The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 8

Tunguska (1)

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 24, 1996 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
287 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A rock sample taken from Mars is intercepted at an airport and infects a security officer with the Black Cancer, while Mulder is given a tip about potentially dangerous paramilitary operations but is doubtful when the informant turns out to be Alex Krycek. Reluctantly, Mulder accepts Krycek's help and tracks the rock to Russia where he discovers an elaborate test being performed by Russian scientists.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Black Splatoon

    Now were back into the thick of things, really thick. It can be hard to find a balance with a story that has so much to say, you want to keep your viewers guessing and curious with this giant story that has so many half truths and lies but not to make it so overwhelming and dense that they can't keep up sometimes (think LOST).

    I'm rolling with the story so far and where it takes us but one detail that I've spotted so far seems to be kind of overlooked and that was what exactly happened to Krycek? Last seen he was vomiting up the black cancer on the alien artifact and then when he returned to his normal self he was screaming, down below. In this episode he mentioned he was found but it wasn't gone into a whole lot.

    Aside from that I enjoy the stakes we've been brought to here with Fox captured and then in the biggest thing to happen to him, he's subjected to the tests. It's almost as good as it can get and they're doing a fine job keeping me wanting. With 9 seasons of this show though how much can you do to a character, hell in the 2nd episode of the show he gets a portion of his memory erased. Just saying it makes going to a filler episode afterwords that much harder, you don't want it to stop.

  • Tunguska

    Tunguska was another perfectly entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of character and plot development significant to the entire series. The story was compelling, engaging and intriguing. There was action, drama, mystery and suspense. The cast were amazing in their roles and the way every thing played out was fantastic. The Martian meteorite with living organisms was awesome. It was interesting to see Mulder in the field with Krycek while Scully and Skinner covered for him as best they could in their situations. I certainly look forward to watching how this all plays out in the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • "These guys, they make it all up as they go along."--Alex Krycek

    When a neglected billboard becomes weathered and forgotten, Part one of a two-parter, "Tunguska" leaps right off the television screen. It's a rip-roaring episode with the fast pace and wide-eyed wonder of earlier season classics. I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of the hour. Mulder forced to cooperate with the man he hates most on earth, and Skinner caught between two loyalties--what's not to like? The first half of this two-part story rocked, with the nearly complete family reunion including Agent Pendrell, the Well-Manicured Man, and the Cigarette-Smoking Man.

    The Oilien from "Piper Maru", one of the most innovative forms of alien life conceived so far on the X- Files, turns up again in a mysterious rock being smuggled into the USA in a diplomatic pouch. At the same time, Mulder and Scully orchestrate a raid on a bomb-making operation reminiscent of the Oklahoma City bomb plot, spurred on by information being leaked to Mulder from someone inside the plot. That insider turns out to be the hated Alex Krycek, supposedly rescued from his imprisonment in the missile silo by the conspirators he is betraying. He tells them of the diplomatic pouch, and winds up chained to Skinner's balcony for his pains. He is forced to kill the pouch carrier, who comes looking for him, even as the researchers cutting up the rock at NASA/Goddard unleash the deadly alien. Mulder consults Deep Blonde for a bit of help from the UN, and takes Krycek with him to Siberia looking for the origin of the rock. They are surprised and imprisoned, and Mulder is exposed to the alien being living in the rocks mined from a giant impact crater in the Tunguska wilderness. And this is only part one!

  • Black oil is back

    And so is Alex Krycek. He leads Mulder to a man who is carrying into US territory and the troubles begin.

    Easy how Mulder fell under Krycek's spell once again for the truth. I liked how Skinner supported Mulder but I loved it even more Scully supporting Mulder and asking how far she would follow him. Also, her silence about Mulder's whereabouts before the committee was perfect for two reasons: it had nothing to do with the real reason and the loyalty in their more than amazing relationship.

    Mulder is exposed to the black oil - and betrayed by Krycek once again - and I wonder if him and Scully getting exposed to the black oil made William a special boy.moreless
  • Mulder and Scully find a rock.

    Okay, perhaps my summary of the episode was an awful description of what the episode is about, but that will make it all the more surprising when you see it. I didn't read the summary and was surprised at where the episode went.. and the fact that it's a two part episode with a cliffhanger is awesome.

