The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 5

The Field Where I Died

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Nov 03, 1996 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (18)

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out of 10
339 votes
  • Any personalty could enjoy this episode

    This was a slower case by comparison to just about every episode of the show so far before it which is one highlight. The idea of past lives is fascinating and I was curious how they'd handle it and I enjoyed it for the most part. I'm not informed on hypnosis so the scene where Fox is speaking about the past while induced is a little hard for me to buy because I just don't understand how that process works. Duchonvy is at one of his more dynamic highs with that extended interview scene and when he walks into the church at the end which is easily the biggest highlight this hour, it may just be up there with some of my favorite moments so far from the show.
  • The Field Where I Died

    The Field Where I Died was a great episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was good, the characters were superb and the idea of past lives was addressed. There were some great character moments, there was action, intrigue and drama. I liked how every thing played out and it was fun to see Mulder and Scully investigate. I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!
  • Wow! Pleasantly surprised :D

    This episode was really good. I really loved it, it wasn't very exciting or thrilling, but it was emotional and touching. Yeah it wasn't what you expect from The X-Files, but Mulder's hypnosis and the trances that Melissa went in to during the hypnosis and on the field were really touching and made me shed a few tears...for a second there I wasn't really sure I was watching The X-Files. But I loved the turmoil and small glimpses that we get to see in Mulder's face with all the close ups on him during this episode, the music was fantastic and the entire thing was just so unlike anything I'd seen from this show.
  • "The Field Where I Died" is poignant, even heartbreaking. What a desperately romantic notion--souls mated for eternity. But in the context of more than seventy episodes, it stands out like a cockroach on a wedding cake.


    The story behind "Field Where I Died" can be summed up in one word: Waco. Mulder and Scully accompany a raid on a religious compound to help execute a warrant searching for illegal weapons. Mulder, acting on an impulse he cannot explain, uncovers a secret hiding place in a field where the cult leader, Vernon Ephesian and his six wives are preparing to drink suicide cocktails. Under interrogation, one wife, Melissa suddenly reveals a hidden personality, leading Scully (who does not have a degree in psychology) to conclude that she suffers from a dissociative personality disorder. Mulder (who does have a degree in psychology) dismisses that idea and claims that the personality known as "Sidney" is actually one of Melissa's past lives.

    This episode was a great stand alone story. But the XFiles is not a movie. The characters will return the following week. And thats the problem with a stand alone episode that explores our central character so deeply. Will we see in future episodes how Mulder integrates this remarkable experience into his life? Does Mulder's discovery of a long-lost soul mate, now "gone ahead", mean that he will never fall in love in this life? Not a chance. In the next episode it will be as if none of this ever happened, and Chris Carter and company will be back to the sexual tease between Mulder and Scully with no further reference to this episode or Melissa. In short, if a major character development does not happen in a "mythology" episode, it didn't happen at all. And sometimes not even then.

    My other caveat was that this was just too easy. Mulder doesn't open up to anybody, least of all when Scully's around. Now he let down not just his normal defenses but whatever metaphysical barriers seal us off in our daily lives from lives that went before? Still, I would put up with anything for his fervent "No life is meaningless" line.

    But am I supposed to believe that Dana Scully, our faithful skeptic, is apparently doomed to go through all eternity as a sidekick and never the soul mate? I don't think so. You cannot stand seventy-seven prior episodes on their heads with one brief scene with a tripped-out Fox Mulder. Mulder has risked his life for Dana Scully, traded his sister for Dana Scully, and abandoned his own revenge to sit by her side as she died--for the sake of friendship? Nope. To portray Dana Scully as the repressed but smoldering beauty tantalizingly out of reach for her partner, the instigator of more angst in his life than any female since Samantha, and then in one fell swoop reduce her to everlasting second banana is ridiculous. If I thought the implications of this episode would be played out in future shows, this would really alarm me. But by now, I know better. This is a stand-alone episode that will have no reference beyond itself.

    But, taken by itself "The Field Where I Died" was one hell of an episode. Kristen Cloke was a revelation. Apart from her mugging "Sidney" character (I thought she was channelling Gilbert Gottfried), she produced a wonderfully miserable and confused Melissa Reidal-Ephesian, so mortally wounded by her own life that she was glad to leave it and wait for her lover in the next world. She played a disturbed child and a grieving Confederate widow, a brainwashed bride and a sullen witness, all in the space of a few minutes. Any actor would be proud of such a moment.

