The X Files Revisited: 1.02 Deep Throat

The X Files ran for nine seasons and two movies, charting the efforts of Agents Mulder and Scully in their search for the unexplained. Now eight years after the second movie The X Files: I Want To Believe, the show is returning for six new episodes in 2016. Here at The Digital Fix, we are going to work our way through each season, reviewing some of the big episodes – and both movies – across the years in the build up to season ten. With 202 episodes, there is simply too much to cover every episode; instead we’ll pick the story highlights of each year. Last time it was the pilot, this time the introduction of one of Mulder’s closest allies in Deep Throat…

If the pilot episode set the template for the nine seasons and two movies to follow, then Deep Throat sets the template for a very specific type of X Files story; the conspiracy episode. There is little in the way of supernatural this time, except of course the supposed alien technology being used by the military. From the crowded bar where Mulder and Scully discuss the cover up of the disappearance of a military pilot to the first appearance of Deep Throat warning Mulder off the case, there is a great deal of mystery in play. Even before the two agents head to to the air base, Mulder finds his phone tapped and a suspicious van parked outside his apartment, suggesting those conspiracies he alluded to in the pilot episode are very apparent.

The mystery continues to be a good one as Mulder and Scully interview the pilot's wife about his disappearance. The 'secret' project he had been working on caused him to act strangely, while a second pilot has gone crazy, despite his wife's assertions that it was down to the stress of the job. Interesting, Scully leads the theory; that the military might be working on the Aurora Project, the testing of a secret spy craft.

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Mulder naturally goes for the more outlandish theory that the military are testing new aircrafts based on crashed alien technology from Roswell. Sneaking into the secret base, we could already see how far Mulder would go. With a cameo from a pre-Buffy The Vampire Slayer Seth Green as a long haired hippy, the two agents get surprisingly close to the truth, observing two mysterious white lights in the sky before the episode pulls the second double bluff in as many episodes as one light comes soaring towards them, before they realise it is a helicopter searching for intruders. Their pursuit across the open grassland is suitably thrilling, something we would see more of on a bigger scale in the first movie.

It is interesting that in most TV shows featuring the FBI they are presented as something almost above the law, certainly superior. The X Files is refreshingly different. Here Mulder and Scully find themselves blocked at every turn, none more so than the arrival of actual men in black. This is the higher force in play, quoting national security, hijacking the agent's accumulated evidence and ordering them to leave. Cutting the phones, and later drugging Mulder, this is a malevolent secret conspiracy at its best.

Again we see some of the huge character traits in play early on in the show. Mulder goes it alone, abandoning Scully on a crusade for the truth. By crossing the line, Mulder is able to witness a UFO close up - though interestingly we are never given answers on whether it actually is a UFO or just a military aircraft. Those kind of definitive answers were a long way off yet. His passion becomes his downfall as he finds himself drugged and imprisoned, only glimpsing images of what might be the truth.

With Mulder a prisoner of the military, it is up to Scully to save the day. Deducing that the reporter sniffing around them is actually military intelligence, she blackmails him with exposing experimental aircraft to every US newspaper in exchange for Mulder’s life. It is this passion and commitment to each other that will only grow over the course of the series.

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The final scene where Mulder encounters Deep Throat once more is perhaps the most intriguing part of the episode. "They're here aren't they?" Mulder asks about the existence of alien life. Deep Throat's response goes down as one of the classic quotes in the show's history. "Mr. Mulder, they've been here for a long, long time."

Just two episodes in, The X Files already shows great promise, teasing elements that will become even more significant as the show progresses. Add in the title sequence with its moody images, teasing of conspiracies and the supernatural and Mark Snow's chilling theme tune and Deep Throat serves as another great episode of The X Files, continuing to lay the groundwork for the many years to come...

Last updated: 30/05/2018 19:23:34

The X Files

Chris Carter's The X Files was the cultural zeitgeist of the 1990s, turning Mulder and Scully into television heroes. With its mix of aliens, conspiracies, monsters and serial killers, it revolutionised cult television and returned for new six-part revival in 2016 and another 10 episodes in 2018. Check out our 'The X Files Revisited', reviewing key episodes from across all seasons and both movies and our weekly reviews of season 11.

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