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Recap / The X-Files S03 E16 "Apocrypha"

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Season 3, Episode 16:

"That thing was causing the slow, painful deaths."
Written by Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter
Directed by Kim Manners

Scully: So you're saying that this stuff has intelligence.
Mulder: I think that it came off of whatever they pulled from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. It's been waiting down there for 50 years for another host, another body to bring it up to the surface.

Mulder continues his investigation of the black oil, while Scully pursues the man who murdered her sister.


  • Flashback: The opening scene with the sailor explaining what happened on the submarine.
  • Flashback Within a Flashback: The submarine scenes (most of which had been featured in the prior episode).
  • He Knows Too Much: CSM's hitman is found dead in his cell via Never Suicide.
  • It's Been Done: CSM has this attitude toward Area 51.
    Second Elder: Why not bring it to Nevada, like the others?
    CSM: Leaks in security and a heightened public interest have made the base in Nevada nonviable.
  • It's Personal: The guy who killed Melissa Scully also shot Skinner. Scully is determined to bring him to justice.
  • Monochrome Past: Used briefly for events in the submarine. Averted in a scene with young Bill Mulder and young Cancer Man though.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Well-Manicured Man when Mulder reveals Krycek has been selling secrets off the tape.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Syndicate meets to discuss the events of the prior episode and to upbraid CSM's handling of Skinner.
  • Orifice Evacuation: The black oil leaves Krycek through every hole in his head.
  • Orifice Invasion: The black oil will get to the body through eyes.
  • Professional Killer: Cancer Man's hitman who shot Melissa and Skinner. Unlike most such characters on this show, he's given a name (Luis Cardinal) and a backstory (he worked for the CIA in Nicaragua and came to the United States afterwards).
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Discussed. The Well-Manicured Man surmises that Mulder wants to kill Krycek to avenge his father.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Krycek.
  • The Virus: The black oil, once again. It continues to reside within Krycek, sending him back to a missile silo so that it can return to an alien spaceship.
  • Wham Line:
    • In the Cold Open, the lone submarine survivor is speaking to three suited men about what happened with Captain Sanford in the submarine. His final line confirms one of the men's identities.
      "I can trust you to do that, can't I, Mr. Mulder?"
    • When Scully shows Mulder PCR results from the guy who shot Skinner, she holds up another set of results. The following exchange happens.
      Mulder: Yeah, and who's this one belong to?
      Scully: The man who shot Melissa.
  • Wham Shot: After the Wham Line detailed above about "Mr. Mulder", the camera pans over to another suited man, who whips out a cigarette and lights it. It's the Cigarette Smoking Man when he was young, meaning that the lone survivor is speaking to the wrong people about his truth.

"Maybe we bury the dead alive."