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"The X-Files" Duane Barry (1994)"The X Files" Duane Barry (original title)

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24 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Duane Barry's No Liar

Author: Muldernscully from Roy, Utah
20 April 2006

Due to Gillian Anderson's real-life pregnancy, she needed to be written out of the show for a little while to deliver her baby. Duane Barry begins the storyline that was written to get around this situation. I think the Scully abduction storyline was very well done throughout the course of the series. It's funny that this real-life event brought about this fantastic storyline. Continuing with its tradition of great guest stars, Steve Railsback gives an incredible performance as the abductee, Duane Barry. This episode is low on action but high on drama as Mulder negotiates with Duane Barry in a hostage situation. My only hang-up with this episode is the about face of Agent Lucy Kazdin. At first she tells Mulder that what Duane Barry needs is a "friend, someone who appears to understand him and can appeal to his sense of reason." She also say, "So whatever crap you got to make up about space men or UFOs, just keep him on the phone." Then later, she abruptly changes her mind and tells Mulder not to feed into Duane's psychosis when Mulder says he believes him. I don't see those two strategies as compatible. Either you go along with Duane's "aliens" or you don't. It just doesn't make any sense. However, it's a minor issue, and the every other aspect of the episode is great. The ending scene in Scully's apartment is chilling and memorable.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

An Episode Well Worth Watching.

Author: BreakingDawnx from United Kingdom
29 August 2008

An episode of very high tension as Mulder finds himself in a hostage situation with an alleged abductee. Very little action , but keeps you hooked all the way through , and nicely kicks starts the story of Scully's abduction due to Anderson's real life pregnancy. Although i would advise people with conditions like epilepsy not to watch this as there are many scenes with flashing and strobe lighting. Also contains a lot of good alien scenes , with good special effects. The ending is extremely chilling and will stay with you. A good episode , one which would make anyone want to continue watching th X-Files!


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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Duane Barry was an extraordinary character

Author: Juan Sarmiento from Netherlands
20 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

By far the strongest and most important Mythology until now. And probably one of the best Mythologies of the entire show. It's not as vague or slow moving as previous episodes, and thank the lords of Kobol that it wasn't filled with tons of cheesy lines including the word 'truth'.

Duane Barry was an extraordinary character and his abduction scenes featured some of the best scenes of the series. They were very well done and some of them borderline creepy. The hostage scenes were also superbly done, the hostages all did their part. and the scenes between Mulder and Duane were also superbly done.

Scully's character, although not that important in this episode had some really nifty scenes. She and the tracking chip, and the cliff-hanger with Duane attacking her at her home. Yeah, if you didn't care for the Mythology yet you would after this episode.

FIVE stars, easily. My second favorite episode yet.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Krycek, have you got your notepad? ...Grande, two percent cappuccino with vanilla.

Author: D. Williams from United States
8 October 2010

The X-Files proved in its first year on the air that is was capable of doing drama, suspense, and intrigue all relatively effortlessly. Despite the ever-looming cancellation reaper following mere steps behind, the show managed to continue into a second season, largely thanks to its excellent finale "The Erlenmeyer Flask," which saw the death of a rather critical character and opened up new doors with the termination of Mulder and Scully's tenure on the X-Files. Although the hunger of the writers and the producers that drove the first season carried on, they too knew that the show could not continue without the actual X-Files to propel it forward. Thus, a critical turning point was required to get the agents back on track. This can be seen as that turning point.

"Duane Barry" is a curious affair in that despite its explosive script there is quite little in the way of explosive action. Steve Railsback plays the titular character and does so to the hilt. A former FBI agent who has been out of commission for thirteen years, Barry believes he is a multiple alien abductee, and escapes a mental institution with his unwilling psychiatrist as part of a plan to prove the veracity of his claims. This leads to a standoff at a travel agency, where the majority of the episode takes place, in which Mulder is called in to do damage control.

The episode primarily serves as a tension-builder for the next episode but is notable in its own right for its proficient guest acting and directing. CCH Pounder is impeccable in her role as Agent Kazdin, who in a world of justice would have been destined to become a recurring character. Railsback is equally competent as the crazed gunman with just enough humanity to reel you in. Chris Carter makes his directorial debut, with some assistance from vet David Nutter, and captures the claustrophobic hostage setting without flaw.

