The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 16


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Feb 23, 1997 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
255 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When a US military general is unexplainably murdered in the back of his limousine, a paramilitary group is suspected and they believe it was a soldier whom they liberated from a Vietnam POW camp and is plotting to kill certain corrupt military figures.

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  • Unrequited

    Unrequited was definitely not the best of The X-Files but it was ok to watch. The story was decent and the acting was great, but over all I just wasn't captivated. I liked the suspense and action but there didn't seem to be any classic moments. It was interesting to learn the theories on the soldier's abilities. The ending was pretty good and I definitely am looking forward to watching the next episode!!!!!moreless
  • Shortest X-File ever?

    "Unrequited" is to Season 4 what "Shapes" was to Season 1 or "Blood" to Season 2: A solid effort, well produced, but unremarkable. It's one of those episodes that you see, and like, and forget.

    The reason in this case may lie in its setting in military circle, often (and here too) fertile grounds for clichés and posturing. There you have the disgruntled Vietnam veteran, the ruthless officers who made him suffer, the contrived comment on a nation forgetting its soldiers, and of course an action-packed showdown where the target of vengeance narrowly escapes death at the hand of the unstoppable (and invisible) serial killer. All of this is essentially "The Walk" (Season 3) redux... which is not a bad thing, just an old thing.

    What's striking about "Unrequited" is its length, or lack thereof. The show clocks in at 40:00 minutes - very short as it is. Now subtract one minute for the opening credits AND the fact that the teaser is a 2 minute clip from later in the episode. How did this comne about? Was the script too short and didn't the producers notice until the final cut? Wasn't there enough time for reshoots? An interesting note about an entertaining, but mostly not so intersting episode.moreless
  • Soldier Of Meh

    Oh no, yet another "disgruntled veteran returns to exact his revenge on the mean old commanders" storyline. They did this at least twice already ("Sleepless" from Season Two and "The Walk" from Season Three). The storyline is even less interesting in this version.

    This is the ultimate filler episode. They reuse the opening three minute teaser sequence UNCHANGED during the final act, which is just lazy writing. It doesn't help that the sequence has all the drama of a square-dance either. There is also an awful lot of time spent showing flags waving, soldiers saluting, crowds cheering, marching bands marching, all of which comes off like so much stock footage and that appears to have been used simply to kill time. As noted by a previous reviewer, the running time for this episode is shorter than all previous episodes, it clocks in at just under 42 minutes. All signs of a writer who has run out of things to say. A thoroughly "meh" episode.moreless
  • An ex- POW goes around killing people who left him there.. oh yeah, and he's kind of invisible.

    Definitely a filler episode of X-Files here. It certainly had it's moments, and while I think that showing the end of an episode and then spending an entire episode showing how they lead up to that moment, it actually made for a fresh dynamic different then the same old "Let's have a random intro with random people that introduces the plot of the episode!"

    The episode starts off as a simple enough idea: a number of ex-military officials are being killed off, and Mulder, Scully and Skinner believe it to be the work of a revolutionary guy who is known for having harsh views. However, things grow mysterious when a man named Nathaniel Teager begins showing up; he was supposedly a dead soldier, but he claims to be a POW who was left behind and that the government is covering it all up out of embarrassment. Teager seems to have a weird ability to disappear that is explained only in the most vague way possible, which turns this into an X-File. Of course, Skinner and Scully look for any excuse to deny Mulder, who has a better track record then them, but that's the way it is, I suppose.

    All in all, the episode certainly was interesting and exciting enough, but it could've been way better. It was short and had some pointless interactions with Laurie Holden's character, a character who hasn't nearly reached the level of X or Deep Throat's characters. They need to actually give her some substantial stuff to do instead of acting as a random place for Mulder to turn.moreless
  • Do you need glasses?

    Unrequited is not my favourite X-file. Im not saying it’s a bad episode but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s all about a prisoner of war that survived, and who is not killing corrupt military figures. The supernatural bit comes in here- he kills them with great ease because he’s invisible. So far so good. But then we have some crappy theory that he kills his victims easily because everyone has a blind spot and just doesn’t see him. The episode has some good acting in , but it just didn’t get my attention. 7 out of 10 for spoiling something that could have been very good.moreless
Larry Musser

Larry Musser

Denny Markham

Guest Star

Lesley Ewen

Lesley Ewen

Renee Davenport

Guest Star

Ryan Michael

Ryan Michael

Agent Cameron Hill

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

Laurie Holden

Laurie Holden

Marita Covarrubias

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The establishing shot of the Army Central Identification Lab is a reuse of the Fort Marlene facility where Scully found the Purity Control samples in the first season.

    • When Mulder discovers the body of Gen. Steffan, he picks up and handles the card on his chest with his bare hands. Surely he would have used gloves when handling evidence left by the killer at a murder scene.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Mulder: You're saying our government wants these officers dead? Then why would they ask us to protect them?
      Marita Covarrubias: Because they know you can't.

    • Skinner: This investigation has been turned over to CID, it's no longer our jurisdiction.
      Mulder: Don't let them do this.
      Skinner: Let it go, Agent Mulder. You did your job.
      Mulder: So did Nathaniel Teager.
      Skinner: You found the man that you were looking for, but now he's dead. It's over.
      Mulder: Is that what you believe? Is that what you really believe? They're not just denying this man's life, they're denying his death. And with all due respect, sir, he could be you.

    • Mulder: Isn't it true that US soldiers have reported the unexplained appearance and disappearance of VC guerillas? I've read the dispatches myself. Maybe Teager learned something from his captors in 25 years of isolation.

    • Skinner: I cannot authorize or promote a strategy here that's gonna target a soldier who is officially dead.

    • Scully: Mr. Markham, I'm sure that you're aware that in 1973, the Defense Department determined that there were no more POWs in Vietnam.
      Denny Markham: Maybe that's why they tried to kidnap Sergeant Teager when we brought him home.
      Scully: The government kidnapped a US prisoner of war.
      Denny Markham: I said they tried.

    • Skinner: One misstep, Markham smells a shakedown, he's gonna disappear and find another way to push the button. And I've already seen more dead soldiers than I ever want to see.

    • Scully: A phantom POW left for dead comes back to avenge the injustices?
      Mulder: Maybe the war ain't over, Scully.

    • Skinner: Right now I'm flying by the seat of my pants.
      Mulder: You mean there's no procedure outlined for an invisible assassin?

  • NOTES (3)

    • Possible Continuity Goof: In previous episodes, Mulder is shown to carry two handguns: one in his belt and one on his ankle. When Mulder enters the Pentagon in this episode, he gives the security guard only the gun in his belt yet he is able to pass through the metal detector without setting off the alarm.

      Note to above goof: It is quite possible the metal detector doesn't work properly since Mulder is able to pass while he is talking in his cellphone.

    • When Nathaniel Teager confronts Mrs. Davenport in front of the Vietnam Memorial, two of the names visible on the wall behind her are Jesse R. Ellsion and Harlan L. Hahn. Harlan Ellison is a famous science fiction writer and fan of the show. Jessica Hahn is well-known for the scandal involving her and Reverend Jim Baker.

    • General Peter McDougal was named for the series editor Heather MacDougall.


    • Mulder: I found his story compelling, personally, but then again I believed the Warren Commission.

      The Warren Commission investigated the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone to kill him. Many people, especially conspiracy theorists, do not believe the Commission's findings.