After an impressive debut season, “The X-Files” returned with an arguably stronger second installment. Season two of Fox’s paranoia-infused classic exceeded the lofty expectations set by season one. A nice mix of story arc and monster of the week shows continued previously established lore, and introduced memorable new characters.
Season one wrapped up with the closing of “The X-Files,” leaving the future of Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) department in jeopardy. Kicking off the second season, “Little Green Men” kept the alien mythology alive and introduced recurring character Senator Richard Matheson (Raymond J. Barry), Mulder’s political ally.
The story arc entries in season two are regarded as some of the series’ strongest episodes. The two part masterpiece “Duane Barry” and “Ascension” culminates in Scully’s shocking abduction, which proves a major plotline for the entire show. “Colony” and “End Game” offer further hints at a government conspiracy to cover up the existence of extraterrestrial life, and clues to Mulder’s sister Samantha’s (Megan Leitch) abduction. Just like its predecessor, season two finishes with an epic cliffhanger in “Anasazi,” further perpetuating Mulder’s quest for the truth.
Yet while the myth arc unravels, some of the most memorable monster of the week episodes fall in the series’ second run. “The Host” features the Flukeman (Darin Morgan), a horrifying fluke worm –human hybrid. There’s “Blood,” which finds normally harmless appliances convincing the population of a small town to go on killing sprees. One of the more unique episodes in not only season two but the entire nine season series, “3,” finds Mulder on assignment in LA with a steamy vampire subplot during Scully’s abduction. “Excelsis Dei” and “Our Town” offer some hearty laughs with a tongue in cheek approach. Always assuming the paranoia angle, “F. Emasculata” takes on pharmaceutical companies.
Pop culture buffs will recognize a slew of familiar faces. Character actor William Sanderson, famous for his portrayal of J.F. Sebastian in “Blade Runner” plays Edward Funsch, the postal worker who goes, well postal. Future “Breaking Bad” talent lend a helping hand with Dean Norris as US Marshal Tapia, neat foreshadowing of his role as DEA Agent Hank Schrader. Writer Vince Gilligan’s breakout debut came with his script for “Soft Light.” Gilligan proceeded to write twenty nine “The X-Files” episodes, and serve as co-producer, executive producer, and supervising producer. Plus, he later co-created “The X-Files” spin-off “The Lone Gunmen.” So you can thank “The X-Files” for giving you “Breaking Bad.”
Actor Tony Shaloub who later starred in the USA hit franchise “Monk” guest starred in “Soft Light” with a very Adrian Monk fear of coming into contact with other people. Horror film fans will appreciate the clever use of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand” in “Ascension,” a song that plays prominently throughout slasher-comedy series “Scream.” Add that to your fun fact repertoire.
Ultimately, “The X-Files” season two continued season one plots while introducing new mythology and characters, many of whom evolved into key characters. Mulder’s temporary partner, Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea), blossomed into a notable adversary later in the franchise. Ask any X-Phile their favorite episodes, and undoubtedly many will hail from season two, quite possibly the strongest season of the long-running sci-fi classic.