Alongside sunflower seeds, Scully’s cross, and flashlights that shine with a glow typically associated with the Almighty, the basement office slideshows became so integral to The X-Files they almost became characters in their own right. This week we look at some of the best, funniest, and unique slideshows given on the show. Read after the jump to find out what made our list.
10. "Fight Club"
Our top ten begins with one of the funniest slideshows Mulder has ever given. In the basement office, Mulder shows Scully images of an FBI fleet sedan that has crashed into a tree and its two Mulder-and-Scully-doppelganger occupants. He begins listing implausible theories that Scully might think he’s going to suggest, then denying them. The whole conversation rapidly becomes a game of charades as Scully attempts to guess what he *really* thinks is happening, after, of course, the pair make subtle references to their own burgeoning relationship. The scene shows how well the two work together now after seven years of partnership. They are able to think like one another, and, possibly even more importantly, have fun with one another.
M: No, the interesting thing about these agents is they had worked together for seven years previously without any incident.
S: Seven years?
M: Yeah, but they are not romantically involved if that's what you're thinking.
S: Not even I would be so farfetched.
9. "Three Words"
Throughout The X-Files, Mulder gave the vast majority of the slideshows we watched. A number of other characters, however, took guest spots operating the projector. Our first guest spot comes from "Three Words" when Skinner finally took his turn. He gave a slideshow related to the escape of Absalom in lieu of the missing Agent Doggett but was clearly uncomfortable standing where he believed an agent from the basement unit should be.
Sk: I can't run this thing, Agent Scully. This is obviously an X-Files case.
S: I know. And I'm all over it.
8. "All Things"
Poor Scully had to sit through an awful lot of slideshows on an awful lot of improbable subjects. Is it really any wonder that her attention might occasionally drift off? Especially when lunch is in front of her and Mulder is trying to woo her with pictures of fields on the far side of the Atlantic? In one of the funniest slideshow moments ever recorded, Mulder manages to get her attention back to the screen in a somewhat, unorthodox way. Their subsequent argument has some similarities with “Never Again,” however, the two have grown in their relationship over the years and Scully is far more comfortable putting her foot down, which in this case leads to Mulder flying off to England solo.
M: A series of geometrically perfect rings appearing almost impossibly overnight in a field near Cambridge, but that was merely prelude of what was to come. Three years later, in 1994, even more complex formations occurred simultaneously on opposite ends of the English countryside with the Mandelbrot Set, were it still there, at its center. Then, in 1997, even more complex formations occurred... and I'm not wearing any pants right now.
7. "Via Negativa"
It wasn’t only FBI agents that got to give slideshows, in fact by Season Eight everyone was jumping up for their turn behind the projector. In “Via Negativa” Doggett stumbled across the three Lone Gunmen hanging out in the basement office after Scully requested their assistance on a case. Together they helped Doggett make the kind of leap Mulder excelled at, the kind just crazy enough to solve a case. Now armed with knowledge of MK Ultra and psychic assassins, Doggett was able to head back out and take down another killer, or did he only dream that?
D: What if Tipet could invade his victims' consciousness in their sleep? I mean, that's why you'd be afraid to fall asleep, right? If you thought your nightmares might come true?
B: You believe that?
D: No... but if Tipet does he'll need more drugs to keep killing.
F: That's not bad for a beginner.
In “Improbable”, Reyes gave Scully a small presentation on a number of cases she believed may be connected through numerology, and subsequently left Doggett as the only X-Files agent never to give a slideshow. Although Scully is initially unconvinced by Reyes’ discovery that all the as-yet-unconnected victims have karmic (extremely significant numerological) numbers, she soon notices a pattern to their bruising that establishes a link between them worth investigating.
R: So you're saying these cases are connected? That numerology may actually be driving the killer, and that I'm definitely not crazy?
S: Or that maybe you're both crazy.
Many things have changed in the years between The X-Files originally going off-air in 2002, and it’s 2016 return. Thankfully, Mulder’s desire to give slideshows has remained - he’s clearly one of those people that would make his friends come over to sit and watch slideshows of his vacations. What has changed, however, is the technology. When Mulder subjected treated Agent Einstein to her very own basement office slideshow (of, admittedly, a single photograph - why he felt the need to go through the routine only he can say), gone was the actual projector and in its place sat a shiny new TV screen. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
M: Behold! Psilocybe tampanensis.
E: I’m afraid where this is going.
4. "Patience "
Special Agent John Doggett had a lot to get used to when he joined the X-Files unit. One of his major rites of initiation was his very first slideshow. Just as Scully received her first slideshow from Mulder at the start of their first case together, Doggett received his from Scully before their first joint assignment. The “Patience” scene is shot as an obvious homage to the "Pilot," right down to Doggett approaching the screen for a better look and casting a shadow across part of the image.
D: I have to admit, Agent Scully, I'm at a loss.
S: Well, that's a good place to start.
3. "Mind’s Eye"
Scully had to wait until Season Five before she finally got to present a slideshow of her very own. In “Mind’s Eye”, she gave a slideshow to Mulder and Detective Pennock regarding the death of drug dealer Paco Ordonez. From the conversation, it appears that Detective Pennock made contact with the X-Files office through Scully, suggesting that by this point in the show, she feels equally responsible for bringing new cases up for consideration.
P: Well, I’ve got a theory if you want to hear it. I think she’s got some kind of sixth sense, lets her see in the dark like a bat or something. I got 48 hours to convince the DA or wait till she kills somebody else.
M: Well how soon can I meet her?
2. "Bad Blood"
The slideshow so good, we got to watch it twice! In “Bad Blood” we saw Mulder's slideshow on the deaths of cows (and one human victim) in Chaney, Texas, first from his point of view and then from Scully’s. In Scully's opinion, he presented the story with characteristic over-enthusiasm and barely allowed her to get a word in edgeways, while Mulder remembered himself as being almost apologetic and deeply respectful of Scully’s opinions. I doubt either are entirely accurate depictions of that conversation.
S: It's a...
M: Dead cow! Exactly. Or more specifically, a dead 900-pound Holstein, its body completely drained of blood as was this one, this one, this one, this one, and so on. Six, all in all, approximately one a week over the past six weeks.
Every journey begins with a first step, or, in the case of Scully’s journey into the X-Files, a first slideshow. The first slideshow we ever had the pleasure of watching occurred less than seven minutes into the pilot episode and had Mulder attempting to confound Scully with mysterious red marks on a body, and complex chemistry. Of course, chemistry is something these two particular agents will explore in depth over the following decades!
S: The girl obviously died of something. If it was natural causes, it's plausible that there was something missed in the post-mortem. If she was murdered, it's plausible there was a sloppy investigation. What I find fantastic is any notion that there are answers beyond the realm of science. The answers are there. You just have to know where to look.