The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 4


Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Oct 27, 1996 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (15)

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  • The nature of photographs

    Last season we had an unsettling episode involving a criminal who photographed his victims and again here we get some very unsettling stuff involving a camera, should keep a note of that for future episodes. The photographs are a highlight here, they really are horrid and the mystery of how they're developed kept me going. What got me down was how Scully yet again was caught off guard, from her distance she didn't see a man laying right under her vehicle? That aside I was invested with their pursuit this go around.
  • Unruhe

    I don't get all the reviews that seem to imply "ho hum, Scully got kidnapped AGAIN?" Honestly if anything Mulder is this series's damsel in distress, I seem to remember her needing to save his ass much more often than the other way around.

    Anyway, this isn't a particularly great episode, but it's not a bad one either. It's suspenseful and creepy for sure, the highlight definitely being watching Scully keep the killer at bay with little more than her intellect and reasoning skills. The "get inside the mind of a killer" bit is always interesting, and it was neat seeing where they went with it this episode. Scully's final monologue mirrors the episode "Grotesque", and it's like her version of what happened to Mulder.
  • Unruhe

    Unruhe was a perfect and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of character development and the story was well written and had some creepy moments. I suppose by now it's a thing that Scully gets kidnapped and held captive as Mulder is off chasing clues. Every thing played out well though I was definitely on the edge of my seat during certain parts. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • This was the kind of X- File I like to see: a horror/detective story in which the horror is the sauce, not the main course


    Icepicks again? I've felt squeamish during episodes of "The X-Files", but I never actually found myself reaching for the remote in the first act before. This one nearly did it for me. The idea of an icepick coming within, oh, a couple of light-years of my eye is too much.

    "Unruhe" opens with a deceptively simple teaser, with a nervous couple pulling up to a drugstore for a quick passport photo. Within minutes, one of them is dead from an icepick through the ear and the other has been abducted, leaving behind a Polaroid with a nightmare image of a screaming woman on it. This was one of the best "boo" teasers I've seen in a while from "The X-Files": a banal, almost boring teaser that ends in a one-two punch that left me saying "Wow!"

    The victim from the teaser is quickly found--alive, but having suffered an amateur lobotomy. In short order, another victim is abducted after a similar icepick murder, and this time Scully links the two murder sites to a construction company performing work nearby. Theorizing that the women were stalked by a construction worker, she ventures (alone) to meet the foreman, and in a chilling phone conversation with Mulder conducted in the foreman's presence, she learns that the man she is alone in the house with is their suspect. I was yelling at her to call for backup at this point, especially given The X-Files' tendency to get Scully into kidnapping situations. Gilligan cleverly gets her out of that potentially dangerous setup, only to get Scully abducted later on.

    I especially liked the phone call between Mulder and Scully, where even as he is telling her to be on the lookout for an especially long legged suspect we see Gerry Schnauz's stilts in the background. What a spine-tingling moment that is, as the truth dawns on us and Scully at the same time. Mulder's desperate concentration on the thought-photo as he tried to puzzle out her whereabouts, Bowman's fabulous overhead-crane shot on Scully as she fell, and the wonderfully unsettling photographs put the artistic aspects of this episode in the top rank of the series. And I must mention the beautiful closeups in this episode.

    Pruitt Taylor Vince's portrayal of Gerry, the schizophrenic with the googly eyes, was properly creepy. His change from the hapless innocent to the off-center and strange individual who tried to "save" women from the Howlers in his own head was convincing and frightening. Watching Scully attempt to reason with the unreasonable was nerve-wracking.

    I did not like however that Scully got abducted again, making this what, the seventh or eighth time for this event. I did like Mulder's dry wit, however. In reference to the aged druggist: "Which one of us gets to use the stun gun on Bruno Hauptmann over there?"

    I had some trouble with Scully's restraints: if I was duct-taped to a chair through my suit jacket I'd make sure to wiggle out of the jacket and damn the tailored seams. However, Gilligan managed to make so absurd a premise as thought photography work for me. He did this by making it a side issue, a fillip added to what was otherwise a creepy and engaging detective story. .

  • Mulder and Scully look for a man who imprints his own thoughts and nightmares onto photographs (I think...)

    For an episode that I somewhat struggled to understand, I really liked it a lot. The supernatural element felt a little forced, but this was an all around good episode that found all of the show's elements clicking when they needed to click and once again showed how good Vince Gilligan can be at writing.

    The basic premise is that a number of women are being kidnapped and lobotomized by a guy who kills whatever men are near the women at the time. We learn who the killer is relatively early in the episode, so the most interesting part of the episode is how they make him get away and how they explain what's going on. As I mentioned before, I'm still a little confused at how exactly everything worked out, but the way we get from Point A to Point B is superb and finds Scully once again getting into danger only to find Mulder rushing to her rescue. If anything, Mulder's need to save Scully was more frantic than normal. It made me feel like Scully could be in some true danger.