"Duane Barry" would serve as the precedent for various mythology elements in the years to come, in the form of implanted chips and human testing (it's interesting how similarly this was replicated in the "Within/Without" episodes). It also showed that the series was unafraid to raise its stakes by jeopardizing the fate of a main character. As a standalone and as a small part of a big whole it is an essential X-File and remains a classic. And who could say no to Mulder in a speedo?

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Thrilling episode leaves the viewer shaken and in anticipation of the follow-up

Author: ametaphysicalshark from
20 October 2008

"Duane Barry" is the first of a two-part story, wrapped up in the next episode "Ascension". One can argue that "One Breath" is the third part of the story, although it doesn't feature the character of Duane Barry played memorably by Steve Railsback, as it follows up on the events in "Ascension" and what happens to Scully in that episode.

"Duane Barry" is a great episode on its own. If you took out the ending, which sets up "Ascension" and to a lesser degree "One Breath", it could have been a one-part mythology episode. In fact, the conclusion, with Scully saying "it's almost as if someone was cataloguing him", would have been a chilling climax on its own. Not that I have any problem with this being a multi-part story, given how good "Ascension" is, and the ending to this episode with Duane Barry breaking into Scully's apartment is fine as it is.

This was Chris Carter's first stab at directing. I have no clue if he made any short films before it, but this is the first piece of TV or film which he directed that is available. It's really very good, and he succeeds in creating a really claustrophobic, foreboding atmosphere. The performances are very good, and the surprisingly well-done alien scenes elevate a standard-issue hostage situation to greatness. The excellent script helps, too.


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

You think you know what Duane Barry's going through? YOU DON'T KNOW JACK!!!

Author: Sanpaco13 from Sandy, UT, United States
3 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Duane Barry the Limerick:

An ex FBI man Duane Barry

Gets taken by aliens scary.

"Oh no not again!"

"I must make this end!"

He takes hostages cuz he is weary.

Duane Barry has always been one of my favorite season 2 episodes. I remember when I first bought the season 2 DVD set and watched the episodes in sequence. Before then I had never seen this episode and I hadn't realized just how early in the show Scully's abduction had been.

The episode deals with an ex-FBI agent who has become an impulsive liar or something like that, who is a repeat abductee. He finally snaps and decides that in order to keep from being taken again, he needs to get someone else to take his place and thus, kidnaps his doctor and takes a travel agency hostage. This is the first episode of a two-parter and this takes place mostly in the travel agency, and plays out like your typical hostage crisis storyline with the task force talking to the killer and doing everything they can to get a shot on one end and the hostages and shooter on the other end. I'm always reminded of the movie with Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. I think its called The Negotiator. Anyway, Mulder is called in to help talk to Duane because of his "special" background and instead Mulder ends up buying into Duane's "delusion" which we will later find out was true. Duane is eventually shot and taken to a hospital where an implant is found and removed from his body. Scully takes the implant and scans it at the grocery store causing the register to flip out. Shaken, she goes home and immediately calls Mulder to relate the experience. As she is in the middle of leaving a message, Duane Barry shows up and kidnaps her and we are left with a "To Be Continued..." The episode is entertaining and is an important part of the mythology. There aren't exactly a lot of novel or singular moments that make it stand out other than the very unique character of Duane Barry, but nevertheless I do enjoy watching it every time. I will give it a 8 out of 10.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Notable Episode

Author: AudioFileZ from United States
30 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the myth-arc episodes this one stands out. Steve Railsback does an excellent job of portraying a mentally frazzled ex-FBI agent who mysteriously suffered a brain injury inflicted with his own weapon after which his life spiraled downward. He was institutionalized. It is put forward, not overtly however, that he was taken by aliens, tested and implanted, and returned in the state that caused his downfall. He is fearful of future abductions and diagnosed as delusional and violent as a result. He escapes with his doctor and several hostages in which Mulder is called in to aid in the stand-off as a negotiator.

