People really liked to talk on The X-Files. Speeches full of flowery prose litter the show from the very first episode to the finale and through both films as well. Our ten choices include speeches from a variety of characters both recurring and not, and range from funny, to insightful, to downright tragic. See what made the list after the jump.
10. "War of The Coprophages"
Mulder's summary at the end of “War of The Coprophages” is strange, partly because it’s not clear who he’s writing his report for. The case was never officially assigned to him or Scully, he simply came across it by accident, so it seems odd for him to be writing an official report. The fact that he uses the phrase “big deal” also makes it sound strange for an official document. Perhaps this piece of writing is destined to be published by M.F. Luder one day? Whatever is to become of it, Mulder’s insight into the future of robotics is interesting, but perhaps less entertaining than his reaction to a nearby cockroach!
"The development of our cerebral cortex has been the greatest achievement of the evolutionary processes. Big deal."
9. "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man"
This speech from the Smoking Man is an odd one in many ways. The whole scene is an obvious play on Forrest Gump released two years earlier, a man sitting alone on a bench being joined by a stranger and proceeding to talk aloud without directly addressing their companion. The only real difference is that is is the companion, not the speaker holding the chocolates. It’ is unclear whether or not CSM intends to be funny. Earlier in the episode he makes out to hate movies so it seems odd for him to be intentionally quoting one. His description of life is somewhat tragic, the ramblings of a man unhappy at his lot, and we are left wondering if he had not been rejected so many times, how could the world have been different?
"Life... is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable, because all you get back is another box of chocolates."
8. Jose Chung’s 'From Outer Space'"
The ending of Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’ is both funny and poignant. Chung’s words about Mulder as we watch him laying in bed watching shaky footage of “Bigfoot” are funny on the surface but hint at something much darker we have seen in him. The same could be said of Roky and Blaine who are both trying to live normal lives after being affected by things they cannot understand. Chrissy has probably done the best out of the events, using them to give meaning to her life by dedicating herself to improving the world, but Harold’s desire to find “meaning in other human beings” is somewhat heartbreaking in its simplicity.
"As for her partner, Reynard Muldrake... that ticking timebomb of insanity... his quest into the unknown has so warped his psyche, one shudders to think how he receives pleasures from life."
7. "This Is Not Happening"
Although barely long enough to qualify as a speech, Scully’s talk with Skinner in a motel parking lot makes the list due to sheer emotional impact. One can only imagine how bad a dream she must have had to drive the usually collected Scully to her boss’ bedroom door in the middle of the night. Skinner, although clearly surprised by his late night visitor, does not judge and joins her without question. Her speech recalls Mulder’s talk with her at the diner in "Closure" - both of them hoping to find peace.
"I once had a talk with Mulder about starlight… He said that's where souls reside. I hope he's right."
6. "The Sixth Extinction"
The “Biogenesis”/”Sixth Extinction” arc is an interesting one for Scully and she explains this well herself during this speech. Scully goes to Africa to hunt down and study something she did not believe in, simply because she did believe it was her best shot at saving Mulder. Scully has to fight not only the forces working against her, but her own mind as her belief system is shaken. The fact that she is able to remain resolute despite her world slowly collapsing around her is a testament to her strength.
"I came in search of something I did not believe existed. I've stayed on now, in spite of myself. In spite of everything I've ever held to be true."
Philip Padgett’s speech to Scully in the church is disturbing in a way only the victims of stalking could ever truly understand. Scully is faintly horrified, as most of us would be, when a man she has only laid eyes on once before begins to recount details of her life, from the parking stickers on her car (including the dates on them) to her religious beliefs, her interests, and comments about her body. Later Scully admits to finding the incident “frightening”, something we can all agree with her about.
"You're fit, with muscular calves so you must exercise or run. There's a popular running route right nearby that you might use at lunch or after work."
4. "The Truth"
Another very short speech, but an important one nonetheless. At the very end of "The Truth", Mulder and Scully discuss where they have found themselves after nine years together. Scully asks Mulder “what is left to believe in” now they have found the truth and Mulder admits that he believes that by listening to what’s out there, we could find “the power to save ourselves”. The pair encourage one another through a dark moment, coming to the conclusion that “maybe there’s hope” after all.
"And if you and I are powerless now, I want to believe that if we listen to what's speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves."
The things that makes Donnie Pfaster one of the most terrifying villains ever to grace The X-Files was his ordinariness. There was nothing supernatural or alien about him, he was a normal man with no special powers or skills - which makes his crimes possible in our world. This is what Mulder explains in his conclusion when he tells us that fear of the unknown is “an irrational response” but “fear of the everyday” is frightening because “it could happen to you”. This is what makes Donnie so terrifying, he cannot be laughed away when the TV set is turned off.
"The conquest of fear lies in the moment of its acceptance. And understanding what scares us most is that which is most familiar, most common place."
2. Fight The Future
Mulder went through a number of rough patches throughout the show, one of which came in the middle of the first X-Files movie, Fight the Future. After discovering that he and Scully will be split up once again, Mulder decides to drown his sorrows at the bottom of a bottle of liquor. $86 worth of liquor to be precise, which we learn is the precise amount required for him to relate his history - and the details of his life’s work - to the nearest sympathetic bartender.
"I'm the key figure in an on-going government charade, the plot to conceal the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials."
Mulder’s gifts to Scully were rarely the items at the top of her wish list (“Superstars of The Superbowl anyone?) and at first, Scully counted her Apollo 11 keychain amongst these strange knick-knacks. However after the events of the “Tempus Fugit”/”Max” arc she comes to see something much deeper in the gift. Mulder jokes that she is seeing too much, to him it was simply “a pretty cool keychain” but we are left to decide how truthful his statement is.
"I think that you appreciate that there are extraordinary men and women and... extraordinary moments when history leaps forward on the backs of these individuals."
BONUS - The Simpsons: "The Springfield Files"
The Simpsons parody of The X-Files was one of their best, although I could of course be biased. One of the best moments was Mulder’s hilltop speech on the unknown elements of the universe. dragging on for hours and complete with a patented Scully eye roll (she can even accomplish them in two-dimensions) once he reaches his grand finale Mulder looks around to realise he is alone!
"But somewhere out there, something is watching us. There are alien forces acting in ways we can't perceive. Are we alone in the universe? Impossible. (Hours later) When you consider the wonders that exist all around us, Voodoo priests of Haiti, Tibetan Numerologists of Appalachia. The unsolved mysteries of ...unsolved mysteries. The truth...is out there!"