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The X-Files: E.B.E.

Case: An apparent close encounter for a truck driver in Tennessee.

Destination: Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, and Washington State

‘E.B.E.’ marks the return of the overarching show mythology, and finds Mulder and Scully in pursuit of suspected alien craft wreckage and/or an extra-terrestrial biological entity (E.B.E.) while trying to dodge shadowy government conspirators following their every move. The episode features several callbacks to events of the pilot episode, including scrambled radio signals, sudden power losses, and bright lights, and represents Mulder’s closest shot yet at getting his ever-elusive proof of the Truth. However, the episode is most notable for introducing the recurring characters of the Lone Gunmen (an extremely paranoid government watchdog group), and for tearing the scales off Mulder’s eyes when it comes to his secret informant, Deep Throat.

The latter development is the heart of the episode for me. Deep Throat’s motives and methods have always been extremely suspect, and I’ve often wondered just how much he is stringing Mulder along. Yet Mulder has pretty much always accepted Deep Throat’s assistance and counsel without question, seeming to believe that the information sharing comes at great personal risk to Deep Throat and is, therefore, legit (as evidenced by Mulder’s “thank you” speech in his apartment, which was pretty uncomfortable to watch). I was fascinated watching it all fall apart as Mulder discovers that Scully is correct and Deep Throat lied to him. The confrontations between them at the aquarium and later at the power plant were enthralling, primarily because they seemed chock full of revelation, but still completely shrouded in mystery. Is Deep Throat really one of only three men to have exterminated an E.B.E.? Is he really helping Mulder in order to atone for this supposed act? Like Mulder, I find myself “wondering which lie to believe” when it comes to Deep Throat.

‘E.B.E.’ is also notable for the way it demonstrates subtle changes in Mulder and Scully’s relationship. I was impressed by Scully’s attempts to get Mulder to see the realities of his relentless pursuit:

Scully: “For all we know, this Deep Background is the one responsible for the bug.”
Mulder: “He’s never lied to me. I won’t break that confidence. I trust him.”
Scully: “Mulder, you’re the only one I trust.”

Scully: “I have never met anyone so passionate and dedicated to a belief as you. It’s so intense, that sometimes it’s blinding. But there are others who are watching you, who know what I know. And, whereas I can respect and admire your passion, they will use it against you. Mulder, the truth is out there, but so are lies.”

I was even more blown away when he actually listened to her, and discovered that he was being played by Deep Throat. In many ways, it really does feel like just the two of them against the world now.

Other Thoughts

I love the Lone Gunmen, and Scully’s reaction to them (and them to her) makes me smile every time. Plus, it was good for our agents to gain a shred of outside help just as their inside help was proving to be less trustworthy than Mulder thought.

Why are Mulder and Scully now being forced to take the bus? Especially from D.C. to Tennessee? The government couldn’t spring for airfare or at least a rental car? Is this fallout from previous bad behavior, or are they engaged in another unauthorized investigation?

I enjoyed the cat-and-mouse sequence with Mulder and Scully trying to ditch the guys tailing them. Where’d they get all the cash? Even back in the early ‘90s I doubt it was cheap to buy last minute airline tickets (especially one way).

Mulder’s false identity was ‘Tom Braidwood,’ who is one of the show’s assistant directors and is also the guy that plays Frohike. I’m assuming that Scully’s identity, Val Stefoff, is also a member of the production crew.

A young Roger Cross (Curtis, 24) played the military security guard at the power plant. He’s going to show up again in later seasons in several different roles. There must be a shortage of character actors in Vancouver, because they sure love to recycle them on this show.


Mulder: “Swamp gas?”
Scully: “It’s a natural phenomenon in which phosphate and methane arising from decaying organic matter ignite, creating globes of blue flame.”
Mulder: “Happens to me when I eat Dodger dogs.”

Byers: “Hey Mulder listen to this. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Russian social democrats? He’s being put into power by the most heinous and evil force of the 20th century.”
Mulder: “Barney?”

