The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 17


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Feb 23, 1996 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (17)

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out of 10
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  • A very Good episode about a kind of Hypnotism

    Pusher push thoughts into mind, dangerous lethal aware

    I loved the final explecnation
  • I'm under the influence of this show

    A well done filler episode coming off the big heels of the last episode. The magazine cover of the host was a nice touch, Vince Gilligan likes adding things like that, he wrote a reference to Tombs in a season 2 episode, kind of makes it all fit in a way. The villain is fine, nothing memorable but the acting was all on point especially with Scully during that final scene in the hospital room. I do wish she would have just knocked the dude out instead of trying to talk Mulder.
  • whammy

    Aside from excellent plotting, what makes this and so many other X-Files episodes great are the character moments. My favorite was the look Mulder gives Pusher after someone pulls an alarm. In that efficient moment, he shares Pusher's complete lack of pity. But Scully had a number of great moments too, especially Gillian Anderson's acting during the climax and the line, "Please explain to me the scientific nature of the
  • Pusher

    Pusher was another perfect and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was awesome, well written and played out perfectly. It was interesting to see this phenomenon explored and it was fun watching Mulder match wits with Modell. There was action, drama and intrigue along with character and plot development. The guest cast was stellar as usual. I liked seeing Skinner involved when Modell forces his secretary to attack him. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • Thrilling and emotional with a fast-paced plot and crisp dialogue, "Pusher" is one of the X-Files best standalone episodes.


    "Pusher" does everything right. It takes a very simple idea and spins it into a captivating plot that makes the viewer feel invested in the episode.

    The best part of the episode was hands down the interaction between Mulder and Scully. It was so well done in this episode, being emotional but not too "cutesy." It showed clearly the depth of emotion between these two people, and it effectively worked this emotion into the story without seeming corny or forceful.

    The dialogue was spot on. It was at times funny ("explain to me the scientific definiton of 'the whammy'") and it was at other times deep and moving (Mulder saying "Scu--Scull" as he tried not to shoot her). Sometimes in the X-Files the dialogue seems too heavy-handed or over philosophic, but in this episode it was just right.

    This is a great example of what made the X-Files a great show.

  • One of my favorite X-Files

    What an interesting episode. Robert Modell may not be the usual serial killer but what he does is worse than just killing with his own hands. He messes up with people's minds. Robert Wisden's portrayal of Modell is flawless in what I believe the best (or worst) kind of terror.

    The psychology in this case is simple, someone who was always a nobody becomes great for having this unusual ability to mess up with people's will and minds, but here is when Mulder comes to the rescue and as a psychologist doesn't get involved in the game in that famous but terrifying Russian roulette scene.

    One of my favorite part is the closeness between Mulder and Scully. The touch in the car, the hand touching and the hand holding is just a small indication of how much they need about each other.
  • "Please explain to me the scientific detail of 'the whammy.'"

    For a stand-alone episode of the X-Files, this was an awesome episode. From start to finish, it was engaging and very eerie. The idea of a man being able to have complete control over your choices is a scary one, and Vince Gilligan did a great job here helping us believe in the villain.

    Like "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" earlier this season, this episode didn't need a conspiracy or any government secrets to make it mysterious. Instead, we had a simple cat and mouse-type game between Mulder and Scully and Moddell. When Moddell broke into the FBI and was approached by Skinner, I was thinking about how great the scene works in making us unsure of what will happen. Will Skinner get attacked by him? Will he resist the Pusher's powers? It was just a great scene, the type of scene that Gilligan would use again and again in 'Breaking Bad,' a show that shares nothing in plot but everything in atmosphere.

    And I can't say enough about the relationship between Mulder and Scully. Just like any procedural with a male and female team, it seems like the writers are giving us little tidbits here and there, hinting at the two forming some sort of relationship but never going the full distance. It'd be interesting to see if that would ever happen, but as somebody who has never watched the show before, it's fun not to know.

    Definitely one of the best, if not the best of Season 3.
  • I Wanna Hold Your Hand

    I was surprised by all the glowing reviews for this episode as it seemed pretty average to me. To be sure, this episode was tightly written, nicely paced and well acted (especially by Pusher, who was very good and very believable in his role) but something seemed "missing" to me. Perhaps it's my bias against MOTW episodes, or perhaps I just couldn't buy into the premise. I liked the sense of tension in this episode, culminating in the excellent Russian roulette scene. I thought the resolution of this scene was a bit contrived, however, as it seemed a little convenient that a simple alarm bell would wake Mulder.