    "The Field Where I Died" is one of the most visually and musically perfect X-Files ever. The sunlight itself weeps. The threadbare simplicity of the church, the disquieting children's art on the walls of the nursery, the dusky police station all added a note of sorrow and heartache without appending a single word to the script. Subtle, pensive, and sad, the music carried the story as much as the dialog did.

  • Good acting, awful story

    I'll admit that I judged this episode entirely on its name. The name was intriguing, the beginning was as well, but everything else after it was a trainwreck. I wish I could say that I knew exactly what was going on throughout the 44 minutes, but I was so confused at what the writers wanted me to think.

    I believe the entire point of this case was investigating the possibility of a woman being visited by her past lives. Things are further complicated after the woman suffering from this particular affliction claims that she knew Mulder in a past life as well and that Mulder and her were friends or married or seeing each other or something. I honestly don't know. It doesn't help that the case that sparked this entire thing was weak. Skinner, Mulder, Scully and the rest of the FBI try finding a religious cult leader who supposedly is hiding guns. Or is he? The more I write about the episode, the more frustrating it is to think about.

    It did have one thing going for it though: acting. The woman who played Melissa was superb in the role, even though I was confused at what it meant, and David Duchovney elevates his role as Mulder into new levels. It was amazing and I hope he got at least a nomination for this episode (despite the episode being terrible).

    Great acting wasn't anywhere enough to redeem the episode. It was just haphazard and frustrating.
  • Interesting but kind of confusing

    I thought the whole multiple personalities combined with past lives was sort of confusing and it wasn't very X-filish. I've always admired Mulder's passion but sometimes it's way too much. He doesn't understand how dangerous a situation could get, fortunately he has Scully by his side to hold him back.

    Kristen Cloke's performance was very good and I also enjoyed her Millennium days. I wish she had done more television.

    I liked the small conversation Mulder and Scully had about meeting in another life. One of the few times Mulder called Scully by her first name, and it was a very intimate moment.
  • Metempsychoses

    An unbeatable sample of the deep-bone religiousness of the series. Along with "All Things" -the episode directed by G. Anderson and inspired in buddhist beliefs- the mesmerizing "The Field where I died" confronts us not only with the sheer possibility of reincarnation, but with the eery thought of good and evil pervading even across death barriers. The use of Robert Browning's "Paracelsus" is precise and a hook for the literati.
    I wonder why this episode was so "fairly" scored. What it may lack in terms of agility, it pays back generously with sensibility and intelligence. Moving, convincing, and somewhat tragic... The fourth season: The X-Files at its peak !!!
  • Hey, Kool-Aid!

    I admire the attempt to do something a bit different, but this episode just doesn't work as an X-File. First off, why in the heck are Mulder and Scully involved in the first place? There is nothing "X" about the original FBI raid. It's only later when Melissa goes "Sybil" that the X-stuff comes to light. There is little plot and a lot of talking, so the episode seems to drag a lot.

    I do like the mood created by the opening/ending scenes, very elegiac and very well done. I just didn't like the gooey middle. I think Duchovny does a creditable job in his close-up scenes, maybe not quite great, but almost. I didn't care for Melissa's character at all and I did not see the supposed spark that was supposed to exist between her and Mulder's character - they had no chemistry whatsover.

    I didn't buy the reincarnation stuff, it just seemed too expositional to be real. I wondered how CSM could have been in the Gestapo in WWII when he would have been alive in the US at the same time. I groaned when Scully managed to find the two pictures of Sullivan and Sarah seemingly in 30 seconds from among all the Civil War memorabilia. The pictures were literally on top of the others. **Eye Roll**
  • Duchovney is outshone by character actress Kristen Cloke.

    Kristen's performance of multiple personalities in this episode is amazing. They probably shouldn't have let her go first, because when Duchovney starts channeling it makes his performance seem flat and uninteresting. She really is the star of this episode and I wish we could have gotten to see the other two charcters she did.

    Other than that, the links to Jim Jones and David Karesh are obvious and this is probably more a "sign of the times" episode than anything else. It doesn't make as much sense anymore since those headlines aren't in our minds.