This is a slow moving and revealing story in the myth-arc. Barry reveals he is a virtual prisoner of both his fears as well as the government's knowledge in which he will never again see the light of day except for the fact he is tracked and may be abducted and returned at the alien's will. This is a life he can no longer stand and thus his escape with hostages. Mulder is the only agent who believes him and he very much wishes to avoid his assassination. Due to his volatile state, however, Mulder realizes he has to set him up hoping if he survives he can gain some inside information. Mulder, with Scully's help manages to pull it off, but Barry escapes after the one implant that is removed calls home setting off the alien's bedside reappearance. The calling home sequence is a kind of cool nod to the development of bar-codes. Bar-codes were developed as far back as the fifties and the connection to knowledge, perhaps, gleaned from Roswell being integrated into our everyday society is inspired.

This is a need to watch story that extends into another episode where Barry is instructed to abduct Scully so he can offer her as a kind of "peace offering" so the aliens will leave him alone. This one gets high marks for excellent production values (i.e. well done, technical and not cheesy). The one comic relief, for some viewers, will be the needless shot of Mulder in the first minute in a Speedo.

Mulder is empowered knowing he has a real insider who bridges both the aliens and the government's cover-up. He really wants to pick Duane for his knowledge, but things get way out of control with the subsequent kidnapping of Scully. So even though it moves pretty slow it escalates with some degree of urgency as well as importance in the building of the myth-arc that permeates the series. Thus a highly recommended episode.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Duane Barry's alien blues

Author: chaos-rampant from Greece
2 June 2013

This is good, classic X-file stuff. I still remember it when it first aired in my country, it genuinely creeped me out.

Okay, typically for the show we have a well executed thriller. The show had several of these in its first two seasons, even some I don't like but can see their being efficient; Squeeze, Ice, Darkness Falls, even The Host. The problem was usually silly monsters. The better ones were character-based explorations of mental states that had some thriller aspects, a good example is Beyond the Sea.

The thriller here involves possible alien abduction, mysterious body implants, and a hostage situation with Mulder in it. The ending at Scully's home is intense, arguably the most intense moment thus far.

Why I deem this worth watching, quite apart from the show's ongoing fixations and mythology, is that we have a volatile state of narrative truth. We can't be sure of Duane Barry's story of abduction; we can't be sure if our vision of that story isn't being imagined by Mulder, possibly fed by his own paranoia linked to his sister's similar vanishing, down to the imagery of a 'bright light and a presence in the room'; we can't be sure if it is all a hoax masking some other government experiment.

Mulder here is the viewer, Duane Barry's audience in the hostage crisis. He wants to believe, and presumably so do we. He partly is, and so are we, Duane Barry—imaginatively entering a world of borderline madness to experience the intensity of revelation.

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"The government knows about it, you know?"

Author: classicsoncall from Florida, New York
25 May 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The writing by Chris Carter makes this a compelling episode which turns out to be a two part story, wrapped up in the following show of the series, "Ascension". The quandary faced by agent Mulder is whether the protagonist Duane Barry (Steve Railsback) is an actual alien abductee or a habitual, compulsive liar. A strong case is made for both, with Scully doing the leg work to uncover his past tenure with the FBI. Mulder places the dilemma in context when he states that Barry skirts the fine thread of sanity.

Having read some of the Whitley Strieber stuff and stories of people who claim to have been abducted, I wasn't surprised by some of the elements introduced in this story, like the alien experiments and body implants. I believe the most common implant is marked by a small, crescent shaped scar behind the victim's ear, replaced in this story by the one on Barry's abdomen. It was pretty clever of Scully to take one of those objects removed from Barry's body and run it through a supermarket checkout scanner making it go berserk.

For someone who wasn't trained in hostage negotiation, I thought Mulder did a pretty good job getting the peripheral detainees out of there without incident. To do it though, he had to perform a balancing act regarding the instructions given him by Agent Kazdin (CCH Pounder), whether to identify with Barry's abduction story or disregard his psychosis to set up the rescue team. By this time, you knew Mulder was going to do whatever he wanted anyway.

With Agent Krycek still partnering with Mulder at this point, I had to chuckle over how much the guy was given short shrift by virtually everybody he came in contact with - Mulder, the Smoking Man who he was secretly working for, and the ultimate ignominy of filling a mocha grande order for Agent Kazdin. You didn't actually see him get the coffee, but you had to know his frustration at being a lackey for his superiors. Serves the creep right.

