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"The X-Files" Excelsis Dei (1994)"The X Files" Excelsis Dei (original title)

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Plot holes easier to see through than the "villains" themselves

1/10
Author: thepowell-1 from Canada
11 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow. So this is one dumb episode. I'll echo the previous review's complaint about the washroom, and add: who builds a 100% watertight bathroom? But the real reason I had to stop watching this episode (and I mean, I literally just didn't finish it) was one terrible, embarrassingly bad line of dialogue. Specifically: in answer to how the old man might head upstairs, Mulder is assured: "The elevators haven't worked in this place for years." Yes, I completely believe that in a home for the elderly, with numerous wheel-chair bound and otherwise handicapped residents, the building would have no working elevators. What, do they carry everyone up and down every set of stairs? Lazy writing (again) fells the X-Files.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"Good. Because I put it back in that drawer with all those other videos that aren't yours."

6/10
Author: D. Williams from United States
12 December 2010

"Excelsis Dei" is a better-than-average episode that could have easily been a season two gem if not for a muddling storyline. Dana Scully finds the case, creepy settings are abound, ghosts and invisible rapists are on the loose, and the script is rounded out by an excellent guest cast. Unfortunately, Paul Brown's story is a little too ambitious for these high spots to beggar the myriad plot strands that undermine them.

It doesn't help that this comes on the heels of a particularly confusing mythology episode. Like "Red Museum" before it, "Excelsis Dei" dabbles in a lot of unsettling social themes: rape, abuse of the elderly, abuse of women, the encroachment of immigrant cultures - and twists them into a bizarre knot of conjunction and happenstance. A nurse at the Excelsis Dei convalescent home (Teryl Rothery) is strapped to a bed and violated by an unseen presence. A male Asian nurse (Sab Shimono) dispenses presumably illicit pills to residents that have invigorating effects. A creepy mushroom garden is found in the facility's basement. An elderly woman wheels the corridors conversing with ghosts. But where does it all come together? As one might imagine, this episode makes for some great imagery. The drab grays and greens of the building's snaking corridors lends to the eerie quality of the script. The scene where Mulder and Nurse Charters hall-surf out of a flooded bathroom is particularly delightful. Also, Gillian Anderson has some great lines of dry humor. Although there aren't a whole lot of intimate character moments between the two agents, their chemistry continues to shine.

Unfortunately this episode leaves the viewer with too many questions and too few answers. We don't know whether or not Hal Arden traveled out of his corporeal boundaries to rape Nurse Charters. We don't know how the magic mushrooms evoke the presence of spirits (or are they simply hallucinations?). Where is Leo dragged off to in act four? Ambiguity can and has worked in plenty of episodes of The X-Files, but it's hard to excuse a script that fails to offer answers to any of its questions. Still, "Excelsis Dei" is creepy and enjoyable. 6 of 10.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Quite infuriating

7/10
Author: svh5 from Iceland
9 September 2008

I just want to talk a little bit about the orderlies' characters. What a horrible bunch of people in this episode.

I have personally worked in a nursing home. It's a thankless, badly paid job where you often have to work long hours. But I'm certain that if an orderly ever behaved as horribly toward the residents as the orderlies in this episode he or she would be fired on the spot. I shudder to think that in some places it must be like that.

I've been an X-Files fan since I was 12 years old. I used to have nightmares about it. No other show has given me the creeps like that. A milestone in TV history. Excelsis Dei is a solid episode from season 2. The problem with it is probably that the buildup is much better than the denouement. The climax is a bit of a letdown, it just peters out. Solid episode, none the less.

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Innovative and creepy episode

8/10
Author: Halfang from London
18 October 2006

This is a refreshing chapter from the series. Since "Shadows" (1x05), any "invisible" monster has appeared.

In this chapter, Mulder and Scully have to investigate a nurse's rape, apparently made by an invisible being. Their investigations will lead to some deeply-saved secrets, involving some of the residents, and workers, too.

Apart from the main tagline, we can see Scully fully recovered from Duane Barry's series. In fact, she is leading the investigation, while Mulder is more reticent to do so.

It has great moments, panic scenes, and scary plot. Also, the typical paper exchange makes this chapter really a "almost" must see. Not the best one, but sure a great, worth watching episode.

