The X-Files

Season 2 Episode 23

Soft Light

Aired Monday 9:00 PM May 05, 1995 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
328 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When people start disappearing, and the case is shoved in her general direction, Detective Kelly Ryan, one of Scully's former students, turns to her old teacher for assistance. Mulder's theories, in fact his very presence, become more and more un-welcome as the body count continues to mount in his general vicinity. Mulder's growing disinclination to share his thoughts on the case in the face of Ryan's- and Scully's!-evident skepticism doesn't endear him to the woman, either.moreless

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  • Mulder and Scully try to find a man who's shadow is killing people.

    This was a good X file episode because a man called Dr Banton has a shadow and if people step into it they will disappear into a black hole.As Mulder and Scully try to catch up to him Mulder is tricked by X who pretended not to know him but he really used Mulder to give away his location and Mulder tells him that they are finished.We see a lot of X in this episode and trying to get to Dr Banton maybe killing his business partner but that remains unknown.X tries to fake the death of Dr Banton but in the end he is seen locked up and X is there with a doctor investigating him.moreless
  • Soft Light

    Soft Light was a great episode of the X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was pretty interesting and there was some great character and plot development. It was fun watching Mulder be ganged up on by Scully and her former student when they seem to want to dismiss most of his ideas. It was awesome seeing the mysterious X playing a role in what happened and seeing him interact with Mulder. The ending was good if not a little scary in some ways. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • *SPOILERS* It's a black hole shadow gourmand, will only snack on humans... Who would have thought...

    So ok, basic premise is interesting. The concept of not stepping on someone's shadow for whenever reason is a classic children's game that atleast I played when I was little. And to take that concept and having have such dire consequences is intriguing. We're just not used to minding our shadows so it presents an interesting dilemma. And I do like how the victims get sucked in like that. Swoosh and gone.

    However, the show has major problems. One thing that a show need is to not be stupid. The second thing is keep track of your techno-babble. This episode did neither. I can't understand how it's is possible for the person who broke it to not see the problem with first claiming that the shadow is a black hole and then having it suck in nothing but humans. It's freaking retarded. What makes it especially frustrating is that they could have alleviated this whole issue by having these lines spoken somewhere during the episode:

    "But why are only humans affected? Why not any kind of matter"

    "I don't know."

    There, problem solved! Or they could have steered away from the techno-babble altogether, could have had magic being the reason. Magic allows anything to happen. Again problem solved!

    But this wasn't done... And therefore this is stupid... God dammit, I hate stupidity in shows...moreless
  • Mulder and Scully look after a man who kills people with his shadow

    By all means, this was a great premise for an X-Files episode, and the episode gets from Point A to Point B very well, but if anything, this plot was something that may have warranted more than 45 minutes. The power that Tony Schaloub's character has here is more powerful than anything that Mulder and Scully have experienced up until this point in the show, and I hope we get more time with the character.

    What worked the best for me was Mulder's tug-of-war game with "X," the man who replaced Deep Throat after he died. It's extremely intriguing to try and figure out X's motives and whether or not he is good or bad. I'm assuming he's good after the last scene, but that doesn't mean his motives are good. It should be interesting to see what happens to him throughout the show.

    This episode was better than a lot of the episodes from the earlier half of the season. If anything, the second half of the season has provided a much needed boost to the earlier half, which was lagging a little bit after Scully returned from her abduction. Things are finally seeming to pick up.moreless
  • Just going through the motions.

    Watching this episode, I felt like I was just rewatching clips of previous episodes all strung together. The premise was not interesting, let alone intriguing or thrilling. It was a mundane explanation about a man whose shadow was affected by his experimentations. Not only were certain scenes lifted straight from old episodes, but the chemistry between Mulder and Scully is a flat zero. It really made this episode painful to watch. First, there's the crime scene. Mulder offers a theory, Scully seems mildly annoyed. They go to the previous victim's house, they find a connector, they watch tapes of the train station. They visit the lab, they find the guy, they discover the answers, they wonder if there's a gov't conspiracy involved, they lose the guy, X kills the other guy, Mulder wears some ridiculous shades and they go home. It's sort of ridiculous how dull and unoriginal this episode was. And what is going on between DD and GA? They barely seem to acknowledge one another in the scenes, speaking the lines as if they're bored with one another.