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They… drilled my teeth. They drill holes in my damn teeth!

Author: Alexander Cappelli
9 August 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"They… drilled my teeth. They drill holes in my damn teeth!" – Duane Barry.

Episode 5, 'Duane Barry', original air date October 14th, 1994. Written and directed by Chris Carter. Mythology episode count, 8. 'Duane Barry' is cited as being Chris Carter's directorial debut, while that is true for The X-Files he actually directed an episode of the television series Rags to Riches in 1987. Perhaps he had hoped to omit that credit from his filmography, it certainly would have been a running start to his career as a director to begin with this episode. That said, one episode is hardly substantial so it's fair to say that he was new to the game in 1994. As we know, Gillian Anderson was set to give birth to her first child during the filming of season 2 and consequently the writers needed to construct a story arc that would allow her some time off, albeit a brief respite. Starting with episode 4 'Sleepless' and concluding with episode 8 'One Breath', the story arc that was simply born out of necessity and time constraints would become the unlikely genesis of a mythology thread that would weave itself through to the very end of the series. Carter's script puts in to motion the events that would lead to Scully's illness, sterilisation and ultimately the birth of her son. The X-Files team have openly admitted to a lack of planning regarding the series mythology. Unlike more recent television shows like Lost or Breaking Bad, The X-Files was not written with an overall story arc in mind and without any clear end in sight the writer's needed to continue to expand upon the fictional universe with each season renewal. It's likely then that Carter almost certainly did not foresee what effect the events of these early episodes would have, if any, on the future of the show.

'Duane Barry' is the first of a two part episode that technically concludes with 'Ascension' though the mythology is rounded off with 'One Breath' before returning to the standalone format. Carter's script is a high tension thriller that centres around a hostage negotiation. It's fairly static in regards to location so it's a credit to both the writing and direction that it feels anything but stagnant in its delivery. Duane Barry (Steve Railsback), an abductee that has been pushed to the edge and takes his doctor hostage is the star of the show. The major part of the episode revolves around Mulder attempting to negotiate with Barry in to letting his hostages go. Mulder is called in due to his experience with abductees, though he is the only one involved who actually believes Barry's claims. Duane Barry's insistence on speaking in the third person is an interesting touch which brings a sense of eeriness to his character. As the audience we're on the fence throughout most of the episode until it's made fairly clear, with the discovery of implants of foreign objects and tiny drill holes in his teeth that Barry's assertions are very likely true. The cliffhanger ending sees Barry appear at Scully's house to abduct her as she screams for Mulder's help. It's a great ending that first time viewers would unlikely see coming as it all seems to be wrapping itself up neatly until the final coda. The logic of the episodes conclusion however is problematic in that it seems like a rather large plot hole when you consider that Duane Barry neither interacts with or even hears about Scully during the hostage crisis. Yet he singles her out as his target and manages to find her address somehow. How he even knew of her existence or why he chose to kidnap her of all people remains a mystery. It's arguable that as an ex-F.B.I agent he may have been able to access Mulder's file but it's still questionable why he would take this route.

'Duane Barry' does a lot to further the idea that Aliens exist in this fictional universe and Mulder is positively captivated by Barry's story, he yearns to hear more while at the same time a small part of him is wary of being taken for a ride. He wants so desperately to believe that he is danger of being gullible, and he knows this as he questions Barry towards the end about whether he is making any of this up. Mulder doesn't want him to get shot but he knows it's possibly his only way out. It's also arguable that he feels a sense of obligation to his role as an F.B.I agent that he follow protocol, at least to some extent, and resolve the hostage crisis as there a lives at stake beyond his own. He resigns himself to the fact that no matter how willing he is to believe, the reality is that he is not in a position of power to peacefully bring an end to this situation. Scully is given possibly her most definitive piece of evidence regarding the existence of extra-terrestrials in the implant taken from Barry and she appears noticeably shocked and overwhelmed by the truth that may be contained within this alien object. Unfortunately she may never find out what that is as for the first time in the series we're left with a tantalising, to be continued…

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