The X-Files

Season 6 Episode 10


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jan 24, 1999 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
271 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Assistant Director Kersh tries to tear Scully and Mulder apart when he partners Scully with a New York agent investigating Alfred Fellig, a freelance police photographer who conveniently shows up to document the scene of a death as soon as it happens. While the young hotshot agent is convinced that Fellig is murdering the people, Scully has other (paranormal) theories.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • Tithonus

    Tithonus was a superb and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really liked watching as agent Scully is assigned a new partner who does not exactly see things the way she does. It was nice to see a case in New York City. Fellig was an interesting character and it seems he has been around for some time. I liked the story and the acting was great as well. The story played out very nicely and the ending was great. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!moreless
  • Writers out of ideas...

    I loved this episode when it was called "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose." Crusty old guy can forsee people's deaths and bonds with Scully over her immortality. Great concept, great execution. Unfortunately while "Clyde" was classic "X," this one is just a lame crib of its broad themes, with none of the wit, mystery. or depth. Trying to make LA look like Brooklyn is rather painful at times... no amount of yellow taxi cabs can disguise SoCal bright latitude. And who wants to watch Mulder and Scully apart? They are separated at crucial moments in the series, but this one just feels unnecessary.moreless
  • An old photographer is looking for Death.

    Most X-Files episodes have great premises that fail to follow through in the end. This was a classic example of an episode that kept me interested simply because the idea behind it was compelling.. but when it's all said and done, X-Files writers have a tough time of tying everything together.

    This episode finds Scully separated from Mulder, looking into a photographer who seems to be present at the moment of dozen's of deaths. A.D Kersh believes that Scully has the potential to be a great agent if she's separated from Mulder, but as this episode shows us, Mulder is frequently right while everybody else is wrong. Mulder learns that the old photographer has been alive for nearly 149 years and seems to have learned when people are going to die before it happens. As we learn more about the old man, he becomes more likable, despite the episode becoming more contrived.

    Normally, I'm a huge fan of Vince Gilligan's writing. He's responsible for some of the show's best episodes ("Small Potatoes," "Bad Blood") and he's responsible for Breaking Bad, proving he's a great writer, but this episode fails the second that we learn that the old man is searching for Death in his photographs. The show tries getting deep and profound and ends up falling flat on its face. Something like Scully getting shot should feel like a big moment, but we know she won't die, so there's no drama in it.

    Overall though, it was a good episode. I just wish the episodes would flow from start to finish a little better.moreless
  • One of the best X-Files episodes ever.

    This was one of the best episodes ever. One of the few where the "villain" speaks and explains his origins. That doesn't happen very often and made this particular episode a joy to watch. In going through the show season by season it is easy to get caught up in the UFO mythology. Rarely does a standout gem like this episode come along to redeem some of the later season entries. Geoffrey Lewis had a plum role here and made the most of it as the "immortal" in search elusive death. What a great episode. Worth watching again, I say.moreless
  • Scully does her first real X File alone.

    I really enjoyed this episode. It was quiet a simple story but I felt it was very effective towards the end. The whole episode built up to the final scene where Scully is supposed to die, however Fellig takes her place because he truly wants to die. This episode was interesting in the fact that Scully may now never die. If Fellig has taken her place its assumed she now cannot die and will not age...Its a shame really that such of season 6 thus far has not been this good. So far season 6 when i rewatch it i feel its ruined by too many silly "funny" episodes. I prefer the X Files when the episodes are bleak and dark. The X Files should not really be a comedic show which i got the impression the writers have been trying to do this season. Overall this was a great episode, much like the more original episodes from the first few series.moreless
Geoffrey Lewis

Geoffrey Lewis

Alfred Fellig

Guest Star

Richard Ruccolo

Richard Ruccolo

Agent Peyton Ritter

Guest Star

Ange Billman

Ange Billman


Guest Star

James Pickens Jr.

James Pickens Jr.

Assistant Director Kersh

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Right after the young kid is killed for his tennis shoes, Fellig is confronted by the murderer and you can clearly hear the sound of a switchblade knife opening. When the knife is shown in Fellig's back and later in the evidence bag, however, it is a butterfly knife and not a switchblade.

    • Louis Brady had a 'Felon wanted by the FBI' file in 1929, but the FBI wasn't called the FBI until 1935; until then it was just the 'Bureau of Investigation'.

    • During the interview with Fellig, Agent Ritter gives the date as January 4th. Since the episode started the day before, it seems harsh for the FBI to be forcing Mulder and Scully (and several other agents) to be doing background checks on the Sunday after New Years.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Scully: Mr. Fellig, I know that you know more about photography than I do, but this is just a lens flare.
      Fellig: You're right, I do know more about photography than you do.

    • Ritter: You know, Kersh warned me about you.
      Scully: He did?
      Ritter: Yeah - you and your partner. God knows his reputation precedes him so I guess I should have seen this coming. You muck up my case, and Kersh'll hear about it. Are we clear, Dana?
      Scully: (coldly) Scully. (Cell phone rings) And we're done with this conversation. (Answering) Yeah?
      Mulder: Hey, Scully, uh, how's that X-File coming? And before you tell me that it's not an X-File-
      Scully: It is.
      Mulder: What happened?
      Scully: Alfred Fellig seems to know an awful lot about death.
      Mulder: Oh, yeah? Well, that's not surprising, given that he's reached the ripe old age of 149.
      Scully: Excuse me?

