The X-Files – “Three Words”

Another new episode, another new review. Thoughts and spoilers await those who dare to “Read More…”


as Dana Scully
Robert Patrick
as John Doggett
David Duchovny
as Fox Mulder
Mitch Pileggi as
Walter Skinner
Bruce Harwood as John Fitzgerald Byers
Tom Braidwood as Melvin Frohike
Dean Haglund as Richard “Ringo” Langley


Written by Chris
and Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Tony Wharmby

Original Airdate

Three Words originally aired on Sunday, April 8, 2001.


The episode opens with Howard Salt (whose name isn’t known until
later) scaling the White House gates and making a run to warn the
President that aliens were invading. He was shot by his own weapon,
but lived long enough to give a small CD-ROM to a guard, asking him to
deliver it to the President. The CD-ROM was labelled “Fight The Future.”

After the opening credits, Scully and Mulder’s doctor met in Mulder’s
hospital room to tell him that he was in perfect health. They also told
him that his recovery didn’t make any sense, but he was discharged
anyway. He and Scully returned to Mulder’s apartment, where he found
that it was clean, and that one of his fish had died while he was away. He
also took this opportunity to talk to Scully about her pregnancy, and
Scully took the chance to talk to him about how hard it was for her to
go through everything that’s happened since his abduction.

While Scully and Mulder were having this little heart-to-heart,
Doggett and Skinner were called into Kersch’s office. Kersch wanted
Skinner and Doggett to tell Mulder that his reinstatement had been
denied, given the higher success rate of Doggett and Scully’s
partnership. (He also felt that the FBI was no place for a personal
crusade.) Doggett objected, on the grounds that the X-Files was
Mulder’s unit, and that the most amazing thing about his work on the
X-Files was that he knew what was going on half the time.

Skinner and Scully broke the news to Mulder, telling him about
Doggett’s existance in the process. Mulder concluded that Doggett was
one of “them,” working to close the X-Files and bury the truth.

While this was going on, the cult leader we’ve been seeing a lot of in
the past two episodes broke out of prison and fled to Doggett’s
apartment. After checking the back of Doggett’s neck to make sure he
was still him, he took him at gunpoint to gather evidence that the
government was trying to bury the truth about the impending alien
invasion. They entered the Federal Statistics Center, but the cult
leader was gunned down by the security guards, despite Doggett’s
insistence that they drop their weapons. (Doggett was grazed by the
bullet that killed him.)

This fortified Mulder’s belief that Doggett was working for the
conspirators. After confronting Doggett in Skinner’s office, he
started going through the presonal effects of Howard
Salt, and found a laptop. He stole the hard drive (which was full of
encrypted information) and took it to the Lone Gunmen for decryption.

The drive contained the file system for the census bureau’s records of
abductees, but the computers that contained the files were blocked
behind firewalls, so he had to get inside the building to learn more.

Doggett met with his CIA friend Knoll to try and find out what was
going on. After a rather cryptic conversation, he found out that the
password to the operation was “Fight The Future.” He gave this
information to Scully to have her get it to Mulder.

Predictably, Mulder, Scully, and the Lone Gunmen were soon using that
info to break into the FSC and get the evidence they needed. Doggett
learned about it, and realized that he’d been used to set them up. He
followed Mulder into the building, and managed to talk him into
escaping before getting shot.

Doggett met with Knoll once more after the escape, to tell him that he
wasn’t going to cooperate and allow himself to be used anymore. Knoll
didn’t deny using him, but argued that he had information Doggett
would need. Doggett left with Skinner (who had been watching from a
distance), and Knoll drank from a fountain, revealing to the viewers
at home that he had some strange sort of ridges on the back of his neck.

High Points

John Doggett’s reaction to Kersch talking about the X-Files success
rate was excellent.

Low Point

He’s been recovering with Scully at his side for about a week, and he
didn’t talk to her about her pregnancy until he got her back in his
apartment? I just don’t believe it.

The Review

This was not a terribly original episode for the X-Files. The
double-crossing informant felt a lot like Deep Throat in the first
season, and the alien replacements were not a far cry from episodes
like Travelors. In terms of originality, I’ll only give it 2
out of 6.

The effects were very well done, though. Granted, the
only real effects were the ridges on Knoll’s neck and the killing of
the cult leader, but both were convincing. They’ve been done on the
X-Files before though, so I’m not as impressed as I could have been.
I give the effects 4 out of 6.

The story was well written, for the most part. While it
wasn’t original, the dialogue was well done, and the developing
character of John Doggett was handled very well. I give the story 4
out of 6.

The acting was well done overall. I did find that Mulder
seemed a bit out of place to me. To me, Doggett is ready to move in
as Scully’s permanent and only partner. (Doggett seems to have more
respect for Scully. When they disagree on a course of action, he’ll
talk about it, and hope they reach a consensus. Mulder, on the other
hand, is as head strong as always.) It just doesn’t seem like
Duchovny’s heart is in it anymore. He’s doing the 11 episodes his
contract says he has to do, and then he’s gone. The rest of the team
is trying to pull his weight too, but it just didn’t work. I give the
acting 4 out of 6.

I did find the episode involving enough to provoke an emotional
, though. I felt sorry for Doggett as he realized he
was somebody else’s puppet. I felt sorry for Scully when she was
talking about what she’d been through. I give this aspect 4 out of 6.

This week’s episode also had a fairly high production value, with
tight-paced directing, interesting cinematography, and an effective
score. I give the production 5 out of 6.

Overall, I’d say this was a fine, but not spectacular
episode. I give it 4 out of 6.

Totalling this up, I see it comes to 27 out of 42.

Next Week

The X-Files will be pre-empted next week. It returns on April
22, with Empedocles. I’m not sure Mulder will be in that one.
DeadAlive did not end with the phrase “To Be Continued,” and
the production numbers on Empedocles and Vienen place
them between DeadAlive and Three Words. I’ve also heard
that Duchovny will be doing the 11 episodes he’s required to do, and
that’s it. Well, he’s done seven so far (Within,
Without, The Gift, Per Manum, This Is Not
, DeadAlive, and Three Words) and there are
six episodes left in the season, which would seem to indicate that he
won’t be in two of them. My guess is that he won’t be in the next
two. Once The X-Files returns on April 22, there will be a new
episode every week until the season finale on May 26.

The next episode of The Lone Gunmen, Maximum Byers,
airs this Friday, April 13.

One reply

  1. Fight The Future
    I *liked* that it was reminiscent of the first couple

    seasons. Conspiracy, danger, clandestine operations

    and meetings with informants were the things that kept

    me watching the show.

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