The Skip List

The X-Files is my favorite show of all time. I am constantly in the middle of some sort of rewatch. Usually I start at the beginning and watch sequentially, although occasionally I’ll bounce around as the mood strikes me. Sometimes I’ll do a theme rewatch, but I have trouble sticking to it and often find myself watching additional off topic episodes. Following my last complete rewatch I started watching again from the beginning (because of course I did), but I knew there were some episodes I’d want to skip. I decided to create a list of “Episodes I Just Don’t Want to Watch.”

Not all of these are episodes I never want to watch, although some are. I made the list as I was going along, not beforehand, so some episodes are on the list just because I didn’t feel like watching them at that moment, while I would happily watch them another time. If I got to an episode I wasn’t sure about I asked for input from friends. If they could give me a reason why the episode was worth watching, I did. In most cases I didn’t regret it. Sometimes all it takes is a single line, or look, or touch. Sometimes the episode is too important within the context of the season to skip, even if I don’t particularly enjoy it.

I chatted with some friends as I was building my list, kept them updated season by season, and gave them a chance to talk me out of skipping certain episodes. When I finished my rewatch I looked at the list as a whole, and I was surprised by some of the results.

Episodes I Just Don’t Want to Watch

(Oct. ’18-Feb. ’19)

Season 1

  • Miracle Man
  • Shapes
  • Born Again

No real surprises for me here. I find these episodes drag. I don’t hate them though. I can manage them on a complete rewatch, but there’s really nothing that I look forward to about them. I considered skipping Young at Heart, but then Mulder goes and winks at Scully near the end and I couldn’t miss that.

Season 2

  • Red Museum
  • Excelsis Dei*
  • Dod Kalm

*This is one of two “never watch” episodes. It doesn’t exist for me even in a “complete” rewatch.

I thought the rib-eating, face-wiping scene in Red Museum might be enough to entice me to watch, but not this time. The episode just has too much going on, none of which is very exciting, for me to want to follow.

Excelsis Dei is garbage. It should never have been made. There is no way Mulder would NOT believe in entity rape or be so dismissive of a victim, and the xenophobia regarding the generic “Asian orderly” is offensive.

Dod Kalm is one that I will often watch for the sheer number of times Mulder touches Scully in the first two minutes, but that wasn’t enough for me this time. The slow pace of the scenes on the ship wasn’t what I was in the mood for.

I didn’t skip 3. Huh.

Season 3

  • The Walk
  • Revelations
  • Teso dos Bichos
  • Hell Money

This season was the biggest surprise for me. It’s one of my favorite seasons of The X-Files, but other than season 9 it had the largest number of episodes I felt like skipping. None of the episodes on my list surprises me though. They’re not good. I guess season 3 has some high highs and low lows.

Season 4

  • The Field Where I Died*
  • Sanguinarium
  • El Mundo Gira

*The second of my two “never watch” episodes

I know a lot of people love TFWID (and a lot of people don’t), but it just doesn’t work for me. It bothers me so much when I watch it that I have given myself permission to never watch it again. And as it turns out that’s just fine, because nothing that happens in the episode is of any consequence to the rest of the series. There are some absolutely beautiful images that I have no problem looking at though, as long as there’s no sound.

Sanguinarium, yuck. There’s nothing in the story or performances to overcome the unpleasantness.

El Mundo Gira I can enjoy from time to time. It has a lot of problems, but it’s not completely unwatchable. Just not on this rewatch.

I could have skipped Teliko, but the tagline keeps me coming back. Deceive Inveigle Obfuscate!

I was going to skip Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, just because there’s so little Mulder and Scully and no x-file. But some friends convinced me to reconsider, and I’m glad I did. It’s such a good hour of television, even though it doesn’t fit the X-Files mold.

Season 5

  • Travelers

I don’t think I’ve ever made it all the way through Travelers without falling asleep. So I didn’t even try this time.

Season 6

  • The Beginning
  • Agua Mala

The Beginning is unpleasant. I remember it well enough that I don’t need to rewatch it to keep up with the mythology episodes that come after, so I didn’t see any need to put myself through it.

A lot of people love Agua Mala, but I’m not one of them. I find the constant bickering annoying rather than funny, and the jokes seem forced. Easily skippable.

