The X-Files

Season 6 Episode 11

Two Fathers (1)

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Feb 07, 1999 on FOX
out of 10
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252 votes

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Episode Summary

While Cigarette Smoking Man recites to an unseen listener everything about the work of the Syndicate involving a global conspiracy in co-operation with an alien species, Cassandra Spender reappears and is pursued by the scientists who would rather kill her than keep her alive. Cassandra runs to Mulder's apartment and demands that he shoots her because she is the culmination of 50 years work - a living alien/human hybrid, and colonisation will begin if the aliens find out about her.moreless

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  • Two Fathers

    Two Fathers was a perfect and extremely entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was awesome and we learned more about the Cigarette Smoking Man, the Alien Agendas, and how it all comes together with Cassandra. There was a lot of character and plot development, action, intrigue and sci fi goodness. I liked how the story has played out so far and the ending with Cassandra begging Mulder to shoot her was a suspenseful and thrilling cliffhanger. I look forward to watching how the story plays out in the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • We get back into the myth-arc as Cassandra Spender returns to the show.

    Whether or not you like this new installment into the mythology of the show will completely rely on whether a.) you like the dynamic of the Cigarette Smoking Man and his son, Spender, the new guy in charge of the X-Files and b.) whether you can remember who Cassandra Spender is. Yes, we get a return visit from Cassandra Spender from Season 5's episode "Patient X," and for me, somebody who slowly makes his way through the show, it was a little confusing to have a character who's only been on the show once be referenced so frequently. Even more confusing was how we had the Cigarette Smoking Man narrating a very complicated and ridiculous summary of what's going on in the myth-arc, and hearing it said out loud made me think, "What in the heck have I been watching?"

    Right now, I make the episode sound bad, but it was actually very good in terms of how intense everything was, the twists that came up and the actual reveals that we got. We learn a lot, especially that aliens do exist, that there is a conspiracy and that Cassandra Spender is the key piece of evidence preventing an alien invasion of Earth. However, for something that is so huge, why does it feel so lackluster?

    It mostly has to do because the actors are so lackluster in their delivery. There was a time when Mulder seemed so desperate to find the truth that I actually believed him. But he's been screwed around with more than anybody I know, so it's easy to feel somewhat unaffected when we learn that there is a group of aliens out there ready to invade the world as soon as the Syndicate a.k.a group of old people figure out a way to create an alien/human hybrid. Oh, and those faceless creeps are aliens who are trying to prevent an alien invasion. What the heck is going on here? How did the show get so complicated. I miss the mysterious days of "Deep Throat" and "X." Now we have a random Krycek showing up for no reason, a Cigarette Smoking Man who seems to know everything (and somehow is not dead of cancer) and Mulder never getting what he wants.

    Part 2 may be better, but if it's anything like this episode, I'll be a bit disappointed. This one was interesting as a piece to a larger puzzle, but unless the next piece is strong, I'll be worried about the show's myth-arc.moreless
  • Mulder Has Game

    Midway through Season Six and we finally get a Myth arc two-parter. Is is too little too late?

    My take is that Father/Son is a fine two-parter but it comes too late to save the series, which has damaged itself with too many joke and gimmick episodes. The Myth arc has seemingly become a mere afterthought with too little creative energy invested in its extension. The Myth additions that we do get seem illogical and a bit half-baked.

    There is a curious lack of energy in both episodes of the Father/Son two-parter. A weary sense of tiredness, as though all involved have grown bored with the series and are simply going through the motions. A lot of this has to do with the excessive use of CSM's monologue, which is a rather dull way to spoonfeed the Myth elements to the viewer. The episode as a whole is a bit wordy, which seems to be a a common fault of the episodes written by Chris Carter.

    Mulder is in burnt-out mode again and seems strangely disinterested when Cassandra reappears. Scully shrilly tries her best to rekindle his interest. Spender whines and sulks his way through the episode like a petulant child. It is a bit of a stretch that CSM sends Spender to assassinate the rebel posing as a syndicate member. Why not simply send Krycek in the first place? It's also strange that the episode treats the connection between CSM and Mulder's father as some kind of revelation. Hasn't Mulder known of this connection for a long time already? Why is it supposed to be such a surprise when Scully shows Mulder yet another photograph of CSM with Mulder's father?moreless
  • The first of a two parter....