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Too confusing to be scary...

4/10
Author: Sanpaco13 from Sandy, UT, United States
12 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Excelsis Dei the Limerick:

Nursing home resident's rooms

Are now haunted due to them taking 'shrooms

A resident Hal

And Stan his room pal

Will be soon be the orderly's doom.

Ugh. I remember when I first saw this episode finding it somewhat scary mainly because I get easily freaked out by ghost stories. However, after watching this episode again and seeing all the plot holes I find it more irksome. I always knew that there was something that bothered me about it but had never thought about it too hard. I think the main problem I have is that the effect of the 'shrooms is never really explained at all. I mean they say that the 'shrooms are used to communicate with ancestors which explains why Dorothy could see the ghosts of the dead residents, but how does this explain Hal being invisible or Stan being extremely agile, or Leo being an overnight Picasso? None of this makes any sense.

Some other things I disliked about the episode were first of all, all of the orderlies were jerks other than Gung. None of them seemed to care about the residents at all. Even Nurse Charters. I mean seriously who cares if a couple of old guys want to stay up after 9 watching a fight? I do not condone rape in any sense at all but I don't think I was all that sympathetic to Nurse Charters because she did indeed seem like the type of person that would "concoct this story to get out of a job she hates". The other two, Upshaw and Tiernan, I don't really know what these guys were doing working there anyway. I mean they obviously hated it (and with good reason) but they were also only getting paid $5.50 an hour. I mean maybe if they were just putting in time so they could have something for their resumes to get something better later on that's the only good reason I can think of. And then you have Ms. Dawson who didn't seem to know anything about what was going on in the place that she was supposed to be in charge of. I mean she was never there during any of the attacks, she didn't even know about Upshaw not showing up for work, she insists, "No one is mistreated here". Well maybe not directly by you but sitting in your office, blind to the mistreatment by the orderlies around you is definitely a form of mistreatment which we like to call neglect. Another problem: Dorothy is incredibly annoying. Finally, it is never explained why the ghosts just suddenly disappear. In fact it makes it look almost as if Stan has something to do with it because as soon as he is sedated is when this happens.

Anyway, there were still a couple things I did like about this episode. First, I enjoy the fact that Scully is the one taking this case even though it just seems like she is doing so purely out of a we-girls-gotta-stick-together attitude. I think the only problem with this is that we never do find out exactly why Scully was drawn to this case and later on it ends up being Mulder who solves the case anyway. I also enjoy the final scenes where the outbreak of haunting goes on in the home. Very creepy. I like the water in the bathroom scene too but only because I have always wanted to try this. Also I think the 'shroom garden is pretty cool and surreal.

Anyway overall I think the episode is just too confusing and unclear to really enjoy. I give this episode a 4 out of 10.

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Hot nurses and sex-starved wheezing geezers

7/10
Author: westside-surfer from Okinawa, Japan
10 August 2014

A nurse is raped, she claims, my an invisible horny old dude. Right off the bat, it's funny and disturbing. The X-files team investigates the old folks homes which kicks off a series of geezers kicking the bucket. Dark tones crammed into a claustrophobic, spooky setting reminded me of John Carpenter and Nightmare On Elm Street: The Dream Warriors.

The story nicely develops the traditional "haunted house" story by combining elements of alternative medicine and shamanism. Excelsis Dei seems to continue on the last episode's concern of using experimental substances on people; though, whereas the last episode is more science- fiction, this episode takes the paranormal route.

I'd mark this one as a "good episode." The only problem was that by trying to include the science fiction, while this was obviously a supernatural tale, the plot was spread a little thin. They should have concentrated on the fear brought on by the break down of logical reality and science. Luckily, the episode holds strong by interesting guest actors who were quite disturbing. (Wheelchair bound little old ladies talking to empty hallways will creep anyone out.)

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6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Whatever tape you found in that VCR, it isn't mine.

