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Recap / The X-Files S01 E08 "Ice"

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Season 1, Episode 08:

Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong
Directed by David Nutter

"Hey, look, there's only one way to proceed. A good doctor eliminates every possibility. We must determine if any of us is infected."
Dana Scully

The X-Files meets The Thing (1982), without all the cool stop-motion effects (but still maintaining a lot of the suspense). Geologists studying Arctic rocks lapse into insanity and kill each other off one by one. Mulder and Scully, along with two scientists (Felicity Huffman and Steve Hytner), a doctor (Xander Berkeley) and a pilot (Jeff Kober), fly over to the base to see what's up. Unsurprisingly, the craziness starts affecting them too.


  • Apocalyptic Log: The head of the research station's original crew records one, just before he shoots himself.
  • Body Horror: There are various glimpses of the worm gliding along under the surface of human skin. And of course, the "cure" involves sliding a worm into the ear of an already infected person.
  • Bottle Episode: The episode takes place almost entirely in one claustrophobic cabin.
  • Driven to Suicide: The last surviving members of the original geologic team take each other's lives in an effort to stop the parasite's spread.
  • Dug Too Deep: Into the ice, rather than the ground, but a drilling project into the Arctic ice reveals a dangerous parasite that had been buried deep beneath the surface for a quarter of a million years.
  • Eerie Arctic Research Station: The episode is set inside an Arctic research station where the scientists have discovered a supposedly alien life form capable of Mind Control.
  • Grim Up North: The Arctic. In a snowstorm. Stuck in a cabin.
  • Hate Plague: The infecting organism drives its hosts into murderous rage against one another.
  • Hostile Weather: A severe snowstorm traps them in the station for several days. Then again, even if it hadn't, the pilot is the first to die.
  • Monster in the Ice: A scientific expedition to Alaska discovers strange worm-like organisms frozen in the ice covering an ancient impact crater. The worms infect the scientists, mind-control them, and make them kill each other, and Mulder believes them to be of extraterrestrial origin.
  • Not Himself: Once a parasite takes over, the changes in the host's mind are drastic enough that, for all intents and purposes, they cease to be who they were while they remain under its effects.
    "We're not who we are."
  • The Power of Trust: The first episode to really delve into the theme. Mulder and Scully expose the nape of their neck to each other for examination, each knowing that the other might be murderous.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The true nature of the parasite is left hanging as Mulder believes it could be extraterrestrial in origin and should be researched.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To The Thing, complete with the polar environment, the alien parasite, the paranoia and the infected dog.

Mulder: It's still there, Scully. 200,000 years down in the ice.
Scully: Leave it there.