The X-Files

Season 8 Episode 18


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Unknown on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
201 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

After Agent Mulder goes beyond his jurisdiction to shine light on a possible X-file, Doggett is assigned to investigate the mysterious disappearance of two men aboard an oil rig. Once he arrives, he finds Mulder has taken it upon himself to start his own investigation. Mulder soon becomes convinced that the rig is drilling the black oil. Doggett and Mulder must attempt to stop the spread of the alien virus while avoiding the infected crew.moreless

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  • Vienen

    Vienen was a perfect and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching as Mulder and Doggett were stuck on an oil rig together investigating a strange case. I liked how the story played out and it was interesting to see Scully do her part from afar. Mulder tests the patience of Kersh who eventually lets him go from the F.B.I. which I couldn't believe. Some of the scenes with the infected were scary. I look forward to watching what happens now that Mulder is officially out!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • I'm Coming...

    This episode plays like a hybrid of "The Thing" and "Dawn Of The Dead." The big draw is the chance to watch Mulder and Doggett go at it, mano a mano, on an isolated drilling rig. It's entertaining enough, especially since Reyes is entirely absent, but Doggett seems strangely impotent, as is usually the case in most S8 episodes.

    Mulder continues to seem disconcertingly out-of-character, with a "flipness" to his character that seems to stem from Duchovny's own personal boredom with the show. Really, it's remarkable the mocking way that Duchovny plays Mulder throughout Season Eight. He even manages to get himself kicked off the X-Files with his antics in this episode. (Yeah right, we know how long that will last...)

    It's disconcerting how Season Eight's supposed "Myth" episodes seem like warmed-over highlights from the classic S1-S5 mythology arc. This episode is a case in point. We have a reprise of the whole Black Oil storyline, but it's as though Seasons 3-5 never happened. Mulder doesn't seem to remember that he was infected by the VERY SAME black oil in S3. It's like "Groundhog Day" all over again. Disappointing and disheartening...moreless
  • Return of the black oil, and The X-Files proper.

    Why some fans dislike the Alien mytharch I'll never understand. The typical explanation, that the alien mythology is confusing, and therefore boring, is simply incorrect. While the X-Files was on the air, I followed the storyline easily enough, but now that that series is on DVD, one can see just how well 9 years of the mytharc actually fit together.

    Vienen is a nice return to the black oil storyline, which is really one of the most interesting and foundational plots of the X-Files.

    If I had one complaint about the episode, it's the amount of time the writer and director decide to spend on Kersh. Is it really necessary to show him frowning again and again and again? Instead, the action of Mulder and Doggett dodging the infected crew would have been much more thrilling.

    Having said that, it's a great episode, and reminds me of why I like Mulder and the X-Files: the willingness to push for the truth no matter its outlandish nature.moreless
  • Action and suspense

    ‘Vienen – they’re coming’

    The Black Oil returns at last. In my opinion, one of the greatest X-Files alien “things”, the Oil is both creepy and an interesting concept. Especially disgusting are the shots of it pouring from the men’s faces.

    The Doggett and Mulder exchanges and relationship are really what keeps this episode afloat however. It’s just so good to have David Duchovny back on the show.

    The actual premise behind this episode is pretty straight-forward, two men trapped on an oil rig and threatened by alien virus-possessed workers, but the tension and action work nonetheless. The escape from the rig is pretty cool too, although just a tad far-fetched and OTT.moreless
  • Another in a tedious long line of alien episodes – it's gotten very old.

    Mulder's always been a reckless, obnoxious jerk but somehow before it was usually cute. Doggett just provokes Mulder but it's more than that, Mulder's gotten incredibly reckless since he returned from the dead, he doesn't care about consequences or other people's career. He seems not to care if he gets fired which is in direct opposition to his desire to keep the X-Files open and work on them. It's absolutely no shock that Mulder gets fired, I would have fired him too even without an alien/govt conspiracy.