    • Criminal: Look, that gun ain't mine, Red!
      Scully: Yeah. (Slaps guy lightly on cheek to shut him up)

    • Fellig: Am I under arrest. Again?
      Scully: Are you a murderer?

    • Mulder: But you still think Fellig's a murderer, huh?
      Scully: I don't know what to think. He's, uh... unusual.
      Mulder: As in he plugs up like a cork when you stab him?
      Scully: Mulder, where are you getting this stuff?!
      Mulder: Well, young man Ritter has been sending progress reports to Kersh. My computer may have inadvertently intercepted a few of those. He's got nice things to say about you, though.... mostly. Why don't you let me do a little background check on Fellig for you?
      Scully: Mulder.
      Mulder: Come on. It's, you know, it's what I do now. I'm getting good at it.

    • (On the phone)
      Scully: Scully.
      Mulder: (Weird voice with slight accent) Hi. My name is Fox Mulder. We used to sit next to each other at the FBI?
      (Scully smiles. Mulder resumes normal voice)
      Mulder: How's your X-File coming?
      Scully: Mulder, it's not- ... We haven't made much headway. We arrested Alfred Fellig and just released him.
      Mulder: You can't hold him? What about the stabbing?
      Scully: How did you know about that?
      Mulder: Ahhh told you, I'm nosy.

    • Scully: Peyton Ritter, this is Fox Mulder.
      Ritter: Pleasure to meet you, Fox.
      Mulder: (Gives Ritter a quick once-over) Pleasure to meet you. Peyton.
      (Scully and Ritter walk out, leaving Mulder looking forlorn)

    • Mulder: (Sad face) So they're splitting us up, huh?
      Scully: No. This is a one-time thing.
      Mulder: Who told you that? Obviously, if you do a good job, they're not going to stick you back here.
      (Scully doesn't answer. She looks up and sees Ritter approaching, walks up to Mulder's computer and closes the file)
      Mulder: .. Right?

    • Scully: Mulder..
      Mulder: (Looking at pictures on the computer that look a lot like the pictures Scully has in her folder) Mm.
      Scully: What are you doing?
      Mulder: Being nosy. Eating my heart out. They're sending you on an X-File.
      Scully: It's not an X-File.
      Mulder: That's not what I'm reading. I'm thinking murder by telekinesis, I'm thinking maybe a shamanistic death touch, I'm thinking about the Muslim superstition that to photograph someone is to steal their soul.
      Scully: Thank you. All very helpful.

    • (Conducting background checks. Mulder puts a hand over his phone)
      Mulder: Hey Scully, maybe if we get really lucky, next time they'll let us clean toilet bowls.
      Scully: You ready to quit?
      Mulder: No. That would make way too many people way too happy.
      (Scully's phone rings, she says "I'll be right there," hangs up and stands.)
      Scully: I've been called into Kersh's office. (Mulder moves as if to get up) Just me.
      Mulder: Just you? (Watches Scully walk away) Don't forget your toilet brush!! (Into the phone receiver) No. No, ma'am, not you.

    • Fellig: Love lasts... seventy-five years, if you're lucky. You don't want to be around when it's gone.

  • NOTES (5)


    • Television Reference: he's a regular Dick Clark

      Dick Clark being a US TV presenter renowned for his youthful looks which earned him the nickname America's Oldest Teenager.

    • Mulder: I'm thinking of the Muslim superstition that taking someone's picture is stealing their soul.

      This is also a well-documented belief in societies which practice animist religions. In the Muslim world, an aversion to being photographed may have more to do with a general artistic prohibition on depicting the human form.

    • Names: Alfred Fellig's personas
      Other than the "L.H. Rice" reference to Holly, all of Fellig's other pseudonyms were references to real-life photographers.

      Alfred Fellig was named for Arthur 'WeeGee' Fellig. WeeGee was a New York City photographer in the 30's, 40's, and 50's who covered the police murder beat. He took graphic photos of the victims, which the newspapers usually printed along with their stories.

      Alfred Fellig's first name came from Alfred Stieglitz, another famous photographer much admired by writer Vince Gilligan.

      Henry Strand is named for Paul Strand. Paul Strand was a New York City photographer in the early 1900's. He went through a period of photographing his subjects without their knowledge in attempt to extract a "quality of being" from them. At the time this act was quite controversial.

      Louis Brady may have been named for Mathew Brady, a photographer who covered the Civil War era when photography was still relatively new. He was an accomplished portrait photographer in his time. His subjects included Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allen Poe, Frederick Douglas, and Susan B. Anthony. He was most famous as a war correspondent who collected images on the Civil War battlefields.

    • Title: Tithonus
      Tithonus is a character from Greek Mythology. He was a mortal man who fell in love with a goddess and begged Zeus to grant him immortality to be with her.

      Zeus did as was asked but neglected to give him eternal youth, so Tithonus continued to shrivel and grow feeble as the years went by.