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Recap / The X-Files S06 E12 "One Son"

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Season 6, Episode 12:

One Son
"This isn't supposed to be."
Written by Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Rob Bowman

Mulder: [Cassandra]'s the first, isn't she? She's the first successful alien/human hybrid.
Marita: If she is... and the aliens learn a hybrid exists... colonisation of the planet will begin. With no stopping it.

Mulder learns the truth about the Syndicate's extraterrestrial collaborations, just in time for the Syndicate to give up the hybrid Cassandra to the alien colonists.


  • Archnemesis Dad: The episode that really reveals what a truly cold blooded bastard CSM is, whether you're his son or not.
  • Book Ends: For the "Full Disclosure" arc. "Two Fathers" ended with Mulder about to put down Cassandra with his gun to deprive the Syndicate of a successful alien-human hybrid for the intended alien colonisation. In this episode, it revealed that he failed because men broke in and decontaminated them. Here, it also concludes with someone being held at gunpoint. Only it's the Cigarette Smoking Man aiming the pistol at Spender, and he goes through in shooting him in the head without much hesitation.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How the Cigarette Smoking Man shoots Spender in the end.
  • The Bus Came Back: Marita Covarubbias, who has been infected with the Black Oil to test the vaccine. It seems to be working though she looks sick.
  • Continuity Nod: Fort Marlene and it housing an alien fetus were previously established way back in "The Erlenmeyer Flask".
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: Mulder's "explanation" of events at the end, to Kersh's amusing and understandable bafflement. Not even Scully adds any facts to the conversation.
    Mulder: They burned themselves. With a choice made long ago by a conspiracy of men who thought they could sleep with the enemy. Only to awaken another enemy.
    Kersh: What the hell does that mean?
    Mulder: It means the future is here, and all bets are off.
    Kersh: Agent Scully, make some sense.
    Scully: Sir, I wouldn't bet against him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mulder has a couple.
    Mulder: (While being checked for contaminants after the Decontamination Chamber) There must be some kind of mistake. I signed up for the aroma therapy treatment.

    Mulder: (As Scully scoffs at a plain outfit after their clothes are burnt) I heard gray is the new black.
    • CSM has his moments too.
      Mulder: Interesting company you keep.
      Cigarette-Smoking Man: No more interesting than your apparent lingerie fetish.
  • Death by Irony: The Syndicate had previously decided that siding with the alien rebels would be suicide. Not doing so is what gets them killed.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Mulder has a subtle but notable one after his conversation with the CSM; he very nearly agrees to cut his losses and escape with the Syndicate until Scully snaps him out of it.
  • Decontamination Chamber / Shower Scene: Both Mulder and Scully get one in the same room, with just a little wall dividing them.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: After being a constant looming presence in the background, the entire Syndicate (minus, naturally, the Big Bad himself) is Killed Off for Real. The same thing appears to happen to Jeffrey Spender.
  • Disappointed in You: The Cigarette Smoking Man tells Jeffrey Spender as much before he murders him.
  • It's All About Me: Despite all his excuses and self justifications for his evil actions, it really boils down to this for CSM at the end of the day. Believing Jeffrey betrayed him, he shoots his own son in the head, not sparing a thought to consider that it was him who betrayed Jeffrey and Cassandra.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Both ways with Mulder and Scully in the Shower Scene.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Jeffrey doesn't give his father any satisfaction, remaining silent and staring down the gun, Defiant to the End.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jeffrey Spender gives up the X-Files and recommends Kersh to reinstate Scully and Mulder.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: The Syndicate's choice to ally with the alien colonists comes home to roost, and they die for it. Lampshaded by Mulder.
    Mulder: They burned themselves. With a choice made long ago by a conspiracy of men who thought they could sleep with the enemy. Only to awaken another enemy.
  • Killed Off for Real: Cassandra Spender, the whole Syndicate and their families except CSM (and, it eventually turns out, Jeffrey Spender).
  • Myth Arc: The episode wraps up a sizable part of the storyline—something that promotional material ran wild with.
  • Offing the Offspring: The Cigarette Smoking Man seemingly murders his son, Jeffrey Spender, for his betrayal. It later turns out he survived and CSM has him subjected to torturous, disfiguring experiments.
  • Put on a Bus: The last appearance of the Alien Rebels.
  • The Quisling: The Syndicate members are revealed to be collaborating with aliens to protect them and their families from colonization by making an alien-human hybrid. They are actually buying time to make a vaccine but to their horror, succeed by making the first hybrid in Cassandra Spender.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Jeffrey Spender's Heel–Face Turn gets him killed. Or so it seemed at the time.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: CSM and Fowley once things start to go to hell.
  • Shirtless Scene: Mulder in the Shower Scene.
  • Sole Survivor: The Cigarette-Smoking Man is the only senior Syndicate member to leave this episode alive.
  • This Cannot Be!: The First Elder realizing the Alien Rebels have drawn them into a trap.
  • Villain Has a Point: Mulder rails against CSM's actions on a moral level, but has a somewhat harder time refuting his rationale.
  • Wham Episode: The Syndicate have their plans and lives snuffed out by the Faceless Rebels, Mulder and Scully are reassigned to the X-Files and Spender is seemingly shot dead by his own father, the Cigarette Smoking Man.

Spender: I know more than enough about your past. Enough to hate you.
Cigarette Smoking Man: Your mother was right. I came here hoping otherwise. Hoping that my son... might live to honor me... like Bill Mulder's son.