    Diego is a superstitious, ignorant, dangerous moron – and the saddest thing is I've met people just like him. He attacks Doggett and then when he realizes Doggett's not infected, continues to threaten and wave a knife in his face?! That's not going to persuade Doggett to help him!

    Enough with the aliens, it's time to get back to the normal X-Files stories. 80% of the time I don't like the alien/govt conspiracy storyline to begin with so when they get carried away like this, it's really annoying.moreless
Robert Patrick

Robert Patrick

Special Agent John Doggett

David Duchovny

David Duchovny

Special Agent Fox Mulder

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson

Special Agent Dana Scully

Miguel Sandoval

Miguel Sandoval

Martin Ortega

Guest Star

Casey Biggs

Casey Biggs


Guest Star

Gregory Cruz

Gregory Cruz

Diego Garza

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

James Pickens Jr.

James Pickens Jr.

Deputy Director Kersh

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Mulder: You're sitting on the answer, Scully. The body. You find the virus, you can find what kills it.
      Scully: And what if I can't?
      Mulder: Well, when he gets old enough, you tell the kid I went down swingin'.

    • Mulder: That is the Deputy Director calling to tell you there is no need to see you. That the blame has been properly assigned for what happened out on that platform. I'm out. 86'd, Agent Doggett.
      Doggett: What do you mean. You're out of the FBI?
      Mulder: Kersh could barely contain his happiness. He stuck it to me.
      Doggett: So, you taking the fall?
      Doggett: Not for me?
      Mulder: For you. For the X-Files. You're all the credibility this office has left. You have Kersh's ear and you have seen it now. Out on that platform. You saw it for yourself.

    • Mulder: I think he wants us to jump.
      Doggett: Now, wait a minute Agent Mulder, I'm in charge here. On two count.
      Mulder: How about a 20 count?
      Doggett: One! Two!

    • Kersh: I obviously haven't been able to rely on those whose job it is to keep me apprised and informed. I have to rely on phone calls, like the call I received from Martin Ortega. Why doesn't somebody make me privy to who the hell gave the order to shut down that rig.
      Skinner: I did.
      Kersh: Well I'm giving the order that this quarantine is lifted.
      Scully: We could do that Sir, but all radio contact has been cut off.
      Kersh: As soon as it's re-established I want that rig up and running, and the entire crew choppered off the Galpex-Orpheus and debriefed.
      Scully: Sir, I think that would be a mistake ...
      Kersh: I think it would be a mistake not to, Agent Scully. And you're running out of mistakes, both you, and the Assistant Director. If I didn't know better, I'd say this was a Mulder stunt.

    • Doggett: Agent Mulder, don't walk away when I'm talking to you. Like it or not I've been assigned this case. One call to the Deputy Director and your up for insubordination.
      Mulder: How are you going to call when the radio's broken?
      Doggett: Don't push me Agent Mulder.
      Mulder: You won't do it.
      Doggett: You think?
      Mulder: We're both in the same boat, Agent Doggett. We're just paddling in different directions.
      Doggett: No we're not going in different directions here, we're going in one direction. My direction.

    • Doggett: I never would have believed it. These stories about you.
      Mulder: Really, what stories are those?
      Doggett: That you can find a conspiracy at a church picnic.
      Mulder:What church?

    • Mulder: How'd you get stuck down here, Agent Doggett? Kersh catch you peeing in his cornflakes?

    • Mulder: Answer the phone, Agent Doggett. You're in charge here now.

  • NOTES (2)

    • This episode is the last one where Mulder was officially an FBI agent and the last scene of this episode shows the last time Mulder is seen in his basement FBI office.

    • This is the only mention and appearance of the Black Oil in Season 8, it is also the last. It would be later referenced in flashbacks during the series finale in Season 9. The apparent changes in plot are obvious as the writers seem to be doing away with former plot lines and adding new ones (ex. the Super Soldiers).


    • As Mulder and Doggett prepare to leap from the burning rig, they hesitate and agree to go "on two". According to producer Paul Rabwin on the DVD commentary, this was a homage to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.