The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 5

The List

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Oct 20, 1995 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (14)

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  • The List

    The List was a superb episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was interesting, there were great character moments, and it was fun watching Mulder and Scully in action. There were some underlying themes regarding prisons and how people are treated there, on both sides of the bars. The characters were interesting, the idea of what happened was very intriguing and the ending was great! I liked how it all played out. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!
  • Uninspired

    I'm puzzled by the mediocrity of this episode, particularly in light of the strength of the previous four episodes that opened this season. Chris Carter is credited with the writing but it's hard to believe given the lack of any real sense of wonder or mystery in the story. The biggest problem is that we are not really given an opportunity to know Neech or his motivations so it's hard to care when the killing starts. Sure, there are some comments in passing about the raw deal Neech supposedly received but this was not enough to make me care whether he got his revenge or not. The story would have benefited from a few scenes actually showing how Neech got to where he ended up. The same holds for the victims; we never really get to know them and so we don't care when they are killed.

    There was also a lack of any explanation as to how Neech was able to come back from the dead, which was surprising given that this is the X-Files. Where are the great ideas, the theories, the "X" stuff that we all love?

    All in all, a rather empty, poorly written episode that goes nowhere.
  • Mulder and Scully look into the possibility of reincarnation

    For me, this episode was alright, but only to a point. I like the idea of reincarnation and the guy on death row coming back to get revenge on people, but for a show that explores the supernatural and what makes it happen, there was absolutely zero explanation for half of the weird stuff that happened, and so many people were dropping like flies and killing each other that it was nearly impossible to figure out what was happening.

    It was pretty cool to see J.T Walsh in the episode.. he was always a great character actor in movie, so it was nice to see The X-Files grab him up. However, once again, like most of the supporting characters in this episode, there was very little that made him interesting. The plot was interesting, but it made little sense in the end. And everything started getting confusing after the warden killed the two men. It made me wonder who the hell the five people on the list were because people were dying so much.

    Not a bad episode overall though. For a stand-alone episode, there have certainly been worse, but for me, it was mostly just average.
  • Interesting but...

    I never thought why Mulder and Scully never really tried to investigate Warden Brodeur and make him a main suspects for all those dead man that weren't on 'the list'. Sounds hard to believe, they went for the paranormal instead of what seemed more normal.

    I guess Niche's wife had a very unclean conscious for believing that he had come back to haunt her and probably kill her. Funny how Scully walks around the prison alone, knowing what she could get into... I liked the little conversation Mulder and Scully had about making a list and Mulder mentioned Scully's birthday even when we only saw that once in 9 years of series.

    Interesting episode, not a strong one, but still entertaining.
  • Underrated

    Although we've all been here before (ie, the executed prisoner coming back to life to avenge his death, most recently in Renny Harlin's 1988 film "Prison" and Wes Craven's film "Shocker" a year later, ironically starring Mitch Pileggi as the killer), "The List" nevertheless has something to it to raise it out of the ordinary rut. Marking Chris Carter's second, and highly confident, step behind the camera, it's main reason for its success is achieved through its extraordinary look. This contains some of cinematographer John S. Bartley's very best work on "The X-Files", saturating everything in a deep green, almost submarine glow. There's actually no particular reason why the prison should be rendered in such terms, but it works enormously well, helping to create a very chilling atmosphere.

    Maybe atmosphere was what was really needed, for this is an unusual X File in that Mulder and Scully get it really wrong. It IS about transmigration of souls, as Mulder originally thought, and NOT about an elaborate hoax set up some inmates and guard Parmelli. Neech Manly does indeed come back from the electric chair to exact his grisly revenge, including some highly creative and stomach-churning uses of maggots, but it would appear that it's Manly himself who's set up the hoax. Not content with doing the reincarnation thing, he's also engineered it that he gets everyone on his most hated list, whilst removing the man occupying his wife's bed. On reflection, the clues are there, especially when the warden mentions that if he hadn't gone down the criminal path, Manly would have been a Nobel Prize winner.

    Speaking of the warden, while he is expertly and insidiously played by the late J. T. Walsh, doesn't this amount to lazy casting? How many films have we seen starring this actor and he's the baddie in every single one?

