The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 22


Aired Monday 9:00 PM May 03, 1996 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
326 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When a series of mysterious deaths and disappearances are reported near a lake in a small town, Agents Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate. With local folklore of a killer sea serpent running rampant amongst the locals, the agents must take their search for the truth to the water. But before long the agents find out that there may be more to the legend then they first thought.moreless

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  • creature of the blue lagoon

    A good ol fashioned monster chase. Unlike say "The Host" where the creature was revealed and meant to be big, here were shown nothing and its left to our imagination which is a nice change. You've got a few good side people along the way like the camera man named Ansel (read a history book to get the joke) and a toad licking teenager. Scully and Muldor have a great exchange of ideas together and of course the pet dog that you know is gonna get eaten. Had a fun time seeing this again since childhood, certain scenes coming back to me now. Would have left the ending a bit more open ended but they probably figured we were all thinking the same thing anyway so why not make it definite.moreless
  • Quagmire

    Quagmire was another perfectly entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was intriguing, full of action,drama and character development. It was awesome to watch Mulder and Scully investigate the possibility of a Lake Monster. The actors were perfect in their roles and the story was well written and played out in a very engaging manner. The ending was classic X-Files, leaving something to the imagination. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Scully: "You're so consumed by your personal vengeance against life, whether it be its inherent cruelties or its mysteries, that everything takes on a warped significance in your megalomaniacal cosmology." Mulder: "Scully, are you coming on to me?"moreless

    "Quagmire" combines good characterization with a simple yet bent plot, we get a story that ranks in the top of the third season of The X-Files.

    Mulder drags the very reluctant Scully and her dog, Queequeg, into yet another hare-brained monster-of-the-week story that had all the groan potential of The Invisible Man. People near Huevelman's Lake in the Blue Ridge Mountain section of Georgia are disappearing under circumstances that revive long-simmering rumors of a prehistoric monster living in the remote lake.

    The now-famous Conversation on the Rock opened up more of Fox Mulder than any episode this season. Gillian Anderson was given plenty of material to work with in showing Scully the Materialist broken by the death of her dog. In fact, Scully's grief for Queequeg exceeds the grief she has been allowed to show previously for her partner, her father, and her sister. David Duchovny did a wonderful job of dropping Mulder's boyish mask, allowing him to acknowledge his own fear and vulnerability. In his "peg-leg" speech, Mulder admits to a painfully clear understanding not only of his own obsessive behavior but of how it has warped his life. The only flaw in this otherwise wonderfully fresh look at the partnership was Mulder's hard- hearted reaction to Queequeg's death, as if he is not just unwilling but incapable of relating to Scully's heartache. This is out of character for the normally sensitive Mulder. And as an animal lover, I didn't care for his lack of consoling his partner and friend in her time of grief. I also didn't like how quickly Scully herself seems to get over her dog's untimely death. If they had at least faded to black with Mulder comforting her as they sit quietly in her room, then we could have picked up the story the following night or maybe even two nights later. At least let some time pass. A little more respect for Queequeg is all I ask.

    This is a story about survival: not just the survival of Rana sphenocephalus, or Big Blue, or even our own species. It is a look at what it takes to be a survivor. The answer is surprising, as it rejects the archetypal mold of the hero as lone gunman, standing up single-handed to adversity and overcoming it. That frontier hero mold must give way in these latter days to the urban hero who knows how to cooperate and who knows how to forge alliances. Mulder not only admits he is lost, but asks for directions (a new heroic paradigm indeed). A Boy Scout leader who strays from the group ends up as a floating corpse. When Ansel Bray goes off to photograph Big Blue alone, he gets gobbled up. The message here is clearly that the loner is doomed, and the only safety is in community, union, partnership. In other words, without Scully, Mulder would end up just like Ansel. She is his rock, symbolized by the mysterious, and seemingly out of nowhere, rock in the middle of the lake.

    The real punch line of "Quagmire" is that Mulder, in fact, finds and kills a survivor from the Age of Reptiles. We forget, in our search for the more dramatic and less familiar T. Rexes and Nessies, that their cousins are still here, still surviving, and still hungry. The alligator he shoots is no less a lake-dwelling monster than a plesiosaur would have been. And I will confess that the alligator came totally out of nowhere, for me. It's beautiful. The giant alligator supports Scully's materialistic worldview, yet does not destroy Mulder's own vision of his Questing Beast, his symbol of hope that there is more to the world than appears on the surface. Although all that was sort of ruined by the the final shot of Big Blue breaking the surface. Which I wish they hadn't done. But all in all this quirky X-File, with its ruggedly beautiful setting, clever twist, and strong characters earns it high marks from me.moreless
  • "I still have the urge to fire."

    Here's a stand-alone episode that has nothing to do with aliens or government conspiracies but succeeds mostly because of the scenes between Mulder and Scully. Sure, there was a pretty cool story behind it all, and there were a few big shocks, but for the most part, I found myself more excited by the chance to see Mulder and Scully have a heart-to-heart with one another and connect more. Here are two characters that seem to be completely different yet connect so easily.

