The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 18

Teso Dos Bichos

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 08, 1996 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
272 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When a series of deaths occur immediately after an ancient artefact is brought to Boston from an excavation site in South America, Scully believes the deaths appear to be the result of political terrorism, but Mulder suspects something more improbable. He thinks that the deaths are linked to a shaman spirit released by the Ecuadorian Amaru urn.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos was a superb and horrifyingly entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was intriguing and also had some cringe worthy moments. I don't like rats and there were plenty in this episode. I did like the whole Shaman story line and the curse. It was interesting to see some native south american mythology come into play. My favorite part is when Mulder and Scully are in the tunnel tracking rats only to be attacked by vicious cats. It was hilarious and scary at the same time. I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Absolutely the worst X=Files Episode I've Seen So Far.

    Absolutely the worst X=Files Episode I've Seen So Far. The Episode Space was better than this by a longshot. You would assume it would be a decent episode as it revolves around a Shaman burial considered to be sacred. However, the "spirit/antagonist/once shown as possibly a jaguar as the murderer in two murders/insane cats at the end" was shallow. Then the whole cat eye Shaman guy at the end to make you think maybe he was resposible for some of those murders was far-fetched. Like hes going to travel to the United States and then randomly attack from trees in a huge city without being noticed. This has to be on Gillian Anderson/David Duchovnys why did we do this episode.moreless
  • The person below me who said "Lame" = right on the money

    Reading some of the other reviews, there's not really too much else I can say about this episode that people haven't already said better than me. This was a disappointing episode that felt rushed and lazy, as if the writers suddenly decided they needed an episode to meet the quota and the end result was pretty bad.

    I suppose looking back on the episode after the show is over, it won't be as bad as I thought, but so far, Season 3 has been great, and this episode felt like a damper on what was a great streak of episodes.

    The problem, for me, was the plot. It started off about a vase that was taken from an ancient area and contained the spirit of a shaman that was killing people as punishment (at least I think so...) What gets me is that the spirit appeared at first as a jaguar and then as a rat and then as cats? I'm not sure I even understand what the spirit's actual form was supposed to be, and I don't think I really care at this point. The case was solved in the end, and this isn't the first time I finish an X-Files episode without fully understanding everything.moreless
  • Well, it is the X-files, so I want to say I was marginally entertained. But when I say marginally I mean, I would like to disown this episode on behalf of the series.moreless

    First, we have 30 minutes or so without anything interesting happening, and without any snappy Mulder-Scully dialog. Then some other stuff happens that made no sense, then there were some rats- er some cats- or a jaguar... maybe. Then Scully (who is allergic to cats) was attacked by a puppet, and the cats mysteriously disappeared. "Go with it Scully" -- Yes, go with it, the actors knew this episode was going to be completely and totally uninteresting, so they had to convince the audience the series was still good with snappy catch phrases... apparently.

    I don't know how they managed to make this episode so unentertaining. Actually, I do know: They ignored all the charms of the show. Mulder and Scully hardly interacted (except that hilarious line, Ladies first). Mulder hardly seemed to believe in the curse himself. Scully hardly protested when he put forth that theory. And the creature didn't seem to have any form, and manifested itself differently every time there was a new death, so there was nothing to be afraid of. Even the greatest shows can take an episode off . . .moreless
  • If the cats ate the rats and the dog ate the cat, what ate the dog?

    Oh my, this is Season Three's version of "Space" (the worst episode of Season One, perhaps the worst episode of X-Files ever). This episode is easily the worst of Season Three. It is a total mess, funny at times, but not necessarily intended to be a spoof like the brilliant "Coprophages."

    The episode opens with all these men wearing goofy looking knit caps, you know, because we are in Ecuador, get it? A decidely unscary "artifact" is unearthed and a scientist is attacked by a scary looking jaguar in his tent.

    Now, if they had used the jaguar for the rest of the killings in the US, the episode might have been attained "average" status. Instead, they use cats (I think) or was it the rats? I laughed out loud when all the little feral kitties jumped out of their boxes in the sewer. It was very, very stupid, but kinda cool in a surreal way.

