The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 21

Zero Sum

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Apr 27, 1997 on FOX



  • Trivia

    • At 23:31 into the episode, Walter Skinner is flipping through files in Mulder's office. Only one file has a visible name tag. If you look closely it says the name Foo Fighters. It is in reference to actual foo fighters, not the band.

  • Quotes

    • First Elder: Details are everything. Much more important than your vague assurances.
      Smoking Man: Well you'll have to trust my assurance that any other breaches have been handled.
      First Elder: Handled by whom?
      Smoking Man: I've a man in place. A man with no other choice but to succeed.
      First Elder: And what assurance can you give us that he can be trusted?
      Second Elder: We can't risk even the slightest exposure.
      Smoking Man: He has nothing to expose - except his own duplicity.

    • CSM: Now, unless you intend to kill me, I would like to answer my phone.

    • CSM: Yours isn't the first gun I've had pointed in my face, Mr. Skinner. I'm not afraid to die.

    • CSM: You're in no position to question the terms of our arrangement.
      Skinner: Then we have no arrangement.
      CSM: You'll find it's not that easy to walk away from, Mr. Skinner.
      Skinner: No?
      CSM: A man digs a hole; he risks falling into it.

  • Notes

  • Allusions

    • Episode Title: Zero Sum

      This refers to the precept in game theory that a situation in which a participant's gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s).

    • Cultural & Musical Reference: Foo Fighters

      When Skinner is going through Mulder's files, you can clearly see a file labeled "Foo Fighters" near the back of the cabinet he is searching. The term refers to unexplained flying objects observed by pilots during World War II and also to the rock band, which contributed a song to the X-Files "Fight the Future" soundtrack.

    • Movie Reference: The Birds

      The schoolyard scene with the bees attacking the children and their teacher is a reference to the Alfred Hitchcock film which contains a similar scene only involving birds.