The X-Files: Darkness Falls   Rewatch 
March 16, 2020 9:22 PM - Season 1, Episode 20 - Subscribe

Mulder and Scully go to Olympia National Forest in Washington State to investigate the disappearance of an entire logging team and two federal Forest Service officials.
posted by orange swan (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's hard not to love the "nature fights back" episodes. This one is particularly creepy, with the invisible flesh-eating bugs and all.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:29 AM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

This wasn't the first episode I saw but it was definitely the one that made me tune back in.
posted by Molesome at 5:43 AM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

MULDER: [displays photo of loggers on screen] Take a good look, Scully.

SCULLY: What am I looking at?

MULDER: Thirty loggers working a clear-cutting contract in Washington State. Rugged, manly men in the full bloom of their manhood.

SCULLY: Right, but what am I looking for?

MULDER: Anything strange, unexplainable, unlikely... a boyfriend?

The mites did seem quite... selective... about how they consumed people. One body was found high up, cocooned to a tree branch. How would mites even have gotten a body up there? They're mites. Then they kill Humphreys, but they don't cocoon him. Then they cocoon Mulder, Scully, and Moore, but don't kill them, but I think we're supposed to assume they killed Spinney, who was attacked just seconds before them.

Even so, this is quite a solid episode. I remember finding it very suspenseful the first time I watched it, and holding my breath as the generator sputtered and the lightbulb flickered while and everyone watched it grimly... until the sun came up.

Scully's freak out over the mites might be the only time we ever see her in a panic. Mulder calms her down, and we also later see him put a comforting hand on her shoulder as he walks by her.
posted by orange swan at 7:39 PM on March 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

This is such a perfect X-Files episode, take something from the zeitgeist (radical enviornmentalists vs loggers) and put a spin on it to turn it into a supernatural thriller. Yes some inconsistencies (why does one weak-ass light bulb in the cabin keep them from swarming but standing in front of a Jeep's headlights does nothing, no they didn't need to have the cocoons way up in the trees). Casting was really solid, too... ranger, environmentalist, logging company rep. A good pairing with the other tree ring episode, Detour from season five.

Also as orange swan noted, Scully's freakout was one of the best X-Files body horror moments... Scully sees a few on her hand and flips out, and Mulder is just like "calm down, they're all over us, all of us, you just can't see them"... *internal scream*
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:17 PM on March 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

April 15, 1994. I think this is the first episode I saw live, not on reruns or DVD years later. And what a good one. I definitely wanted to watch more. It also made me want to visit the pacific northwest (after stocking up on bug spray).
posted by Monochrome at 4:03 PM on March 22, 2020

Solid episode, but irl, frozen viruses are more plausible (and again, later X-Files does (a) take(s) on this episode again, only more polished).

The actor who played Spinney was a super "hey that guy" for me, apparently it's Titus Welliver - that mustache (and youth) really dramatically changes his appearance.
posted by porpoise at 9:02 PM on March 27, 2020

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