- 10 “The truth is out there, but so are the lies.”
- 9 “Seeking extreme possibilities makes you blind…”
- 8 “Children are not born loving sunflower seeds.”
- 7 “Did he have a lightsaber?”
- 6 “Mulder, tell me you didn’t call me here on Christmas Eve…”
- 5 “Mulder, you could have shown the kid a picture of a flying hamburger…”
- 4 “Mulder, you just unfold like a flower.”
- 3 “Oh, seance. I haven’t done that since high school.”
- 2 “God never lets Satan steal the show.”
- 1 “Please explain to me the scientific nature of the blow.”
when The X-Files It premiered on Fox in 1993, and no one could have imagined the impact it would have on future television or the mark it would leave on audiences. Introducing Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), the unlikely duo struck a perfect balance of plot and logic. Known for her skepticism when it comes to the supernatural and unexplained, Scully partners with Mulder to debunk his bizarre theories about the stack of odd case files that has become his priority. Often grounded in her partner’s supernatural inclinations in science and reason, the couple could not be a more accurate representation of the “opposites attract” theory.
Even after witnessing things she struggled to explain, Scully firmly established herself in her belief in science, and sometimes in God. She was raised a devout Catholic, and her religious faith was the only inclination she showed in the paranormal for a long time. But even the most rigorous skeptics aren’t always able to explain the bizarre realities right in front of them, and as her years as Mulder’s partner grew, so did her mind’s ability to acknowledge that science might not have advanced enough to explain some of the things they saw together.
While no one would ever describe Scully as a conspiracy theorist or a radical believer in the supernatural and unexplained, she couldn’t deny watching in Season 7 where Mulder is abducted by aliens right before her eyes. She became a believer, though still somewhat reluctantly, and her scientific mind wanted to understand and comprehend what must have been impossible. Over the years, she and Mulder develop a close bond, not only as business partners, but as friends and eventually romantic partners. Whether it’s in their personal lives or at work, no one can deny that they have some of the silliest banter ever seen on TV.
10 “The truth is out there, but so are the lies.”
Being skeptical did little to dissuade Scully from being cynical. Clever lines seemed to flow from her lips as easily as Mulder’s plot did, often in response to his outrageous plots. Some of her most memorable moments across the series still linger, sometimes contradicting her co-star’s outlandish theories. Other times, they appear simply to remind the viewer that when Mulder says the truth is out there, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of lies.
9 “Seeking extreme possibilities makes you blind…”
It’s not hard to imagine the first season coming to a close, Mulder was incredibly frustrated with Scully’s refusal to just give up. Investigating a case in Season 1, Episode 22, the pair are introduced by unexpectedly shoving an eight-year-old adult man out of his window to his death. Frustrated by her denials, Scully at one point asked why it was so difficult for her to accept the possibility of an unusual phenomenon, to which she replied, “Seeking extreme probabilities makes you blind to the possible explanation right in front of you.”
This was an ongoing problem for Mulder, and at that point, she knew it. No matter what they encountered, he was already convinced that it was something supernatural. In her mind, this made it impossible to see any other clear answer that might have been apparent if he had just looked from a different perspective. Sometimes, she’s just too wise for her own good.
8 “Children are not born loving sunflower seeds.”
Anyone who might want to find a missing Mulder can follow the trail of sunflower seed shells he left in his wake. He ate them constantly, which made him wonder in Season 2, Episode 12, “Audrey”, if his love for them was genetic. Scully immediately points out the absurdity of his ideas, stating, “Children are not born loving sunflower seeds. Environments shape them; behavioral patterns are taught.” On further reflection, he recalls waking up in the middle of the night as a child, terrified that he was the only person left on earth. He then hears his father cracking sunflower seed shells in the other room, and feels safe, proving once again that Scully is right about almost everything.
7 “Did he have a lightsaber?”
Scully may be reluctant to believe in science fiction as reality, but she is definitely a fan of the genre. In the episode “Small Potatoes” in Season 4, Episode 20, a couple investigate a strange series of births in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Five children, all born with tails, might sound like a conspiracy, but Scully is always sure there’s a scientific explanation. While interviewing the newest mom to give birth, she tells the agents that the father of her baby is Luke Skywalker, prompting Scully to ask about his lightsaber. Science fiction may be fun, but according to Scully, it’s important to remember that it’s not called science fact for a reason.
