The X-Files

Season 1 Episode 19


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 01, 1994 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (14)

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out of 10
417 votes
  • Did I watch the same episode as other reviewers on this thread??

    I'm not getting the low ratings, as this episode was a season 1 class act and over the years has been one of my most watched. To address a previous post: the caged mountain lion was a metaphor for western culture. We take advantage of our world's furry inhabitants and resources while North American aboriginal tribes have a 1000+ year history of living in harmony with them. I found the beast to be rather convincing. Remember folks: this was the early 90's and special effects were still fairly low tech. I found the director more than made up for any visual shortcomings with solid sound effects and an enormously creepy (and multi-layered) growl. I think the score, lighting and acting were also strong, and disagree with the notion that the script was poorly written. The whole episode feels like I'm sitting around a campfire listening to aboriginals convey ancient myths. Seldom does a bad script make you feel that way, even if the other aforementioned elements are superb. The battle between Mulder's empiricism and Scully's delusion was EPIC. It was also cool to see Donnelly Rhodes (grew up to the beachcombers). Oh, and that shaman was UBER COOL!!! One of my highest ratings from season 1.
  • A shapeshifter

    Here we get a shaoeshifter killer, indians, no conspiracy . We get to know a lot about howindian myths are maybe true.
  • Shapes

    Werewolves, at least for me, always end up on great projects. Beings of unimaginable power and killer instincts uncontrollable, disruptive meat and people born killers, who then become men again, without the slightest awareness of his actions later (perhaps a metaphor for the times when the man is taken away by hatred and loss of reason?), are something of intense fascination. It would not take long for such creatures approached the series with a good dose of science and indigenous culture and, of course, very suspenseful. The lycanthropy, which in the scientific sphere is the disorder of man behave like a wild animal, here is highlighted by the mythical sphere and reports the existence of an ancient evil spirit of Indian folklore that possesses bodies and transmuted into literal werewolves, thirsty by blood and wild ecstatic energy. Even though simplistic, the portrait of the conflicted relationship of cities and Indian reservations is quite good, incremented by several problems, confrontation of interests and some deaths. The highlight here is the creation of atmosphere, with the cold atmosphere of the city simultaneously with the forest, unknown and obscure, harboring the imminent danger of the monster attack. The final scene is excellent, leading us to the fullest in a dark house full of stuffed animals and instant appearances, but the other attack scenes are not very good, always shaky and blurry (but the processing is excellent, no doubt). In an episode about a creature so extraordinary, impressive attention not to him but a cold environment for all and macabre where Scully and Mulder are always prepared to try to uncover the crux of the issues.
  • Shapes

    Shapes was a perfect episode of The X-Files and I really enjoyed watching because the story was awesome, well written, and based on Native American Legends. There was a lot of character development and intriguing story lines leading to the conclusion. Though we were not shown every thing the creature's facial features were pretty well done. I liked the directing and editing style of this episode. I was very entertained and happy to experience this episode. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • If you can't see the "twist" you're dumber than a box of rocks.

    My word. This is horrible. Which bit to choose for special scrutiny? The hideous and grating Gwen. Her brother's just died and you can't help wishing she'd follow suit. The stereotypical “indians” distrusting the FBI and being all sort of “not of our ways”. The pet mountain lion. Just why?

    This is horrible writing, beginning to end. The dialogue is forced. And there's nothing more frustrating than spending ten to twenty five minutes mocking Mulder and Scully because it's so painfully obvious what's going on that your average frog spawn has sussed it. But at least that's some sort of emotion. Good grief, I empathised most with that stuffed head that got exploded. Or maybe the killer teddy that tried to escape from the bathroom. Either way, I was more scared by Were Bears when I was a kid. At least they were vaguely engaging.
  • Not too shapely

