The X-Files

Season 2 Episode 4


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 07, 1994 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
354 votes

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Episode Summary

Mulder reluctantly accepts a new partner, Agent Alex Krycek, and requests a strange case because someone put an audio tape in his morning paper. When his request is granted they investigate the deaths of several Green Beret soldiers who participated in a sleep deprivation experiment during the Vietnam war. But before long it becomes clear that not one of these men have slept in over 20 years.moreless

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  • Sleepless

    Sleepless was another perfect episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story blended all the elements that make this show fun to watch. There was action and drama, intrigue and mystery. It was interesting to meet Agent Krycek and to see Mulder meet X. Scully of course helps the case Krycek and Mulder are working on. The story about the soldiers was interesting and a great concept. I loved the ending when Krycek met with shadowy figures presumably higher ups in the F.B.I. and it was interesting to see the Cigarette smoking man among them. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Cute not so innocent agent Krycek

    Krycek is soooo hot! okay now that im done with that-

    Mulder reluctantly accepts a new partner, Agent Alex Krycek, and requests a strange case because someone put an audio tape in his morning paper. When his request is granted they investigate the deaths of several Green Beret soldiers who participated in a sleep deprivation experiment during the Vietnam war. But before long it becomes clear that not one of these men have slept in over 20 years. mulder and krycek have an uncomfortable relationship. mulder doesn't like krycek, and krycek is sick of being ditched like someones bad date.moreless
  • We meet Krycek... And his hidden agenda

    Trust no one. It seemed like Mulder didn't follow this advice when he meets Krycek and isn't careful enough to hide the top secret documents in a safer place. The whole story about creating better soldiers by don't allowing them to sleep ever again is not that bad at all. But I guess is physically impossible since sleep in basic in human beings life. But again, it's believable and it was well written.

    Mulder continues to look for Scully's opinion and approval and she looks eager to help him, to not let him get "lost".

    So Krycek is not who we think he is (and he is a coward). Mulder made a huge mistake in taking him to Scully. He's with Cancer Man, and the tattletale tells CSM that Scully is a problem. "Every problem has a solution" is his answer. And he will take care of it.

    Mulder knew what was coming, he knew something bad was going on and he wasn't careful.moreless
  • Good acting

    This episode has some interesting aspects. It introduces Kryceck, and marks the first on-screen appearence of X.

    I like Nicholas Lea's performance in this episode. He plays Kryceck as a rookie who is eager to prove himself, and almost overplays that aspect of the character. Which works well, since Kryceck really isn't who Mulder thinks he is. So what you end up with is Lea doing an excellent job of portraying Kryceck, doing a good but not excellent job of pretending to be green.

    I also really like the scene with X in this episode. I like that right from the start he is portrayed differently from Deep Throat. Deep Throat was always calm and fatherly towards Mulder, and had a lot of information which he had held for years and years. X is a lot younger for one thing, which means it would have been odd to see him act fatherly, and it's evident that he hasn't had all the information that he has for as long as Deep Throat had. And I like that he isn't as calm as his predecessor; he is slightly irritated and clearly a bit scared. It makes him a very human character. He is afraid of ending up like Deep Throat and is clearly helping Mulder for some other reason than to be helpful to Mulder in particular. The character is well written, a great replacement for Deep Throat, and Steven Williams is brilliant in his scene.

    As for the rest of the episode, the plotline is interesting enough. I like the plotlines that deal with things that aren't necessarily paranormal, and this episode had a touch of that as well as of paranormal things. Tony Todd was interesting to see in his role. But it felt a bit like the case storyline didn't get as much time as it needed. Though since the episode also included the things with Kryceck and X that is understandable.moreless
  • Pivotal stuff

    There is a little moment in the midst of the excitement of this thrilling episode (no 4 in Season 2, and the fourth excellent episode in a run) that cuts through the plot and reveals the human side of “The X Files”. Mulder and Scully are having one of their inevitable cellphone conversations when she comments that his new partnership with rookie agent Alex Krycek seems to be working out well and he quips back that it’s nice not having everything he does questioned. And then the two of them lapse into a short silence as they both realise how desperately much they miss each other. No huge chunks of expository dialogue required, just a short silence that tells us acres of information about how close these two agents have become. And this is further underlined when at the end of the episode, Scully asks Mulder if he trusts his new informant and Mulder can’t answer – the implication being all too clear that there is only one person he can trust. Which is all for the better really, considering that this episode ends with what can only be described as a shocking revelation. But we’ll come back to that.

