The X-Files – “Vienen”

The oilens returned last night, and they are as kind and caring to humanity as they’ve always been. Read more for the review and the spoilers.


as Dana Scully
Robert Patrick
as John Doggett
David Duchovny
as Fox Mulder
Mitch Pileggi as
Walter Skinner
James Pickens
as A.D. Kersch
Casey Biggs as
Mr. Ortega


Written by Steven Maeda
Directed by Rod Hardy

Original Airdate

Vienen originally aired on Sunday, April 29.


The teaser for this episode began on an oil rig 158 miles off the
coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the workers (Simon de la
Cruz) took the
butcher knife from the dinner table and used it to kill the
communications officer. He tried to destroy the radio, but was caught
by a man named Taylor first. Taylor began to glow.

After the opening credits, Mulder and Doggett met in the X-Files
office. Mulder was investigating the man’s murder without the consent
of the bureau. When Mulder and Doggett met with Skinner, Kersch, and
an oil company executive named Ortega, it was revealed that the man
died from extreme irradiation, but was not investigated. The oil rig
was over a large oil deposit that was partially in American waters,
and partially in Mexican waters, so Olpex wanted the investigation to
be kept quiet so the drilling could continue. Kersch sent Doggett to
the platform alone.

Mulder arrived at the platform before Doggett did, and both met with
Beau Taylor. He claimed that Simon had cabin fever, and tried to
destroy the rig. He also claimed that Simon and the communications
officer died as a result of that sabotage.

Mulder and Doggett agreed the man was lying, but they disagreed on
what he was lying about. Mulder felt he knew about the alien virus
and what really happened, but that he was covering up. Doggett knew
he was lying, but chose not to believe in the alien virus. He felt
they were involved in a cover up to protect their drilling rights.

Back on dryland, Scully talked to Skinner about her findings in the
autopsy of Simon de la Cruz. He had been infected with the virus, but
the virus was dead. She wasn’t sure how it had died, but she decided
she needed to warn Doggett.

Back on the rig, the new communications officer was going to shut down
the communications equipment to eliminate a high frequency
interference he was detecting, but Taylor infected him before he

In the start of act two, Scully contacted the rig with a priority
transmission to warn them of the virus. She asked for Doggett, but
Mulder took the call instead. Scully called for an evacuation, but
Mulder preferred a quarantine. He cut her off before she could talk
to Doggett, and had Doggett order a quarantine.

When the deck officer was explaining the quarantine, Mulder noticed a
missing crew member named Diego Garza. The others claimed they didn’t
notice he was missing.

Back on dry land, Scully and Skinner met with Mr. Ortega, who insisted
that the men were not infected, and that they get the rig back in
working order. Scully couldn’t pass the order along because radio
contact had been lost.

As Doggett and Mulder discussed Diego’s disappearance, Mulder took one
of his characteristic leaps of theory. He proposed that only Diego
and Simon were uninfected, and they killed Simon to keep him quiet.
He also suggested that the newly-discovered oil patch was already
being drilled, and that was where the virus was coming from. Before
they could settle the debate, a fire broke out in the communications
room. Diego knocked Doggett unconscious before he could return with a
fire extinguisher to fight the fire.

After the next commercial break, Kersch met with Scully, and Skinner
joined them. Kersch was upset that he wasn’t informed of the
situation and the quarantine. Skinner took the blame, but Kersch
ordered the quarantine lifted as soon as possible, and Simon’s body
sent to Mexico.

While surveying the wreckage, Mulder discovered that the
communication room was destroyed and that Doggett was missing. Diego
had taken Doggtt prisoner. First he cut Doggett to make sure his
blood was red, and then he told Doggett that they had to stop the
others before the flying ships came.

Scully discovered more information in her autopsy of Simon. He had a
massive T-cell count. She believed that people of his descent (he was
from an undiluted gene pool of a group of Mexican indians) were immune
to the virus, and that he was killed because of that.

Back on the rig, Doggett convinced Diego to let him go. He was
attacked by Taylor, but Mulder saved him before he was infected by the
virus. The others kept after them, so they locked themselves in the
communications room while Doggett tried to restore the radio.