    It’s a difficult thing to pull off – the convincing werewolf story – as it’s going to stand or fall on how convincing the beast actually looks. On that basis, “Shapes” is a guarded success, seeing as we don’t actually see the creature at all. There’s a momentary shot of furry arm and some running carpet thing, but generally “The X Files” obviously thought better of blowing their budget on something that wasn’t going to win anybody over. So they shot it in darkness. (Ironic that the show’s reputation for darkness can often be traced to budgetary constraints rather than stylistics.) As I’ve said, werewolf stories are difficult ones to put across, and this one ups the ante by putting it within the context of native American folklore. It certainly adds a more mystical spin to the story, while the land rights feud adds an element of motivation and realism to the piece. Little is made of the standard of life on the Indian reservation, though the telling social details are there should you choose to look for them. Pity then that our 2 agents seem singularly uninvested in the proceedings. Perhaps because it’s near the end of a lengthy season and they’re tired. Perhaps the clearly appalling weather conditions had gotten them down, but neither Duchovny or Anderson seem all that interested in the story unfolding. This should be a Mulder piece, following the very first X File, and being recognised by the Indian elder as having a receptiveness to the strange events. But Duchovny pretty much just lets it slide, while Anderson just chugs along in her very large chunky boots. In terms of the mystery itself, there isn’t really much of one. It always pretty obvious that the son is now the beast, and that we’re going to have another Scully in danger situation. Where this episode scores, it’s on atmosphere. There are a couple of moody shots that are tremendously evocative: a longshot of the funeral pyre with the misty rain-soaked forests behind it is beautiful to behold, while the actual night-time burning of the pyre is very effective too. The episode ends not with a tease as well but with a loving shot of the forests still guarding their primeval secrets. That’s probably more scary than any of the rather corny Lon Chaney stuff we saw in the rest of the episode. 5/10
  • The first xfile a true piece of history

    The first xfile was of shapeshifters most of us would like to call werewolves. This epp starts out on a farm where a white man and an indian man are fighting over the land. One day the white man's cattle are being attack he shoots at a monster attacking his son, but when he gets closer he sees an indian man the one he'd been fighting with dead. Mulder and scully come to investigate. they find out that the indian man john goodensnake (I think) had fangs that weren't present on his dental records. mulder thought this proved his theory
  • Warewolfs

    This was a good episode. The story was about warewolfs in a small town. Mulder and Scully investigate when a farmer kills a man who he said was a creature, as the mystery unravels it becomes clear that the dead body was a warewolf. But Scully cannot examine the body due to Indian traditions so eventually the agents work out that the man who was scrached by the creaure will also becomw one. So this leaves Scully in danger, luckily Mulder gets there in time and saves Scully. But she is still in disbelief of Mulders story. Overall i thought that this was just a noraml episode. Not very much happened but it wasn't bad...
  • Scully is NOT stupid

    Just thought I'd throw that out there first, since a few of the reviewers here seem hell-bent on ragging on Scully for her scientific beliefs. Is it so hard to understand that perhaps it's harder to simply relinquish lifelong beliefs because you've seen a few things? Most of the things she's "seen" have been inconclusive. It's usually Mulder who does all the seeing, and Scully who runs up to him later and listens to his explanation/theory. For example, in Lazarus, Mulder's theory is believable, but so is her explanation of some sort of extreme post-traumatic stress and the stress of having a case go wrong. In Beyond the Sea, her visions could have been fabricated from her mind and maybe Boggs was really in on it with Lucas. There are always available scientific explanations - that's exactly why Mulder can't seem to prove his theories. There're always "better" explanations out there, and partnering with Scully has helped him see that. That's why he respects her. Do you think he would put up with her if what she was doing was blindly spouting science?

    She has an open mind. She allows him to express his theories. And sometimes, she finds herself thinking that maybe he is right. BUT. Her first instinct is to find the reasonable explanation. And I wouldn't fault her for that, even if she kept it up all series long.