    There was an awful lot of handholding going on between Mulder and Scully in this episode. Can a romance be blooming? ;)
  • Pure X-Files gold

    Tense, exciting, and unpredictable. The premise of this episode is very original and completely interesting to me, especially because it defies explanation but cannot be refuted entirely. Mind control and suggestive powers are so within the realm of possibility that it makes for a riveting episode. And it only helps that the guest actor was superb, and clearly someone that DD could play off of very well. The final Russian Roulette scene was an example of X-Files at its finest. The horror and tension of conflict, antagonist versus protagonist, a mixture of sci-fi, and the inevitable test of Mulder and Scully's relationship all wrapped up into one delicious moment. It's ridiculous that anyone could write an episode this good.
  • Wow...

    Modell knew Mulder was the only worthy opponent for him, and thats because his will was strong enough to freaking overcome the pushers "mind control". This episode was totally amazing, and if you didn't know already there is a sequal to it and thats amazing too!
    I have to say this is my favorite monster of the week:)
    The whole thing was exciting, and made me want to watch more, and yes there was some fantastic Mulder-Scully dialogue, which is always great, but thats not what made the episode so amazing, it was the concept, the brilliant acting, and the russian roulette scene. This was just an all around winner, is all i can say, an all around winner.
  • We get some ship!

    Ok, so the majority of this episode is kind of average i guess, but the end is brilliant! We (that is to sat MSR lovers) get some ship! The rest of the episode is about a dude who can make people kill themselves, but he's dying so he confessed and killed again and then got caught. Eventually it all turns out that he wants to talk to Mulder (something about him being a worthy adversary) and so begins the best bit. Mulder says bye to Scully just before he goes in. SHe gets worried, they hold hands and look at each other [!].In the hospital, where Pusher was having his MRI scan, Mulder goes in search of Pusher as obviously he doesn't actually stay in the MRI room because that would just be silly. Anyway, he finds him but then they go to a room and wait for Agent Scully so then they can play russian roulette. Mulder shhots Pusher, nothing happens, Mulder shoots himself which illicits a very worried and slightly sweary response from Scully, but nothing happens. Then Mulder turns the gun on Scully because Pusher is telling him to ( i did mention Pusher was a mind forcer person right? Because Mulder wouldn't just shoot Scully). Cut a long story short she 'cries', he tells her to run, she pulls the fire alarm thing and Mulder shoots Pusher instead. He dies, we assume. Fantastic!
  • didn’t entertain me at all


    Have you ever watched something, and from the very start you know your not gonna like the rest of it? Well that’s what happened to me when I saw “Pusher”. A man escapes after being apprehended for admitting to 14 counts of being hired to kill people. The guy has power to talk to someone and make them do whatever he wants. This could have been a really good episode, as the concept is good but instead it just bored the hell out of me. I know I may seem harsh I some of my reviews of these shows, but Im just telling you how I see it and this didn’t entertain me at all. Avoid.
  • The one with the mind control

    ‘Pusher’ was an interesting episode about a guy who can put his will on others.

    It begins with a guy in a super market buying some stuff but then he is caught by police who are gonna take him to jail. On their way ‘Pusher’ begins to talk to the driver about something blue and suddenly the driver drives against a blue truck and cuts Pusher loose before he dies.

    The other guy who was in the car goes to Mulder and Scully for help, he says that Pusher has killed people but those all look like suicides.

    When Mulder and Scully get a phone cal, they know that he is in the neighbourhood. The cops go after him but Pusher chooses one and makes him turn himself on fire, without any reason and Mulder catches Pusher in a strange condition and tells everything about the murders.

    But when he has to go to the judge, what Mulder says is unbelievable to everyone and Pusher makes the judge believe him when he says that he didn’t do the murders.

    Mulder and Scully go to the guy’s house and find out that he has a brain tumor and with that he can probably control the minds of others, Pusher went to an office and when Skinner found him he made a girl kick Skinner’s ass and later she says that she couldn’t control herself and it was like someone was controlling her.

