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Recap / The X-Files S04 E08 "Tunguska"

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Season 4, Episode 08:

"Listen to me: whatever's in that rock, it appears to be lethal."
Written by Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter
Directed by Kim Manners

Marita: The diplomatic pouch traveled an apex route to the Russian province of Krasnoyarsk.
Mulder: Krasnoyarsk?
Marita: The point of entry was the city of Norilsk.
Mulder: That's just north of Tunguska.

Mulder and Krycek travel to Russia to investigate Russian experiments with the black oil.


  • Big Bad Friend: CSM rather insincerely presents himself as this to Skinner. Skinner's well past the point where he thinks CSM is anyone to be trusted.
  • Butt-Monkey: Justified given the things he's done in previous episodes, but Krycek does spend the episode getting beaten up and thrown about by pretty much everyone around him.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Early on, Krycek (who else?) betrays a domestic terrorist group had he joined by selling them out to Mulder.
  • Creepy Cockroach: Mulder finds a live cockroach in the "food" he and Krycek are given at the prison camp.
  • Enemy Mine: Krycek joins forces with Mulder and Scully.
  • Distressed Dude: Mulder, being experimented on with the black oil along with other prisoners.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: The camp commandant wears glasses, and observes the horrific experiments without a trace of sympathy.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Skinner displays this to Krycek.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: Agent Scully spends much of the episode grilled by a Senate committee about the death of a diplomat connected with the black oil pouch.
  • Humiliation Conga: Poor Krycek has a hard (if well-deserved) time in this episode, which he spends at the unkind mercy of the good guys.
  • Idiot Ball: A good part of the plot for this arc depends on a customs official being stupid enough not only to hassle a man travelling under high-level government credentials, and open a bomb-shaped container but also, after he's warned the thing's a biohazard, to remove the contents and drop them.
  • The Mole: Krycek turns out to be working with the guards at the Gulag in Tunguska.
  • Myth Arc
  • Retired Monster: Vassily Peskow is forced out of retirement to destroy everything connected with the black oil and its vaccine.
  • Ship Tease: Mulder spends some time, at night, at Marita Covarrubias's apartment, while she wears a beautiful silk robe the whole time.
  • Shirtless Scene: Skinner.
  • The Tunguska Event: Is revealed to possibly be the source of the black oil.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The customs official who opens the suspicious passenger's baggage by himself without any protection. Even after he is told it's dangerous he continues to remove the canister, then drop it releasing the black oil.