The X-Files will return to Fox with a brand new batch of episodes in just a few days, and fans will get to find out what exactly happens for Mulder and Scully in the aftermath of the crazy Season 10 cliffhanger. Season 11 will be comprised of ten episodes, which means that there will be more time to tell stories, and hopefully plenty of long-standing questions will be answered. So, in honor of the upcoming premiere of Season 11, we've compiled a list of episodes that are worth rewatching for what's to come. Take a look!
"Memento Mori," Season 4 Episode 14
"Memento Mori" was a pivotal episode of the original run of The X-Files, finally confirmed that Scully had cancer due to the removal of the chip from her neck. It's arguably one of the best mythology episodes of the entire series as it balanced focus on the characters with advancing the conspiracy narrative. Scully had deal with news of her almost certain demise while Mulder tried to figure out a way to help her. Skinner, the Cigarette-Smoking Man, and the Lone Gunmen all turned up, and the end of the episode set the stage for a plot point that wouldn't come back until halfway through Season 8. Gillian Anderson won an Emmy for her work in "Memento Mori," and it was well-deserved.
"Per Manum," Season 8 Episode 13
Season 8 was a rough time for many longtime fans of The X-Files, as David Duchovny only signed on for half the episodes, and Scully would therefore be Mulder-less for a big chunk of time. His absence only complicated the mystery of her pregnancy, which made his return (albeit via flashback) in "Per Manum" a relief. The episode revealed that Mulder and Scully had a lot going on besides investigating the paranormal during Season 7, and it kinda sorta almost hinted at how the supposedly barren Scully was pregnant. Given that we know that a lot of Season 11 will center around the long-lost William, the arc of his conception and birth is bound to be relevant.
"Essence/Existence," Season 8 Episodes 20/21
Okay, this one is a little bit of a cheat, as "Essence" and "Existence" are technically two episodes. Nevertheless, they're halves of a two-parter that deal with the birth of William in a way that seemingly comes very close to actually confirming his father. For The X-Files, even coming close to a confirmation of anything is a pretty big deal. These two episodes pulled out all the stops as well, bringing back Alex Krycek for one last hurrah and introducing Monica Reyes (who will be back in Season 11) as a major character. The final scene also granted Mulder and Scully one of their few quiet (and brightly-lit) moments of happiness, which many of us needed to sustain us through a Season 9 that put poor Scully through the emotional wringer.
"William," Season 9 Episode 16
"William" is undoubtedly one of the most heartbreaking and divisive episodes of The X-Files due to how Scully decided to try and protect William for the rest of his life. It set the stage for the William status quo in both the I Want to Believe feature film and Season 10. The episode featured the unexpected return of a character presumed to be dead who will soon be back. Interestingly, it also featured the return of David Duchovny, although his contributions were behind the scenes as director. With Duchovny back on set, Gillian Anderson seemed more alive in "William" than all the previous episodes of Season 9, which is a testament to the chemistry that powered the show for so many years. Besides, even if you hate the William arc and/or how the episode ended, it's at least worth watching to admire how adorable he is.
"Jose Chung's From Outer Space," Season 3 Episode 20
There are fun episodes worth rewatching as well! Writer Darin Morgan is infamous for penning some of the most bonkers and hilarious episodes of the entire run of The X-Files, and he returned with a totally wild episode in Season 10. Luckily for fans, Morgan also wrote an episode for Season 11, and it's probably going to go down as one of his weirdest of all time. To prepare for Morgan's newest episode, a rewatch of Season 3's "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" is definitely in order. I can't say that Alex Trebek reprises his role as a Man in Black, but there's plenty of craziness to go around without the Jeopardy host.
"En Ami," Season 7 Episode 15
The Cigarette-Smoking Man is back and up to some of his old tricks in Season 11, and episodes will reveal more of his plans than we saw back in the Season 10 finale. "En Ami" from Season 7 -- which saw Scully go on a road trip with Old Smokey to try and retrieve some medical technology -- was one of the last showcases of the Cigarette-Smoking Man in the original run of the series. The focus on CSM and Scully as opposed to CSM and Mulder was something that The X-Files hadn't really done in-depth before, and Scully's decision to temporarily trust their longtime nemesis led to some tension with her partner. This was an atypical episode with some solid character work and unanswered questions, and it's worth another look. Besides, it has Scully in a gorgeous dress, and who doesn't love Scully in a gorgeous dress?
"Jump The Shark," Season 9 Episode 15
"Jump the Shark" saw the apparent end of three beloved characters: Byers, Frohike, and Langley, a.k.a. the Lone Gunmen. After their Lone Gunmen spinoff got the axe by Fox, the three men had their stories finished in an episode late in Season 9 of The X-Files. The boys got to go out on a heroic note that was nonetheless kind of a huge bummer for fans, although they've managed to pop up a couple of times since, and promo footage for Season 11 indicates that Langley will be back somehow. Fans will have to wait until the episode airs to see if, how, and why Langley may appear back on The X-Files, but "Jump the Shark" can be a refresher on what happened in his swan song.
"Pusher," Season 3 Episode 17
Not everything X has to involve, aliens, conspiracies, deaths, and/or wacky Darin Morgan adventures, as some of the most beloved episodes of the series are actually standalones. "Pusher" back in Season 3 introduced the villain Robert Patrick Modell. His powers didn't come from aliens or monsters or experimentation, and Mulder and Scully had to figure out how he was doing what he was doing before more people had to die. Basically, "Pusher" is just a really great example of The X-Files standalone episodes, and it's always worth watching again, even if only for the climactic showdown between Modell and the dynamic duo.
"Home," Season 4 Episode 2
If "Memento Mori" is known as one of the best mythology episodes and "Pusher" is known as one of the best standalone episode, "Home" has to be known as one of the most brutal episodes as Mulder and Scully's trip to a small town in Pennsylvania got very bloody and very intense. "Home" may actually be a bit of an acquired taste thanks to some troubling themes throughout the hour. Still, the actress who played one of the Peacocks is also slated to return in Season 11, although in a different role. Rewatching "Home" could help you spot her when she turns up as another character in Season 11.
"My Struggle II," Season 10 Episode 6
The Season 10 finale was called "My Struggle II," and the Season 11 premiere is called "My Struggle III." A lot happened in the last episode of Season 10, which culminated in that infuriatingly intense cliffhanger. If you want to be fully prepared for where the action kicks off in the first episode of Season 11, another watch of "My Struggle II" is in order. After all, the mythology and continuity of The X-File__is incredibly complicated after more than two decades, and a refresher ahead of Season 11 couldn't hurt.
"Bad Blood," Season 5 Episode 12
Honestly, "Bad Blood" is just such a fabulous episode that it belongs on any list of X-Files episodes to rewatch. "Bad Blood" is comedic X-Files at its finest with Mulder and Scully telling their own versions of events Rashoman-style in a plot involving vampires, dead cows, untied shoelaces, and Luke Wilson alternating between oozing charm to Scully and spitting through a hilariously grotesque set of fake teeth to Mulder. Seriously, "Bad Blood" is worth watching for no other reason than that it's amazingly funny and still somehow in character for Mulder and Scully.
Season 11 of The X-Files will premiere on Wednesday, January 3 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. The show is sadly no longer available for binge-watching on Netflix, but it can be found streaming on Hulu as well as for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. For your other viewing options in the new year, take a look at our 2018 midseason TV premiere guide.