In the final act of the episode, Doggett got the radio working while
Mulder fortified the door. Scully told them that helociopters were on
the way, and they had to get out of there. Doggett told her that only
three men were uninfected. Mulder destroyed the radio, as all the
uninfected men had been doing. Then they noticed that the workers
were not trying to break in anymore. They ran out of the room, and
realized that the workers were going to blow up the rig. Doggett
tried to rescue Diego, but he’d already been killed in the same manner
as Simon, so Doggett and Mulder escaped alone. The helicopters
arrived, and Mulder and Doggett jumped into the Gulf to escape before
the rig blew.

The episode closed with Mulder and Doggett meeting in the X-Files
office once more. Mulder told Doggett that Olpex lost the drilling
rights, and that Mulder had been blamed. As a result, Mulder was
kicked off the FBI. He told Doggett to stay on the X-Files, because
he was the only credibility the office had left.

High Points

The first scene with Mulder and Doggett was a great scene, that
really shows the contrast between the characters. Mulder is a very
intuitive agent, who depended on the records in the X-Files to refresh
his memroy before the case. On the other hand, Doggett was very
familiar with the X-Files, accurately describing the events of the
Piper Maru/Apocrypha two part episode from season three
when it was called for.

Their first scene together on the rig worked well, too. This
sniuppet of dialogue was my favourite from this episode:
Doggett: The stories about you were true.
Mulder: What stories?
Doggett: That you can find a conspiracy at a church picnic.
Mulder: What church?

Low Points

The scenes with Kersch would be my choice for the low points. The
character is very one-dimensional. He just shows up to chastise and
bark orders, with no other concerns or emotions. Of all the
semi-regular members, he’s my pick for the character most in need of

The Review

This wasn’t a very original episode of the X-Files. The
idea of an entire secluded group of people beign infected save one was
done well in Firewalker back in season two. The virus itself,
first introduced in season three, didn’t go anywhere new this time.
For originality, I give this episode 2 out of 6.

The effects had mixed results. The first scene, with
Taylor irradiating Simon, was a bit poorly done. The oil-in-the-eyes
and oil-under-the-skin effects have been well done since season three
and Fight The Future respectively. The final scene, with
Mulder and Doggett escaping the exploding rig, was done well for the
most part, but the blue screening in the shot of them falling to the
water was rather obvious. (It seems they missed some matt lines.) I
give the effects 3 out of 6.

On the other hand, the story was top-notch. The choice
to return to a previously used conspiracy so soon after Mulder’s
reappearance helped to cement the return of older elements to the
show. It allowed for a vessel in which Mulder was the expert, and
Doggett could be out of his element, but still learn from what was
going on and witness events that would make him a believer. It
allowed for great play between the two characters. I give
the story 5 out of 6.

The acting this week was also high quality, with the
possible exception of Kersch. Of course, with Kersch, James Pickens
Jr. doesn’t have a lot to work with from the writers. The character
needs developed, but Kersch was a minor character this week, so I
won’t hold that against him. They need an episode that focusses on
Kersch, though. I give the acting 5 out of 6.

The one thing this episode never did for me was provoke an
emotional response. As much as I liked seeing the return
of the black oil, there just wasn’t enough other stuff there to keep
me going. I give this 2 out of 6.

The production quality this week was very high. The
directing was well paced, and the use of lighting to show when Doggett
was “in the dark” while being held captive was excellent. This was
a great episode for the technical aspects. I give it 5 out of 6.

This was an excellent episode overall. A lot of the past
favourite elements were there, but it also set the show up for new
directions. Leaving Mulder out of the FBI allows the writers the
freedom to use his character as Scully’s friend and an expert to be
called on when Duchovny’s contract permits. The torch has been
passed, and Robert Patrick can definitely carry it along as Doggett.
I give it 5 out of 6.

This makes the final tally 27 out of 42 for Vienen.

Next Week

Friday’s episode of The Lone Gunmen is titled The Lying
, and I’ve heard that Mitch Pileggi will guest star. Then
next episode of The X-Files, titled Alone, airs on
Sunday May 6.

One reply

  1. Did anyone else…
    Did anyone else notice that the head of the oil rig (he was wearing a blue shirt most of the time… he announced the quarantine and was the first to try bashing down the door — hope that helps) was the same actor who played Demar (sp) on ST: DS9? I noticed it right away…

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