Autopsies have always been a staple of the X-Files. Whether it's a human, a monster, an unfortunate animal, or an alien (real or very fake) barely an episode goes by that doesn't feature Agent Scully slicing and dicing. Here are some of her best morgue moments. Read after the jump to see what made the list.
10. "Three of a Kind"
Technically Scully doesn’t perform an autopsy in this episode because she only gets as far as the Y-incision before being drugged and stopping, but the scene is funny enough to warrant inclusion in our list. It’s actually Langly who makes the scene with his growing discomfort that tips into downright nausea at the sight of Scully’s striker saw. Of course Scully’s iconic “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!” is one of her funniest moments as well.
"I'm thinking that you got a little queasy and took a header. You know blood and guts can bother some people."
9. "Fearful Symmetry"
Poor old Scully had to suffer a wide variety of weird and wonderful indignities at the hands of Mulder and the X-Files, but climbing inside an elephant to autopsy it might just top them all. Mulder’s comment that one day “they’ll be doing this on MTV Sports” is is disturbingly pre-cognizant. Back in 2009, over 14 years after this episode aired, Channel 4 in the UK aired a series of animal autopsies including that of an elephant. The episodes later appeared on National Geographic.
"This isn't exactly in my job description."
8. "Scary Monsters"
If autopsying an elephant from the inside out wasn’t bad enough, in “Scary Monsters” Scully finds herself autopsying a pet cat (hilariously named Spanky) on her own kitchen table. Adding to this indignity is the fact that she has to do it wearing an apron with “something smells goo-ood!” printed on it, and using her own kitchen implements. You can spot a bottle opener, salad tongs and meat tenderizer amongst her “tools” - all of which I hope she threw away afterwards.
"You got to be freaking kidding me. I can't believe you're cutting up a dead cat on your kitchen table."
Scully's exasperation which she barely manages to conceal for the cameras filming her every move is what makes this autopsy reach our list. It's also interesting to note that she snaps at her assistant about whether or not she plans to help, despite the fact that we have never once seen Scully work with an assistant before. That's probably a good thing considering this one drops dead of the hantavirus just seconds later!
"Because the FBI has nothing to hide."
6. Fight the Future
The morgue was generally one of the few places Scully could stay safe from the monsters and mutants who roamed her world, not however when it’s a morgue she has been secreted into by her partner in the dead of night. On being discovered, Scully somehow manages to wrap up the body and hide herself in the freezer in only a few seconds. We also learn from this that the soldiers looking for her are not the sharpest tools in the shed as they neglect to look under the gurney at her rather obvious hiding spot, even though her phone rang loudly only moments earlier.
"Mulder, I can't tell you what killed this man. I'm not sure anybody else could claim to either."
5. "Jose Chung’s 'From Outer Space'"
However bad Scully’s embarrassment at being filmed by Cops may have been, it pales to her reaction to watching her very own “alien autopsy” VHS, narrated by none other that The Stupendous Yappi. The video is edited to resemble the supposed alien autopsy films that were popular in the mid-late 90s after Fox aired the infamous Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction in 1995 that claimed to show the autopsy of an alien body recovered from the Roswell crash. That footage was later proven to be a fake, as was Scully’s own “dead alien”.
"There appear to be two layers of epidermis. There's a metal strip that runs just under the top layer down the… It's a zipper."
Scully’s autopsy in the Pilot is far from her first, however it is both her first X-File autopsy, the first autopsy we see her perform, AND her first autopsy with a hyperactive Mulder bouncing around her morgue. Quite frankly it speaks to her strength of character that she didn’t simply throw down the scalpel and walk away from all this nonsense right there and then.
"If it's not human, what is it?"
3. "Je Souhaite"
Scully’s autopsy of Anson Stokes in “Je Souhaite” are some of the funniest, and cutest, in the entire history of the show. Scully ranges from apathetic, to interested, to downright giddy with excitement - she even starts bouncing about as she works on the body. When Mulder arrives you can actually see him humoring her as she rambles like an excited child about what she’s found. For Scully, this is her Holy Grail. After all the things she has seen, this is real, physical evidence she can hold in her hand and you can see how thrilled she is about the opportunities this presents - she even invites a group of other researchers to come and see it for themselves all the way from Harvard. Which is why her comedown when the body inevitably vanishes from the morgue is all the more tragic, and also hilarious as she sits at the autopsy table, head in hands, threatening to shoot herself out of embarrassment and whining to Mulder about how having proof was simply too good to be true.
"I think you missed a spot here. I can see straight through to his ass."
While most of the entries in this list have made it because of some comical factor, Irresistible comes in at number two for the complete opposite reason. Scully spends the episode not only disturbed by the case itself, but concerned that feeling the way she does will reflect badly on her. She worries that others will think less of her for being so affected, putting it down to her gender, and so she tries to show strength around it. The autopsy of Satin is shot to beautifully showcase this. Four men in suits stand around the body in the morgue, stepping back to watch her enter and begin. Scully’s small statue is exaggerated by the camera angle, they appear to tower over her making her seem tiny and somehow exposed. As she begins, we hear the faintest tremor in her voice, however she immediately puts her shields up and performs the job she was called to do.
"It may be an irony only understood by those of us who conduct these examinations, who use these pieces to rebuild a narrative, that death, like life itself, is a drama with a beginning, middle and end."
1. Bad Blood
There was never any doubt which of Scully’s autopsies would rank at number one on this list. “Bad Blood” actually contains three separate autopsy scenes, of which two are performed by Scully, and all of which are filled to the brim with witty one-liners and hilarious visuals. Probably the most memorable moment of them all is a tired and down-trodden Scully watching hopelessly as her cadaver's intestines slither from her scales. It's gross and disturbing but also funny as hell, and that's what makes it number one.
"Large intestine ... 890 grams, yada yada yada."