The X-Files

Season 5 Episode 20

The End

Aired Monday 9:00 PM May 17, 1998 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
282 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Cigarette Smoking Man returns as Mulder investigates the attempted assassination of a young boy with psychic powers who may be the proof that he has looked for all his life. On his way he encounters many enemies especially in the finale' as his office and every X-File is torched by CSM.moreless

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  • Sweet child of mine

    More memories of the show come hurling back as we get introduced to Gibson Praise, a fitting last name. My first reaction was another useless side character in an a story so big as it is, at least until you read a wiki page that explains it all and makes you look like an idiot. Anyway turns out I came around on him a little bit more as he becomes another matter to deal with and not just Fox and that he has a link to the alien/human hybrid project makes it more relevant..... I think.

    For a finale it was rather slower than usual and a lot of time was spent on Scully's feelings about Fox and bringing back his old partner ignited some... jealous emotions you could say. At least the two didn't get into a cat fight.... though I guess some audience members would have liked that. Gibson offers exciting plots ahead if done right and of course there was the burning of the office, how on earth does the team get back together after that, we'll see..... seems like the cancer man could have had that office burned a number of times by now though.... no?

    Anyway interesting set ups.... and more questions as always.moreless
  • The End

    The End was a perfect and very awesome episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was intricately written and full of great character and plot development. It was intriguing to see the Cigarette Smoking Man play his games and at the same time trying to look out for his son, Agent Sender. I liked how the X-Files were being systematically shut down as the case being investigated raises some questions. Every thing about the episode's production was perfect and I was very entertained. It was interesting that Ancient Aliens were brought up. The ending was a sad day for Mulder. I look forward to watching the next season!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Mulder, Scully and Skinner attempt to protect a child who can read minds.

    For a season finale, I was a bit frustrated at how little seem to be revealed. It felt completely anti-climatic and despite some great moments, I was wondering what in the world Chris Carter was thinking. However, after giving myself a few seconds to think it through, I realized that he did a great job in putting an end to one chapter of the show and leaving the potential to open up a completely new one.

    I know there's going to be a movie bridging Season 5 and 6, so I kept that in mind here, but the case itself that Mulder takes on is actually very interesting and could easily come back in a big way if the writers decide they want to. A man is killed and Mulder realizes that the real target was a child who has the ability to read minds. After some digging, Mulder discovers that the child is proof that aliens existed millions of years ago; he seems to have alien DNA in him that allows him to read minds, and the Cigarette Smoking Man and the Syndicate wants him. Yes, the C.S.M is alive (as it was hinted at a few episodes ago) and he is just as vindictive as ever.

    We also get definitive proof that CSM is Spender's father. We also see the C.S.M completely screwing up Mulder's plans by lighting all but one of his X-Files on fire, shooting someone he was close with that's not Scully and taking the boy and giving him to the very people he's trying to catch. Talk about a frustrating ending, and the look on Mulder's face as he views his burned office speaks way more than words could convey.

    I also loved how there were subtle references to the fact that Scully does have deep feelings for Mulder. The boy who could read minds clearly could tell how Scully felt, and though it was frustrating to not see the writers follow through, it was still a nice moment for us fans who want to see them get together.moreless
  • End Of An Era

    A nearly perfect season closer. This is the X-Files firing on all 13 cylinders. Chris Carter has come a long way as a writer as this is his best work yet, truly a revelation.

    A lot of balls are being juggled in this episode. We have a new character (and Scully rival) in the form of Diana Fowley, the Myth arc moves forward on the shoulders of an intriguing child prodigy, the internal politics of the Syndicate are shaken up as CSM survives another hit attempt and then makes moves to further his own secret agenda and finally, we have the X-Files shut down (again) and Mulder's basement office torched, which is likely an intentional nod to the shutting down of operations in Vancouver.

    Loved the opening teaser and the chess/game allusions sprinkled throughout the rest of the episode. The Gibson Praise character is just perfect. Both Ducchovny and Anderson have great chemistry with him and their scenes together are a real treat. I continue to dislike Spender intensely. He is such an unlikeable character that I wonder what the producers were thinking.