Scully: “I think you give the government too much credit. I mean, the government can’t control the deficit or manage crime. What makes you think they can plan and execute such an elaborate conspiracy?”
Frohike: “She is hot.”

Langley (laughing): “Yeah. UFOs caused the Gulf War Syndrome. That’s a good one.”
Byers: “That’s why we like you, Mulder. Your ideas are weirder than ours.”

Scully: “Those are the most paranoid people I have ever met. I don’t know how you could think that what they say is even remotely plausible.”
Mulder: “I think it’s remotely plausible that someone might think you’re hot.”

Deep Throat: “In our line, nothing is just what it seems.”

Deep Throat: “There still exist some secrets which should remain secret. Truths that people are just not ready to know.”

Deep Throat: “And a lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths.”

Final Analysis: ‘E.B.E.’ is a very solid episode. It didn’t necessarily advance the overall mythology much --- we already knew that the government was concealing evidence of extra-terrestrial life and watching Mulder and Scully --- but the agents seemed to get closer to the truth than in the past, and they now realize more than ever how dangerous their search is and how alone they really are.

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.


  1. The X-Files is back! Yay! I don't remember this episode (I saw every episode in the series, but only once) but the quotes made me laugh out loud. I always enjoyed the Lone

  2. I love the Lone Gunmen! I forgot how early they came into the series.

    As for the bus -- I always thought they were taking the bus to the rental car place at the airport. But, what do I know?

  3. Rewatch comment: as you said, while it was a great episode for David Duchovny and his disillusionment with Deep Throat, the real notable was the introduction of the Lone Gunmen. And baby Roger Cross!

    This is the one that reminded me of how much I loved Mulder's terrible neckties way back when.

  4. Some questions about E.B.E.:

    1. How did the UFO come into USA custody and responsibility? The episode starts with an Iraqi fighter shooting down a UFO. It lands on a NATO surveillance station in Turkey. English-speaking soldiers go to check it out. Are these American-NATO soldiers or Turkish-NATO soldiers? I ask because the downed-UFO later ends up in the USA and it's therefore the USA's responsibility to kill the alien. But wouldn't these NATO soldiers be Turkish soldiers instead of American? Turkey is a part of NATO so I can't think of a reason why Turkey wouldn't provide it's own soldiers within it's own country. So how does the UFO come into USA custody? Wouldn't it have gone i to Turkish-military custody, and therefore be the Turk's responsibility to kill it?

    2. Yeah, why are Mulder and Scully taking a public bus for travel? I hadn't given that any thought before.

    3. Is Deep Throat helping Mulder or not? Overall, if I remember correctly (from watching the whole series many years ago), he is aiding Mulder's quest to discover aliens. Yet, in this episode, he both (a) leads Mulder to the downed UFO, and (b) tries to divert him away from it. So which is it? Why do both? When Mulder finally gets to the alien's holding station at the end of the episode, Deep Throat tells Mulder that he's helping him because it helps him atone for his former sins. In other words Deep Throat is taking credit for leading Mulder to the alien. Yet he tried to divert him earlier. I don't get it. Why did D.T. lead and divert Mulder?

    4. Is the mothership UFO attempting a rescue mission on the downed alien? How on Earth was the rescue operation staged? That makes no sense. How did Mulder and Scully experience time loss in a hoaxed rescue? If they didn't experience time loss, then how did the trucker and the alien disappear so quickly? What in tarnation happened in that escape-scene?

  5. >>"A young Roger Cross (Curtis, 24) played the military security guard at the power plant."
    I KNEW I recognized him, shame on me for not being able to finger Black Jack

    >>"He’s going to show up again in later seasons in several different roles."

    >>"There must be a shortage of character actors in Vancouver, because they sure love to recycle them on this show."
    I wouldn't change a thing... I love it when directors re-use the same actors in different projects too.

    Deep Throat: “And a lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths.”
    A made-up fact is still a fact (this is an irrefutable quote by me)

    @Anonymous: "Why did D.T. lead and divert Mulder?"
    Maybe he was spooked by Spooky's complete trust and wanted to self-sabotage, that's what I do when people are being too good to me


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