    I don't know if I buy this whole past life bit... it seems a little forced and contrived. I think they should have just used her for the clues to what was going to happen without tying Fox into it.
  • Can an episode live from almost only charakter developement? This episode proves it! One of the most emotional and touching X-Files ever!

    One might say that this one is not X-Files, one might say there is nothing scary about this episode, one might say there even is almost no paranormal phenomena.

    But hey, X-Files is not only about the Files, but about the people which work on them, about the people who where part of the paranormal or who themselves became the main subjects of an X-File. We didnt get too much action in this one, and it wouldnt fit. It would destroy the main focus on Melissa and her countless past-life-incarnations. It was unbelieveble how strong Mulder was touched this time. People said Duchovny couldn't act, here he really showed us, that he has more than 3 faces!

    This episode was about love, friendship and faith. As Tupac once asked: Who do you believe in? Our main characters have to ask themselfs... the answer is not obvious and leads finally to one of the sadest endings of all X-Files.

    Dont aproach this one as a X-File, but as an emotion-driven drama, one of the best by the way, and you will love it.
  • A slow moving episode, but eerie and with plenty of character development.

    I thought that a really interesting aspect of this episode is that it highlights how sometimes Mulder is willing to sacrifice the integrity of the investigation to further his own pursuit for the truth. It's always Scully that has to rein him in with a little reminder ("Probable cause" to enter a building without a warrant, etc). It serves as a reminder that for Mulder, the X-Files are really a means to an end. They're the vehicle through which he can use gov't resources to further his own purposes and fuel his quest for the truth. I sat and thought for a while, trying to draw the significance of Scully being Mulder's father or general in his past lives. Does he see her as a figure of authority over him? A role model, perhaps. Someone on whom he depends for guidance and support? It just seems like a strange juxtaposition, but deep in meaning. David Duchovny's performance in this episode was a little flat, but I think it's because it's physically impossible to have the same expression of curiosity, wonderment, and desperate need for understanding for the entirety of an episode. And that lends itself to a flat episode overall, just monotonous and sort of pointless. I enjoyed the guest star's performance of her multiple personalities, however, and I really enjoyed the insight we gain into Mulder's past lives. That's why this episode got a higher rating than a 6 or 7. Also, I think it's unjust that this episode has an overall lower rating than Sanguinarium, which is an awful example of an X-File.
  • Long scenes of babbling hypnotic trances

    This episode initially drew me in with the teaser - with it's melodic music and Mulder speaking the poem. As I watched it i though the multiple personality of Melissa (while well acted) didn't appeal to me very much. I didnt' really like Mulder's log hypnosis scene either with the extreme close up of his face - all full of emotion and speaking mumbo-jumbo. Mulder and Scully arguing in parts of the episode off-set other episodes where they are all cute with each other, so that was interesting. How could Scully just take those photos from the hall of records (unless they were copies). It was a unique episode for X-files and was shot in a very emotional type way, but didn't do it for me.
  • Worst episode ever

    As ypu can probably tell from my summary - i did not like this episode one bit- and that means that im gonna go off on another random rant. The episode was boring- nothing happened- nothing sacry- just some woman doing various impersonations that make her look stupid. I was sat there for 42 mins and i was so boared i rang my mate up on the phone- and ive never done that before. Mulder used to be a woman in his past life- big wow! His sister used to be his son!- omg- call jerry springer. Do not watch this trash
  • A touching episode that doesn\'t work all that well with the plot flow.

    To start out with, I really do feel that the actress who plays Melissa does a fabulous job. Each of the personalities goes out so vividly, especially that of the Sidney. The transition from the little girl, Lily, to Sidney was fantastically realistic and smooth. Also, David Duchovny was excellent in this episode, showing Mulder's shock and sadness very well, especially when relating his soul as a WWII Jew.

    Being a large Mulder and Scully romance fan, this actually didn't damage my view of their relationship much. One of the messages of this episode is that a soul travels through different lives to learn and grow; Mulder and Scully were friends in their past lives, which makes their relationship in this one that much closer. To me, it BUILDS a good case for romance between the two, a far more lasting one than the doomed romances Mulder had with Melissa.