    My only criticisms of this otherwise perfect episode are the clumsy inclusion of the Diana Fowley character (it reeks of Season Six plot extension fodder) and the clumsy, "soap opera"-ish feeling of some scenes, in particular the "I'm you father" speech CSM gives to Spender at the end. Despite these blemishes, a fitting end to what in retrospect would be the X-Files' golden age.moreless
  • The return of the cigarette smoking man

    This episode is awesome. First, we have this kid that reads minds, something never seen before. The FBI has to protect him because a sniper tried to kill him. Then we have this new agent, agent Fowler, who was Mulder's partner a long time ago, and we can feel the connection between them. Another thing we see for the first time is Scully completely jealous. Scully feels something for Mulder, it's obvious and we can see it perfectly in this episode.

    But the most shocking thing about this episode is the return of the cigarette smoking man, Agent Spender's father. And what about the X-Files being burned. Yes, it is a great episode, no doubt.moreless
Martin Ferrero

Martin Ferrero


Guest Star

Michael Shamus Wiles

Michael Shamus Wiles

Black-Haired Man

Guest Star

Patrick Phillips

Patrick Phillips

Clinician #1

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

William B. Davis

William B. Davis

Cigarette Smoking Man

Recurring Role

Nicholas Lea

Nicholas Lea

Alex Krycek

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • This episode was the last filmed in Vancouver prior to production moving to Los Angeles. The audience at the chess match was made up of local fans as a 'thank you' to the city for hosting the production during its first five years. The title of this episode and the first episode of the sixth season reference the move. The fire which destroys the X-Files office gave a credible explanation for any discontinuities between the Vancouver and LA sets.

    • When we see the Russian guy get shot and fall out of his chair, he clearly knocks the chessboard off the table. But when Jeffrey Spender shows his team the tape, the guy hits the board so that it spins around, instead of falling off completely. In fact, when they show the long shot of the stage (not on Spender's tape, but still in the opener just before the credits start), the board is clearly on the table.

    • While Vancouver was given a fitting send off in this episode as the location for the assassination, Chris Carter made a fatal mistake in that he failed to realize the FBI does not have jurisdiction in Canada! They have their own justice department which handles criminal investigations and it is very unlikely that they would have handed over a murder suspect to another country.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Mulder: Most of us have genes we don't use. They lie there dormant, turned off. Science doesn't know what they're for, why they're there or where they came from.

    • Scully: An area of the temporal lobe the neurophysicists are calling the God Module.
      Skinner: I hope I'm not going to hear that this kid is the next Christ child.

    • Scully: There seems to be some suspicion that he's a fraud.
      Byers: Dorf on chess?
      Scully: Well, apparently he wins by reading his opponents' minds.
      Frohike: I'm *lovin'* it!
      Langly: And you want us to what?
      Scully: Analyze the data... with an eye to the parapsychological.
      Frohike: Ooh, walk on the wild side, Agent Scully?

    • Gibson: I know what's on *your* mind. I know you're thinking about one of the girls you brought.
      Mulder: Oh?
      Gibson: And one of them is thinking about you.
      Diana: Which one?
      Gibson: He doesn't want me to say.

    • Mulder: How you doing?
      Gibson: I don't mind it here. They get all the good TV shows. Where I live in the Philippines, all we get is 'Baywatch'.
      Mulder: What's wrong with 'Baywatch'?
      Gibson: You've got a dirty mind.

  • NOTES (3)

    • When Mulder, Scully and Fowley first approach Gibson Praise, he is watching a clip from The Simpsons episode 'The Cartridge Family'. Later on we see Gibson watching an episode of The Silver Surfer and then of the King Of The Hill episode 'Shins of the Father'. These three are all FOX programs.

    • This episode's tagline is changed, simply, to 'The End'.

    • The only X-File that CSM takes with him is the one on Samantha Mulder.


    • Mulder: How's little Carnac doing?

      Carnac the Magnificent was a spoof mind-reading character created by American TV legend Johnny Carson as part of his The Tonight Show.