    There’s a hell of a lot going on in “Sleepless” that it’s to everyone’s credit that it’s all accomplished within the 45 minute timeframe. Not content with treating us to a truly enthralling X File about some Vietnam vets, operated on during the war, who have had their ability to sleep surgically removed, the episode premise broadens out to encompass just where such a “gift” might take you. The hallucinatory quality of Augustus Cole’s predicament (and only him, mind, none of the other vets are so hellbent on revenge to have acquired this skill) adds yet another wrinkle to the plot. One too many, some might argue, but not really. It adds some justification to his murderous spree. Whilst also giving us some cool ways for people to die. (As a footnote, the fact that the sleepless soldiers experiment can ultimately be judged to be a failure makes an interesting counterpoint to the more successful experiment of supersoldiers which is Season 9’s mytharc.)

    On top of this, we have the introduction of Krycek. Mulder of course is almost hostilely resistant to the idea of being given another agent to work with, especially one so apparently green. But the truth of the matter is that Skinner was well within his rights to give the case to Krycek seeing as he genuinely unearthed it, and didn’t spuriously come across it thanks to some anonymous tip-off in the way that Mulder did. Krycek himself is keen and persistent and proves to be sufficiently dogged in his attempts to keep up with Mulder that he has to relent and let him in. Interestingly, when Mulder does expound his wacko theory, Krycek’s reaction is not one of scepticism but of acceptance. More interestingly, this doesn’t enthuse Mulder. It’s almost as if he needs Scully’s resistance and questioning attitude to help him enlarge and strengthen his own theories. Furthermore, into the heady mix concocted for this episode, we have the first appearance of X, Mulder’s new high-echelon informant. In only one scene, actor Steven Williams brings a brutish intensity to his part. Gone is the avuncular chumminess of Deep Throat, X seems like a much more dangerous and subversive character. What Mulder must make of him can only be surmised, for he’s not yet at liberty to trust him, though the file that X hands over is crucial in the cracking of the case. Except the case is not cracked. Augustus Cole may now finally be able to sleep, but all evidence from both Mulder and Scully’s ends of the investigation disappear, leaving them with nothing. Quite why this particular case warrants such close attention from the mysterious powers that be is rather odd, and presumably Skinner would be wondering what his two newly assigned agents have been working on, but that is all actually immaterial. It opens the door to a piece of double-crossing subterfuge that none of us saw coming. Krycek is working in league with the Cigarette Smoking Man. Not only that, but they are working together to destroy the X Files and presumably Mulder himself. With the disbandment of the X Files at the end of Season 1, we all naturally assumed that this was merely a temporary measure and that Mulder and Scully would be together again. Indeed it hasn’t proved to be too big an impediment thus far. But Krycek’s chilling words to CSM that “Scully is a much larger problem” (she certainly is at 8 months pregnant!) indicate that there is now a very real element of danger. Now we are really uncertain about the fate of our two lead characters. So “Sleepless” is an instrumental – and riveting – episode in laying down the groundwork for the next few episodes and the introduction of the show’s mythology, when the programme would attain some extraordinary creative heights. 9/10moreless
Mitchell Kosterman

Mitchell Kosterman

Detective Horton

Guest Star

Don Thompson

Don Thompson

Henry Willig

Guest Star

David Adams

David Adams

Dr Girardi

Guest Star

William B. Davis

William B. Davis

Cigarette Smoking Man

Recurring Role

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

Nicholas Lea

Nicholas Lea

Agent Alex Krycek

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Mulder: There's been a mistake here. Another agent's been attached to the case.
      Krycek: That would be me. I'm Krycek. Alex Krycek.

    • Krycek: Reassigning them to other areas seems to have only strengthened their determination. Scully's a problem. A much larger problem than you described.
      CSM: Every problem has a solution.

    • Mulder: Who are you?
      X: Who I am is irrelevant.
      Mulder: Why are you trying to help me?
      X: You think I want to be here, Agent Mulder? I don't want to be here.

    • Mulder: All right, what do you want to know?
      Krycek: What's the truth? There are things you're not telling me that I need to know.
      Mulder: It's just that my ideas usually aren't very popular.
      Krycek: I told you, I want to believe. But I need a place to start.