    As for this episode, it's a great one. I really liked the guest stars - that's some quality acting for you.
  • Skully is stupid

    “Shapes” s a great episode about lycanthropy, (basically werewolves). Mulder and Skully investigate murders in an American Indian reserve. And that’s really all I can say about this episode, apart from that even when Skully does see a man sized werewolf she says “mountain lion”, Wtf? Wake up and smell the coffee love, you’ve see all sorts, including a man who can squeeze in to a real small space, a bank robber come back in your ex- partner and the government wipe you current partners memory. So people are so thick. Anyhow apart from Skully’s ignorance this is a good episode.
  • Even though I liked the episode, I don't think there was anything new or series-driven about this one.

    Although this is based on the story of the Manitou - a classic shape-shifter - I don't think was the least bit suspense here. Anyone who has seen any werewolf film knows what happens when you get clawed, bitten etc. So the final 'villain' of the piece is no surprise whatsoever. And as with other werewolf/shapeshifter stories, there's an element of sympathy, because the person didn't ask to be ripping open his nearest and dearest with his teeth!

    I'm also worried about the whole Indian Reservation understory. I know some of these legends do go back to ancient times, and I'm not trying to be terribly PC, but this seems like an episode that could have been equally well made without any reference to Native Americans at all. Somehow it just seemed they were there to provide 'colour' and possible menace. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm quite happy to be.

    Still, it was interesting without being particularly original.
  • Mulder & Scully investigate a murder involving a Native American reservation, finding some eerie clues that lead towards something not quite human nor animal on the prowl.

    A decent story, parting from the usual alien-oriented episodes, and drawing from typical Native American legendry. Despite the factual errors, the story still draws from the essence of Indian culture, and manages to mix well with the creepy mysteries of the X-Files. The ending was done well, with a nice twist to it, and it was enjoyable to have a story that was a little more "down to earth" than the usual UFOs and Government Conspiracies.
  • The one with the Indian legend

    This episode is awesome, if I could be ONE demon or monster or whatever I should chose a werewolf. okay sure, the monster in this episode wasn't a werewolf cause It didn't need the full moon but it was more like a wolf human or whatever, who doesn't love to wake up naked on the street?

    The teaser was a bit cheesy with a guy being attacked by some monster (which was badly directed) and then an old man comes with his gun and shoots the monster to death and when they go look at what they killed turns out to be a human, an Indian to be more specific. Indians are tight.

    Mulder and Scully go to investigate the murder and they think that The Old man shot the Indian because he was on his property but the boy says that it was some sort of monster what he saw and the guy was cut or whatever (*hint* *hint*)

    Mulder finds in the murder place some sort of skin and he thinks that the attacker was probably someone who could change into a wolf. When they investigate the body of the dead Indian they see that he has long, vampire looking teeth and she is also scratched on his chest.

    Anyway, later in the episode The old man gets attacked by the same monster and guess what, the next morning his son was found naked close to his dead dad only he can't remember a thing (could it be MORE obvious? I’m thinking no) But they still believe it was the sister of the dead Indian 'Gwen'. And some old Indian tells Mulder about an old Indian legend and that he had seen a human turn into a wolf.

    The same day that boy (who is pretty good looking) is released from the hospital and Scully takes him home where he soon gets sick and turns into a wolf (that looked very cool, and well done. specially cause this was done in 1993) but the poor wolf gets shot to death by the sheriff and then they see that it was the poor guy, only dead.

    The episode is pretty cool and probably misunderstood, the effects were awesome except for the scenes where The guy gets attacked and when the old man gets killed. I really liked those Indians, I wouldn't mind to be one. The episode is definitely worth watching and interesting.
  • Not nearly as gripping as most X-files.

    This episode would have been intriguing if it was told better. It had many redeemable aspects, however, the climax could be easily guessed through most of the episode. Once, it was revealed that John Goodensnake's body had a scratch on it and that it was the reason he became a manitou, it isn't hard to guess that the rancher's son, who was shown with a scratch in the beginning of the episode, would undergo a similar transformation. It also didn't help that he disappeared and that they found him naked in a ditch. The whole episode was basically a native american retelling of the wolfman legend, while it could have been so much more.
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