The X Files Revisited: 1.17 E.B.E

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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. This late season one episode expands the alien conspiracy and delves deeper into the mystery of Mulder's informant Deep Throat...

A lot of people remember the alien conspiracy arc only kicking up a gear when Scully was abducted in season two but this episode proves it happened a lot earlier. With episodes like Fallen Angel delving deeper into the idea of secret military experimentation on alien technology, Mulder's search for the truth has gone beyond confirmation that aliens do exist. But while may have seen evidence of UFOs, he hasn't seen an actual extraterrestrial biological entity or E.B.E. With this late season one episode, Mulder and Scully gets closer than ever before.

Up to now, it the scope of the government cover up of alien existence has been confined to the US, but with E.B.E we start to see the global nature of the conspiracy, which will become more prevalent as the series progresses. After a NATO base in Turkey tracks a UFO encounter with an Iraq pilot, Mulder learns through Deep Throat that the E.B.E is being ferried across the US in a truck and so begins a national pursuit of the evidence they have been so desperately searching for.

Like Fallen Angel this episode is another fast paced conspiracy thriller, that delivers plenty of twists and turns. An interview with a truck driver claiming to have witnessed a UFO is cut short by the local police chief, who has obviously been 'silenced' by some outside force. With the agents realising that they are being blocked once again, Mulder turns to some local allies in the quest for the truth; enter the Lone Gunmen.

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Their introduction to The X Files is brilliant. Breakfasting with JFK's killer, ranting about the CIA funding a foreign dictatorship, attempting to prove that the magnetic strip in bank notes is used to track people; they make Mulder look positively normal. They also announce to Mulder rather loudly that Scully is hot, which is undeniable. It is easy to see why they were brought back again and again and even had their own spin-off series.

"They are some of the most paranoid people I have ever met!" a bemused Scully tells Mulder shortly before they become embroiled in their own paranoia. Discovering a bug in their office, Mulder signals Deep Throat. From there the episode takes numerous twists and turns as Mulder learns of the UFO shot down in Iraq from his informant and Scully discovers the driver was a bogus witness. The episode also takes a spot light to Deep Throat as Scully questions his motive and discovers that the 'evidence' he gives Mulder is fake.

We had seen Deep Throat pulling the strings to save Mulder's career in Fallen Angel and here the question of whether he is friend or foe becomes more apparent. He wants to help Mulder in his quest but will actively play him to put him on a false trail too. Jerry Hardin plays the role with great ambiguity so you never know quite what he is thinking or which way he would turn.

The discovery of the bug inside the plug socket in Mulder's apartment sets up a dramatic course of events that see Mulder and Scully pursued by government officials, Mulder racing his car down the street to avoid his tail while Scully takes several flights across country to throw them off her scent. Was it just me me wondering how much this would cost them? I highly doubt they would be able to claim them on FBI expenses.

And the twists keep coming. After a rendezvous in a shop at Las Vegas Airport, Mulder and Scully pursue the truck all the way to Washington state, only discover that it too was an elaborate hoax. I wonder how necessary this was but given the levels of deceit and trickery that run through this plot it helped to run with it, no matter how ludicrous it seemed.

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Using the Lone Gunmen to gain access to a nearby facility where the E.B.E might be held - they do serve a purpose in this episode besides being more paranoid than Mulder - the agents find themselves at odds with the military again this season. While Scully fails to the use the truth, Mulder is pursued. In the final twist of the episode Deep Throat appears with the ability to dismiss the soldiers and reveal his secrets...assuming once again that it is not an elaborate hoax.

Deep Throat tells Mulder than he was part of a global agreement to destroy E.B.Es on sight and he is now seeking to attone for past actions by helping Mulder. We never really to know if this is the truth or more lies and in his final appearance before the dramatic season one finale, Deep Throat comes across as more ambiguous in his allegiance and motivations than ever before. In the end Mulder discovers that there is no dead E.B.E at the facility and his 'quest' fails.

As he is led away from the facility with Scully, Mulder tells her "I'm wondering what lie to believe". And that it appears would be theme of this episode. Truth wrapped up in lies, wrapped up in more lies. Mulder and Scully seems to come closer than ever and yet are no closer to the truth. A clever, twisty episode that perhaps shouldn't bear too much scrutiny in its elaborate story telling, E.B.E none-the-less remains a pivotal episode in the show's early mythology with a fascinating at Deep Throat himself. It is just a shame he wouldn't be around much longer.

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Last updated: 06/08/2018 16:15:57

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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