The X-Files

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

20
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 10, 1993 on FOX
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
746 votes
73

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Special Agent Dana Scully is partnered with Special Agent Fox Mulder to validate his work on a special project called The X-Files. While he is a believer in the paranormal, fueled by a lost memory where his sister was abducted by aliens; she is a scientist and prefers to look for rational, logical explanations. Their first case takes them to Oregon, to investigate the unsolved deaths of several high school classmates, which Mulder believes are linked to an alien abduction.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • one of the best

    10
    One of the best pilots ever. We get itroduced to the amazxing casts to one of the best tv shows ever.
  • Best Pilot Ever?

    8.0
    Pilot episodes are quite often pretty average when held up against everything that followed them, but the X Files pilot episode fits very comfortably into the first season, as well as its setting and characters being revisited more than once in future seasons, only highlighting just how strong a first episode it is.



    The relationship between Mulder and Scully is also very well set up in this first meeting, Scully's scepticism, but willingness to believe in anything she can prove, as well as Mulder's almost childish enthusiasm, yet brilliant instincts come together.



    All in all, this sets up the series very well, even if like most pilots, it feels like a lot has been squashed into a short space of time, but it stands up very well on its own, even on repeated viewings.moreless
  • A Fine Beginning

    7.0
    Rather well done for a pilot episode, and it does a fine job of introducing us to Mulder, Scully, and the outlandish world they live in. This opening episode sets tje pattern for many upcoming episodes: strange events that Mulder already has the answers for, the investigation that immediately produces evidence, and the destruction of the evidence and cover-up by someone above the FBI. Scully's skepticism is understandable in the first installment and, after all, she has to write a report that doesn't come off sounding like the plot to a wacky TV it's a bit ironic that she has to decide how much to write about this aliens-sticking-things-in-peoples-noses-abduction-and-control situation. Her higher-ups won't believe the outlandish story, but we're supposed to.

    Why did the scars disappear off the young man after the aliens left? If that's possible, why did the aliens leave the scars there to begin with? And why are they leaving all of those nose-thingys behind anyway?

    THIS EPISODE WANTS US TO BELIEVE IN: Alien abduction and remote control of humans.

    BELIEVABILTY RATING: 4/10

    It's not so much that the common alien abduction theme itself is unbelievable, but everything else that goes with it in this episode makes the whole thing a bit silly. Still, this is one of the best of the early episodes.moreless
  • You can watch the pilot

    9.0
    Great episode, when the show was still young and fresh.



    You can watch it here, just put a dot after and paste the link in the address bar:

    adf ly/4088338/x-files-s01e01-pilot



  • Pilot

    9.0
    The first episode of X-Files shows that the show will go on to be a success Mulder who is an FBI agent in search for his sister who he believes was abducted by aliens and then there is Scully who is always holding Mulder back and doesn't believe in extra terrestrial life like Mulder The truth is out there.
Stephen E. Miller

Stephen E. Miller

Coroner Truitt

Guest Star

Alexandra Berlin

Alexandra Berlin

Orderly

Guest Star

Cliff DeYoung

Cliff DeYoung

Dr. Jay Nemman

Guest Star

William B. Davis

William B. Davis

Cigarette Smoking Man

Recurring Role

Zachary Ansley

Zachary Ansley

Billy Miles

Recurring Role

Malcolm Stewart

Malcolm Stewart

Dr Glass

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (18)

    • According to Dana Scully, Mulder was nicknamed "Spooky Mulder" back when was in the FBI Academy, due to his strange and bizarre behaviour towards others.

    • BelleFleur (where this episode takes place) is French for "beautiful flower."

    • As CSM is leaving the Pentagon's evidence room, the camera pulls back through an open door, which CSM exits and then locks. While this is a neat shot, it brings a question to mind: Why was the door to this highly secured and top secret evidence room left open while CSM was inside?

    • Visible Prop: If you freeze the image just before Theresa's nose starts to bleed, you can see the tube that runs down the bridge of her nose to produce the effect.

    • When the car's radio and clock start acting crazy, the sun changes position between shots. The first angle shows the sun coming in from the left, then the sun is angling in on Scully from the right. In the next shot, it is back on Mulder's side of the car.

    • After the bright flash of light, Mulder claims that "time stopped," causing them to lose nine minutes. However, if Mulder's watch continued to work, is it really appropriate to say "time stopped?" It would be more accurate to say that he and Scully were "missing time."

    • Goof: When Scully is typing up the autopsy information on her laptop, a close up reveals to screen to be one for a desktop computer, not a laptop.

    • When the backhoe is lifting up Ray Soames' body, a close-up reveals that one of the coffin straps is badly frayed. That kind of equipment deficiency wouldn't be allowed to fly in the real world. Why did no one check the straps before they were used?