5/10
Author: Muldernscully from Washington Terrace, Utah
24 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Excelsis Dei is an average, slightly confusing episode. What makes this episode unique though is that Scully is the one that finds this case, not Mulder. Another thing that makes this episode unique is that Scully is the one that wants to hang onto the case after Mulder has apparently given up. It's nice to see a reversal of roles from time to time for these two. The opening line by Mulder after the teaser as quoted above in the summary is classic. This episode has several good Mulder/Scully witty lines that makes this episode acceptable to watch. Now, a few pet peeves with episode. After the water in the bathroom spills into the hallway, there is way too much water flowing down the hallway. Later, Dorothy sees Leo getting dragged away by ghosts, but he is fine at the end of the episode and nothing is mentioned of it. Why show it then? Even though the x-files leaves a lot unexplained, I felt this episode left too much unexplained, even for an x-file. Was it the ghosts, or was it Hal and Stan? Anyway, this episode is still decent to view, at least for the Mulder/Scully dialog.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The X-Files: Excelsis Dei

3/10
Author: Diamhea from United States
25 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Excelsis Dei is a seriously convoluted and misguided episode that marks one of the few low points early in The X Files' existence. Mulder and Scully travel to a Massachusetts convalescent home to investigate a case of entity rape after a nurse; in the words of one of the residents, gets "rogered by a ghost". The setup is simple enough and engaging early on, but soon gets in over its head after a story arc concerning medicinal mushrooms covertly being administered to the residents by an orderly rears its head.The viewer doesn't feel sorry for the residents as they start dropping one by one from overdosing on the mushrooms after stealing more than they can handle. Furthermore, the effects of the mushrooms are not explained satisfactorily. It makes Leo an overnight Picasso, Stan regains a measure of his mobility, and Dorothy just becomes incredibly annoying; spending the second half of the episode yelling nonsense at the ghosts that only she can somehow see. Don't even get me started on the watertight bathroom and the hilariously unbelievable lack of emotion from everybody when they realize Nurse Charters and Mulder are stuck inside during the episode's climax. Eventually and without explanation the ghosts just leave, the residents revert back to their normal selves and you are left to wonder what the point was to any of it all. Not recommended.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

OK, did anyone else hear this line?

6/10
Author: withanx86 from Illinois
27 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Early on in the episode, when Hal and Stan are arguing about the shroom pills, Stan accuses Hal of ratting them out, to which Hal replies, "Oh f*#k off, Stan!". Now, this episode is really convoluted and disorganized, but this to me was the weirdest part. How did this slip through? Why was it written in, when in other episodes the swearing was limited to pretty much just damn and hell? Its really been bothering me. Am I crazy, or did someone say "F*#k" on The X-Files?

As for the rest of the episode, it is both one of the creepiest and dumbest I have seen so far. The "ghosts", if that is what they are, are a frightening entity, especially how they manifest themselves to the old woman. The way everything is laid out throughout the episode, however, makes this very hard to appreciate. They try to tackle many controversial elements without focusing on any one of them completely; the references to Asia's respect of ancestors and the elderly are especially abnormal. And how do the mushrooms help with that? In the end it makes very little sense and ties up none of the mystery. Despite this however I found the episode very enjoyable. I really just can't get that one line out of my head. "Oh f*#k off, Stan!". This, in my opinion, is the true mystery of the episode.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Love to hate this episode

4/10
Author: BethSnyder6 from United States
9 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What starts out looking like a promising episode soon turns into one big headache for the viewer. We are introduced to the staff of a nursing home who seem to hate their jobs, treating their patients like children, and to their patients, many of whom are mean and lewd to their female staff. We also meet Gung, the Asian orderly immigrated from some unnamed land where a plant never before seen in the West is giving the elderly patients a second chance with their debilitating conditions, with some supernatural side effects.

For the sake of argument, let's pretend these magical, mysterious mushrooms from the Mystical East (because who doesn't love a little Orientalism?) really do reverse Alzheimer's and grant one the ability to channel the souls of the dead. Let's also pretend that, in 1994, claims of sexual harassment in the workplace really do go ignored. Finally, let's pretend that orderlies get to boss nurses around, and both get to speak disparagingly to their elderly patients without consequence.

Still, I can't root for anyone in this episode. The staff are detestable, except for the Malaysian orderly providing the mushrooms, who seems in over his head and is therefore nothing short of pathetic. The patients are unlikable from the get-go. Even the director of the home seems more bureaucratic than anything else.

By all means, skip this one.

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