Recap / The X-Files S06 E19 "The Unnatural"

An old photograph takes Mulder back to Arthur Dales, the Father of the X-Files. It turns out the photo is actually of Dales's brother, also named Arthur, who tells Mulder about a case in Roswell in the 1940s involving an alien who just wanted to play baseball.


  • Alien Blood: When Exley is struck in the head by a baseball, a few drops of greenish, highly acidic blood are left on a catcher's mitt that had been used to cushion his head. When he's killed by the Alien Bounty Hunter, after declaring that his human face "is my true face", he bleeds differently...
    [Arthur Dales cradles the dying Josh Exley, and moves to check his wound.]
    Exley: Arthur, don't touch it! Our blood is like acid to you people! Get away, Arthur! Just get away!
    Arthur: It's just blood, Ex... Look. It's just blood...
    Exley: [looks at the red human blood on his fingertips in wonder and awe] ... How? [smiles, laughs, and dies]
  • Ambiguously Human: "Poor Boy", the kid who delivers Arthur's "medicine" and shags baseballs for Mulder in the final scene. Also appeared in the flashbacks with Exley in the 1940's, and looked exactly the same, even wearing the same clothes.
  • Baseball Episode: Mulder is fond of baseball. Who knew? He bonds with an older cop who tells him a story about fun-loving alien who chose to be a human and play baseball.
  • Becoming the Mask: Exley.
    Exley: See, there's something you got to understand about my race. We don't have a word for laughter. We don't laugh. I don't know if you noticed in between all that fainting you was doing but we have very tiny mouths, so no smiling even. I tell you, when I saw that baseball game being played this laughter just... it just rose up out of me. You know, the sound the ball makes when it hits the bat? It was like music to me. You know, the smell of the grass, eleven men— first unnecessary thing I ever done in my life and I fell in love. I didn't know the unnecessary could feel so good. You know, the game was meaningless but it seemed to mean everything to me. It was useless, but perfect. Tell you, from that moment on... I just couldn't fix myself to go home.
  • Become a Real Boy: Exley, just before he dies.
    Alien Bounty Hunter: As your executioner, I show you my true face before I kill you. [shapeshifts into his alien form] Show me your true face, or you will die without honor.
    Exley: [remaining human] This is my true face...
    Alien Bounty Hunter: ...So be it.
  • Game of Nerds: "Reading the box scores, Scully. You'd like it. It's like the Pythagorean Theorem for jocks. It distills all the chaos and action of any game in the history of all baseball games into one tiny, perfect, rectangular sequence of numbers. I can look at this box and I can recreate exactly what happened on some sunny summer day back in 1947. It's like the numbers talk to me, they comfort me. They tell me that even though lots of things can change some things do remain the same."
  • Go Out with a Smile: Exley.
  • Hands-On Approach: Mulder teaches Scully how to play baseball.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Mulder bets that the air in his mouth tastes better than Scully's Nonfat Tofutti Rice Dreamsicle.
  • Mars Needs Women: Discussed but defied. Arthur guesses that Exley chose to live like a human because he "fell in love with an Earth woman", but Exley just laughs at this.
    Exley: No. I saw a baseball game.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted as a way to explain the change of actors for Arthur Dales from Darren McGavin to M. Emmett Walsh; McGavin was having health issues and was unable to reprise his role. Turns out this Arthur Dales is the other one's brother. Yes, they are both named Arthur. They also had a sister and goldfish named Arthur, as well.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: The alien who became a man thanks to his love of baseball.
  • Porn Stash: Talking to Scully in a self-deprecating way while teaching her to play baseball.
    Mulder: What you may find is you concentrate on hitting that little ball, the rest of the world just fades away — all your everyday, nagging concerns; the ticking of your biological clock; how you probably couldn't afford that nice, new suede coat on a G-Woman's salary; how you threw away a promising career in medicine to hunt aliens with a crackpot, albeit brilliant, partner; getting into the heart of a global conspiracy; your obscenely overdue triple-X bill. Oh, I... I'm sorry, Scully. Those last two problems are mine, not yours.
  • Ship Tease: Lots in this episode, culminating in the above Hands-On Approach to baseball.
  • Shout-Out: The title is a riff on the baseball movie The Natural.