    • If the perpetrators behind the experiments could remove the marks from their victim's bodies (as seen at the end of the episode), why did they leave the marks on the bodies of those found in South Dakota, Texas, and Oregon?

    • Scully is asked to perform an autopsy on Ray Soames' body. This will become a recycled character name, because Ray's headstone will appear in later episodes, on the other side of the country.

    • Gillian Anderson has said that on many occasions, the shows' director would put her up on a box so they could film more serious scenes with a smaller difference in height between the actors. One instance of this can be noted in the graveyard scene - While Mulder and Scully speak closely, Scully's head is nearly level with Mulder's. She also stays rooted on exactly one spot during the entire conversation (because she was on a box)! Gillian Anderson has said that sometimes, the scene is so serious, she would topple off the box because she forgot about it.

    • X-File debunked: While Mulder and Scully are driving through Oregon at night, Mulder's compass is spinning around wildly. Oregon is known to have vast composites of lodestone, a mineral that has natural magnetic properties, underground. The compass in the episode behaves in the same manner as one would if a magnet was held directly above or below it.

    • Mulder and Scully first meet on March 6, 1992.

    • Many of the nameplates on the desks in the FBI bullpen bear the names of X-Files crew members.

    • Number: 1121
      The first 11:21 is on Scully's clock at the end of the episode. 11/21/48 is the birth date of Chris Carter's wife, Dori Pierson.

    • Revealing Mistakes: When Mulder and Scully get sent out of the woods by the Sheriff, Gillian Anderson runs into the front bumper of their rental car as she looks back at the sheriff. She does a good job of hiding it in her expression, but if you watch closely, you'll see her walk right into it and then step around it.

    • Plot Hole: When Mulder is first showing Scully stuff about the case, he shows her a molecule and asks if she has seen anything like it before. She says "Well, it's organic..." which would have been complete common knowledge had she been to med-school. Also, it has these "R" groups hanging off to the left. An "R" group is a symbol for "anything". So really, those R groups could be anything, and therefore it doesn't make the chemical unique at all. And Mulder is like, "have you seen this chemical before?" and they both seem bewildered to have never seen it before. There must be a million different chemicals in the world, just because they had never seen it before doesn't mean anything special!

    • Continuity: The first time Scully walks into Mulder's office, we see his "I want to Believe" poster in full view. Later on in the scene, we see papers stacked in front of it.

  • QUOTES (29)

    • Section Chief Blevins: Agent Mulder. What are his thoughts?
      Scully: Agent Mulder believes we are not alone.

    • Section Chief Blevins: Are you familiar with the so-called X-Files?
      Scully: I believe they have to do with unexplained phenomena.
      Section Chief Blevins: More or less. The reason you're here, Agent Scully, is we want you to assist Mulder on these X-Files. You'll write field reports on your activities along with your observations on the validity of the work.
      Scully: Am I to understand that you want me to debunk the X-Files Project, sir?
      Section Chief Blevins: Agent Scully, we trust you'll make the proper scientific analysis.

    • (Phone Rings, Scully picks up)
      Scully: Hello?
      Mulder: Scully, it's me. I haven't been able to sleep, I talked to the DA's office in Raime county Oregon. Theres no case file on Billy Miles, the paperwork we filed is gone. We need to talk Scully.
      Scully: (Hesitant) Yes, tomorrow. (Hangs up)

    • Scully: Billy Miles, a boy who has been in a coma for the last four years got out here and dug up these graves?
      Mulder: Peggy O'Dell was bound to a wheel chair but she ran in front of that truck, look I'm not making this up. It all fits a profile of alien abduction.
      Scully: This fits a profile?
      Mulder: Yeah, Peggy O'Dell was killed at around 9 o'clock, thats right around the time we lost 9 minutes on the high way I think something happened in that 9 minutes I think time as we know it stopped, and something took control over it. (Hangs his head and walks away) You think I'm crazy.

    • Mulder: They're both empty.
      Scully: What's going on here?
      Mulder: I think I know who did it, I think I know who killed Karen Swinson.
      Scully: Who? The Detective?
      Mulder: The Detective's son, Billy Miles.

    • Mulder: Hi.
      Scully: I want you to look at something.
      Mulder: Come on in.
      (Scully enters the room and drops her dressing gown, showing Mulder her back)
      Scully: What are they? Mulder what are they?
      Mulder: Mosquito bites.
      Scully: Are you sure?
      Mulder: Yeah, I got eaten up alive myself out there. You ok?
      Scully: Yes. I need to sit down.
      Mulder: Take your time.