I was convinced to watch Alpha by friends who think Jealous!Scully is hilarious. I could go either way on that.

Season 7

  • En Ami
  • Fight Club

The tension between Mulder and Scully at the end of En Ami was almost worth watching, but after the retcon in My Struggle III I’m in no hurry to revisit the episode.

Fight Club is truly terrible. Some of the banter between Mulder and Scully at the beginning (“Don’t go thinking I’m going to start doing the autopsies”) makes me want to watch it on occasion, but not this time.

I probably should have skipped First Person Shooter as well.

Season 8

  • Redrum
  • Surekill
  • Salvage

I think Redrum is a pretty good episode, but it’s one that really depends on the surprise making it worth watching. I had seen it recently enough that I didn’t feel the need to watch again this time.

Surekill and Salvage, ho hum.

Friends helped me decide Invocation was worth watching. There were some important Scully/Doggett moments.

I have skipped The Gift more often than I’ve watched it I think. But I’ve recently come to accept that Mulder’s Mysterious Brain Disease makes sense, so I watched it. I’m glad I did. It fits, dammit!

Season 9

  • Nothing Important Happened Today
  • Nothing Important Happened Today II
  • Daemonicus
  • 4-D
  • Hellbound
  • Provenance
  • Providence
  • Audrey Pauley
  • Underneath
  • Improbable
  • Scary Monsters
  • Jump the Shark
  • William+
  • Release
  • Sunshine Days

+I watched only until we see Mulder reflected in Scully’s eye

Clearly the episodes I wanted to watch would be a shorter list. I watched Lord of the Flies because I had just finished Breaking Bad and I wanted more Aaron Paul. I watched Trust No 1 because I had seen a discussion on Twitter about Scully’s reaction to the Shadow Man’s “one lonely night” comment, and I wanted to re-evaluate it. I watched John Doe because it’s a great episode. And I watched The Truth because there are so many wonderful moments I can overlook the parts I dislike.

As for the rest…eh. They just don’t draw me in as much as I’d like. Once in a while is enough for me.

Seasons 10 and 11

I didn’t skip any of the revival episodes. They’re new enough that I feel there’s still a lot I can get out of watching them.

And that’s the list. Now it’s time for my next rewatch!

8 thoughts on “The Skip List

  1. I smiled throughout the list, and lol several times. You’re too funny cathy. Enjoyed reading this blog tho the only one we would agree upon would be the fight club, yeah I dont rewatched that episode 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, I’m in the middle of my own re-watch (just started Season 3), and while I’m determined not to skip any episode this time around, I am taking note of the episodes I can probably skip in the future.

    I can get behind a lot of your choices. I actually quite enjoy parts of “Excelsis Dei”, but I totally understand your reasons for disliking it. I like the ideas in “The Field Where I Died”, and I appreciate the revelation that Mulder and Scully are soulmates, but otherwise I don’t remember it being a great episode. I think I like “Sanguinarium” because of the “yuck” factor!

    Totally second your choices from Season 7. “En Ami” was bad enough at the time, and is probably only worse in retrospect. And, yeah, “First Person Shooter” is definitely one I never want to watch again.

    My list is actually pretty short so far. I already know “Never Again” and “Small Potatoes” will be on it, just because those are two episodes I like to pretend never happened. To that, I’ve added “Space”, and maybe “The Calusari”. For the most part, though, I’m finding that even the weaker episodes have moments that I appreciate, like the rib house scene in “Red Museum”.

    Oh, speaking of “Space”, how is that one not on your list??? I didn’t think anyone liked that episode!


    1. Thanks for your comments! First as for Space, I find it has some charm, like Mulder being such a fan of the astronaut. I agree it will never make my list of best (or even good) episodes, but I don’t mind watching it.
      Never Again is one I don’t enjoy watching but I feel it’s important to the context of the season, so I don’t skip it.
      And I find Duchovny’s performance in Small Potatoes worth watching.
      TFWID will just never appeal to me.
      I always enjoy a complete rewatch too. Like you, I find most episodes have something worth watching. It’s why I’ve been obsessed with the show for 25 years!


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