The Serpent

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Season 3 Episode 21

When you think about everything that Mulder and Scully have been though. It’s hard to compare it to anything else. But spare a thought for someone who always looks troubled, gets beaten up and shot at… Assistant Director Walter Skinner. This episode is mostly about him. We learn he has a wife – or rather had one. Since the episode starts with him struggling to sign the divorce papers to make it official.

Seventeen years down the path of marriage, waiting one more day isn’t going to hurt. While sitting lonely in a bar, he does something we never thought Skinner would do – picks up a chick! Taking her home that night for some passionate sex… rather the first sex scene the X-Files has ever attempted to do on a 15 certificate, he gets some rather disturbing visions, only to find the poor woman dead – her head literally facing the wrong way. From that point on, it’s clear that Skinner is being set up – for us anyway.

Scully has her doubts, since all the evidence doesn’t look good, and Skinner isn’t really doing a lot to help. But Mulder and Scully feel they owe Skinner, and solve the case with flying colours and one dead body! We learn Skinner, being the hardened post war vet he is, keeps things bottled up. Sharon, his wife used to be a source of strength but now can’t even get her husband to open up to her. After a pep talk with Skinner, Mulder manages to earn his respect (confirmed by Sharon), and Skinner is saved.

At the end of the episode, he’s back behind his desk. Mulder’s explanation seems logical – the people who tried to kill Skinner are still working at it, just this time they attacked his career and creditability, and failed.