    I like that Krycek came back, but I'm not 100% sure I understand how he escaped that missile silo. I'm sure they mentioned it.. or maybe they didn't. Either way, I didn't catch the reasoning, but I was willing to overlook it because his presence in the episode made everything more interesting. Also, Laurie Holden guest starred again as Mulder's mysterious friend in the government and Skinner continues to prove to be a close ally. There was a time when Skinner would be an enemy to Mulder, but over time, he's become a great supporting character.

    We're left, once again, with two parallel plots: Mulder in one area and Scully in another. Mulder is captured in Russia while investigating possible alien bacteria with Krycek and is subjected to torture via the black liquid that overtakes your body, while Scully is being questioned in front of a Senate who wants Mulder to be brought to justice for what he's done. It's a crazy way to end a two part episode, but boy, I'm excited to see where they go next. I didn't like the last two part episode they did, which was the season 3 finale/season 4 premiere, but this is a much better direction to go in.moreless
David Bloom

David Bloom

Stress Man

Guest Star

Campbell Lane

Campbell Lane

Committee Chairman

Guest Star

Stefan Arngrim

Stefan Arngrim


Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

William B. Davis

William B. Davis

Cigarette Smoking Man

Recurring Role

Malcolm Stewart

Malcolm Stewart

Dr. Sacks

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Parts of the set for Marita Covarrubias's NYC apartment were reused/redressed from the episode "The Field Where I Died." You can see the distinctive leaded glass design in both episodes.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Krycek: You're keeping me in the dark?
      Mulder: (punches Krycek) Yeah

    • Mulder: I don't speak Russian.
      Prisoner: Then no one told you.
      Mulder: Told me what?
      Prisoner: That you were brought here to die. To wish you were dead.
      Mulder: I wasn't brought here, I came here looking for something
      Prisoner: The only thing you will find here is death.
      Mulder: What is this Place?
      Prisoner: This Place.. A Gulag, a place where the guilty rule the innocent.

    • Scientist: (To Mulder and Scully) This rock contains what are called Polythiclicaromatic Hydrocarbons fitting the approximate description of those in fragments of meteorite found recently in the ice fields of Antarctica.

    • Krycek: Hey, you go underground, you gotta learn to live with the rats.
      Mulder: I'm sure you had no trouble adapting.

    • Mulder: (to Krycek) You're an invertebrate scum sucker whose moral dipstick is about two inches short of bone dry.

    • Scully: What I'm worried about is you, Mulder. How far you'll go... and how far I can follow you.

    • Scully: You want this man brought to justice?
      Krycek: You can't bring these men to justice. They're protected. The laws of this country protect them in the name of national security. They know no law.
      Mulder: Then why don't you put a bullet in his head like you did that man out there?
      Krycek: These men, they fear one thing; exposure. You expose *him,* you expose his crimes, you destroy the destroyer's ability to destroy.
      Mulder: The only thing that will destroy this man is the truth.
      Krycek: The truth, the truth! There's no truth. These men, they make it up as they go along. They're the engineers of the future. They're the real revolutionaries.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The character of Dr. Sacks (the scientist who is infected by the Black Cancer in the rock) is possibly named after the famed neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose book "An Anthropologist On Mars" was a major influence on the episode "Demons".

    • In the closed captioning for this episode, viewers saw Mulder pull a cockroach out of a drinking cup and say: "Bambi?". This is a reference Dr. Bambi Berenbaum, an entomologist studying cockroaches who appeared in the season 3 episode 'War of the Coprophages'.

    • Krycek tells Mulder that "When you go underground you gotta learn to live with the rats", a possible reference to Nick Lea's nickname, 'Ratboy'.


    • Mulder: What did you get for trick or treat, Charlie Brown?
      This is a reference to the perennial TV animated special It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. In that cartoon, as the kids compare what they get from each house, all Charlie Brown can say is, "I got a rock."

    • Title: Tunguska

      Tunguska is the location in Siberia where an object (asteroid? UFO?) struck the earth on June 30, 1908. The blast levelled over a half million acres and was hundreds of times stronger than the blast of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.