    By placing this episode in a prison, we can't really avoid the obvious reference to "The Silence of the Lambs". Never has it been more obvious that Scully is based on the character of Clarice Starling when she has to run the gauntlet of walking past a row of prison inmates all jeering at her (luckily for Scully, she doesn't get any semen chucked in her face). Even the way Gillian Anderson plays this scene harks back to Jodie Foster's own portrayal, with the head bowed and the character obviously being rattled by the experience. Though Scully wandering off by herself into the shower block was an almost ludicrously stupid thing for her to do. I also liked the irony of Neech's list. By making his intended victims on it all prison guards and the warden himself, he has turned the tables on his captors and put them in Death Row. The only difference is that these guys don't know when their execution is going to be. So, all in all, a reasonable episode, bolstered enormously by Bartley's contribution and by Carter's assured handling. Although quality and craftsmanship has always been well to the fore in "The X-Files", here we see them being put to extremely good use, and raising what good have been an average episode into one that's slightly above. 7/10
  • A guy is killed in the electric chair - but he just might have come back to exact his revenge on those who wronged him.

    This is one of those very atmospheric, but ultimately unsatisfying episodes. Great lighting, good sets, good acting as always, but the parts don't add up to a wonderful whole.

    The idea of reincarnation has been done before in lots of shows and there's nothing terribly original about the take on it here. The problem might be that none of the characters is terribly likeable, so you don't really care what happens to them. Only the insidious, nasty warden do we want to see die. Everyone else is just fodder, and ripe for the taking - from the death row prisoners to the adulterous wife and boyfriend. I really didn't connect with any of the characters.

    It also doesn't work for me because Mulder and Scully are almost cyphers in this one. The stars of the show kind of walk through this storyline, whereas normally they are in charge of it, despite all the bizarreness they have to deal with.

    And at the end, when Mulder gets out of the car and says it doesn't make sense, Scully becomes a sceptic, which is her normal role, but only for the extraterrestrial and paranormal stuff. Her character is usually deeply logical and she would surely have taken on board a couple of things that Mulder was saying.

    And I'm getting a bit sick of the prison guards beating up the prisoners, so this is not my favourite by any means.
  • Another prison inmate episode.

    Speaking purely from a nonfictional, bureaucratic standpoint - Why would this case be automatically assigned to the X-Files? On its face, it looked like a simple conspiracy to murder within a prison with some spooky undertones. For me, this episode was just average and it seemed like a pale version of what an X-File should be. It almost seemed to have a rational explanation all the way through the end, until the Warden catches a glimpse of Neech's face in the very last scene. I guess I feel that this episode was a bit too tame by X-File standards. Mulder and Scully don't even seem to be too interested in the case either, simply giving up after the five murders have taken place and beating a hasty retreat. They did try to give Mulder a moment of resistance, but it didn't work out so well. And why didn't Mulder do anything with the information about Roque not being on the list? This episode only served to remind me of the prison atrocities that are committed daily, and the desperate need for prison reform in our country.
  • "Neech is back!"

    Or is he...? The episode starts where we are witness of the execution of the character Neech. The guy was on death row for several years for being an accessory to murder. Just before they pull the switch Neech says that he will return and that five people will die.

    The first person, a guard, is found dead and Mulder and Scully are sent to investigate.

    At this point it's all about "the list", the five people who are supposed to die.

    The drawback of this episode is that you pretty much know what is gonna happen, you just don't know how. That's why I find this episode at bit...errr.... boring. You're pretty much sitting there waiting for the next murder to take place.

    Though I must say that it was quite tense sometimes. Especially because you really don't know what to believe, is it really Neech or has he an accomplice?

    In the end it's an ok episode, but not really that special.
  • Who loves orange soda

    A death row inmate’s promise of reincarnation for the purpose of revenge comes true in this episode of the X-files. “The List” see’s Mulder and Skully investigate. This episode reminded me a lot of season 2’s “Fresh Bones”, as the ending of this episode is nearly the same as the start of the latter, and I think some of the concept is similar to. Throw in maggots, flies and the guy from the old “Dawn of the Dead” (who’s also in the new one, and is also the dad in “Keenan and Kel”- “Who loves orange soda?”) and we get ourselves an ok episode.
  • The one with the death list

    ‘The List’ is definitely a strong episode. It’s about a guy who is send to death and before he is electrocuted he says that Five men that mistreated him will die, that he will come back. Only thing I didn’t get, did he really come back or was it like a ghost or something? I wish this show would be better explained.