    This episode starts of with Mulder playing a game of basketball to try and distract himself from being out of the X-files mainstream.

    Scully offers him a chance to get back into it, but he only slowly & reluctantly gets involved. We see the return of Cassandra Spender who has been abducted by aliens. The main part of the episode sees cigarette smoking man narrate the whole conspiracy theory to an unknown person. Loads of questions are answered but more are asked. CSM's son is brought up to date as to why he has to assassinate one of the alien enemies. But for me, he is to weedy to do the job.moreless
  • As far as myth arc episodes go, this was one mediocre at best.

    The episode starts with a sad portrait of a broken and hurting Mulder. He hides it as best he can through his casual jokes and playing hoops, but it's clear that the FBI's strategy of wearing him down in hopes he'll quit is taking its toll on him. His acts of rebellion are now reduced to playing hooky during work, hiding from the boring mind-numbing background check detail they've got him on. Not only is he being worn down, but his psyche has taken a blow as well. When Scully comes bearing news of an X-File and Cassandra Spender's return, Mulder doesn't leap at the opportunity. Instead, he turns it down and rubs Spender's face in it. It's quite telling that Mulder only pursues the case once Scully pleads him, bringing in her own quest for answers about her own abduction. Mulder decides to pursue the case despite his own rivalry with Spender.

    The rivalry with Spender, which, by the way, has no real heat to it. Spender is no match for Mulder. It's clearly ridiculous, pitting the two of them against each other. Compared to Mulder, Spender is a mere boy struggling to make his daddy proud. And when he whines to his father about not getting what he wants, he gets slapped silly and shut down. Not until Krycek's admission that Spender is being used by CSM does Spender seem to grow a pair, but even then it still looks like a child storming out after a temper tantrum. We know that if Mulder had been in that position, he never would have blindly followed orders from such a shady character. Questioning authority, seeking out the truth, unafraid of retaliation - Spender is not any of these things. It's clear that Krycek too, along with the CSM, thinks Spender "pales to Fox Mulder." Meanwhile, we learned all about the Rebels and the colonization, and Cassandra Spender's own sad revelation that she needs to be killed. This episode was touted as one that held "all the answers" and certainly, there are answers. But as always, new questions galore. They make a very good attempt at having a cliffhanger, but all X-Philes know that Mulder will not shoot an innocent (unless he's possessed by a ghost, under some toxic influence, or having psychotic episodes) so it doesn't really work. All in all a very good episode, but there were a few questions remaining in my mind. How did Spender know to pull the face off the Rebel alien? He hadn't had any dealings with them, but it seemed like his very first instinct was to go for the face and to scratch it off. You would think a normal response would be a struggle for the weapon. Why didn't the green blood hurt either Spender or Krycek after they'd stabbed the Rebel? How DID Cassandra find her way to Mulder's apartment? I mean, the writers did have them acknowledge that question but that doesn't really satisfactorily resolve the plothole, does it? Why would the CDC knock for so long before breaking down the door? Why wouldn't they identify themselves right away? For the creation of tension, I suppose. Ah well :)moreless
Valarie Pettiford

Valarie Pettiford

FBI Agent

Guest Star

Veronica Cartwright

Veronica Cartwright

Cassandra Spender

Guest Star

Nick Tate

Nick Tate

Dr. Openshaw

Guest Star

William B. Davis

William B. Davis

Cigarette Smoking Man

Recurring Role

Chris Owens

Chris Owens

Special Agent Jeffrey Spender

Recurring Role

Nicholas Lea

Nicholas Lea

Alex Krycek

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The location stamp states that the Elder's residence is in Silver Springs, Maryland. This is incorrect. The correct name of the city is Silver Spring.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Spender: AD Skinner. I... I didn't hear the elevator. I was working here.
      Skinner: Working on what, Agent Spender?
      Spender: Progress report on the X-Files.
      Skinner: Progress report to who?
      Spender: Just to file.
      Skinner: I wasn't aware that you'd made any progress. In the months since your assignment, I've received but one memorandum. Were you planning to hit me all at once?
      Spender: Uh, it's been slow going.
      Skinner: Truth is your purpose here is not to make any progress, isn't it? Truth is you have no interest in the X-Files. Beyond a certain... personal case. Your mother's abduction.
      Spender: Alleged abduction.
      Skinner: That's what I'm here about.

