The X-Files

Season 6 Episode 19

The Unnatural

2
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 25, 1999 on FOX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (22)

8.7
out of 10
Average
318 votes
  • The Unnatural

    10
    The Unnatural was another perfectly entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of character and plot development, the story was fun and exciting, and we learn more about the aliens. It was interesting to see a story like this with a few scenes actually showing the alien's true face. I liked the sense of humor in the writing and acting. It was touching to see the white police officer and black baseball player form a bond and friendship. It was hilarious and disturbing to see one of the clan members was an all too familiar alien bounty hunter. I liked the ending with Mulder and Scully on the ball field. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!
  • David Duchovney writes and directs this odd episode about aliens in 1947 and baseball.

    8.2
    The name of the episode certainly matches the tone of the episode.. this is certainly an odd, unnatural episode of "The X-Files" that Duchovney makes work through his script. The story itself is corny, and with the pen hand of somebody else, it could've failed. But Duchovney has been with the show for long enough by this time to be able to figure out what works and doesn't.

    Most of the episode takes place in 1947, shortly before the alien conspiracy in Roswell. Arthur Dales, the man from the "Agua Mala" episode earlier, returns, although it's not the same Arthur Dales.. it's his brother, also named Arthur Dales. It turns out that this Arthur had an experience with an alien in the past that Mulder wants to look into. Apparently, an African American baseball player named Josh Exley who is rivaling Babe Ruth's home run record, even if it's in minor league play. Dales is hired to defend Exley after his life is threatened. The longer Dales looks after him, the more he realizes that Exley is not normal. In a very strange scene that is incredibly open about the appearance of aliens, Dales sees Exley in his true alien form and freaks out and soon comes to accept him.

    We also get a return visit of that shape shifting alien bounty hunter from all the way back in Season 1 or 2.. he keeps reappearing, and I don't really get why he keeps showing up so randomly, but I'll go along with it. The thing I had a problem with in this episode is the fact that we never truly learn whether or not Exley is an alien. Dales, in the future, tells Mulder about some bull involving "metaphorical aliens or men" and it just completely ruins the validity of the story. If this is something that really happened, then I feel like the show ruined its little conspiracy myth-arc by actually showing the aliens so much. In the episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space," the alien appearances were so insane that it didn't feel real. Every other time we've seen aliens on the show, it's been fuzzy views of them, never as clear as it was in this episode. It really makes me wonder whether or not it actually happened, and we probably won't really know.

    But the episode comes to a satisfying close, with Mulder playing baseball with Scully and giving us the most intimate moment in the show since they nearly kissed in the movie. A good episode, definitely impressive considering Duchovney was responsible for it.
  • One for the Shippers

    9.0
    The Unnatural is a great episode about baseball, written and directed by David Duchovny. I really like this episode. The episode is about a black man who is one of the baseball legends of the 40s playing for Roswell's local team The Roswell Grays. Agent Mulder is investigating the disappearance of Josh Exeley because of a newpaper picture he finds with Exely, the alien bounty hunter, and Arthur Dales. He goes to visit Arthur Dales but instead encounters Arthur's brother, Arthur Dales. The episode turns into a baseball tall tale except Exely is an alien who just wants to play baseball. I love some of the dialog between Mulder and Arthur and the story is very lighthearted with a carefree atmosphere that encaptures what the game of baseball really represents. The ending is somewhat bittersweet as the main character dies however he dies happy because he has turned into what he always pretended to be, a carfree human. The how and why of all this is not the point of the story as Arthur tells Mulder. It is simply meant to be a good story that makes you appreciate the simple things in life that we take for granted. I love the final scene with Mulder teaching Scully how to hit a baseball although I can't imagine how she could grow up as a tomboy and never have hit a baseball. I also am interested in just how much Scully and Mulder flirt in this episode. First with the ice cream cone and then Scully calling Mulder a rebel and finally this final scene. Good fun episode. 9 out of 10.
  • This episode is just a joy to watch and a daring episode overall in terms of the subject matter that it covers.

    10
    This is one of my all time favorite episodes. It never fails to make me laugh and feel for the characters everytime that I see it. David Duchovny did a very good job in terms of directing it. It was very tastefully done, and it balances both seriousness and humor well.

    This story is a more Mulder-focused one, unlike Milagro, the previous one -- which was a more Scully-focused one. In the end, both of them showed how much
    each character grew and changed and learned more about themselves.

    At the beginning of this episode - it starts out as usual... with both Mulder and Scully at the FBI... some flirting ensues (I just love this) and Mulder comes across an article about a famous baseball player and he takes an interest in it. And that's where things take a turn... he goes over to the apartment where the cop who protected the baseball player lived.

