Mulder becomes trapped aboard a train rigged with an explosive device. Scully searches for the truth behind the government's secret experiments.



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Episode cast overview:
Don S. Williams ...
Elder #1


Now aboard the mysterious train, Mulder locates the car containing the scientific equipment and what appears to be the autopsy room he saw in the video he purchased. There is also an assassin on board who claims to work for the NSA. When they are locked in, he reveals that there is a bomb aboard which is set to go off and destroy any evidence on the train. Scully meanwhile traces her implant to a medical research facility in West Virginia which she feels provides a logical explanation for what has been happening - rogue medical research by a Japanese scientist working without authority. Mulder remains convinced the work was to create a human-alien hybrid. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

1 December 1995 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


"731" refers to Unit 731, a real Japanese chemical and biological army unit that performed horrific experiments on Chinese civilians during World War II, which forms a central aspect of the plot. See more »


In chapter 12 (at around 23 mins) the camera view changes to that from the television set. For no logical reason, this shot is flipped left to right compared to the reality the viewer has just been shown. See more »


Scully: What is this place?
Elder #1: This was one of the most frightening places on the earth. A place where society sent its monsters to live in shame and isolation. Now, their disease is all but conquered. Science has eliminated thousands of years of misery.
Scully: I've seen your methods of "elimination." What happened to the man who was with me in the forest? What about the people who were in this room?"
Elder #1: They had been exposed.
Scully: Exposed to what?
Elder #1: The same thing all these victims have been exposed to... victims of an ...
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Crazy Credits

The tagline reads "Apology is Policy." See more »


Featured in El comisario: Secreto a voces (2005) See more »


On a Train
Written by Mark Snow
Performed by Mark Snow
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User Reviews

The plot thickens!
25 June 2009 | by (Portugal) – See all my reviews

I've been recently reminiscing on this great series, and saw this episode (and its first part brother) yesterday. For those who are not yet quite familiarized with it, this is a kind of series in which you have very specific main characters, Mulder and Scully, two FBI agents in charge of the most peculiar investigations that come across the FBI. Each episode of the series deals with a different subject, but every now and then (or every five or six episodes ) you have what you might call continuity episodes, witch deal with that same subject and are often called by its creators and fans as mythology episodes. They are in deed a good change of pace in the series, as most of the other episodes, for as good as they are, don't quite grab you as the mythology episodes do. One might say they are the "back bone" of the show!

This one, "731", starts where "Nisei" left of, that is when Mulder jumps on to the train with the mysterious Alien-human hybrid and the government killer on its heels. What makes this episode so interesting to me is how Chris Carter develops the story in such a way that you are getting answers _ like Scully was in deed abducted by men working for the government with a particular agenda in mind_ but in fact you are left with much more questions in the end, particularly the ambiguity between what Mulder uncovers on the train and what Scully is told in the abandoned Lepers colony. You can't help to feel lost between the plausible and logical explanation by Scully, and Mulder's instinct about the alien hybrid plot.

Rob Bowman's directing is worth mention. He had already proved himself capable to tackle the difficult subject of the mythology episodes in "End Game", witch justifies Carter's decision of putting him behind the cameras for the first X-Files movie. The way in witch the action and suspense revolves around the confinement of a train car is worthy of such masters as Alfred Hitchcock.

Watch out for X's role in this episode. That particular finale is a classic X file bit and gives Steven Williams character a much more interesting depth as Mulder's ambiguous helper than Deep throat ever had.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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