    • Spender: What did they do to you?
      Cassandra: I need to talk to someone.
      Spender: You can tell me.
      Cassandra: I need to speak to Agent Mulder.

    • Spender: I don't want him talking with her.
      Skinner: Why?
      Spender: He's forbidden from the X-Files. He's to stay out of this.
      Skinner: She's asking for him.
      Spender: She's my mother.
      Skinner: What are you afraid of, Agent Spender?
      Spender: Of Agent Mulder filling her head with alien-abduction nonsense.
      Skinner: Are you afraid of the truth?
      Spender: I want to know who did this to her and why. That's all I want.
      Skinner: Then why not use every resource available to you?
      Spender: I'll send you a progress report.

    • CSM: My son refused to believe that his mother had been abducted... though it had been going on for years. Even after I schemed to put him in charge of the X-Files where Fox Mulder had amassed so much evidence of our secret plans... he still couldn't bring himself to accept the possibility of alien life. When he did... come to believe... when the facts became so glaring he turned... not to me, his father, but to the man I'd ruined. The man I'd chosen for him to replace.

    • CSM: Cassandra was beginning to realize her role in the greatest science project that man had ever known. She was the center of 50 years of work... The key to all of our plans... something even my colleagues didn't realize yet. I killed to keep them unknowing. I killed Dr Openshaw so they wouldn't discover her. When it's Cassandra I should have killed... Cassandra who needed to die. I couldn't do it. With all the blood on my hands I couldn't kill the mother of my own son, a woman I never even loved. My colleagues never knew, focused as they were on the new threat - the faceless alien rebels who'd burned our doctors alive... But my colleagues had become old men... blind to the fact that the faceless rebels already held the upper hand... that they'd used their powers of disguise to infiltrate our group.

    • Spender: I've done as you've asked. Mulder's been brought up to his superiors. He and his partner will be processed out of the FBI. I've done as you've asked, now I would like you to do for me.
      CSM: Do for you?
      Spender: I think I'm entitled.
      CSM: To...?
      Spender: The truth. The truth about my mother. She won't tell me.
      CSM: Because you won't believe her. Maybe you won't believe me. Maybe it's better not to know.
      Spender: Look, I need to know.
      CSM: You need to show me that you're capable of handling the responsibility that comes with this knowledge.
      Spender: Don't try me, old man.
      (Smoking Man stands and slaps Spender)
      CSM: I gave you responsibility. I gave you a position. I gave you the things that you couldn't get yourself and you can't do the job!
      Spender: Keeping Fox Mulder down is not a job. It's your dirty work! (Smoking Man slaps him again)
      CSM: You pale to Fox Mulder. (He walks out of the room)

    • (Mulder is shooting baskets alone at the gym court, when Scully enters with a large box under her arm)
      Scully: I bet you're curious about CGB.
      Mulder: What's that?
      Scully: CGB Spender - his name. Cigarette-Smoking Man?
      Mulder: What's it stand for?
      Scully: It's an alias, as far as I can figure. One of hundreds.
      Mulder: Scully, want to go one-on-one? We got nothing but time now that we're on administrative leave.
      Scully: Aren't you curious what I've got in the box? Everything I could find on him.
      Mulder: Nothing you could ever find would be accurate or credible.
      Scully: Maybe. But there's a picture you're going to want to see.
      Mulder: That's CGB Spender and my father.
      Scully: It was taken in 1973. I traced the connection to something they worked on together for 25 years at the state department. A highly classified project. There's more, if you're ready. Cassandra Spender is, indeed, the mother of Agent Jeffery Spender and the ex-wife of CGB Spender. But there's something that you're going to be surprised to find out. She was first abducted in 1973 on the night of November 27.
      Mulder: That's the same night as my sister.
      Scully: And there are other names connected to CGB Spender and your father - PhDs, doctors... one a Nobel winner for early works in genetics. A Dr Eugene Openshaw. He was the doctor that was found amongst the burn victims clinging to life beside Cassandra Spender. He died the next day in the hospital, before he was questioned.
      Mulder: The project is still going on.
      Scully: Yeah.

    • CSM: If Mulder hadn't known of his father's history with me he was fueled now with names and dates and... certainties. I couldn't stop him any longer - stop him from learning our sins. His father's and my own. The truth was out there, fatally exposed. I had one last hope. One chance to preserve my legacy.