    Other people have pointed out that the CSM was already alive during WWII, but according to "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man," he was bone in 1940. His previous incarnation as a Gestapo could have occured just prior to that, his reincarnation could have occured quite quickly, in keeping with the timeline.
  • Gotta love this one...

    Sorry, I loved it. Another one of those that makes you question your universe. And it was written in such a poetic manor, tragic and beautiful. Not to mention, the actress that portrayed Melissa was brilliant.

    Personally, I also think this episode provides great character insight. It reveals what secretly plagues our heroes' consciences, and what keeps them moving on to the next day.

    And on top of that, looking back and knowing where the series takes Mulder and Scully, it leaves you pondering. How can two people be soul mates when they're only allowed to meet briefly in a life time? If your soul mate leaves you, can you find true happiness and love with another? Great philosophical questions can be proposed and muddled over after viewing this episode.
  • The one with Mulder's past life

    ‘The Field Where I died’ is honestly one of my favourite episodes. It’s also probably the most depressing stand alone with amazing performances from both David Duchvony and the woman who plays the multiple personalities.

    Mulder and Scully are at a crime scene when they hear something, they find some people drinking read. Blood? Or at least it was poison I believe.

    There is something odd about one of the women, when Mulder and Scully question her she begins to act in a second personality,

    True, this episode /is/ confusing but hell, it’s wonderful.

    So anyway, The woman is taken to that field where she says that she saw Mulder die.

    / freaky/ oh, yeah. I saw you die.

    Anyway, when Mulder takes the woman to a person that hypnoses her and makes her remember her past live, she gives an awesome performance where she tells about her past and that he died. Mulder wants to be questioned as well, there he knew his family and Samantha was his son, lover and /something else/ which was very interesting. Also Scully appeared there and one time she was his dad.

    When he talks to the strange woman that was his lover in his past life she told him that she wants to get away from that, she hates him life anyway. She leaves with her man an go with a lot of people into a bunker where they drink up poison and die. Mulder find their bodies and from his past loved.

    Gosh, depressing.

    The best fact about this episode are the voice overs and Mulder’s mornings over his past love.

    The Field Where I Died is mostly hated by the shippers who don’t seem to like that Mulder’s past life wasn’t Scully.
    Heck, that’s childish.

    The Field Where I died added a lot to this show, amazing performance and just simply one kick-ass episode.
  • I liked this episode...

    ...because I'm interesting in the theme of Past Lifes, and I found very interesting the storyline, the character of Mellisa is great, the way all her past lifes became is very good.

    When Mulder was remembering his pasts lifes, and said the name of Scully, Scully's faces is great, she can't belive what he is saying, because that means they meet in another life, not just in this... that why they get along each other?

    When Scully finally belive, when she looks the pictures, its a great scene...

    And, the dialogue of Mulder at the end of the episode....

    At times I almost dream. I too have spent a life the sage's way. And tread once more familiar paths. Perchance I've perished in an arrogant self-reliance an age ago, and in that act of prayer for one more chance went up so earnest, so... Instinct with better light let in by death that life was blotted out not so completely, but scattered wrecks- enough of it to remain dim memories. As now when seems once more... the goal in sight again.

  • Close to "too much" and almost "too little"

    "The Field Where I Died" is an unusual X-File. Slow, talky, close to no action. That sounds bad, but it isn't.

    Which is not to say that I still like this episode as much as I used to. Originally, I liked the strangeness of seeing Mulder being directly affected by a paranormal phenomenon, in this case past lives invading the current one. Especially interesting was the lengthy scene in which both he and guest star Kristen Cloke regress and share stories of their connection through several lifetimes. Sad, poignant, beautiful. And it still is.

    Today, however, I appreciate The X Files more for its darkness, its comment on pre-millennial fears and its original storytelling. Compared to some of the series' classic shows, "Field" is ponderous and awkward, sometimes bordering on the embarrassing - a line it never crosses, but hovers so close to that it's almost too much sentimentality and contrivance, such as Mulder's epiphany that throughout his lives, he always dealt with Scully and the Cigarette Smoking Man.

    On the other hand, I miss some plot, some action, some excitement in the show. What saves it - and keeps it firmly in the "good" league of episodes - is Kristen Cloke who gives an amazing performance. A series high for sure.

    Interesting how perceptions change. It's only now that I can understand both those who love the episode as well as those who hate it with a passion.