    • (Mulder goes to open the Coffin)
      Coroner: This isn't official procedure.
      Mulder: Really? (Opens coffin, then stands in shock) It's probably a safe bet Ray Soams never made the varsity basketball team.(Turns to Coroner) Seal this up, nobody sees or touches this, nobody!

    • Mulder: Did you happen to read the cause of death?
      Scully: Exposure, his body was found in the woods after escaping the hospital.
      Mulder: Missing for only 7 hours in July. How does a 20 year old boy die of exposure on a warm summer night in Oregon Dr Scully?

    • Scully: The autopsy reports of the first three victims show no unidentified marks or tissue samples, but those reports were signed by a different medical examiner than the latest victim.
      Mulder: That's pretty good Scully.
      Scully: Better than you expected or better than you hoped?
      Mulder: Well, I'll let you know when we get past the easy part.
      Scully: Is the medical Examiner a suspect?
      Mulder: We won't know that until we do a little grave digging, I've arranged to exhume one of the other victims bodies to see if we can get a tissue sample to match the girls, you're not squeamish about that kind of thing are you?
      Scully: I don't know I've never had the pleasure.

    • (Plane hits turbulence. Mulder rolls around with a smile)
      Mulder: This must be the place..

    • Coroner: I put the time of death between 8 and 12 hours ago, no visible cause, no signs of battery or sexual assault. All we have is this.
      (Shows detective two small marks on victim's lower back.)
      Detective: Can we turn her over? (Coroner turns body)Karen Swinson
      Coroner: Is that a positive ID?
      Detective: She went to school with my son.
      Coroner: Would that be the class of '89 detective? It's happening again isn't it?

    • Scully: What happened?
      Mulder: We lost power, brakes, steering, everything. We lost nine minutes.
      Scully: We lost what?
      Mulder: Nine minutes. I looked at my watch just before the flash and it was nine-o-three. It just turned nine-thirteen.
      Scully: Come on.
      Mulder: Gone! Just like that.
      Scully: No, wait a minute. You're saying that, that time disappeared. Time can't just disappear, it's, it's, it's a universal invariant!
      Mulder: Not in this zip code.

    • Scully: Do you have a theory?
      Mulder: I have plenty of theories. Maybe what you can explain to me is why it's bureau policy to label these cases as "unexplained phenomenon" and ignore them. Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?
      Scully: Logically, I would have to say "no." Given the distances needed to travel from the far reaches of space, the energy requirements would exceed a spacecraft's capabilities th...
      Mulder: Conventional wisdom.

    • (Mulder spray paints a large 'X' on the road)
      Scully: What's that?
      Mulder: Probably nothing.

    • Scully: If you have any doubt about my qualifications or credentials, th-
      (Mulder stands and takes out a paper from a pile with his telephone as a paperweight.)
      Mulder: You're a medical doctor, you teach at the Academy. You did your undergraduate degree in physics.
      (He takes off his glasses and looks at the paper.)
      Mulder: "Einstein's Twin Paradox, A New Interpretation. Dana Scully Senior Thesis." Now that's a credential - rewriting Einstein.
      Scully: Did you bother to read it?
      Mulder: I did. I liked it.

    • (Scully knocks on the door that goes into Mulder's office)
      Mulder: Sorry, nobody down here but the F.B.I's most unwanted.

    • Mulder: Billy or what's-his-name said he was sorry he didn't get to say goodbye.
      Scully: How did you know that she had the marks?
      Mulder: Lucky guess?
      Scully: Damn it Mulder, cut the crap. What do you know about this?
      Mulder: What, so you can write it in your little report?
      Scully: I'm here to solve the case just as you.

    • Mulder: Ah you gotta love this place, everyday is like Halloween.

    • (As Mulder and Scully watch the hotel, which is on fire)
      Scully: There goes my computer.

    • Mulder: Our boys came out here, spent a week, enjoyed the local salmon which, with a little lemon twist, is just to die for, if you'll pardon the expression.

    • (After Mulder ID's the killer, Billy)
      Scully: The boy in the hospital? The vegetable?!

    • Scully: Agent Mulder, I'm Dana Scully, I've been assigned to work with you.
      (He shakes her hand)
      Mulder: Oh, isn't it nice to be suddenly so highly regarded? So, who did you tick off to get stuck with this detail, Scully?
      Scully: Actually, I'm looking forward to working with you. I've heard a lot about you.
      Mulder: Oh, really? I was under the impression that you were sent to spy on me.

    • Scully: ...What I find fantastic is any notion that there are answers beyond the realm of science. The answers are there. You just have to know where to look.
      Mulder: That's why they put the "I" in "F.B.I."