    The old man (Arthur Dales) tells Mulder the story about how he met Exley (the baseball player/alien) and made friends with him. In the end, Mulder learned how to be more patient and to go after what he wants before it is too late -- and to just enjoy life.

    The end of this episode is my favorite part of it overall... Just seeing the both of them having fun together is so worthwhile. It's just electric and enjoyable - the flirting and bantering that takes place here, shows just how close they had become by then.

    Overall, I recommend this episode to anyone who loves the sport of baseball and who likes to enjoy television.
  • First I thought "What a weird episode" but as it continued I began to enjoy it more and more.

    8.9
    First I thought "What a weird episode" but as it continued I began to enjoy it more and more.

    It was a typical X-files episode with the Aliens, bountyhunter and all, but still, it was told through the eyes of another character, another believer.
    I missed one thing in this episode though, the comments of Scully on the story, I'm sure she would have had a lot of comments.

    At the end of the episode there was a special moment between Scully and Mulder, you could see that clearly thanks to the different shots and the fade out.

    David Duchovny did a great job writing and directing it.
  • Mulder goes to speak with an Agent Dales, about an irregularity in the record books of baseball history...

    9.8
    This was a great episode which took us away from the heavy story lines of the alien bounty hunters trying to take over the human race, and was lighthearted relief shortly before a stunning series finale. Mulder goes to meet an agent he knows called Arthur Dales, but when the door is opened by someone else, Mulder asks the man where Arthur dales is? It turns out he is called Arthur Dales as well and the two men are brothers. (Explained away as their parents had little imagination). This man tells a tale which takes us to 1947 Roswell, and a baseball team called "The Grays" (Geddit?) Anyway the main batsman was in fact an alien, who fell in love with the game during a "visit" a couple of years earlier!! Dales tells Mulder all the best were aliens - Di Maggio etc...

    The alien (in human form) was played by the excellent Jesse L. Martin (Ed Green from Law & Order). I thought the racial angle was portrayed very well, and even one of the KKK members turned out to be an alien bounty hunter!
  • A lighthearted and fantastic retreat from the heaviness of the series mythology.

    10
    This episode is my favorite episode of the series, and is a perfect example of why the X-Files is such a successful show.

    The Unnatural is an episode which focuses on character more than mythology, and which pushes the relationship between Mulder and Scully forward in a very natural and positive direction. David's writing reveals some much needed depth to the show's main characters, and explores a more relaxed and elated side of their personalities, which are often repressed by the heaviness of the show's greater mythology and tempo. In doing so, it reinforces what has been a gradual and subtle movement towards a very deep and powerful friendship between Mulder and Scully.

    The opening scene shows a very unfamiliar (but welcomingly adorable) Scully, who seems for once to not be so weighed down by her job and her usual cold shouldered, rational disposition. Mulder remains familiar, obsessed with his interest in extra-terrestrial life, but approaches it in a much more lighthearted way than his often stress inducing attempts to convince Scully that we are not alone.

    Mulder and Scully play minor roles throughout most of the episode, as it is primarily about the game of baseball and an interesting side-story involving an alien shape shifter. However, the conclusion perfectly brackets and balances the episode, making for a completely unforgettable moment between Mulder and Scully, and all of X-Files history.

    Reinforced with a very simple but powerful sound track, The Unnatural is easily one of the best episodes in the entire series, and one that you will walk away from with a smile.
  • This episode veers more off course from the series format than any other, which allows it to tell a very original and a very charming story that no one expects from the x-files.

    10
    There is little interaction between Mulder and Scully in this episode. But what little there is, demonstrates their reactions to the in-depth exposition from "Milagro." M&S are becoming very comfortable around each other personally but some professional barriers will still present obstacles to their relationship in the coming episodes. Obviously their faiths remain separate at this point but their respect for one another has definitely evolved.
  • Foul Ball

    7.0
    I don't care for basball much, and perhaps this is the reason why I find this episode rather dull. Duchovny obviously loves the game a great deal as his script is a loving homage to the purity of the game. It's a pretty well-written script, as it turns out. His direction is a bit shakey at times but there are some clever transitions between scenes that held my interest.

    Jesse Martin does a great job playing Josh Exley. A very smooth, classy performance. I could watch him in anything. On the other hand, Arthur Dales 2.0 is terribly overacted.

    Scully's schoolgirl giddiness/flirtiness in the tofutti scene seems too far out of character for her. Sure, she will ultimately "run the bases" with Mulder by the close of Season Seven, but at this point in Season Six her relationship with Mulder was still strictly business. It's still a fun scene, though.

    The music in this episode is cheesy (in a bad way) and sounds like something lifted from Tremors 4. I suppose it fits the mood of the episode but it just seems dopey to me.

    All in all, a well-crafted episode with an interesting, memorable twist. I'm not sure that sports and the X-Files mix so well and this episode didn't do much for me, but for baseball fanatics I'm sure it is a favorite.
  • Who knew David Duchovny was so talented at writing?