    Also, the idea of somebody's thoughts and images being imprinted on the photographs wasn't necessarily explained well but was still extremely eerie. Those "howlers" that the guy was talking about made for some frightening images.

    Overall, all of these things made for a great episode.
  • This episode freaked me out!

    I was seriously disturbed by this episode, the whole photograph can tell what you're thinking and the "howlers" thing creeped me out. Maybe it's just that I've always hated having my picture taken or the fact I don't really get how it works, but something about this episode really stuck out to me and seemed to be the dark, eerie X Files we all know and love :D

    There is also some humorous dialogue between the agents, but that's pretty much an expected in every episode. The ending isn't really a surprise and Scully gets abducted and tortured AGAIN...but when Mulder is trying to find her, those scenes are pretty intense and you are on the edge of your seat.
  • A great stand-alone episode without any "mythology" flummery.

    This sort of episode is what the X Files does best. There's no soap opera, no Cancer Man talking in hushed riddles, no dim-witted conspiracy theories, no sub-Watergate Deep Throat, no appearance from the over-used Skinner. None of that! Rather, we're back in serial killer territory in the Thomas Harris tradition, which, I presume, inspired this series in the first place. This story is an exercise in suspense, built around a schizophrenic who is compelled to "save" women from the meanies in their brains, but who inadvertently leaves visual impressions of his thoughts (and even the future) on the film emulsions that seem to litter his crime scenes. The action moves forward quickly (with slick editing) to a predictable but well-handled conclusion, which culminates in the suggestion of hand-holding between Mulder and Scully that would become a series trade mark. Superlatively good mid-90s X Files TV!
  • I'd Rather Have A Bottle In Front Of Me.....

    We have a very creepy, very effective villain in this MOTW episode. The way he used his eyes was most unsettling, but even better was the apparent heartfelt sincerity with which he told stone cold lies to Mulder during his interrogation, only to flip nonchalantly when confronted with his lies. Can you say sociopath? Chilling stuff.

    That said, it's a disappointment that the script for this epsiode is so thoroughly average. I'm not sure why they went with the German-speak and the "unrest" catchphrase seemed completely arbitrary, as it does not seem to relate to the storyline in any significant way or offer us any special insight into the villain. **Shrug**

    The Scully abduction had a contrived feeling, especially as she somehow engages the killer in an extended conversation, which lasts exactly long enough to allow Mulder to figure out where she is, travel there and then find the RV parked in the cemetery. I really dislike that sort of fake drama and the writers for this series are better than that.
  • Mulder and Scully investigate an abduction in Traverse City, MI, and discover that the abductor has a unique ability.

    This is a wonderful example of an X-Files episode. It was interesting, well-written, suspenseful, and I learned a lot as well. The show consistently advances and develops the characters (either the FBI, Syndicate, or guests). In this case, Scully is a little apprehensive about the nature of her work at the end of the episode, as she worries about the consequences of allowing a "monster" into her head.

    Gerry Schnauz is as interesting a perp as you will find on the x-files, or on any TV show, for that matter. His back story is thorough, and it makes sense. Pruitt Taylor Vince also does a terrific job portraying him.

    Essentially, this episode flows very well. Although its ending is predictable, and Mulder gets lucky (as he has gotten before) when trying to figure out Scully's whereabouts. Overall, however, "Unruhe" leaves the viewer satisfied, pensive, and more intelligent than he or she was before. Not many other shows can make that claim.
  • Skully gets kidnapped (again) by a Kyle Gass lookalike

    basically a kyle gass (the otehr half of Tenacious D) goes around kidnapping women. Unexplainble photos are found. Mulder and Skully Investigate. Skully Gets kidnapped (shock horror)and that about sums this episode up.I have to say taht i enjoyed this episode even though it is far fetched and that there were interesting concepts throughout. It would be nice for mulder to get kidnapped once or twice though, its like Gillain anderson signed a deal to get kidnapped 4 times a season or something. Anyway, an ok episode worth a watch. and thats about it from me now so im off!
  • The one with the pictures

    Another very impressive episode of the X-files, ‘Unruhe’ continued the creepy and very well written storylines of season 4 where a man photographed with his mind (or something, the storyline was very complicated)

    It all begins with a girl going to make a picture of herself for her passport and someone is there in the same store and then when she wants to pay realised that she left her money in the car so she goes back but then she finds her boyfriend dead and someone bumped into her and she starts to see everything vague and passed out. The old man who took the picture then looks at the picture and it’s very strange and sees her with some demons on the picture screaming in fear.

    When Mulder and Scully are send to investigate the murder Mulder gets the picture and he and a guy investigate it and find some shadows a face of a man and someone who’s very tall.

    The Girl appears on the round (what I don’t get is why she wasn’t killed and the second victim was?) so anyway she kept saying the word ‘Unruhe’.