    • Third Man: Are you familiar with an agent named Fox Mulder?
      Scully: Yes, I am.
      Third Man: How so?
      Scully: By reputation. He's an Oxford educated Psychologist, who wrote a monograph on serial killers and the occult, that helped to catch Monty Props in 1988. Generally thought of as the best analyst in the violent crimes section. He had a nickname at the academy... Spooky Mulder.

    • Mulder: Eventually, I went off to school in England, I came back, got recruited by the bureau. Seems I had a natural aptitude for applying behavioural models to criminal cases. My success allowed me a certain freedom to pursue my own interests. And that's when I came across the X-Files.
      Scully: By accident?
      Mulder: At first, it looked like a garbage dump for UFO sightings, alien abduction reports, the kind of stuff that most people laugh at as being ridiculous. But I was fascinated. I read all the cases I could get my hands on, hundreds of them. I read everything I could about paranormal phenomenon, about the occult and...
      Scully: What?
      Mulder: There's classified government information I've being trying to access, but someone has been blocking my attempts to get at it.
      Scully: Who? I don't understand.
      Mulder: Someone at a higher level of power. The only reason I've been allowed to continue with my work is because I've made connections in congress.
      Scully: And they're afraid of what? That, that you'll leak this information?
      Mulder: You're a part of that agenda, you know that.
      Scully: I'm not a part of any agenda. You've got to trust me. I'm here just like you, to solve this.

    • Mulder: I was twelve when it happened. My sister was eight. She just disappeared out of her bed one night. Just gone, vanished. No note, no phone calls, no evidence of anything.

    • Mulder: ... in most of my work, the laws of physics rarely seems to apply.

    • Mulder: (about Dr. Nemman's reaction to them) The guy obviously needed a longer vacation.

    • Scully: (answering door) Who is it?
      Mulder: Steven Spielberg.

  • NOTES (20)

    • The only X-Files episode to not have a titles sequence.

    • Unlike his character Fox Mulder, David Duchovny doesn't like sunflower seeds. Chris Carter is overly fond of them, which explains this character's addiction.

    • It was so cold and wet (fake rain) on the night of filming the graveyard episode that the actors could not speak after they shot the scene, they were so frozen.

    • In filming the graveyard scene, several crew members fell into the dug-up graves because it was pitch-dark on the set and had to be sent to the hospital.

    • Where Mulder and Scully's names came from: Mulder is Chris Carter's mother's maiden name. Scully is named after sports announcer Vin Scully. The name Fox belonged to one of Chris Carter's childhood friends - and he had always liked the name. Chris Carter's father's name is William, and it is also David Duchovny's middle name (Scully's father's name was William, Mulder's father's name was William, one of Scully's brothers is named William, Mulder's middle name is William). Chris Carter's mother's name is Catherine (Scully's middle name is Katherine).

    • The time of the autopsy Scully performs is 10:56 (Chris Carter's date of birth is 10/13/56).

    • Director of Photography Thomas Del Ruth was nominated for the ASC Award of the American Society of Cinematographers for his work on this episode.

    • Initially, the executives of FOX weren't sure that Gillian Anderson was the right actress for the part. Even after the pilot was shot, they still felt that the audience wouldn't like Anderson. However, series creator Chris Carter was determined that Anderson was the right choice for the part and could convince the suits over at Fox.

    • Series creator Chris Carter had to pitch the idea for the pilot episode (and the series) twice before FOX gave him the green light to produce the pilot.

    • This episode was filmed in 14 days in March 1993.

    • This episode was shot on a budget of $2 million.

    • Chris Carter has listed Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker as his major influences for the show.

    • Originally, it wasn't creator/writer Chris Carter's idea to have a semi-nude scene with Scully getting ready to take a shower. However, the executives over at FOX felt that a little bit of female nudity wouldn't hurt the ratings and insisted that a scene like that be written into the pilot episode. Chris Carter reluctantly agreed.

    • This episode is preceded by text which reads: "The following story is inspired by actual documented accounts."

    • At one point in the original script Mulder and Scully literally howl at the moon.

    • This episode's plot line gets picked up seven years later in the episode "Requiem."

    • In the scene on the plane, the man sitting behind Scully is David Duchovny's father, Amram Ducovny.

    • The setting for the pilot episode took place in Bellfleur, Oregon. Chris Carter was born in Bellflower, California.

    • The "I Made This" over the TenThirteen logo is spoken by Nathan Courturier, son of the Supervising Sound Editor, Thierry Courturier.

    • Chris Carter's original script for the pilot episode sees Scully with her boyfriend, Ethan Minette, but his scenes were cut from the aired episode.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Scully: (answering door) Who is it?
      Mulder: Steven Spielberg.

      Steven Spielberg is a celebrated science fiction producer and director. He is the most financially successful motion picture director in history. Many of movies are considered all-time classics (e.g. Jaws, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and Schindler's List).

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