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The X-Files: Sanguinarium

Case: Mulder and Scully spend some time in a plastic surgery clinic that is a front for witchcraft.

Destination: Chicago, Illinois

Let’s not be coy. This is a simply terrible episode of The X-Files. Among the worst ever.

It simply doesn’t work on any level. The writing is abysmal; the story is absurd to the point of humor; even Mulder and Scully appear to be parodies of themselves. As I read about this episode after re-watching it, the reason became clear. This was a spec script and not a very good one at that.

Everything is too broad. There is too much blood and violence. The show is better when all of these things are alluded to rather than shown. Here, it is just ramped up because they can without any thought to what it is adding to the story.

Even Mulder and Scully are too… well, Mulder and Scully. Mulder sees some weird circles on the floor and instantly makes the leap to witchcraft. Huh? Scully decides all these events are because the doctor is addicted to sleeping pills. Huh? Neither of them really listens to the other and each spouts dialogue that would have been old at the end of season one.

Every show that we love has those episodes that make us wonder what the producers and writers were thinking. This is one of those episodes. Luckily, they were few and far between.

Other Thoughts

— This script was written by two sisters, Vivian and Valerie Mayhew, with help from Morgan and Wong. It was the only time they were hired by the show.

— The nurse is named Rebecca Waite. Rebecca White was falsely accused of witchcraft and burned during the Salem witch trials. There is a tarot deck called the Rider-Waite tarot.


Mulder: “Are you aware that Dr. Lloyd is claiming he was possessed during the incident?”
Waite: “I guess it’s cheaper than malpractice insurance.”

Scully: “There’s magic going on here, Mulder. Only, it’s being done with silicone, collagen, and a well-placed scalpel."

Final Analysis: A terrible episode. Moving on…

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.

1 comment:

  1. Chris,
    I'm totally laughing. It IS a terrible episode! The WGA used to have a rule where a series that produced 'x' amount of shows per season had to farm out a certain number of their scripts to freelance union members. A weird rule to be sure. Anyway, 'Sanguinarium' was the result of this. Oy.


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