FBI Academy instructor Special Agent Dana Scully is re-assigned to work with (and debunk the work of) Fox "Spooky" Mulder, who focuses on the "X Files", FBI cases dealing with unexplained phenomena. Their first case together sends them to Bellevue, Oregon, where members of the local high school's Class of '89 have been dying young under suspicious circumstances, and the local authorities appear to be involved in a cover-up.
- Alien Autopsy: Scully is going to perform an autopsy on what looks like an alien corpse, but it's taken by the government before she can discover what exactly it is.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Mulder is established as one.
Scully: [reporting what she has heard about Mulder] Generally thought of as the best analyst in the violent crimes section. He had a nickname at the academy..."Spooky Mulder".
- Chilly Reception: Scully initially gets this from Mulder.
- Deadly Bath: Subverted. Scully draws one when the power goes out, but notices some unsettling marks on her back before she actually gets in it.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- Mulder's first line of offscreen dialogue: "Sorry, nobody here but FBI's most unwanted". Then the first shot of him, sitting alone at his desk in his basement office, obsessing over photographs of UFOs.
- He wasn't intended to be anything more than a background extra and doesn't say a word, but the Cigarette Smoking Man's scenes also pretty much tell you everything you need to know about him — his stance and dress during Scully's interview with her FBI superiors clearly signpost him as an ageing-but-powerful shadowy government type with a lot of connections, and the final scene where he deposits the alien implant in a secret government archive directly establishes his link to government and alien conspiracies.
- Evil Cripple
- Fanservice: Only one episode in, and we already get Gillian Anderson in a Lingerie Scene! Preparing for a Candlelit Bath, no less. But that pales in comparison to the next scene, in which Mulder gets to inspect her waist while she is still in the same garb.
- Fiery Coverup: The hotel where Mulder and Scully are staying gets torched while they're out, conveniently destroying all their evidence.
- Friendship Moment: In Mulder's room, right after their Security Cling of relief, when Mulder tells Scully for the first time about his sister's disappearance.
- Grave Robbing: The local sheriff accuses them of doing this, despite the fact that they have a permit to exhume the graves of the victims.
- Missing Time: They experience this more than once.
Mulder: [capering] Oh-ho, yes! Abductees...people that have made UFO sightings, they've reported unexplained loss of time!
- Politically Incorrect Hero: When the exhumed coffin containing Ray Soames' body falls down and reveals a ridiculously short corpse:
Mulder: It's probably a safe bet Ray Soames never made the varsity basketball team.
- Put Down Your Gun and Step Away
- Secret Government Warehouse: The Cigarette-Smoking Man is seen depositing Scully's report in one at the end of the episode.
- Security Cling: Scully hugs Mulder in relief when he tells her that those dreaded marks on her waist are nothing worse than mosquito bites.