    When a second victim goes missing Scully tries to find her in a place and a guy is walking on something that makes him look tall (another thing, what did that gotta do with the girlds?) so anyway, Scully captures him and takes him to the police office where he tells where he found the girl and his dead father is the face on the picture. Meanwhile the guy escapes and shoots a police officer.

    When Scully and Mulder are back to the investigation place something makes a picture of Scully, she walks to car but gets injected and abducted. Mulder sees the picture of Scully screaming and follows but the car is already gone.

    The guy takes Scully to a place and he wants to stab her because she has howlers, he claims. Then he makes a picture of himself where he’s dead on them so he has to hurry, Mulder finds them and he opens the van and shoots the guy to death and saves Scully.

    The episode was mostly very creepy, also very well written despise some plot holes. Also the acting was excellent and It was neat to see Scully abducted.

    This has to be a series classic mostly because of the uniqueness and so well done.
  • Very powerful but yet kind of really ludicrous .

    I've heard alot of people/books say that this is one of the best episodes (especially compared to Teliko). I must disagree. Even the fact of having a thing shoved up your nose and seeing someone take a long rod out of their throat is just as bad as the leucotomy.

    What I never understood is was Gerry (the villian) wanting to be captured subconsciously or not. Its the photo snapshots that confused me. Why were the so called Howlers appearing in the pictures, when the bad guy didn't take them. If hes was stalking the victims and projected that image on film, he must have wanted to get caught because when Mulder snapped pictures the Howlers appeared there too. The whole thing then gets so confusing, that I've had to watch the episode 4-5 times to finally understand what Gerry was doing. Killing the howlers that somehow just suddenly appeared on film.

    In all sense was he just using this as an excuse to kill, or did he have some psycho mind power that he used to see if someone suffered alot in their life.

    I have to admit though that Gerry and the pharmasist played their roles very well (and perhaps could be considered the best characters for Season 4). I liked how friendly the old pharmasist was especially saying, "shoot" at one point instead of "damn" when Mary never returned.

    Gerry was not only a tough built guy but very good at playing innocent when he was held in custody; faking like he had no idea what was going on also going, "Who? Wait a minute. One minute it was Alice Brandt, now its Mary ", and I've known trouble makers to act that way before.
  • Creepy pictures, Scully kidnapped, Mulder save the day or at least Scully.... ;)

    This was an excellent episode. David’s and Gillian’s acting were amazing. You could really feel their pain, their suffering…

    When Mulder saw Scully’s picture come out of the photo machine, it was like he saw a ghost. The way he found out where Gerry was dazzled me and his dedication to save Scully was heroic. Although, to say the truth, I was expecting more than a touch of hands when Mulder found Scully. ;)

    Pruitt Taylor Vince’s (Gerry Schnauz ) acting always seems to amaze me, I don’t know why. He plays a great villain and killer. I think it’s the way his eyes move. That constant trembling, it’s really creepy.

    Mulder’s believe in the paranormal and Scully’s believe in science, always causes them to “fight” which is always a bit humorous to watch because Scully believes that everything can be proven logically while doesn’t. And that’s what makes them a great team because they are always learning from one another.

  • Mulder and Scully investigate the disappearences of several women as well as multiple murders, based on chilling photography left behind several of the crime scenes. Mulder is certain that the crimes are the result of an ability possessed by the killer in

    I\'m not sure what really made this episode so bad...I think mainly the writing was just way off for the show. I know that they have more than several writers that do episodes, but I noticed that this is a new one, and it\'s not very good at all. Mulder and Scully\'s attidude just doesn\'t seem like themselves, and the attempt at witty one-liners or other random comments only comes off as random...
    Mulder\'s amazing assessment of the killer wishing to be taller and standing over his victims because it\'s God-like was just ridiculous; I know Mulder was a criminal profiler before the X-Files, but assuming that much based on a vague photo and messed up shadows is just stupid. Also, when Scully heard from Mulder that the man might be tall or wishing he was tall, and it turned out she was looking right at the guy, this little scene drags out, and she finally chases the guy on stilts. This time it was stupid AND predictable...this just is not the X-Files.
    Although it was mildy entertaining, this is so far the worst of Season 4 (I\'m currently watching it) and ranks up there with one of the worst of the series so far.
  • Chilling, gruesome, underrated

    Nobody ever seems to talk about "Unruhe". Maybe it's because the fourth season had a lot more great shows to offer, but this one is unjustly overlooked.

    Villains talking German - works always (and I say that as a German myself). Villains performing lobotomies on their victims, injecting them with sedatives on the street, leaving behind grotesque mind photographs on the scene - all of this is among the most creepy stuff The X Files has ever shown.

    Add to that Pruitt Taylor Vince in his memorable performance as killer Gerry Schnauz, mad, but sympathetic, and you have a winner.

    An added bonus is Ron Stannett's second (and second to last) camera work on the series. His pictures lend great atmosphere to the dark proceedings in the story.

    If there is a minus to the episode, it's the contrivance that Scully gets abducted by the villain - again. That's one well that the writers had gone to once too often at this point.