    Anyway, the problem here is that it makes no sense for cats (or rats, or dogs, or whatever) to have dragged off all the victims so abruptly. It just seemed like a cheat from the writers, who probably didn't know what killed the victims either.

    The only saving grace in this episode are some of the hilarious one-liners by Mulder and the stunned, disgusted looks given by Scully, especially as Mulder goes to lift the toilet lids and when he starts to descend into the sewer.moreless
Vic Trevino

Vic Trevino

Dr Alonso Bilac

Guest Star

Janne Mortil

Janne Mortil

Mona Wustner

Guest Star

Tom McBeath

Tom McBeath

Dr Jerrold Lewton

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • (Pulls out a rat's body from the engine of the car)
      Scully: Label that.
      Officer: As what?
      Scully: Partial rat body part. (smirks)

    • Scully: Cat ate a rat.
      Mulder: And the dog ate the cat!

    • Mulder: There are forces in this world we can't begin to comprehend.

    • Mulder: Personally, if someone digs me up a thousand years from now, I hope there's a curse on them, too.

    • Scully: So, what are we talking here, Mulder, a possessed rat? The return of Ben?
      Mulder: No, I think those rats were killed trying to escape from something.
      Scully: From something that sent them diving into the toilet.
      Mulder: No, the lids were down. They weren't trying to get into the toilets, they were trying to get out. They were coming from within the sewer lines trying to get away from something.
      Scully: Have you been drinking Yaje, Mulder?
      Mulder: Go with it, Scully.

  • NOTES (7)

    • Gillian Anderson is very allergic to cats, so makeup effects artist Toby Lindala had to create a cat puppet with rabbit fur that attacks Scully.

    • Mona Wustner is named after writer John Shiban's mother.

    • After the episode aired, the network found out that 'bichos' also means 'balls' in Colombia and Venezuela. John Shiban, the writer, didn't know that when he wrote the episode.

    • Director Kim Manners awarded the crew with 'Teso Dos Bichos Survivor' t-shirts with the words 'Second Salmon' after production was completed. 'Second Salmon' refers to the script, which changes color with each revision. In this case, the script underwent so many changes that they ended up with a salmon-colored version twice.

    • When Mulder and Scully begin to crawl into the tunnel under the museum, Mulder's line to Scully 'Ladies first' was included in the original script and then it was deleted, but David Duchovny decided to put it back because he thought it was funny.

    • Dr. Lewton is named for Val Lewton, the director of the original "Cat People".

    • As well as the name of the area where the Urn was discovered, "Teso" is Portuguese for "burial ground" and "Bichos" means "small animals".


    • Character Name: Dr. Lewton

      The doctor's name is a nod to Val Lewton, probably the greatest low-budget producer of horror in the 1940's including Cat People and The Leopard Man. Lewton suffered from ailurophobia, an irrational fear of cats.

    • Scully: Have you been drinking Yaje, Mulder?

      Yaje (also called ayahuasca) is a kind of drink made from a psychoactive jungle vine and is used in shamanic healing rituals, where people have 'visions', supposedly in order to be able to diagnose diseases etc. The drink, which is mixed with other herbs, is an hallucinogen.

    • "Teso Dos Bichos" is a site of archaeological interest in the Southern Amazon, in Brazil, and the writers apparently used the name because its translation is somewhat appropriate for this episode ("animal burial ground"). This explains why the episode's title is in Portuguese, even though Spanish and indigenous languages are spoken in Ecuador, where the episode takes place.

    • Scully: So what're we talking here, Mulder? The possessed rat.. the return of Ben
      "Ben" is a 1972 movie which was considered a sequel to "Willard". A lonely boy, played by Lee H. Montgomery, becomes good friends with Ben, a rat. This rat is also the leader of a pack of vicious killer rats, killing lots of people. The authorities succeed in destroying the rats, leaving the boy in desperate tears ... until he discovers his friend Ben to be still alive!