    This is definitely on my short list of episodes I can't stand to rewatch.moreless
Tony Shalhoub

Tony Shalhoub

Dr. Chester Ray Banton

Guest Star

Kevin McNulty

Kevin McNulty

Dr. Christopher Davey

Guest Star

Kate Twa

Kate Twa

Kelly Ryan

Guest Star

Steven Williams

Steven Williams


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • When Dr. Banton is in the hall, pounding on Morris's door, he is heavily lit by the lamp. Yet when the man looks through the peephole there is little light, but again when the camera is in the hall, there is a lot of light.

    • About Dr. Banton's incident with the two police officers in the alleyway; both of the officers are, in fact, killed by Dr. Banton's shadow. However, when Dr. Banton's shadow kills the second officer it switches from the position it was in when it killed the first - the shadow changes from being projected behind Dr. Banton to being in front of him. This is impossible as Dr. Banton had not moved enough for his shadow to face a different way.

    • Actually in the show they say that he is composed of "dark matter" but then they mention "typical" known particles such as quarks, gluons, etc. which are all considered to our science as "normal" matter. If he really were composed of dark matter and it did have a devastating effect on normal matter, not only living beings would be affected, but everything.

    • Plot Hole: Why was there a funeral for Detective Ryan when her body was disintegrated. Scully and Mulder couldn't possibly have enough evidence to convince her superiors or family that she had been killed. More than likely she would have been listed as missing.

    • In the beginning of the episode Dr Banton walks backwards in the hallway and his shadow kills the man standing in the other room. How does his shadow go under the door?

    • After the meeting with Dr. Davey, we cut to Mulder sitting in the train station trying to figure out what Dr. Banton was doing in the video. We see an overhead shot of the station, which shows a column in the far distance. Watch carefully: the shot never loses sight of the column, and you can see random passerbys walk towards the column, but NO SCULLY. As the camera moves downwards to focus on Mulder in the foreground, Scully suddenly appears from behind the column, as if she had been walking towards it all this while! Obviously, she had been standing behind the column until her cue to come out, but we're not supposed to know that!

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Scully: Well, maybe the exposure affected his mind. Nonsensical repetitive behavior is a common trait of mental illness.
      Mulder: You trying to tell me something?

    • (Mulder gets a red flashlight from his pocket and shines a red light on the fixture, which shows the outline of a fingerprints.)
      Mulder: Check this out. My newest tool in the fight against crime - $49.95 at your local hardware store.
      Scully: Neat trick. For your birthday, I'll buy you a utility belt.

    • Mulder: Stop! We're federal agents!
      Dr. Banton: It'll kill you! It doesn't care who you are!

    • Scully: Let's ignore for a moment that there's no credible theory to support spontaneous human combustion.
      Mulder: Okay....

    • Mulder: We just handed the a-bomb over to the Boy Scouts.

    • Mulder: ... He believes the government is out to get him.
      X: It's tax season. So do most Americans.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Scully here completely rebuffs Mulder's suggestion of Spontaneous Human Combustion, but in the season 6 episode "Trevor" she is the one to mention Spontaneous Human Combustion, claiming that there have been "several well-documented cases".

    • When looking for a possible entry point to the hotel room, Scully checks out the small heating grate, remembering the events of season 1's "Squeeze" and "Tooms."


    • Mulder: I'm sure that Robert Oppenheimer got similar reassurances from his government.

      Oppenheimer was an American physicist and the scientific director of the Manhattan Project. Today, he is seen as "the father of the atomic bomb."