    So anyway, a week after his death, the first guard is found dead, probably suffocated or drowned filled with maggots even though he just died.

    Mulder and Scully are send to investigate and a guard grabs Scully, he tells her that he knows who is on the list to die but she gets scared and goes away with Mulder.

    Soon, the second guard lost his head, literally. His head is found in some tub filled with maggots, soon his body gets found too missing, well. It’s head. The headless guardman.

    The wife of the dead man begins to be afraid because she promised her man never to love anyone else, but behind his back she was doing one of the guards. The one who wanted to speak with Scully.

    While the prison boss who is number 5, kills two men in prison who knew about the lists. The lawyer of the dead man is suffocated in his house with a pillow just like the first guard.

    Anyway, some people say that they saw the dead guy. Also his wife sees him in her house and then she sees the guy she is with. She thinks that he is her man so she grabs a gun and shoots him to death. When the others come in the house they find him dead. Mulder and Scully leave because they don’t think that there was anything else to find, while the guy who controls the prison who was 5th rides next to their car but suddenly sees the dead man in his car who makes him have an accident that kills him.
  • A nice stand-alone episode which doesn't require any background knowledge.

    I think this episode was well-written and executed in that we aren't given all the answers. As the episode closes, we still don't really understand the nature of Neech's soul transference, but we are definitely given enough info to believe it.

    I, too, was disappointed with the ending in respect to Mulder and Scully's investigation. At the very least, it was unsatisfying that the warden's corruption was not uncovered. Presumably, after the death of the warden (death #7), they would investigate the two inmate deaths under the assumption that these were not from the list.

    And for good measure, this was an indictment of the state of prison management when administered by immoral staff.
  • A man on death row who is being put to death's final words are, that he will return and kill 5 people. Mulder and Scully are sent to investigate.

    There was something missing from this episode, it was still alright to watch, but the ending left me feeling a tad unfullfilled. The fact that mulder just gave up on the case really drove that home, and was also a little out of charachter.

    Nothing really happened, the entire episode was just people dieing and then them giving up on the investigation. Sub-par X-files really.
  • A prisoner swears revenge and reincarnation during his final moments on deathrow, and the claims are cast off. Mulder and Scully begin to investigate a series of murders happening within that prison, and discover what looks like an elaborate in-mate/guard

    This episode was 'adventurous' mainly in the respect of its graphic shots of remaining parts of prison guards; hence the 'classification' choice. I was somewhat surprised that Chris Carter both directed and wrote this episode, since the majority (not all...) of the ones where he is involved as elaborately as this either involve something tied into the shows overall plot or something of alien origin. However, the episode was impressive nonetheless, with an intricate story line that, although was readable, left viewers in the dark for a little bit.

    This episode pulled out all the stops in the gore department, slightly over the top with the 'head in the bucket' scenes, but what can I say, still entertaining. Neech, although portrayed as the villain - he did kill people after all - still had a side of justice that was appealing; wanting revenge on those that had beaten and treated him so violently. The warden himself was far more villainous, violently beating two prisoners to death and lying to the FBI, covering up any evidence of foul play. Just another case of a form of government cover-ups, be it on a lesser scale - I guess power leaves too much room for the ability to hide the truth.

    The overall writing and direction was well placed in the hands of Carter, perhaps outside of his usual realm, but dominate all the same. This was one of the best episodes in the season (thus far).
  • A good down hill episode.

    Although, this X-Files was rather gross and violent it still was pretty good.

    Neech Manley a prisoner on death row for 11 years, is sentenced to the electric chair after aiding a liquor store robbery. Before they threw the switch, Manley swore to come back and kill five people.

    I mainly saw Neech Manley as the hero of this episode, where as the Warden was the villian.

    Although the warden had alot to deal with in the prison, it was was very wrong of him to beat up the prisoners up physically.

    Neech really had it rough. Although he aided the guy that killed someone, but he didn't kill anyone and yet he was put to death. Although he should have just come back and kill the warden, I guess it was better to kill him last. So Neech could gave The Warden a taste of his own medicine (so he could feel the fear of being on death row and hearing about the other four people dying as his number would soon come up)