6 “Mulder, tell me you didn’t call me here on Christmas Eve…”
By the time Season 6 began, Mulder and Scully were very close, which meant that it wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to call her on Christmas Eve about a case. Invited to watch him, she pushes him for details, finally revealing that there are no residents in the house they were moving out of. According to Mulder, the previous occupants of the house, long dead, have been seen moving about in the building. “Mulder,” Scully says, “tell me you didn’t call me here on Christmas Eve to go to the Ghostbusters with you.” That’s exactly why he’s calling, and even though she has plenty of holiday preparations to take care of, she gives in.
5 “Mulder, you could have shown the kid a picture of a flying hamburger…”
Even in Season 1, Episode 2, Scully’s intelligence was already at its tipping point, especially when she felt like Mulder was being naive. An investigation into a series of missing pilots leads them to a strange UFO-themed diner in Idaho, where they meet two petrified kids who claim to have seen UFOs around the Air Force base and offer to show them the place. After interviewing the kids, Scully becomes concerned that he believed everything they told him, despite the obvious fact that they were high.
Arousing suspicion, she notes, “Mulder, you could have shown the kid a picture of a flying hamburger, and he’d have told you exactly what he saw.” Turns out they weren’t flying hamburgers after all, but an experimental military plane, not aliens. At least that’s what Scully thinks, but Mulder is pretty sure they’re aliens.
4 “Mulder, you just unfold like a flower.”
In Season 1, Episode 12, “Fire” Scully meets Mulders’ friend from Oxford. She comes to ask for his help with the “three pipe problem”, which prompts Scully to ask what it means once the other woman leaves the room. Although he offers up a bit more of an explanation that he knew it and had gotten in over his head once, Scully is shocked to learn even a hint about his past since he doesn’t always like to talk about himself. She smiles before turning away, and says, “Mulder, you’re unfolding like a flower.”
One of the reasons this quote is important is because it was still early at this point, and Scully was still working against Mulder. As she got to know him better, she did not like the underhanded nature of what she was being asked to do. It’s likely that it was moments like the above rare glimpse of his vulnerability that helped her warm to her partner.
3 “Oh, seance. I haven’t done that since high school.”
One of The X-Files’ greatest mysteries, and the incident that actually shaped Mulder into the man he has become, was the disappearance of his sister Samantha when he was a child. When a psychic approaches him to help Mulder contact his sister on the other side, he convinces Scully to join him. When asked to hold hands, so the spirit energy can flow, Scully quips, “Oh, yeah. Hearing. I haven’t done that since high school.” This leaves fans wondering what teenage Dana Scully was like, and if she was more inclined to believe in the paranormal as a child. Before science makes its mark, it’s interesting to reflect on her skepticism about the nature of shadows and things that bump into the night.
2 “God never lets Satan steal the show.”
This quote was said by Scully in Season 1, while the pair were investigating an alleged religious healer who revived someone on camera when they were a child. While she certainly didn’t believe he was able to resurrect corpses, it did provide more insight into her beliefs. She was raised Catholic, and Scully adheres to her faith throughout the series.
When she is deep in thought, encountering obstacles or even sometimes questioning her faith, she can often be seen placing her fingers on the crucifix she has always worn. It was something of an oddity for Mulder, that she could believe in an omnipotent Creator who rules over humans from his seat high in the sky, but not in the supernatural things they witness on a regular basis.
1 “Please explain to me the scientific nature of the blow.”
Season 3, Episode 17, “Pusher” was one of the most interesting monster episodes of the week. Investigating the ability of Robert Patrick Modell, who can persuade others to do his bidding, Mulder explains how Modell laid the blow on a judge to avoid a preliminary hearing in the case they were building against him. In classic Scully fashion, she looks at her partner and very earnestly asks him to explain the scientific nature of the blow. Of course, Mulder doesn’t know how to explain it because the hit isn’t science, but he was definitely on to something.