The X-Files – “Empedocles”

Season eight of The X-Files is coming to a close. Chris Carter has promised that the season finale will work as a series finale as well, tying up all of the mythology in the next few weeks. You do want to keep tabs on how it ends, right? Well, read more to learn about this week’s installment!


as Dana Scully
Robert Patrick
as John Doggett
David Duchovny
as Fox Mulder
Mitch Pileggi as
Walter Skinner
Annabeth Gish as
Monica Reyes
Jay Underwood as
Jeb Dukes
Denise Crosby as
Dr. Speake


Written by Greg

Directed by Barry
K. Thomas

Original Airdate

Empedocles originally aired on Sunday, April 22.


The teaser for this episode began with Jeb Dukes in his boss’ office.
He was being fired. After leaving the building, he witnessed a fatal
car accident, and seemed to be the only person who noticed a flaming
figure in human shape leave the wreckage. The figure seemed to enter Jeb.

Some time later, Jeb returned to work with a gun, and killed the two
people who had fired him in the meeting.

After the opening credits, Agent Reyes was brought in on the case,
since the agent in charge had noticed “Satan pictures” in the
killer’s desk drawer. Reyes assured him that there was no cult
involvment, and that the pictures were of Marilyn Manson. As she was
leaving the crime scene, she had a vision of one corpse being reduced
to smoldering ashes.

Next, we saw Mulder pay a visit to Agent Scully. After some
not-too-subtle probed about the fathers identity, the pizza guy showed
up. While Mulder was paying for the pizza, Scully doubled over in
pain. Mulder had the pizza guy phone 911.

Mulder and Doggett met at the hospital, checking on Agent Scully.
Mulder received a call on his cell phone from Agent Reyes, asking him
to help her on a case that involved Agent Doggett. Mulder agreed to
meet her later.

When Mulder met Reyes, he learned about Doggett’s son, who had been
kidnapped and killed some time before. Reyes had been the FBI agent
coordinating the investigation with the police, since Doggett was
still with the NYPD. At the time, both had seen the same vision of a
charred corpse that Reyes had seen this time, although Doggett had
been trying to convince himself that it was meaningless, if it had
been real.

A short time later, Jeb was out at a pay phone in the middle of nowhere,
phoning his sister and trying to convince her he was innocent. His
sister was unable to talk because Reyes was present in the room. A
stranger came up to Jeb, asking him to help her with a flat tire. The
evil took over, and Jeb killed the woman and stole her van.

Reyes managed to convince Mulder and Doggett to come to the scene of
the new crime, since she was seeing the same vision. Doggett was not
impressed. (He’d already lost his temper when he learned Mulder was
looking in the files about his son.) Doggett did not appear to see
the vision, and left in frustration.

Back in Washington, Doggett and Reyes had another short metting.
Doggett explained that he had to believe he’d done everything to save
his son, and if these visions were real, then that would mean there
was something he could have done that he didn’t do.

Mulder visited Scully in the hospital again. Her pain was caused when
the placenta partially ripped away from the uterine wall, and she
would be kept for observation. She encouraged Mulder to help out on
this case, and assured him Doggett was worth the effort.

Mulder and Doggett had a heart-to-heart talk after Mulder left her
hospital room. Doggett seemed to be open to the idea that some form
of evil was passing from person to person, choosing to move to people
who were vulnerable to evil because of some recent event in their

Jeb soon arrived at his sister’s house, asking for her acceptance.
(She was very reluctant since he had blood on his face.) He was
reading his niece a story when his sister came to get her, and ask him
to talk to Agent Reyes. He took his niece captive at gunpoint, and
tried to escape with her. On his way out, he was shot by Agent Reyes.

Jeb soon died in the hospital from his wounds. (The doctor was played
by Denise Crosby. I suspect we’ll see her character again later; this
was a very small role.) His sister became the vessel of the evil, and
attacked Reyes, since she was the person who killed him. Doggett
found her during the attack, and held her off with his weapon. Reyes
took a blow to the head, but it looked like she’d be okay.

