He's everyone's favorite boss, yet over the years Assistant Director Walter Skinner has been poisoned, blackmailed, framed for murder, and shot. Not even all that has stopped him however, and he's still going strong to this day helping Mulder and Scully whenever he can. Read after the jump to discover our top ten Skinner moments.
10. "Sunshine Days"
For all his involvement with the X-Files department, Skinner rarely got to see or experience any of the weird and wonderful things his agents reported. In “Sunshine Days” however, Oliver Martin was brought to Skinner’s office where he demonstrated his unique abilities for all to see, namely by making Skinner levitate and perform a backwards somersault in the middle of the room, much to his delight. Of course, such perfect evidence of the strange and wonderful never survives long on The X-Files but at least everyone had some fun while it lasted.
"I want Kersh to see this. I want the Director himself in here. I mean, do you realize what this means? This kind of proof? It ensures that they can't shut you down. It means the X-Files will go on forever."
9. "This Is Not Happening"
Skinner was often a father figure to both Mulder and Scully, giving them what support he could as they struggled through difficult cases and personal issues. Mulder’s disappearance through the first half of season eight was a tremendously hard time for Scully and Skinner was the only person that she chose to confide about her pregnancy. When she began to suspect that her partner may not be found alive, she again turned to Skinner for comfort, this time in a darkened parking lot in the middle of the night. Even though he was unable to offer any real comfort, Skinner was willing to stand out in the cold and be there for his friend.
"If you're trying to prepare yourself I want you to stop. Nothing says that we're going to stumble over him in some field. Nothing says he won't be fine."
8. "The Truth"
Throughout the series, Skinner’s allegiances were often called into question. He admitted to standing “right on the line” that Mulder and Scully kept crossing, doing his best not only to help them, but to protect the pair from the machinations of those higher in the Bureau. However, when push came to shove, Skinner could always be counted on to do what was right and when Mulder was sentenced to death, he joined the team who broke into the prison and rescued him.
"I'm here with Skinner. Get up."
"Move it, Mulder."
7. I Want to Believe
Skinner rarely got to play his part for comedy, but during his short appearance in I Want to Believe he managed to deliver one of the funniest lines from the series without ever trying to be funny. With Mulder missing yet again, Skinner attempts to comfort Scully by assuring her that Mulder will be OK and that he “wouldn’t do anything crazy” without calling someone first. Scully’s expression at hearing this statement, which she knows from painful experience to be the exact opposite of the truth, makes the scene as Skinner awkwardly attempts to retract his words.
"I know Mulder. He'd get to a phone and call first. He wouldn't do anything crazy."
"Not overly crazy."
6. "Hollywood A.D."
“Hollywood A.D.” contained a number of brilliant Skinner moments. From the reveal of his college nickname, to his obvious delight at Mulder’s embarrassment in the cinema, to the scene where he enjoys a bubble bath much to Mulder’s amusement; choosing just one moment is quite a challenge. For me the stand-out moment comes in his office as he dresses down Mulder and Scully for attempting “to pursue a murder case where the victim was still alive and healthy”. Skinner gets to deliver some great lines through this scene, ordering Scully to put away her trigger-happy scalpel and demanding to know if she would assume he “slept with J.F.K.” if he were carrying Marilyn Monroe’s purse, and the unique camera angle really adds to the feeling of being admonished. It’s also rare to see Scully taking the brunt of Skinner’s ire which adds yet another interesting twist to the scene.
"Best case scenario... you get to keep your jobs. Worst case, O'Fallon and the church bring a huge embarrassing lawsuit against the Bureau which will feature you two as its sacrificial lambs."
Poor Mulder. After years of near misses and interruptions when it came to kissing Scully, it ended up being Skinner who got there first! After getting hold of classified information that will ”save Mulder’s ass”, the only way Scully can think of to thank him is to plant an unexpected kiss right on his lips. Skinner’s shock has to be quickly wiped away when the elevator door open and he has to immediately snap back into a performance of a man unwilling to help.
"Don't even ask."
4. "Zero Sum"
While most of the show’s attention focused on Mulder and Scully, Skinner also has a dedicated band of fans, some of whom naturally also became fans of his fine physique. Normally hidden away between crisp white shirts and well-pressed slacks, Skinner occasionally got to show off his impressive muscles in episodes such as “Zero Sum”, when Skinner fans were treated to a glimpse of the man in nothing but a pair of snug white underpants. A scene which is no doubt responsible for more fanfiction and fanart that I want to consider at 2pm on a Tuesday.
"I was trying to reach you. I think your phone's off the hook."
"Uh, I needed some sleep."
"Is that why you're taking the garbage out at 4 in the morning?"
Skinner’s badass moments were sadly few and far between, but that made each one have all the more impact when it happened. Confronted by Krycek in a parking garage, Mulder’s time is almost certainly up until, without warning, Skinner shoots from the shadows. Initially Skinner aims for the arm to simply incapacitate Krycek, shooting again with a disturbing coldness when the younger man goes again for his gun. However when Krycek refuses to give in, breathlessly instructing Skinner to kill Mulder instead, Skinner shoots for a third and final time, landing his bullet perfectly on Krycek’s forehead.
"It's going to take more bullets than you can... ever fire to win this game."
2. "One Breath"
Back in season two we knew very little about Walter Skinner. His motives, allegiances, even his family life was all open to debate. In “One Breath”, Skinner shared a personal story from his past with Mulder. In it we learned that he was a Vietnam veteran who experienced a terrible ordeal in the jungle at just eighteen years old. Part of this ordeal involved a paranormal experience, one that Skinner admits he is afraid to look beyond. He respects Mulder because Mulder does not share that fear and is prepared to push on in search of answers.
"I’m afraid to look any further beyond that experience. You? You are not."
1. "Paper Clip"
During the first two seasons, Skinner could often be thought of as a puppet of the Smoking Man. Spender would often be seen hanging out on the couch in Skinner’s office and times when Skinner made a stand against him, such as putting up a “Thank you for Not Smoking” sign, were simply ignored. Everything changed in “Paper Clip” when after being called a “punk” and accused of bluffing, Skinner finally took stood up to the “son of a bitch”, proving to Spender and his associates that he would no longer be pushed around. His plan to use Navajo code talkers and ancient oral traditions to ensure Mulder and Scully’s continued safety was igneous in its simplicity, using “the wonderful world of high technology” to outsmart a man with access to everything.
"This is where you pucker up and kiss my ass."