    The underlaying plot involves Mulder and Scully searching for a beast called "Big Blue" inside of a lake that has apparently been killing people. It's a pretty simple idea but it's increased by the way the writers were willing to go in different directions with it. We're never given any concrete proof to lend credence to this beast. People are dying, sure, but there's zero proof. In fact, while there was a clear-cut climatic scene near the end of the episode, the most intense and interesting part of the episode comes from a conversation between Mulder and Scully after they're stranded on a rock. They discuss cannibalism, the relation between Mulder and Ahab and we even get a callback to Scully's father and her nickname (Starbuck).

    For me, this was just a well-written episode that ended in a satisfying enough way. I was pleasantly surprised by it.moreless
  • "All this moving around from crime scene to crime scene is giving me highway hypnosis."

    "Quagmire" features Queequeg, Scully's dog, and the title can't be a coincidence. (How many words can you think of with both a "Q" and a "G"?) There is much to love about the episode. Start with the stunning BC scenery. Add the legend of Big Blue, a Nessie wannabe complete with cute likenesses on billboards and atop tourist shops. Plus we get to see Clyde Bruckman's dog again, adopted by Scully and seen also in "War of the Coprophages." Then there is the rapid fire body count... never a dull moment as bodies float ashore and turn up in the woods. And we get plenty of character development as Scully gets exasperated with Mulder and likens him to Captain Ahab (although I could have done without her calling him "megalomaniacal." Mulder? I think not.). The final scene is a great one, tying together both episode themes and the series' themes in one big blue bow.

    This is "X-Files" at its second tier best... "Quagmire" doesn't rate as high as the classics but features all the broad stokes that make this show what it is.moreless
Timothy Webber

Timothy Webber

Dr Paul Farraday

Guest Star

Chris Ellis

Chris Ellis

Sheriff Lance Hindt

Guest Star

R. Nelson Brown

R. Nelson Brown

Ansel Bray

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Scully: You know, Mulder, you are Ahab.
      Mulder: You know, its interesting you should say that, because I've always wanted a peg leg. It's a boyhood thing I never grew out of. I'm not being flippant; I've given this a lot of thought. I mean, if you have a peg leg or hooks for hands then maybe it's enough to simply keep on living. You know, bravely facing life with your disability. But without these things you're actually meant to make something of your life, achieve something earn a raise, wear a necktie. So if anything I'm actually the antithesis of Ahab, because if I did have a peg leg I'd quite possibly be more happy and more content not to be chasing after these creatures of the unknown.
      Scully: And that's not flippant?
      Mulder: No. Flippant is my favourite line from Moby Dick. Hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple dumpling. Yeah.
      (Scully smiles, finishing the line with Mulder)
      Scully: What was that?
      Mulder: I don't know, but it ain't no duck.

    • (Scully's dog starts barking in the back seat)
      Scully: Nature's calling, I think we should pull over.
      Mulder: Did you really have to bring that thing?
      Scully: You wake me up on a Saturday morning, tell me to be ready in five minutes, my mother is out of town, all of the dog sitters are booked and you know how I feel about kennels. So, unless you want to lose your security deposit on the car, I suggest you pull over.

    • Scully: They're fictional creatures, Mulder. Folktales born out of some collective fear of the unknown.
      Mulder: A folktale that quite possibly ate a biologist and a Boy Scout leader.

    • Mulder: Hey Scully, do you think you could ever cannibalize someone? I mean if you really had to.
      Scully: Well, as much as the very idea is abhorrent to me, I suppose under certain conditions a living entity is practically conditioned to perform whatever extreme measures are necessary to ensure its survival. I suppose I'm no different.
      Mulder: You've lost some weight recently, haven't you?
      Scully: Yes, yes I have. Thanks for n-- (Scully glares at Mulder and he laughs)

    • Scully: We eat fish and fish eat us.
      Mulder: Are fish also known for eating half and saving half for later?

    • Scully: What was that?
      Mulder: It ain't no bass...

    • Scully: You know in the old mariners maps the cartographers would designate uncharted territories by writing "Here be monsters"
      Mulder: Well I got a map of New York City just like that.

    • Scully: You're so consumed by your personal vengeance against life, whether it be its inherent cruelties or mysteries, everything takes on a warped significance to fit your megalomaniacal cosmology.
      Mulder: Scully, are you coming on to me?

  • NOTES (7)

    • The boat that sinks out from under Mulder and Scully is the Patricia Rae, named after writer Kim Newton's mother.

    • Tyler Labine and Nicole Parker return as Stoner and Chick. They first appeared in "War of the Coprophages".

    • Mulder's speech about wanting a wooden leg in order to justify not having to work so hard in life comes straight out of Berne's pop psychology bible "Games People Play".

    • Millikan County is named after Rick Millikan, a casting director for the show.

    • Most of the third act (know to most X-Philes as the Conversation on the Rock) was written by none other than an uncredited Darin Morgan ("Humbug", "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", "War of the Copropahges", "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'"), his last writing job for the show.

    • Scully obtained Queequeg after the dog's former owner died in "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", in which the little beast dines on the old lady's entrails. Queequeg also makes a screen appearance in "War Of The Coprophages", getting and escaping from the midst of a flea bath.

    • Scully's dog is named Queequeg after the harpoonist in "Moby Dick", a story her father read to her when she was growing up. Their nicknames for each other (Ahab and Starbuck) come from the same book.


    • Episode Title: Quagmire

      A quagmire is described as a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot. This would describe the surrounding area where 'Big Blue' was believed to be.