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Recap / The X-Files S08 E16 "Three Words"

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Season 8, Episode 16:

Three Words
"It's three words: 'Fight the future'."
Written by Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Tony Wharmby

Scully: So you'll risk the consequences even though there may be nothing here?
Mulder: You don't get it, do you, Scully? The man shot at the White House, the prison escapee, there's something bubbling to the surface here. I want to know what it is.

Mulder tries to get reassigned to the X-Files, and investigates after a man is killed trying to break into the White House.


  • Bad Boss: Kersh is more insufferable than he already usually is.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Absalom goes out, courtesy of a SWAT officer.
  • Cassandra Truth: Doggett keeps telling the surrounding SWAT officers that Absalom has him at hidden gunpoint, and that they should move back and lower their weapons. Of course, they don't listen, with one shooting Absalom dead. Though it's likely they knew and believed him, but were working for The Conspiracy and didn't care much.
  • Death Glare: The smug Kersh is on the receiving end of a scathing one from Doggett.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mulder is dishing out many of these in this episode.
    [Mulder is seen back in the "X-Files" office, with his feet on his desk.]
    Mulder: Who says you can't go home again?
    Scully: What are you doing here?
    Mulder: What's it look like?
    Skinner: It looks like you want to give them real ammunition to use on you, that's what it looks like.
    Mulder: Hey, I am just down here visiting my buds.
    [Later on, when Doggett is trying to stop Mulder's break-in of the Federal Statistics Center by knocking...]
    Frohike (radio): Mulder? What the hell's that?
    Doggett: Your life's in danger if you don't get out now.
    Mulder: Just a fly buzzing around the window.
  • Dislikes the New Guy: Mulder is distrustful of Doggett and thinks he is working with the bad guys.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Downplayed. Mulder after having been abducted and thought to be dead for months is understandably perturbed by everything he has missed out on.
  • Hurting Hero: Mulder, returning to the land of the living after being absent for so long, is noticeably emotionally reserved and uncertain about his place in everything now. The world having gone on without him, Scully being pregnant and likely not knowing if he's the father at this point.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Knowle Rohrer provides wrong information twice to Doggett and nearly gets Mulder killed this time. Kersh also qualifies to a lesser degree.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Kersh being a scheming, manipulative jerkass as usual, trying to cut Mulder out of the X-Files and replace him with Doggett. Doggett is pissed off by it and Kersh threatens to close the X-Files altogether to keep him in line.
  • Overly Long Hug: Frohike, one of the Lone Gunmen trio, is really excited to see Mulder for the first time since Mulder's unprecedented return from the dead. Frokihe embraces Mulder tightly around the waist. Mulder hugs him back, but it gets awkward.
    Frohike: You know, it's really not fair. You've been dead for six months and you still look better than me. But not by much.
    Mulder: Melvin, I'd be a whole lot happier to see you if you'd just take your hands off my ass.
    Frohike: Sorry. [gets embarrassed and lets him go]
  • Wham Shot: The reveal of bumps on the back of Knowle's neck at the end of the episode, eventually revealing him to be a Super Soldier.

"You think this is about Mulder? It's about the truth, John."