The X-Files is a quintessential sci-fi show, mixing mystery and horror and adding a dollop of conspiracy on top.
It additionally has some of the best television characters in existence. Dana Scully, the brilliant skeptic, Fox Mulder, the brooding believer, and even Walter Skinner, the level headed assistant director.
Through out ten seasons and 207 episodes, there have been many guest characters who have weaved their way in and out of Chris Carter’s vast universe. Most of whom (spoiler alert) have met their untimely ends. Since The X-Files is featured in Loot Crate for Investigate this month, I decided to list some of my favorite featured players for the Friday Five (and discuss major plot points so MAJOR SPOILER WARNING.)
Not only is Melissa Scully a totem of the ultimate 90’s aesthetic, but her brief appearance in Season 2 is pertinent to X-Files lure. Melissa served as a perfect foil to her younger sister, Dana. She was known for her non-traditional thinking and new age beliefs. In her first appearance in One Breath, she sat by her FBI agent sister’s bed side and convinced her partner (Mulder) to actually sit down and speak to Scully while she lie comatose instead of just continuously running around trying to find someone to blame. It was a flip in the standard dynamic of the show. In comparison to Melissa, Mulder was the skeptic and although Mulder may believe in aliens, he definitely does not believe in crystals. It was also an iconic moment in X-Files history, being the first of many nights Mulder and Scully would spend in the hospital watching over one another. (…if you don’t count Darkness Falls)
A Season 1 staple, Deep Throat served as Fox Mulder’s first informant. He was an unnamed member of the Syndicate who worked along side the Cigarette Smoking Man, the Well Manicured Man, and Mulder’s father, to name a few. He served as an introduction to the All the President’s Men-esque route the show would take. Mulder and Scully were looking for the truth and although there were many forces working against them, they also had a few allies willing to risk their careers and their lives to aid the cause.
Whether you love him, hate him, or are just in it for the fan fiction (…if you don’t already know what I’m talking about probably don’t Google it), Alex Krycek is an essential part of The X-Files. It’s probably not kosher to put both him and Melissa Scully on this same list, seeing as he murdered her in cold-blood and all, but you can’t have heroes without villains. And oh boy, is Krycek a good villain! A double agent from the start, Krycek had a brief stint in the FBI where he was sent in as Cigarette Smoking Man’s lacky to spy on Mulder and Scully. He was also assigned to kill both Mulder’s father and Scully. Krycek succeeded in murdering William Mulder, but failed to successfully kill Scully (he accidentally killed her sister Melissa instead). Clearly, Krycek is awful so why is he on this list? His actions served as a deeply emotional motive for both Mulder and Scully to continue to find the truth. With the loss of two important people in their lives (and many more to come) the two were even more determined to stop Krycek, Cigarette Smoking Man, and the conspiracy-laden Syndicate as a whole.
The Lone Gunmen
Melvin Frohike, John Fitzgerald Byers, and Richard Langly were some of Fox Mulder’s closes associates. Providing much needed comic relief along with pertinent information to many an x-file, these fan favorites have made an appearance ever single season of the show — even in the latest one via placebo hallucination.They even got their own, although short lived, spin-off! Although they died giving their lives for the cause in an aptly titled episode Jump the Shark, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found yet another way to appear post-mortem in the rumored Season 11.
The Cigarette Smoking Man
CSM is one of the most controversial X-Files characters and quite frankly, one of my favorites. He is a symbol for all things evil and corrupt, but as the series progresses, we get a look behind the curtain. The episode Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man is one of my favorite examples of a villain origin story. It shows his early friendship with Fox Mulder’s father, the various iconic figures in history that he had a hand in assassinating, and his unsuccessful career as a writer. As much as we may loathe C.G.B., seeing his life prior to the X-Files timeline gives us a peak into the psyche of someone so heinous and helps us to understand his internal struggle.