    When Scully, Mulder and another agent have Pusher on the phone, he talks against the detective’s body and is able to give him a heart attack and kill him, Mulder is pissed off and goes to catch him but when he’s in a hospital the Pusher knocks him out.

    When Scully arrives there she finds them on a table and he mind controls Mulder, he gives Mulder a gun to shoot him first but nothing happens, then Mulder shoots himself and again nothing happens. Then Mulder has to shoot Scully but she runs against the alarm which awakes him and Mulder shoots the Pusher.

    The Pusher will probably never wake up again so everyone is safe.

    The episode was very well acted, too serious for me and a little difficult to come through but it was very good anyway.
  • This was the first episode I ever saw, so I might be a little biased, but this is a great episode.

    This is one of the ones I remember most. This might be because it was the first ones I have ever seen. It got me into "The X-Files," and, as a result, I eventually got into Sci-Fi. But, what can I say? This is a great episode. This is so exciting. At the end of the episode, that game of Russian Rullet was so great. You know Mulder doesn't want to shoot Scully, but you don't know if he has the strength to fight Pusher's will. The fact that they would not kill off one of the main characters does not take away from the excitement. Also, you can see all of the fealings which are going through Scully's mind. The fear for her life, and the sadness that it's Mulder that is pointing the gun at her, even though he is not in control. This is one episode, out of so many, which I will treasure for many years.
  • A tense and thrilling masterpiece.

    Ooh, this is suspense the way it should be. Taut, engrossing, and intelligent. "Pusher" is a classic X-Files episode, one of the best of the series.

    "Pusher" did not begin the Vince Gilligan era for The X-Files (That actually started the previous season with "Soft Light"), but it did bring his writing to the forefront of the series (especially given Darin Morgan's unfortunate departure after this season). Gilligan is an undeniably talented writer. He has a special ability to mix intense suspense with outlandish humor.

    Although "Pusher" is probably a better example of Gilligan's skills in the "suspense" department than the comedic department, his versatility is evident. Take Pusher's line just before he pre-empts the FBI "sting" -- "Let's get this show on the road." And then he rips the velcro. Nice touch, and actually somewhat funny too.

    Or, when Mulder discovers Pusher (or, his "actual" name, Modell): "Bet ya five dollars I get off." Yep, Gilligan can pull out the one liners. This will become very evident in the following seasons.

    For now, though, let's focus on the terrific suspense this episode creates. The Russian Roulette scene, eerily reminiscent of the film The Deer Hunter, was a particular nail biter. And its conclusion utterly stunning and ultimately satisfying. To think that this scene was threatened to be cut -- unbelievable. It was probably in the top 5 of the series -- and that's saying quite a bit.

    Duchovny's performance in this episode was particularly memorable. He played Mulder with a mixture of obsession, repulsion, and intrigue that is nearly impossible to achieve with any degree of believability. To have done it so effortlessly is quite an accomplishment here. Anderson was also terrific, though she had somewhat less material to work with in this one.

    Of course, the real winner in this episode: Robert Wisden as one of the ultimate X-Files villains. He plays Modell with a ferocity that borders on the hysterical -- and yet with an indifference that is clearly apathetic and dangerous. What a terrific guest appearance.

    I absolutely adore this episode. "Pusher" is clear evidence that when The X-Files was in its prime, it is nearly unbeatable television.
  • Pusher is a man who can bend the will of people around him, killing them in the process. He finally finds someone with as strong a will as his, Agent Mulder.

    Pusher is a kill for hire, hypnosis using physcho, who finally finds one as strong willed as he is, Agent Mulder. The episode is one of my absolute favorites. The role of pusher was so well done that he's very convincing. The story line plays out like a good movie, very suspenseful to the very end. Great episode, for all those who think the X-Files are all about aliens...
  • The police arrest a man known as 'Pusher': a murder for hire who 'pushes his will' onto others. In the car he starts serenly talking about the color cerulian blue. Lo &behold the officer drives right in front of a cerulian blue tanker, freeing Pusher, an

    This episode is a classic an episode as there is. It features one of the best "freak of the weeks" in Robert Modell aka Pusher who would go on to reprise his role in the fifth season. What makes this episode so good is the tight plot, great villain, tense climax and some classic Mulder and Scully banter. The plot works so well because it doesn't give everything away at first, but shows enough to intrigue you as you figure things out with Mulder and Scully as the plot progresses.