Why X-Files Episodes Are Airing Out Of Their Original Order

We are only two glorious episodes into FOX’s return to the land of The X-Files, but already there’s a little bit of controversy surrounding the show. It appears that things have been shuffled a bit, and the episodes are actually airing in an order other than the one that was originally intended. Creator Chris Carter has now stepped up to put an end to any fears that the new The X-Files might be in some kind of trouble.

Because we have a story arc that runs through the middle of the series…we were concerned that, coming right off a mythology episode [and] going right into a standalone episode, people would say, ‘What’s happened?’ So, it actually worked out. It served episode 2 better to replace it with 5. It created a better continuity.

Chris Carter gave the details of the episode order switch to TV Insider, and, even though there are only six episodes, the change in order is somewhat dizzying. What was originally planned as episode 2 has now become episode 4; episode 4 is moving down one slot to episode 5; and what was filmed as episode 5 aired Monday as episode 2. The third episode will be the only standalone episode to remain in its original spot.

The fear when people hear that a show on Fox is going to air in a screwy order, is that they’re trying to destroy the series a la Firefly, the early 2000s series that was famously aired out of order, confusing even diehard fans of the show. What’s good here, though, is that the creator was actually in charge of the changes, meaning that the network isn’t meddling in things they shouldn’t be, namely, what will make sense chronologically to the viewers of a mythology heavy show.

Chris Carter would know if changes to the episode order were absolutely necessary for the show to leave viewers satisfied once the six-episode run is over. Having helmed The X-Files ship for the show’s entire original run of nine seasons and 202 episodes, the man knows whereof he speaks with regards to all things X-File.

It makes total sense, that with only six shows to work with, Chris Carter would want to make sure that every through line of the show was completely understandable. With a main mythology to coordinate with standalone episodes, that small timeline has to be pitch perfect for it all to fit together perfectly. Having watched the first and second shows myself, Carter seems to have been right, they actually worked as a lovely complement to each other. Blending the show’s serial elements with just enough solo story to make the pairing feel like a fresh approach to storytelling.

Well, all X-Files fans should be glad that Chris Carter had the forethought to switch things around before the episodes started airing. This means that we get to see his current, exact, version of the season. The X-Files airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST, on FOX.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.