    10
    This episode was very well written by David Duchovny. He proved that he can do more than act. This episode was, simply put, funny! It was so funny in the beginning of the episode when Scully and Mulder are acting like a couple of teenagers. It was so funny, and it was only one scene. Now if that's not good, I don't know what is.

    Although there was a bit of a continuity error with the whole, "No, Arthut Dales lives here" thing (the Arthur Dales you know lives in Florida, you silly agent! Don't you remember?), it made for a good story.

    Ah, baseball. An alien's favorite passtime. Wait--what was that? Yes, it's an aliens favorite passtime. Especially for an alien named John Exley (or so he says). All he wants to do is play baseball, so what does he do? He disguises himself as a human and takes a little trip to earth, that's what he does!

    The music in this episode was great. I can't get it out of my head, though. Oh well.

    The end of the episode was good too. Mulder had some very funny lines. And the baseball shining like a star as it flew away was a nice effect. Anyone who hasn't watched this episode yet really needs to.
  • A simple story, as all great stories are, about what it means to be human.

    9.8
    Like "The Post-Modern Prometheus" and "How The Ghosts Stole Christmas," "The Unnatural" blatantly and literally disposes of the conspiracies and world-shattering events to show the human side of a human drama and the comedy that contains it all. This is my favorite episode. Arthur in his old age has achieved satori with the knowledge that the big things take care of themselves and it is the little things that matter. In this case, a little thing called love. He tells Muldur to his face that love overpowers everything. The story shows that love is more powerful than all the space empires and galactic battles that will ever be fought, because love changes the nature of a man. Love makes us human, as it did literally for Exley. In the end, Muldur disposes of, at least for a moment, all the Sisyphean weight and gets baseball-jiggy with Scully, which is as jiggy as TV will allow even though he doesn't really get to first base with her (although it could be said, in that moment of emotional duality, they both got to home base. Baseball being the ouroboros-yin-yang back-where-we-began head trip that it is.) I love this episode, like I love the quietly dancing dead at the end of "Hollywood A. D." And no, qstevie, no one is going to hate you. Heck, I've been trying to wrap my head around Cricket for years and I still can't make head or tails of that confusing game. Games are the original way humans learned to agree to disagree. With games, we learn more from each other on an adversarial field, leaving each other alive to learn from the experience. Hopefully, some day, even war will be just another game and all bullets will evoke only laughter from the target. Maybe if the series had ended with all the aliens and humans just laughing about all the nonsense, it would have been fitting.
  • I know people are going to hate me and maybe it's because I'm British and not that much into baseball, but I really didn't enjoy this episode at all.

    6.0
    I've just watched it again, and it's like a pretty good show from a completely different series. I know it's the first Duchovny episode etc. and there's nothing wrong with the writing or direction or the acting or any of that stuff. I just found it pretty dull to watch. Maybe it's because Mulder and Scully weren't really in it very much. Maybe it's the sports theme I don't know. I just think that anything that can include the issues of black people in sports, the KKK and aliens should be a bit more exciting.

    It's very characterful and I do like the playing of Arthur (mark 2) and the younger Arthur and the baseball player. I just felt like I was watching male versions of Madonna and Geena Davies in A League of Their Own, with added rubber masks for the aliens.

    Sorry - please feel free to disagree as much as you want. It's well made, it has a wonderful last scene, but as a whole it just didn't do it for me.
  • Classic drama/comedy episode!

    9.7
    One of my favorite episodes! I love how this episode quickly changes time and time again from a classic drama to a comedy! I also love some of the Scully quotes such as "Shut up Mulder, I'm playing baseball!" I love this episode, also how David Duchovny wrote and produced it! Yay! Haha. It also showcases how David Duchovny loves baseball with different trivia and jokes. I love these more comical episodes. I hope to see more! These are the episode you love to watch over and over again! This is deffinatly one of my favorites, like Jose Chung's Outerspace, and Triangle.
  • David's First Time as Director and My #1 Favorite XF Episode of all time!

    10
    This was one amazing episode, I absoultly loved it! there's just something I Like about Watching baseball back in the 1950's. The storyline of an Alien playing baseball disguised as a human is great i really enjoyed it and I also cried when he was kill So sad. :( In all it was a great Episode and My #1 Favorite :D
  • David Duchovny is a brilliant writer. This episode felt like a movie that I would probably pay ten bucks to see in the theaters.