After Scully was discharged, Mulder visited her in her apartment
again. He’d come the first time to give her a family hierloom of some
sort, and he gave it to her again this time. It was a rather ugly
doll (in my opinion), but Scully seemed to love it.

The episode closed with Doggett staring in at Jeb’s sister, in a long,
quiet shot.

High Points

Mulder’s characteristic wit is back. “I saw Elvis in a potato
chip once!”

Low Point

The scene with Jeb tearing away his face wasn’t necessary, and didn’t
make sense. How did he heal? The first part of the scene, which
showed that the evil wouldn’t let him commit suicide, was necessary,
but the rest wasn’t.

The Review

In terms of originality, this episode did a fine job.
The visions that tied it all together, and the semi-sentient
infectious nature of evil worked well together. I give the episode 5
out of 6.

The effects were not so well done, however. The flaming
man at the beginning looked like his head and body were burning in two
different ways. The effects of the corpse becoming ash were fine, but
the scene with Jeb tearing his face away looked like a guy tearing
away a latex mask. I just didn’t believe most of it. I give it 3 out
of 6.

The story was above average, though. We had a chance to
understand Doggett’s reluctance to believe, as well as his history
with Reyes. Doggett and Mulder seem to have gained enough mutual
respect to prevent them from trying to beat the snot out of each
other. The tie-in with Doggett’s past worked well, right down to his
reaction to Jeb and his kidnapped niece. I give this episode 5 out of 6.

The acting was also well done. The guest stars and
regular cast alike did great jobs. I’d give this episode 5 out of 6.

This episode even managed to provoke an emotional response
from me, which is not easy to do. I really felt sorry for Doggett as
he was talking about having to believe that he’d tried everything to
help his son. I wanted him to figure out what was going on, and to
stop this thing. I give this episode 5 out of 6.

The production was also top-quality this week. The
directing was well paced, the score was appropriate, and the lighting
and photography, especially in the closing shot on Doggett, was
perfect at setting the tone of the episode. I give the production 5
out of 6.

This episode was good overall, but not fantastic. The
elements were all in place, but for some reason I can’t quite put my
finger on, it just didn’t draw me into the world. I give it a 4 out
of 6.

This makes the final tally 32 out of 42 for Empedocles

Next Week

On Friday, The Lone Gunmen will be treating us to the
Tango de los Pistoleros. On Sunday, April 29, we get
Vienen on The X-Files.

2 replies on “The X-Files – “Empedocles””

  1. Too many loose ends
    This episode is hindered by something that is happening

    all too frequently this season: not tying up the loose

    ends! These are just a few of the questions that were

    left unanswered:

    How is this Evil related to Doggett? Is it just

    coincidence that it crossed his path twice? How does

    this relate to his son (besides the fact that the

    killer was infected by this same evil)? Why does

    Doggett think that it is finished? Why does Reyes think

    it’ll never be finished? How will capturing the Evil

    effect Doggett?

    I did like the interaction between Scully & Mulder. I

    had grown really tired of Mulder before the start of

    this season; his being gone for most of this season

    really was a good thing.

  2. no twists
    I wish I would have been wrong. All along, I was just

    waiting for Reyes to catch the killer. As for the “evil

    is a disease” theory, it’s classic Mulder. Brilliant,

    yet spooky. Nevertheless, it should have been Reyes who

    came up with that theory. She was really the only one

    doing any actual investigative work in the episode.

    The pizza encounter between Mulder and Scully was again

    cute. I am sure that if they were real life characters,

    however, they would have long ago grown weary of the

    inneuendo. Why can’t they just break down and admit

    they love each other?

    Finally, I ask humbly if anyone else is forseeing an

    “alien baby” in Scully’s future? I for one hope they

    can squeeze a few twists into that plotline, or I will

    be asleep in my easy hair long before this season winds


Comments are closed.