The X-Files

Season 6 Episode 7

Terms of Endearment

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jan 03, 1999 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
264 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

After a scan of a couple's unborn child is found to have strange growths protruding from the head and back, the foetus is taken from inside the mother by a demon creature while she is asleep. Mulder heads to investigate after Agent Spender dismisses the claims, and discovers that the father is actually a demon who wants to have a 'normal' child.moreless

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  • Terms of Endearment

    Terms of Endearment was a perfect and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of action, character development, intrigue, and drama. I liked how Scully was stuck at the office doing the assigned work while Mulder was out and about pursuing X-Files against orders. The story was well written for the demon genre and it played out pretty well. Bruce Campbell was a great guest star and I only wish there was more of him or that this was a two episode story arc. I loved the ending and certainly look forward to watching more episodes!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • A demon seems to be stealing babies..

    I hate those episodes that are great for 42 of the 45 minutes and then screw everything up by tacking an ending on that's so absurd and ridiculous that it ruins everything that came before it. This is one of those episodes. I'm rating it higher than I normally would because I was thoroughly engaged from the very beginning ALMOST until the very end.

    The basic idea behind the episode is that a demon is supposedly visiting mothers who are close to delivering their baby and stealing them while they sleep. The woman in the episode is traumatized and attempts to heal while the husband seems strangely distant.. well, it seems he is having an affair with another woman, who is also pregnant with his child.

    Slowly, but surely, we learn that the father is a demon of sorts and he is stealing his kids from the mothers and burying them. I'll be honest: it's been a couple of weeks since I've seen the episode, so I'm a little unsure again of why in the world he was stealing the kids. In fact, that's one of the contributing factors to why the episode fails as a whole. Everything works like gangbusters throughout the first forty minutes: Mulder takes the case after Spender denies it and sort of torments the father/demon, following him until he catches him in the act.. however, once the father is caught, he gives this ridiculous explanation for why he does what he does and reveals the second woman he got pregnant is a demon as well that escaped with his kid.

    Now, this may sound strange without actually seeing the episode, but boy, it just sucks any interest I had in the characters right off the bat. I wish there was a better way for the writers to tie things up, but I guess you can't always win them all.moreless
  • Even Bruce Campbell couldn't save the weird ending in this one.

    For the most part, I liked this episode. I remember watching this episode when I was younger and being really scared by the "devil stealing baby" sequences. Bruce Campbell also does a great job in this episode and its a shame that we didnt get to see more of him in the series.

    This episode also deals with some pretty grotesque subject manner as a preterm baby is basically aborted, buried alive and later thrown into a burning wood stove.

    That said, I never could get into the bizarre ending for this one. It always just seemed really rushed and stupid to me. I mean, the guy is sleeping with two different women trying to sire a child that isn't deformed (as he is some kind of demon), but one of the women just happens to be another demon which is also more powerful than him? Talk about a small world.moreless
  • You saw it coming, right?

    I must admit I found this episode disappointing. It was nicely set up but I found the "twist" with Betsy being a demon too utterly predictable. I can only assume that we were supposed to know a good fifteen minutes before Mulder and Scully work it out.

    The symmetry of two sets of dead babies was a little too neat for my liking. as well as this the formula of Mulder and Scully being demeaned with stupid cases, then sneaking off for something worthwhile is beginning to grate by this point. While people have criticised the run up to this being a cluster of novelty episodes, at least they were all fun to watch. This episode, on the other hand, felt rather contrived. Hey, though, it encouraged me to get out my Garbage CDs.moreless
  • Fantastic episode, one of my favorites. This one involves the devil, demon babies and Bruce Campbell. What more could you possibly ask for?

    I've been looking forward to this episode since I first heard Bruce Campbell was in it. Incredible really, my top-two favorite actors in my favorite show. Unfortunately they weren't in the same episode. Yes, Robert Patrick is my favorite actor, but enough about that. This episode has the single best opening I've seen yet. No other episode has been able to grab hold of me more instantly than this one. And I knew from then, that this would be a really special episode. I would say this one has the most disturbing theme, yes, even more than "Home". I am a little uncomfortable with "baby-killing" in episodes, and this one had like how many, 20-30 or something like that. Thakfully, it never gets graphic and we don't see the killings.

    X-Files have always had great guestappearances, I would say that Bruce Campbell is the best since Brad Dourif in "Beyond the Sea". His character was creepy and more importantly he remained interesting and in the end you felt sorry for him. I liked that the focus remained on that character and his wives, Mulder and especially Scully didn't get much time in front of the camera. The is a great horror episode that I feel is very underrated. Yes, the theme itself is very extreme, I wasn't too happy with it, but it's easy to be forgiving when so many things work perfectly, great and highly memorable scenes right after another, a shocking, unexpected twist-ending and of course, Bruce Campbell. Groovy episode baby.moreless
Michael Rothhaar

Michael Rothhaar

Dr. Couvillion

Guest Star

Matthew Butcher

Matthew Butcher


Guest Star

Lenora May

Lenora May

Ms. Britton

Guest Star

Chris Owens

Chris Owens

Special Agent Jeffrey Spender

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • The illuminated milk scene is taken from Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine.

    • Bruce Campbell guest stars in this episode. According to his autobiography "Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way" he was considered for the role of Agent Doggett, which of course eventually went to Robert Patrick.

    • When Wayne is trading his essence to Laura he's starts shaking violently and his heartbeat starts to go into flat line we can see nurses are just casually standing at the other end of the room. How could they not notice the shaking or the two in distress. Some hospital!

