Season Two, the 1994-95 run, of The X Files
was the one where creator Chris Carter, having had a surprise hit when he expected a one-season wonder, started trying to make sense of all the storylines he had thrown into the pile in the first year. Moreover, he had to cope with Gillian Anderson's maternity leave by having Scully get abducted by aliens (back then, a pretty fresh device) for a few episodes and come back strangely altered. The season also inaugurated the tradition of opening ("Little Green Men") and closing ("Anasazi") with the show's worst episodes, both pot-boiling attempts to keep the alien infiltration/government conspiracy balls up in the air while seeming to offer narrative forward-thrusts or revelations.
But it's also a show noticeably surer of itself than Season One, with its stars reading from the same page in terms of their characters' relationship and attitudes to the wondrous. Scully's no-longer-workable scepticism finally starts to erode in the face of Mulder's increasingly cracked belief. There are fewer marking-time leftover-monster-of-the-week shows--although we do get a human fluke ("The Host"), vampires ("3"), an invisible rapist ("Excelsius Dei") voodoo ("Fresh Bones")--and the flying-saucer stories at last seem to be going somewhere. The powerful two-episode run ("Duane Barry", "Ascension") features Steve Railsback as Mulder's possible future, an FBI agent burned out after a UFO abduction who has become a hostage-taking terrorist, which climaxes with Scully's disappearance into the light. The standout episode is also a stand-alone--"Humbug"--the first and still most successful of the show's self-parodies (written by Darin Morgan, who had played the Flukeman in "The Host"), in which the agents investigate a murder in a circus freakshow, allowing the actors to make fun of the mannerisms they have earnestly built up in a run of solemn, even somnolent, explorations of the murk. Other worthy efforts: "Aubrey", about genetic memory; "Irresistible", a rare (and creepy) straight psycho-chiller with little paranormal content; and "The Calusari", a good ghost/mystery. Rising deputy characters include Nicholas Lea as the perfidious Krycek and Brian Thompson as the shapeshifting alien bounty hunters. Notable guest stars: Charles Martin Smith, C.C.H. Pounder, Leland Orser, Terry O'Quinn, Bruce Weitz, Daniel Benzali, John Savage, Vincent Schiavelli, Tony Shalhoub. --Kim Newman
All twenty-five episodes from the second series of the popular science-fiction series presented in a limited-edition box set. In 'Little Green Men' Mulder tries to make contact with a UFO. In 'The Host' Mulder and Scully go down into the New Jersey sewer system in search of a genetic mutant. 'Blood' sees the duo investigate some bizarre small town murders. 'Sleepless' has Mulder meet a man who might just be able to use his dreams to commit murder. 'Duane Barry' brings him face-to-face with a gunman who claims to have been the subject of some alien experiments. In 'Ascension' Mulder searches for a disappeared Scully. '3' has him investigate a bunch of ritualistic murders. And in 'One Breath', he gets closer to solving the mystery of Scully's disappearence. 'Firewalker' finds the agents stalked by a dangerous life form. 'Red Museum' sees them investigate the activities of a sinister religious cult in a remote rural community. In 'Excelsius Dei' they arrive at a nursing home to take on a killer poltergeist. 'Aubrey' sees Mulder and Scully help a pregnant woman who is being stalked by a serial killer. 'Irresistable' finds Mulder pursuing a dangerous fetishist. 'Die Hand die Verletzt' has the duo take on a Satan-worshipping substitute teacher. 'Fresh Bones' introduces them to a voodoo priest who might be able to raise the dead. In the two-part episode 'Colony/Endgame' Mulder uncovers a suprising secret about his sister. 'Fearful Symmetry' finds the agents investigating the mysterious impregnations of rare zoo animals. 'Dod Kalm' has the agents effected by a other-worldly force which causes them to age at an alarming rate. 'Humbug' follows the bizarre events which surround a series of murders in a circus. 'Calusari' concerns a case of exorcism and demonic possession. 'F. Emasculata' sees the agents track down the causes of a viral epidemic which has been unleashed in a prison. 'Soft Light' finds them on the trail of a scientist who has turned his shadow into a means of instant death. 'Our Town' has them look into the ties between a case of cannibalism and the possibility of eternal life. And finally, in 'Anasazi', the duo discover the connection between a series of secret government experiments and a UFO cover-up.