The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 23


Aired Monday 9:00 PM May 10, 1996 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
306 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

After a man kills three people and his wife because he mistook them for a ruthless Bosnian dictator, Mulder and Scully discover a test involving mind control using television signals that make people's worst fears become real in any form.

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  • Signals

    The first thoughts running inside me were just how good the music is here and how its creating a moody, tense atmosphere, giving weight to everything. Seemed like another filler episode but done very, very well and I would have still loved the episode but then a world of possibilities opens when the cancer man actually shows up, inquiring about things (in the shadows of course) and X, AND then both of them in the same scene, whats going on here? I love how I can't remember everything that happened while watching this show all those years ago. Almost forgot to mention the wonderful acting and great perspective on violence and the media.moreless
  • Wetwired

    Wetwired was a superb and entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was well written, interesting and dealt with a fun conspiracy. It was intriguing to watch what Mulder and Scully uncovered as they investigated the case. I liked the idea of the government using a form of mind control through television. It was interesting to see Agent X help Mulder and the ending with him and the Cigarette Smoking Man was awesome. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!moreless
  • Mulder and Scully investigate a television signal that makes people hallucinate

    Just when I thought we wouldn't discover the culprit of this episode's misdeeds, out pops the Cigarette Smoking Man and "X," Mulder's all-knowing source. I'm still not sure how I feel about his reappearance, especially so randomly in a case like this, but it helps lead us into a finale that is sure to have both of them in it.

    The story itself was even more interesting than the last few we've had in Season 3. A television signal is sending false images into people's brains, making them see things that aren't there. It seems to be just another normal case until Scully is affected by the signal and finds herself believing that Mulder is meeting up with the CSM and working for him. The paranoia that Scully undergoes is completely believable and is yet another example of how Gillian Anderson is making her character better and better with each episode. I always thought she was a good actress, but this, coupled with the season premiere episodes and some scattered ones throughout are just more examples of how her character is growing.

    Meanwhile, Mulder remains as great as ever, getting so close to reaching the truth before finally faltering and being outdone by his own sources and his enemies. It's frustrating to watch him try and try again and fail, but it'll make it that much nicer when he succeeds.moreless
  • Once again Scully is a victim

    Once again Mulder and Scully are victims of someone dark's agenda. And all because they were doing their jobs.

    The whole case is violent enough. But I don't think what we see in this episode is far from reality. We might not be hallucinating, but I guess we could be influenced at some point by whatever is shown on TV. Mulder worried about Scully's whereabouts was interesting. As time goes by, Scully becomes the only reason Mulder could stop doing anything just to save her or be with her. The scene where Scully confronts Mulder and points her gun at him, must be one of the most heart-wrenching moments of the show.moreless
  • the x files episode wetwired third season

    i just love when scully has a gun pointed at mulder.

    scully paranoid is THE most..i don't even have a word to describe it, it's just really really cool. you can tell how much closer and intimate the mulder/scully relationship got on the third season by the way scully feels when she's is her hospital bed and mulder gets in to see how she's doing, that trsut is there and the respect between them and she gets embaressed for doing what she did to him, the only one she can rely on. well, i just think this is a great episode.moreless
Colin Cunningham

Colin Cunningham

Dr Henry Stroman

Guest Star

Tim Henry

Tim Henry

Plain-Clothed Man

Guest Star

Linden Banks

Linden Banks

Joseph Patnick

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Recurring Role

Sheila Larken

Sheila Larken

Margaret Scully

Recurring Role

William B. Davis

William B. Davis

Cigarette Smoking Man

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Mulder is red/green colour blind.

    • About the episode's halfway point, Mulder is trying to call Scully from a cell phone in his car. The tones heard imply he dials only seven numbers. In
      1992 the telecommunication industry began to introduce "overlay plans" as a means to introduce new area codes. In this model, one fixed geographic area would concurrently have multiple valid area codes throughout. Overlay plans introduced a new inconvenience: mandatory 10-digit dialing (i.e., the area code must be included), even for local calls, in the affected area. This would be particularly true of cell phones and calls in and around large cities, like Washington D.C.

    • Principal Setting:
      Braddock Heights, Maryland; Washington, D.C.

    • Scully uses the name "The Cancer Man" for the first time, describing the character also called "The Cigarette Smoking Man" or "CSM".

      Actually Mulder uses the name "The Cancer Man" for the first time in the second season episode "One Breath".

    • Well, this might be more of a goof on X's part but, after X kills the two men near the end of the episode he puts the gun in one of the dead men's hands. This is wrong because when someone dies they won't hold on to anything they may have had in there hands they drop it. It would have been a better move to just drop the gun by the guy.

    • Scully fires 6 rounds at the hotel room door, though we are later told she fired only 4.

    • There was no car next to the pole that Mulder climb before he climbed it. But when he comes down, he steps on a trunk of a car.

    • When Mulder creeps around the house shortly before the end of the episode the timestamp shows 5:17PM, but a few minutes later Dr. Stroman says "It's almost seven o'clock.".

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Scully: Well, recent studies have linked violence on television to violent behavior.
      Mulder: Yeah, but those studies are based on the assumption that Americans are just empty vessels ready to be filled with any idea or image that's fed to them, like a bunch of Pavlovs' dogs, and go out and act on it.
      Scully: But they believe that the causal connections are there, Mulder.
      Mulder: The studies have also shown causal connections between cow flatulence and the depletion of the ozone layer. What you're talking about is psuedoscience used to make political book.

    • Mulder: I just watched 36 hours of Bernard Shaw and Bobbi Batista. I'm about ready to kill somebody too.

    • Mulder: Is this a school day?
      First Boy: We didn't cut!
      Second Boy: We got a pass.
      Mulder: You got a pass to come in here and eat these people's food and watch their TV?
      First Boy: No...
      Second Boy: Are we in trouble now?
      Scully: How did you get in here?
      First Boy: Through the window. They leave it open for the cat.
      Mulder: Well maybe you should head back to school. (They move for window) No, no, no, use the front door!

    • Mulder: Our blind date's not off to a great start. I've been waiting here nearly two hours.
      Plain-Clothed Man: I was asked to make sure you weren't followed.
      Mulder: It's just you, me and the drug dealers.
      Plain-Clothed Man: Well, this area's always been known for its criminal element.
      Mulder: Especially when Congress is in session.

    • Mulder: All I know is television doesn't make a previously sane man go out and kill 5 people thinking they're all the same guy...not even Must See TV could do that to you.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Subliminal Messaging: When Scully goes out for ice she looks at a soda machine displaying a blantant example of the type of subliminal messaging commonly used by marketers, including key words and images meant to induce thirst.

      The little statuette seen in both the house and on the home shopping channel reference the almost hypnotic use of suggestive messaging on these channels.

      The Lone Gunman refer to a case of selling popcorn at movie theaters. This was a classic experiment in which a movie theater owner claims to have spliced single frame messages to "buy popcorn" into his movies. They would have flashed by so fast they would be imperceptable to the conscious mind. According to his story, sales shot up. However, this claim has never been reproducable and subliminal messaging tactics are now illegal in the U.S. and considered highly unreliable at best.