emotion that Mulder has been carrying with him for years now. Essentially this very strong episode is all about battling inner demons. Lucy has been trying to blot out hers with drugs and petty crime for the last 17 years, until the psychic reliving of her ordeal means that she can't fight it anymore. At least in doing so, she is able to do one noble act and save the life of Amy. And Mulder too finds the case scratches at the raw nerve of his soul, and the reason for his quest. In its own quiet little way, "Oubliette" is on the surface a kidnap drama. But on a deeper level, it's one of the richer X File experiences. 10/10moreless
Tracey Ellis

Tracey Ellis

Lucy Householder

Guest Star

Michael Chieffo

Michael Chieffo

Carl Wade

Guest Star

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite

Amy Jacobs

Guest Star

Bonnie Hay

Bonnie Hay


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Principal Setting:
      Seattle, Washington

    • How could Mulder and Scully have reached the abductor´s house the same time as the police, if they stopped at the photo store, and supposedly went in?

    • When the tow truck driver looks at the wheel the hubcap is in one place 11:38 but when Carl grabs the tyre iron the cap is nearly under the car 11:54.

    • Scully stops Mulder from performing CPR on Amy when, as a medical doctor, she should have known that it is possible to revive cold-water drowning victims long after the heart stops.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Mulder: Are you feeling better?
      Lucy: Better than what?
      Mulder: Better than Amy Jacobs.
      Lucy: Wouldn't know.
      Mulder: If anybody knows, I say you do.

    • Mulder: Lucy is a victim, Scully, just like Amy Jacobs. If she's got any connection to this case, that's the extent of it.

    • Mulder: (referring to the words "Nobody's going to spoil us") Those were the exact words spoken by the kidnapper to the little girl when he took her last night. So you can see that under the circumstances it might seem strange . . .
      Lucy: So what's your point? All of us kidnap victims gotta stick together?
      Mulder: No. We just want to find the little girl any way we can and if you know anything . . .
      Lucy: Look, what I've been through in my life I wouldn't want to wish on anybody. Doesn't mean I can make it any better for me or anyone else.

    • Scully: I guess she's not too big on confined spaces.
      Mulder: Yeah.

    • Scully: That's spooky.
      Mulder: That's my name, isn't it?

    • Scully: Mulder, you can't...
      Mulder: That's how I account for what Lucy's going through. That's how I account for the identical words that corresponded to Amy... and the spontaneous wounds and blood as well.
      Scully: Then why did she run? If she's innocent, what was she running from?
      Mulder: Because she's afraid.
      Scully: You don't see what you're doing, do you Mulder? You are so close to this that you just don't see it.
      Mulder: (Mulder is angry) What don't I see?
      Scully: The extreme rationalization that is going on around here. Your personal identification with the victim - or in this case, the suspect. You're becoming some kind of an empath yourself, Mulder. You are so sympathetic to Lucy as a victim - like your sister - that you can't see her as a person who's capable of committing this crime!
      Mulder: You don't think I've thought of that? I have. And not everything I do and say and think or feel goes back to my sister. You, of all people, should realize th-that sometimes motivations for behavior can be more complex and mysterious than tracing them back to one single childhood experience.

    • Lucy: I don't know where she is. I don't care. I'm not interested.
      Mulder: Well, that's too bad, Lucy, because right now I think you're her best hope.
      Lucy: If I'm her best hope then that little girl's in a hell of a lot more trouble than you think.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Tracey Ellis appears again as Audrey Pauley in the season 9 episode "Audrey Pauley".

    • Fox standards were a bit concerned about this episode as the abduction of the girl had some parallels to the Polly Klaas case. The ordeal of the abduction had to be played down.

    • Severe weather played havoc with production. Due to heavy rains the climatic sequence had to be shot a week later than planned at another location than originally envisioned.

    • An Oubliette is a medieval dungeon having a trap door in the ceiling as its only means of entry or exit. It is derived from the French word 'oublier' meaning "to forget".