    • Scully: Sounds like your new partner's working out.
      Mulder: He's all right. He could use a little more seasoning and some wardrobe advice. But he's a lot more open to extreme possibilities than. . .
      Scully: Than I was?
      Mulder: . . .than I assumed he would be.
      Scully: Must be nice not having someone question your every move, poking holes in all your theories.
      Mulder: Oh yeah, it's---it's great. I'm surprised I put up with you so long.

    • Mulder: So how do I contact you?
      X: You can't
      Mulder: I may still need more.
      X: You still don't get it, do you? Closing the X-Files, separating you and Scully was only the beginning. The truth is still out there, but it's more dangerous. The man we both knew paid for that information with his life, a sacrifice I'm not willing to make.

    • Mulder: What is this?
      X: Data from a top secret military project. Borne of the idea that sleep was the soldiers' greatest enemy.
      Mulder: Of course. Someone was conducting sleep deprivation experiments on Parris Island.
      X: Not deprivation, eradication.
      Mulder: Why?
      X: Why else? To build a better soldier. Sustained wakefulness dulls fear, heightens aggression. Science had just put a man on the moon. So they looked to science to win a losing war.
      Mulder: And Willig and Cole were the lab rats.
      X: Lab rats with the highest kill ratio in the marine corps. 4,000 plus confirmed kills for a thirteen man squad.

    • Mulder: What's this scar right here?
      Krycek: According to his medical history, the only surgery he ever had was an appendectomy.
      Mulder: Well, unless they got to his appendix through his neck...

    • Krycek: Hey, I don't appreciate being ditched like someone's bad date
      Mulder: I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings.
      Krycek: Where do you get off copping this attitude? You don't even know the first thing about me.
      Mulder: Exactly.
      Krycek: You know, back at the academy, some of the guys used to make fun of you.
      Mulder: Oh stop it, or you'll hurt my feelings.

    • Nurse: This patient's night terrors prevent him from cycling out REM sleep into the more restful slow wave sleep. It's still experimental, but what we're trying to do is modify his brain wave patterns externally.
      Mulder: How do you do that?
      Nurse: Electrical stimulation of the occipital lobe creates simply visual and auditory hallucinations.
      Mulder: So it's actually possibly to alter somebody's dreams?
      Nurse: In theory, yes.

    • Mulder: Listen, I appreciate the show and tell, and I don't want you to take this personally, but I work alone.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Mitch Kosterman reprises his role of Detective Horton from 'Genderbender'.

    • At the end of the episode, Tony Todd's character Cole contemplates suicide by jumping onto a rusty, sharp pole from 40 feet. This is exactly the same way Tony Todd's character dies in the movie The Rock.

    • Writer/Producer Howard Gordon recommended Nicholas Lea for the part of Alex Krycek after seeing him perform in Season 1's "Genderbender."

    • The close ups of Mulder that were used during the scene where he first meets X were filmed with Natalia Nogulich, the actress originally cast as X when the character was going to be a woman. The shots of Steven Williams were added later. During some of the close ups of Mulder you can easily see the actress's hair shadow for a split second.

    • The name of "Krycek" comes from the Russian and Czech word "Krysa" meaning "Rat." This may be one of the reasons behind Nicholas Lea's affectionate nickname "Ratboy."

    • This episode features X's first appearance in person. In "The Host," X only appeared on the phone.


    • Character Name: Saul Grissom

      Saul Grissom has the same last name as American astronaut Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom (1926-1967). Saul Grissom dies after being trapped in his apartment during an apparent fire. Gus Grissom and two other astronauts (Ed White and Roger Chaffee) died after being trapped in the Apollo 1 spacecraft during the 1967 launchpad fire.

    • Character Name: George Hale

      When Scully's class is interrupted by the news that there is a phone call for her, the caller's name (it's actually Mulder) is given as Dr. George Hale. George Ellery Hale, Sc.D., Ph.D., LL.D. is, apparently, one of Mulder's heroes. In Little Green Men, Mulder tells Scully that Hale believed that his best ideas were whispered into his ears by elves, and that his (Mulder's) own life had been a struggle to hear, believe and verify what his own elves were trying to tell him. Hale was one of the most influential astronomers of all time. He won numerous scientific awards, founded two observatories and mentored Edwin Hubble, discoverer of the expanding universe phenomenon and namesake of the space telescope.