Having survived the alien encounter in Antarctica, agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) find themselves reassigned from their work on the X-Files with agents Jeffrey Spender (Chris Owens) and Diana Fowley (Mimi Rogers) are now in charge of the X-Files. While continuing to secretly investigate the X-Files, the Syndicate and Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea) aren’t finished trying to manipulate the government and society…but for what means?
The X-Files—Season 6 aired from November 8, 1998 to May 16, 1999 on Fox. The season followed the theatrical release of The X-Files: Fight the Future on June 19, 1998. The season received Primetime Emmy awards for Outstanding Makeup for a Series (“Two Fathers”/“One Son”) and nominations for Outstanding Art Direction for a Series (“One Son”), Outstanding Cinematography for a Series (“The Unnatural”), Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Series (“S.R. 819”), Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (“S.R. 819”), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Gillian Anderson), Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Veronica Cartwright), Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series (“Triangle”).
The X-Files was at a weird point when The X-Files—Season 6 aired. It was right after the movie which was a critical and financial hit, and the series basic “cult” following was becoming much more mainstream…which makes it interesting that the ratings for the season were down.
The season is a lot funnier than previous seasons with a lot of stand-alone “creature of the week” episodes that instead of being scary were basically humorous. Episodes like “The Unnatural” were fun and in lines of “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” (but not as good). While the episodes weren’t bad, it felt like The X-Files were lightened up for a broader audience. Episodes like “Two Fathers” and “One Son” almost felt out of place despite being X-Files mythos episodes. I can see how some of the fans could feel that the season betrayed the core of the series.
Duchovny and Anderson have both got each other down at this point. Their relationship seems pretty real and the sexual tension continues to heat up this season. The series still doesn’t seem to know what to do with Mitch Pileggi as Skinner, but I like Veronica Cartwright’s return as Cassandra. I wish more had been done with the Chris Owens and Mimi Rogers characters with them actually researching X-Files in a few episodes. The season featured one of the last roles of Darren McGavin (whose character of Kolchak inspired The X-Files) and M. Emmet Walsh stepped in as his brother when his health deteriorated. The series has an appearance by Bryan Cranston (“Triangle”) which essentially led to Breaking Bad since Vince Gilligan wrote the episode and selected Cranston for Walter White based on his performance here.
Visually, the show also took a big turn this season. The production moved from the Northwest to Los Angeles and this also seemed to take some the eeriness. I prefer the wooded rainy locals of many of the earlier episodes to the cityscape episodes. The budgets seem a bit bigger, and we see “more” of the creatures they encounter…which also isn’t always the best thing.
The X-Files is still a good series, but it also feels a bit like it has allowed its popularity to go to its head at this point. Despite this, it is a fun watch with fun characters and stories. Like many seasons of The X-Files, the season ends on a cliffhanger and leaves you wanting more…bring on The X-Files—Season 7!
The X-Files—Season 6 Complete Episode Guide:
6.1 The Beginning Airdate: 11/08/98
The X-Files have been reopened, but Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are off the case after their adventure in Antarctica. With Diana Fowley (Mimi Rogers) now in charge of the department, Mulder and Scully find themselves butting heads with Jeffrey (Chris Owens) over their jurisdiction. When another alien is born in Phoenix, Arizona, Mulder and Scully discover Gibson Praise (Jeff Gulka) is being used to track it, and it could provide the evidence they need to prove their experience with the X-Files.
6.2 Drive Airdate: 11/15/98
A man named Patrick Crump (Bryan Cranston) is arrested after leading police on a high speed chase which ended with the death of his wife in police custody. As Scully investigates the death of Crump’s wife, Mulder finds himself hostage…and forcing to drive faster and faster to keep Crump alive.
6.3 Triangle Airdate: 11/22/98
Mulder finds himself trapped in 1939 aboard the Queen Anne when he boards it in the Bermuda Triangle and discovers parallels to his current life. As Mulder tries to survive in the Nazi controlled ship, Scully finds herself in a race against time to locate the Queen Anne and save Mulder.
6.4 Dreamland Airdate: 11/29/98
A clandestine trip to Area 51 leads Mulder and Scully to an encounter with a group of Men in Black led by Morris Fletcher (Michael McKean). When a ship passes over the encounter, it creates a temporal and special riff which causes Mulder and Fletcher to switch bodies. Now, Mulder finds himself deep within Area 51 and trying to deal with Fletcher’s wife JoAnne (Nora Dunn) and his children. Fletcher discovers life is better as Mulder and set out to make sure he never has to switch back.
6.5 Dreamland II Airdate: 12/06/98
Mulder and Fletcher are trapped in the lives of each other. While the real Mulder tries to get the black box of the experimental jet back to Scully and the Lone Gunmen, Fletcher continues to take advantage of Mulder’s life. With time correcting itself, Mulder and Fletcher must switch back before it is too late.
6.6 How the Ghosts Stole Christmas Airdate: 12/13/98
A Christmas Eve trip to a haunted house finds Mulder and Scully trapped with Maurice (Ed Asner) and Lyda (Lily Tomlin) who are two ghosts with a death wish.
6.7 Terms of Endearment Airdate: 01/03/99
Wayne Weinsider (Bruce Campbell) and his wife Laura (Lisa Jane Persky) find their child taken from the womb. With a prophetic dream of a demon, Mulder finds himself called in on the case and claims of Devil worship surface…but Wayne might be hiding something that Mulder must uncover.
6.8 The Rain King Airdate: 01/10/99
Daryl Mootz (Clayton Rohner) claims to be bringing the rain to the small town of Kroner, Kansas which is suffering through a massive drought. When Mulder and Scully are called in by the mayor (Dirk Blocker) to investigate Mootz, Mulder and Scully find a woman named Sheila Fontaine (Victoria Jackson) could be the key to the changes in weather…along with a weatherman named Holman Hardt (David Manis).
6.9 S.R. 819 Airdate: 01/17/99
When Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) is infected with a strange techno-virus, Mulder and Scully find themselves in a race against time to save his life and uncover the reason behind the poisoning.
6.10 Tithonus Airdate: 01/24/99
Kersh (James Pickens, Jr.) decides Scully has a future with the FBI…without Mulder. Teamed with Peyton Ritter (Richard Ruccolo), Scully is asked to investigate a crime scene photographer named Alfred Fellig (Geoffrey Lewis) who seems to be able to predict the death of his subjects…and Dana could be next.
6.11 Two Fathers Airdate: 02/07/99
When Cassandra Spender (Veronica Cartwright) resurfaces, her son Jeffrey Spender learns that she wants to meet with Mulder. When Veronica reveals that the aliens are in a war on Earth, Mulder questions if it could be a trap to get him out of the FBI forever. As Jeffrey sides with his father the Cigarette Smoking Man, Mulder and Scully learn that stopping the alien Syndicate could mean killing Cassandra.
6.12 One Son Airdate: 02/14/99
Mulder, Scully, and Cassandra are brought in by Diana Fowley (Mimi Rogers), and Scully believes that Cassandra could be a prisoner again. While Mulder trust Diana, Scully and the Lone Gunmen discover that Fowley could be playing Mulder…and her only ally could be Jeffrey Spender.
6.13 Agua Mala Airdate: 02/21/99
Called down to Florida by Arthur Dales (Darren McGavin), Mulder and Scully find themselves trapped in a hurricane. As the hurricane rages, a sea monster surfaces as Mulder and Scully try to evacuate an apartment building.
6.14 Monday Airdate: 02/28/99
Mulder’s having a bad day. A busted waterbed, a ruined cell phone, and an overdrawn checking account leads to a trip to the bank and a robber (Darren E. Burrows)…all of which has happened before and only a girl named Pam (Carrie Hamilton) remembers.
6.15 Arcadia Airdate: 03/07/99
The community of the Falls of Arcadia appears to be a perfect place for families. When a family is killed by a mysterious creature, Rob and Laura Petrie move in…aka Mulder and Scully. Mulder and Scully discover that the homeowner association’s bylaws might have some killer conditions.
6.16 Alpha Airdate: 03/28/99
When a transport from Asia releases a dog from a ship, Mulder and Scully learn from cryptozoologist named Dr. Ian Detwiler (Andrew Robinson) that the dog is actually a Wanshang dhole…a creature believed to be extinct.
6.17 Trevor Airdate: 04/11/99
A prisoner named Pinker Rawls (John Diehl) is presumed dead after a tornado, but when the prison warden is killed, Mulder and Scully are called in to figure out if Pinker could still be alive. When Pinker’s associates begin to show up dissolved, Mulder and Scully find that Pinker could be more than human and intangible.
6.18 Milagro Airdate: 04/18/99
A writer named Phillip Padgett (John Hawkes) seems to be writing of murder, but the murders are too close to real murders to not have a tie to the murderer. Padgett finds a connection to Dana Scully and while Mulder suspects Padgett is lying about his tie, Scully questions if the tie could be psychic.
6.19 The Unnatural Airdate: 04/25/99
Mulder meets with Arthur Dales (M. Emmet Walsh)…the brother of his ally also named Arthur Dales. Mulder learns the story of Josh Exley (Jesse L. Martin), an African-American baseball player from Roswell, New Mexico who had an extra-terrestrial secret…which attracted the interest of the bounty hunter (Brian Thompson).
6.20 Three of a Kind Airdate: 05/02/99
The Lone Gunmen go undercover in Las Vegas where Byers (Bruce Harwood) finds Susanne (Signy Coleman)…the woman he found love with. Calling in Dana Scully for help, the Lone Gunmen seek out a possible government conspiracy to create a brainwashing drug.
6.21 Field Trip Airdate: 05/09/99
The skeletons of hikers Angela and Wallace Schiff (Robyn Lively and David Denman) are found in an area known for UFO sightings. As Mulder and Scully investigate, they find it could have all their answers to the X-Files…or it could be there death.
6.22 Biogenesis Airdate: 05/16/99
The discovery of a piece of ancient text in the Indian Ocean on the African coast could mean a key to life on the planet Earth itself…but it might not be from Earth at all. As Mulder finds himself plagued with headaches and psychic abilities once seeing the image, Scully tries to find a man who claims to have translated other similar texts.