    9.1
    This episode actually suffers from the necessity of weaving in some aspect of the X-Files universe into it. If the whole alien bounty hunter thing was taken out of it, this episode would have been even more of a beautiful masterpiece of emotional and historically nostalgic importance. Of course, I'm not really complaining about that because this is, of course, an X-Files episode. But I have so much more respect for David Duchovny now that I've seen this episode. First of all, because he has very good taste in choosing to write an episode having to do with the history of baseball and racial tension. Baseball is a wonderful topic. So much culture and history tied into a sport. Nearly everything about this episode was to my liking. The writing was so classical, it was clearly an episode that spoke with a different voice. David Duchovny's writing is classy, smart, and poetic. His story was well-woven, his characters so touching and emotional. And he makes up for the lack of Mulder and Scully with two very cute scenes bookending it all. The choice of music during this episode added so much as well, the soft voices singing that smooth, delicious hymn all throughout the last scene. It was beautiful. After seeing this, I think perhaps Duchovny should take his hand at writing other projects. He has a lot of offer, for sure. The only reason this doesn't get a 10.0 is possibly for the very reasons I love it. It doesn't quite fit into the X-Files universe, it tacks on the conspiracy thing as almost an obligatory plot device, and the new Arthur Dales definitely leaves a lot to be desired. But the episode's uniqueness and its old-time feel are the things I love most about it as well.
  • By far, one of the best episodes ever.

    10
    In my humble opinion, this was one of the best episodes they ever filmed. It starts out with Mulder's obession over an unsolved x-file, nothing new here, but it has poor Scully stuck in their basement researching on a beautiful summer day. When Scully finally gets to leave, Mulder is left to chase down the story, which lead to what - another alien alien (big surprise there). This may sound sarcastic, but it's not meant to be. This is one of my favorites. As I stated above, this episode has everything that you need to make a typical X-file episode, plus the added joy of one of the shippiest moments in the series. Just thinking about this epidsode brings a smile to my face!
    If you want to see a classic episode that basically sums up the entire series, watch this episode!
    It's one of the greats!
  • Very little of Mulder and Scully, but one of my favourite episodes nonetheless.

    9.8
    While I am a huge fan of the X-Files, I must explain that I am not exactly a baseball fan, in fact I'm from a country where no one even plays the game. So while I understand almost nothing about baseball, I still loved this episode of the X-Files, one of the most moving episodes that I have seen. It had a very emotional ending, which is one of it's strengths. Very well written by David Duchovny, you truly feel for the central character Josh Exley - an alien, belonging to an unemotional species who, in his own words, 'don't have a word for laughter', and don't even smile. Exley smiles his way throughout the show, cracking jokes even when he knows all is lost, his character more than anything else is what makes this episode so special.
    Very little is seen of Scully and Mulder, though the storyline is tied in with the alien conspiracy and the project. Strong performance from Officer Dales (brother of ex FBI agent Arthur Dales).
  • shipper ep!

    10
    this episode was a wow episode in my opinion. i loved the way that scully and mulder acted as if they were a bunch of teenagers at the beginning. sure they were not the main focus of this episode and all but the way that david really focused on his little parts with him and gillian being a big thrill for those that love to see them together. the beginning was no doubt cute and the end was even more of an aww when you see them being wrapped up in wach others embrace and yet still being in character about the whole situation and yet having fun with it, i highly recommend it to you people and hope you enjoy it
  • One of the better episodes.

    10
    I really thought this episode was one of the best stand alone episodes. David Duchovny did a wonderful job directing this episode and the story was a good one. While this episode was a stand alone, it did sort of tie in to some of the consipracy story lines throughout the season.

    I am glad Chris Carter let David and Gillian both write and direct episodes for the show. I miss this show!
  • Apparently Chris Carter said he never encouraged David Duchovny or Gillian Anderson to write and direct, but in this case, I am so glad he didn't stop The Unnatural.

    10
    I loved the soundtrack to this ep and I don't think it would have been the same, especially not in the final scene, without it. The transition from ball to shining star made me smile - as it was a somewhat romantic idea. I had a different idea of baseball and the passion it inspired once I seen this episode. Although Mulder and Scully were not in the episode much together, I found it to be a big development for them. Excellent, all round!
  • Negro League ball player was a Gray. All kinds of reasons for the KK to hate this guy.

    9.0
    I'm not a big baseball fan, and if that makes me a homosexual commie, so be it. Clearly, Duchovny digs it, as he turns his hand to writing and directing his first episode. And it works. Combining love of the game, X-Files mythology, and some race relations history together sounds like a recipe for disaster, but David pulls it out for a surprisingly fun episode.
  • A Great Episode about one man's love of the game.

    9.6
    This was a great episode right from the beginning. It was hysterical to watch Mulder and Scully act like two teenagers in love in this episode especially at the baseball field where you could really feel the warmth, respect, understanding and love between them. The story was also well written and it was very interesting to watch how one man's love of the game cost him his life. David did a superb job on the writing of this episode because he was able to keep the viewers attention despite Mulder and Scully being secondary characters. This was a great episode overall and i recomend it to everyone.
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