X-Files Review – “DeadAlive”

Mulder’s back, and he brought the core of the X-Files with him. Despite Duchovny’s light acting requirements this week, Mulder’s presence was felt at every moment. Read on for the details.


David Duchovny
as Fox Mulder.
as Dana Scully.
Robert Patrick
as John Doggett.

Guest Cast

Mitch Pileggi as
Walter Skinner.
Nick Lea as Alex
James Pickens,
as Alvin Kersh.
Zachary Ansley
as Billy Miles.


Written by Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz.
Directed by Tony
The person in charge of special-effects make-up is Thomas R. Burman,
and the visual effects coordinator is Mat Beck/

Original Airdate

DeadAlive originally aired on Sunday, April 1, 2001.


This episode was part two of a three part episode. See the review
of part one here.

The episode began at Fox Mulder’s funeral. Dana Scully, Skinner, the
Lone Gunmen, Scully’s mother, and others were all in attendance.

After the opening credits, the scene moved to three months later.
Scully finally looked pregnant, and Doggett was being offered a
promotion out of the X-Files. He asked for time to think about it,
knowing that if the X-Files were left to Scully alone they’d be closed
the moment she went out on maternity leave.

Then Billy Miles’ corpse was pulled from the ocean. He’d been in the
water three months, but his lips were still forming words. His
metabolism was low, but he wasn’t quite dead. Skinner called Doggett
to go with him to exhume Mulder and make sure he wasn’t alive as
well. Doggett objected strenuously, reminding Skinner of how
impossible it was that Mulder was still alive. However, Mulder was alive.
Scully was finally told, and she came running to see him. His body
was starting to decompose, but he wasn’t dead.

Back at the Bureau, Skinner was paid a visit from Alex Krycek. (You
may which to recall an episode titled S.R. 819 in which Skinner
was injected with nanites that can kill him at any time. Krycek
controls the nanites.) Krycek offered a vaccine to the virus
attacking Mulder, but his payment wasn’t revealed just yet.

Back at the hospital, Billy Miles got out of bed and showered off his
outer layers. (The make-up on this scene was fantastic, as it was
throughout the episode.) Scully had already been found in his room by
a nurse when Billy was having seizures, so the nurse called Scully to
see Billy after his shower.

Scully continued investigating what was happening to Mulder and Billy,
while Skinner and Doggett began doing some work on their own. Doggett
visited the preacher from This Is Not Happening, since he was
the person most familiar with what happened to the returning
abductees. He claimed that the abductees would be reborn as aliens
unless he performed his ritual.

Meanwhile, Skinner met with Krycek and found out the terms of Mulder’s
vaccine. Krycek asked him to make sure Scully never came to term.
Skinner refused, and Krycek walked past Doggett on his way out of the
hospital. Skinner locked the door to Mulder’s room, and started
taking him off life support. Doggett broke in and found out about the
vaccine and the terms of Krycek’s offer.

Once again, Robert Patrick found himself chasing cars in a parking
garage. This time he tried to catch Krycek and get the vaccine, but
he wasn’t able to stop him, despite being dragged around while hanging
from the driver side window while the car was hitting one parked
vehicle after another. He finally lost his grip, only to watch Krycek
drop the vaccine vial onto the concrete parkade floor.

When he returned to the hospital to give Skinner and Scully the news,
they learned that pulling Mulder off life support would help him fight
off the virus. Mulder eventually awoke, looked at Scully and asked,
“Who are you?” in typical Mulder fashion. The conversation was
brief, but Mulder is back. Like Kersh said when telling Doggett that
he’d missed his promotion, it’s going to be very crowded in that
X-Files office.

High Points

“The sun should be rising in about an hour and six minutes,” was
Doggett’s best line in the episode. This episode did a lot with his
character. In the three months between the last episode and most of
this one, Doggett and Scully seemed to have lost most of their
animosity, but Doggett is still the data man he’s always been. He was
the one who always did the research and found similar cases in the
past to whatever they were investigating, and he was the one that
remembered little tidbits of info like what time the sunrise was going
to happen. He plays a nice contrast to Mulder. How many times has
Mulder stood around and drawn his gun without firing when someone is
driving away from him? Doggett, on the other hand, chased Krycek’s
car on foot, and almost managed to stop him. I love the Doggett
character, and that line summed him up beautifully.

Low Point

I would have enjoyed seeing more details of the funeral. Scully’s
reaction to burying Mulder was nice, but the reactions of the Gunmen,
Mrs. Scully, and the other attendees would have been nice to see.

The Review

This episode chalks up a few points for originality.
The last thing I ever expected to see was Skinner trying to kill
Mulder, but it happened. I didn’t expect to see Mulder buried when
Jeremiah Smith was so close at hand, nor did I expect the first
meeting of Krycek and Doggett to go quite like it did. This episode
deserves 5 out of 6.

There were no visual effects in this episode per se, but
the make-up effects were fantastic. The cracking and separation of
Billy’s skin looked wonderful as he was being reborn. That scene
alone is worth 5 out of 6.

The story was well done, even if it was sparse. This
wasn’t as complicated as most episodes, but that works very well. It
gave us time to see how the characters were reacting to Mulder’s
return, and to see how they play off each other after the recent
events that brought them closer. I give the story 4 out of 6.

The acting went right in hand with the story. The
characters were well played, and worked off each other very well. The
first scene in the X-Files office, with Scully advising Doggett to
take the promotion, was well written and well acted, allowing the
viewers to see how close Doggett and Scully have grown now that there
are no secrets between them. I give the acting 5 out of 6.

As far as evoking an emotional response goes, this
episode did a good job, despite the fact that I knew Mulder would be
back for the rest of the season. I found myself on the edge of my
seat as Doggett passed Krycek in the hall, knowing the inevitable
confrontation was close at hand. I give the episode 4 out of 6.

DeadAlive had a very high production quality as
well. The directing was right on target, keeping the pace up without
denying the emotional scenes the time they needed to develop. I give
the production 4 out of 6.

Overall, the episode had everything I love about The
. It had the lies, deceit, character work, and long-term
story arc that have defined the show thus far. It also set up well
for a nice arc with the alien invasion to close out the rest of the
season. I give this episode 5 out of 6.

Adding this up, I see that the total score for this episode is 32
out of 42.

Next Week

On Friday, April 6 The Lone Gunmen take us to the Planet of
the Frohikes
. That is a mildly disturbing image, in my opinion.
Then, on Sunday April 8, we get the next installment of The
with Three Words.

One reply

  1. Exellent Episode
    I’ve only been able to watch off and on this season, but with this episode I’m going to watch all the rest of this season.

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