    • The song playing when Wayne (and later Betsy) is driving the red sports car is "Only Happy When It Rains" by the alt-rock band Garbage.

    • The film that is playing on the television when Mulder and Scully enter Wayne's home near the end of the episode is "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit" from 1956 and starring Gregory Peck.

    • When Mulder is sharing case information in the Weinsider's house Wayne is spying on the conversation via baby intercom. We hear Scully's voice coming out of the speaker despite the fact that Mulder is on the phone.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Mulder: He's done this to other women here, Scully, just like in Czechoslovakia. My guess is that baby we just dug up belonged to one of Wayne's other wives.
      Scully: What are you saying, that he's trying to propagate? He's trying to breed?
      Mulder: He's exercising his biological imperative and he'll do anything or say anything he has to to succeed.
      Scully: But it doesn't make sense, Mulder. If he's trying to breed then why would he be snatching his own babies and burying them in his backyard?
      Mulder: Because they're demons and he wants a normal child.

    • Deputy Stevens: It's not the kind of case where I quite know where to turn, you understand. Down in Hollins we do get our share of the oddball. On the whole, though, we're pretty much like any other little town. You got your home break-ins, your smash and grabs... nothing too wild. But given the victim's statement, the unusually vivid detail... Well, I just had to take Laura's word about her baby being abducted. I hear you specialize in these kind of cases.
      Spender: You've come to the right place, Deputy, uh... Stevens. Now this woman making these claims she's your sister?
      Deputy Stevens: Yes, sir. Laura Weinsider.
      Spender: Mm-hmm.
      Deputy Stevens: I've heard about the things people been saying about her, not to my face, of course, but... real mean and awful things about what Laura's part is in all this.
      Spender: Now it says here, a doctor's report the day before revealed to her ah... abnormalities in the ultrasound.
      Deputy Stevens: Yes, sir, that is true, but nothing conclusive, mind you.
      Spender: I see. Okay, Deputy. We're going to put this right into our priority caseload.
      Deputy Stevens: Boy... I really want to thank you. I know Laura's really itching to talk to somebody who will really listen to her.
      (Deputy Stevens leaves the room. Spender glances at the report again, reaches behind him and feeds it into the paper shredder)

    • Deputy Stevens: I know this went right into your caseload but I never imagined you would get here so soon, Agent, uh...
      Mulder: Oh, Mulder. Fox Mulder. Though I ask you not to make that known to anybody. The FBI likes to keep our work on these cases very hush-hush. (Mulder is holding a report that has been taped back together)
      Deputy Stevens: Sure, of course but I would like to thank Agent Spender.
      Mulder: Oh. No, no, no. I'll thank him for you because I have to call in my, uh, progress report.
      Deputy Stevens: I hope you have something to call in.
      Mulder: Oh, me, too. All right.

    • Wayne Weinsider: Sweetness?
      Laura Weinsider: It might be nothing. I'm serious. Dr Couvillion really just wants to wait and see.
      Wayne Weinsider: I just... want it to be normal.

    • (Mulder comes out of the kitchen with a large jar of fiber dietary supplement)
      Mulder: Whatever else we find, I know everybody in this house is regular.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Although it was the 6th show filmed of the 6th season, "Terms of Endearment" was the 7th aired. The reason: an elaborate shuffling of the post-production schedule to get Chris Carter's "How the Ghost Stole Christmas" on the air on December 13, 1998, the final original episode air date before the end of the holiday season.

    • In an early draft of the script, Laura Weinsider gave birth to a serpent and not a humanoid.

    • The baby that had to play the demon child of Wayne and Laura Weinsider was replaced at the very last moment (literally when all cameras and lights were already set-up). The mother of the child was a devout Catholic and just couldn't let her baby get involved into anything that had to do with the devil. After 45 minutes, and several frantic calls, another baby arrived on set.


    • SCULLY: In Slavic societies the name "Veles" was synonymous with... the Devil. From the Lithuanian root "Vele"-- a horned demon who sucks the souls of the innocent. Mulder, you're not suggesting that he is himself... a devil, are you?

      Wayne Weinsiders other name is Ivan Veles. There is a mistake here: firstly, this word originated from Lithuanian language that is Baltic, not Slavic! Secondly, in Lithuanian "Vele" means soul of a dead, not the Devil. It is believed that souls after death separates from a body and lives around us for some time. Good souls are helping people and bad souls are making harms. That is why Lithuanians has a day in a year called "Velines" (November 1) when they are all visiting their relatives' graves, praying for them, trying to earn favour of a good souls and to calm bad souls for eternity. Devil in Lithuanian is called "Velnias" It has similarities with the word "vele" because Devil is comprehensible as a lord of the next world.

    • Title: Terms of Endearment
      An allusion to the book by Larry McMurtry and the 1984 film with Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson and Debra Winger, that won tons of awards and is considered a classic by some and a manipulative schmaltzfest by others. Much of the story concerns the difficult relationships between mothers and children, and this episode takes it to very dark levels. It could also be seen as a play on the word 'Terms', as Wayne Weinseider has specific rules for loving the women he does. If his terms aren't met and there are no 'normal' foetuses he goes to a very nasty place.

    • Mulder: Ok, Speed Racers, that's enough driver's education for today.

      Speed Racer was a Japanese anime series that was popular in the U.S. during the 1960s. It has also been recently made into a new Disney movie.

    • Rosemary's Baby: Scully references this infamous novel and film. The film concerns a husband getting his wife impregnated with the Devil's child. More subtle references include the use of "herbal sleep aids" to help nurture the demon seed.