    • (Spender sits staring at the dead alien)
      Krycek: You've never seen one before, have you? It's shocking at first. The acceptance of the idea, it's... it's something you thought only children and fools believed in. It undermines your beliefs - in yourself, in the world... but then you come to understand.
      Spender: Understand what?
      Krycek: Well, the responsibility that this knowledge demands by the men who have it. The great sacrifice... by great men like your father.
      Spender: What sacrifice?
      Krycek: The sacrifice of your mother.
      Spender: What do you know about that?
      Krycek: Just that she's... been the subject of an experiment for 25 years.
      Spender: My father's involved in that? Is he?
      Krycek: Your father directs the experiments.
      Spender: So... I'm protecting her now so the experiments can continue?
      Krycek: That's why he put you on the X-Files. That's why your father sent you here tonight. You're protecting the project, Jeff. Making the sacrifices. So that you can be a great man, too.
      Spender: I'll be my own great man.

    • CSM: I've trusted no one. Treachery is the inevitable result of all affairs. Every man believes he has his own good reason. I have little doubt of my son's disloyalty to me. Certainly he led Mulder and Scully to us. His mother must know by now her central role in the grand plan... That she's as much alien as human. Do you wonder why I've chosen you? You've never betrayed me. Now I need someone to trust.
      Fowley: I'll help you. It's not too late.

    • Mulder: Cassandra?
      Cassandra: I can't believe I found you.
      Scully: How did you find us? Cassandra?
      Mulder: How did you get here? How did you get out of your room?
      Scully: How did you get your clothes? (There's loud knocking at the door)
      Cassandra: Oh, Agent Scully, Agent Mulder, you cannot let them find me.
      (More loud pounding at the door) You cannot let them have me! (She frantically grabs for Mulder's gun)
      Mulder: Let go!
      Cassandra: You have got to kill me now! If you don't kill me, it all starts. There won't be any stopping it. I am the one. You have to shoot me... Please! (More knocking. Mulder unholsters his gun and raises it)
      Scully: Mulder, what are you doing?
      Mulder: Stand away, Scully.
      Scully: Mulder! Mulder, we have to protect her. (The pounding at the door continues, getting louder. Mulder aims the gun at Cassandra Spender's head. It sounds like someone is breaking the door down Mulder? Mulder!

    • Mulder: (Dribbling basketball) Scully, you wanna go one-on-one? We got plenty of time now that we're on administrative leave.

    • Cassandra: Oh! Agent Mulder. I think I'm going to pee the floor.
      Mulder: Don't- Don't do that.

    • Mulder: You looking for work, Agent Spender? Cuz if you are, I got a whole pile in that middle drawer I'd love to shove down someone's throat.

    • (Mulder is playing basketball, sees Scully walking into gym)
      Basketball player: Hey, milk. Let's play ball. Yo homestyle, cough up the rock.
      Mulder: (Sinks a 3-pointer) Game.
      Baller: Oh nah, it don't work like that.
      Mulder: (Walks away) Hey homegirl, word up.
      Scully: Mulder, it's my distinct impression that you just cheated and that you're not coming in again today.
      Mulder: Oh Scully, I got game.
      Scully: Yeah, you got so much game, I'm wondering if you have any work left in you.
      Mulder: No, I'm ready to J-O-B, just not on some jagoff shoeshine tip.
      Scully: No jagoff shoeshine tip?
      Mulder: No background checkin' jagoff shoeshine tip.
      Scully: Well about your J-O-B, Mulder, somebody's been trying very hard to reach you by phone. Somebody who wants you back at the FBI ASAP.
      Mulder: (Sighs) About what?
      Scully: About an X-File.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Veronica Cartwright, playing Cassandra Spender, received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her work on "Two Fathers/One Son".

    • The idea that the Cigarette-Smoking Man would be telling the story was a very last minute addition as production had even wrapped on this episode.

    • This two-parter won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Makeup for a Series.

    • In this episode Cassandra wants to end her life because her existence as the first alien/human hybrid signals the beginning of alien colonization. In Greek the name Cassandra means "Prophet of Doom".

    • Recurring Special Guest Star Mimi Rogers (Agent Diana Fowley) is uncredited in this episode.


    • Krycek: Resistance was futile then, why would it be any less so now?

      'Resistance is Futile' is a trademark saying of the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation.