"THE BLESSING WAY" CHRIS CARTER: 'The Blessing Way' is one of my favorite episodes because I got a chance to explore the death of Mulder's father through Mulder, and it was an interesting time for me. I had just lost a parent, so it was a very personal episode to write and to research and to think about, and I had a whole summer to think about it, because it was an answer to a cliffhanger we had set up the season before. And Mulder's journey into his own past through the ritual, the Native American ritual, was something I actually attempted to do as well, by going and partaking in just this kind of event. The Navaho had taken issue with a few minor details in the previous episode, so I had them come out and help me to pay attention to things that were really representative of their culture. And so I think we got it all right here and while I think everyone's experience with the spirit world is different and therefore subjective, I think we did a pretty good job. There are just really beautiful scenes in this episode, including the Mulder dream sequences. I think they are eerie and strange. And people thought we were getting a little soft because they are kind of mystical and they're not the usual X-Files scare. But I think that they are evocative and I really was happy with the way they came out. But the really frightening stuff is when Scully starts to learn about an implant that may be in her. And also, she starts to connect with Mulder through her dreams, and so there is a connection that Mulder and Scully have which is perhaps more spiritual than we had ever seen before, so I think that was a very effective part of the episode, too. "PAPER CLIP" I really like this episode, it has elements, it has... whenever you can have an episode that has a white buffalo and a spaceship in it, it's got to be wonderful, and this one works in strange ways. The white buffalo that appears at the beginning of the episode was something I had read about, an actual white buffalo calf had been born, and the Indians, the Native Americans, felt that was an omen of something about to happen, an omen of... a portent of change. I used that Native American bit of lore and belief in the episode, even though it wasn't Navaho and mostly the episode reflects Navaho mythology. But I used it because I thought it was so powerful that all Native Americans might believe in it, and it ended up infusing the episode with portent, with potential. When I told the crew that what I wanted to do was to actually float a spaceship from the ground up those many stories, with Mulder watching out those windows, they looked at me like I was out of my mind. We would have to build a truss with a whole lighting rig, put it on a big crane and lift it up outside those windows, projecting the light in to Mulder and toward camera. It was a big, big deal and it looked nothing like a spaceship. The idea is that you would play the light projected from this truss, from this contraption that we built, through the windows, and marry it to a computer-generated effect when Mulder actually got outside the building. It worked perfectly and I still think for the time and effort and money, it was really one of the most simple yet spectacular effects we've ever done. "CLYDE BRUCKMAN'S FINAL REPOSE" 'Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose' was a complete surprise to me and to everyone else. Darin Morgan, who had come on to the show the previous season and written what is now one of the most beloved episodes of the series, 'Humbug', about circus freaks, was given the order for his second assignment to make it scary. 'Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose', I think, is a perfect little episode. And it's helped a lot by wonderful direction, by Peter Boyle in the role of Clyde Bruckman, and by David and Gillian who turned in great performances. The effect of Clyde Bruckman imagining his own death, which is done in a rather horrifying visual sequence, was a result of some real computer-generated imagery tricks, some physical effects, heating ribs that needed to heat up to burn the flesh away, flowers that wilt on camera to give the effect of a time-lapse, of things decaying. And we had to try to recreate it using Clyde Bruckman's body in his underwear. Peter Boyle ended up being the perfect person for the part, it ended up becoming an Emmy Award-winning performance, and it was just perfect, you can't imagine anyone else in the role now. It's really a high point, I think, not just in The X-Files series but in prime-time television. "NISEI" The two-parter had suddenly become a kind of tradition, we were very successful with telling these two-part episodes and 'Nisei' is the beginning of yet another one which expands the mythology and really has become the backbone of the show. This was once again a further exploration into the government conspiracy to hide the truth about aliens and extra-terrestrials from the U.S. populace, and also a chance for Mulder and Scully to investigate things that had happened to them during the course of their investigations. The men who storm onto the train car and end up gunning down the scientists are actual soldiers, men trained for that kind of combat technique because you can't just have actors come in with real guns like that. It was a difficult scene for us to film because we were not allowed by FOX Standards and Practices to show actual bullet hits. So we had to shoot it in such a way that we could cut around it and it's very difficult to show men suffering from the result of being gunned down without actually showing the cause and effect. And ultimately we spent a long time in the editing room with the censors, going frame by frame through the material and making sure that it lived up to their standards and ours as always is the negotiation. And a funny thing is that these episodes, as hard as they are, they are the most beloved by the crew because, I think, that we were really doing more than anyone ever, believes what we can do on television in the time allotted, for the money we have. So this is yet another example of pulling a big fat rabbit out of a hat. "731" The title '731' is an actual name, number given to a unit in World War II of Japanese doctors who experimented on prisoners of war without anesthetic, and that bit of information bubbled up to the surface in the last few years, about the terrible treatment of those men. We took that historical fact, that narrative, and applied it to our own mythology, how the Japanese may have been using the alien technology, or biology, to do experiments to create, as you'll find, a group of standing soldiers who are immune to the effects of radiation. The train itself was actually fabricated on a soundstage, the one that Mulder and Stephen McHattie, the Red-Haired Man, are on, was on a soundstage, but the one that blows up is an actual train car that we had given to us, cheap, by a railroad company in Vancouver. It was a bent car, it was something that was just sitting in a junk yard. We were able to take it and blow it to smithereens with, I think, seven cameras running on the sequence. Every cut, every angle from those seven cameras of that explosion is in, which is a little bit of movie magic, a little bit of trickery to actually extend that explosion through seven different shots. There was a bell on that train which was blown I'm not sure how far from the wreckage, recovered by the physical effects supervisor, polished up and engraved, and given to the director, Rob Bowman, as a gift. "WAR OF THE COPROPHAGES" 'War Of The Coprophages' is one of my favorite episodes, again. It's a Darin Morgan episode, it's a very, very funny episode. It's inspiration is partly Orson Wells reading War of the Worlds over the radio and creating a panic. I think Orson Wells set... that story was set in Grover's Mill and Darin Morgan's fictional setting here is in Miller's Grove, Massachusetts. It's a kooky episode from beginning to end, and one that presented certain problems because the guest stars of the show happen to be cockroaches. You can imagine how difficult it would be for a director who's got to get cockroaches to perform in front of camera, to do what he wants them to do and also not harm them because we always are on this show under really tight orders and restrictions about treatment of animals, bugs and these things are followed, you know, to the tee. Kim Manners at one point had to get cockroaches to crawl up a toilet tank, and also another cockroach to stay put on a roll of toilet paper. He got these shots in a very X-Files way, which is he actually went to the bucket of cockroaches that were going to be released onto the toilet tank in one instance, and directed them and told them how it was going to work. And the cockroaches performed perfectly and admirably, and that's a true story. "PIPER MARU" 'Piper Maru' came out of a story line and a thread that had been set up earlier. At the end of season two, there was a digital tape was stolen, and it contained something called the MJ documents, which in UFO lore are very important documents held by the government that talk about the existence of extra-terrestrial life, extra-terrestrial technology. And those documents then had disappeared on our show. They turn up in the form of this episode. I had something I had been wanting to do since the beginning of the show, and I wanted to see a World War II pilot at the bottom of the ocean, in his fighter, pounding on the glass of his cockpit. The substance which we refer to now as the black oil will come to play an important part in the larger mythology, and this is the introduction of it. There is something alien that isn't a little green man or a little grey man, was something new to the show, but it expanded the mythology, created new, I think, new interest in what the conspiracy was. "APOCRYPHA" Apocrypha is really the original documents that became the Bible. There is a lot of information in tablets, text and things that didn't make it into the Bible, they are sort of pre-biblical. The story we are telling is about documents, and about information that has not been brought to light yet, so I think the significance of the word is important to the show. To create this missile silo, we didn't have enough space and to be honest, we didn't have enough money. We built the entire spaceship on stage, then we built a portion of the silo and the rest of it is computer-generated, it's an illustration. So the effect of looking down on this silo is really a little movie trick but one that really works nicely. It was an elaborately designed and planned bit that ended up becoming the set piece at the end of the show. The beloved Frohike is played by Tom Braidwood, who is one of our assistant directors on the show, has been since the beginning of the series, and has now become a celebrity in his own right as one of the three paranoids known as the Lone Gunmen. "PUSHER" Vince Gilligan, the writer of this episode, had an idea for a movie, and either he had never written it or never found a way to do it as a movie idea, and found through The X-Files, using Mulder and Scully, a way to tell a story about a man who has the ability to bend people to his will. And he named the character Pusher because he, the character, had the ability to push people into hurting themselves, into harming themselves. There is a sequence that I really love at the end of this episode, where Mulder goes into the hospital where he knows Pusher is. This man is going to go out in a blaze of glory. Mulder goes in with a camera strapped on him so he can be the eyes and ears of the people outside. And he doesn't take a gun in with him because this man has the ability, in fact, to maybe get Mulder to turn the gun on himself, which is ultimately what he does. The actor who plays Pusher was a last-minute casting selection for us. We couldn't find an actor we really liked for this part, and as often happens on The X-Files, someone came in, eleventh hour, and wowed us and got the role, and just an amazing job. "JOSE CHUNG'S 'FROM OUTER SPACE'" Darin Morgan wrote this episode knowing, I think, it would be his last ever, and wanted to achieve perfection, and, in fact, I think that's what he's done here. It put Mulder and Scully into funny roles, he got to explore their characters and make them seem fun and silly. The episode is a romp, it's very hard to follow, it's very complicated and complex, and I know Darin thinks of it as his tour-de-force of the four episodes he's written for the show. Only in a Darin Morgan script could you get Mulder to actually have a falsetto yelp come out of his mouth in reaction to seeing an alien. These episodes amaze me, the elasticity of the show, where it can go, how funny it can be, how ridiculous it can be, and go back to telling mythology stories, and good scary stories. It's one of the really special elements of The X-Files, that they can be so widely varied. "WETWIRED" 'Wetwired' was the brainchild of Mat Beck, the visual effects supervisor, producer, who came to me and said he wanted to write an episode. I really love the visual effects in this episode, the sort of distortion video effect. Mat had come up with this idea, and told us how it would work, and I remember even late into the process with the script I felt we hadn't taken enough advantage of it, and I felt that the script needed, and the episode needed, that anchor of an interesting visual element. And so we actually added opportunities to use the visual element again later in the script. The episode provided us with something that was important to the future of the mythology, which was the setting up of certain character relationships. When X and Cigarette-Smoking Man are sitting in a car together at the end of the episode, it presages something bad that is going to happen, and a situation in which X will find himself possibly at odds with the Cigarette-Smoking Man to great consequence. "TALITHA CUMI" The title 'Talitha Cumi' came from the book, the Russian novel, The Brothers Karamazov. It actually means 'arise, maiden,' and it comes from a very famous chapter in that book which is called "The Grand Inquisitor." The character of Jeremiah Smith has the ability to morph from one shape to another, as do all aliens and alien-human hybrids, and he, when captured by the Cigarette-Smoking Man -- who is waiting for the opportunity to kill him, waiting for the stiletto-gimlet weapon to arrive -- has a conversation with the Cigarette-Smoking Man, where he tries to taunt him through this ability to turn into people that the Cigarette-Smoking Man has killed. David Duchovny happened to fly, be flying on, a plane with Roy Thinnes right about the time I was writing the episode, and suggested that Roy Thinnes play the healing man, play Jeremiah Smith, and I thought it was a great idea. I had been a fan of The Invaders, and he came and met with us, and he ended up being the perfect gentle man, gentle soul who would end up becoming an alien-human hybrid, a part of this conspiracy to colonize the earth with alien beings.