"The X-Files" Irresistible (TV Episode 1995) Poster

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This is a case that actually happens in real life
Juan Sarmiento23 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
By the time this episode ended, the X-Files had truly established how utterly brilliant it could get and why it was going to become one of the most well-known shows of all time.

This episode was both extremely emotional and very disturbing. Probably the second most disturbing episode of the show besides Season 4's 'Home'.

What makes this episode so unique is the realness of the case. I know that Donnie isn't exactly 'normal', I mean, a couple of people saw his demon face in this episode. But even so, this is a case that actually happens in real life.

Although it's not the most perfect episode, it is my favorite so far. Gillian did a truly magnificent job showing the Scully character at her most vulnerable. The final scene was just beautiful.

FIVE stars for sure.
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There's no way out girlie girl...
Sanpaco1328 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Irresistible the Limerick:

Evil is embodied in Donnie

Whose fetish was to love a dead bonnie

He cuts off nails and hair

And gives hookers a scare

And took Scully to the house of his mommy.

This is truly one of the front runners for what has grown into a fascination in our society of shows about criminal psychology and serial killers. Granted the fascination with serial killers was big in the 70's but it wasn't as prominent as a venue of entertainment on television. Irresistible is also a front runner for that other great Chris Carter show Millennium which is (like Criminal Minds) about a different serial killer every episode. The episode begins with a very good teaser. The use of the song Gymnopedie No 1 in the funeral is a great choice as a haunting yet soothing element. Then we meet Donnie Pfaster. At first he seems just kind of weird but we soon find out that he really is a freak. The final shot in the teaser is a great way to leave a kind of signature on the episode and is used again in the sequel later in season 7. Scully is quite disturbed by this case understandably. I mean who wouldn't be? This episode is really I think one of the first moments that I began to see Scully as more than just a character on a show I liked. And Donnie. Could you really ask for a creepier character? The scariest thing about this episode is the fact that there is nothing paranormal about Donnie and what he does. And there are people like him out there. I think one of the scariest things in the episode is the lady who he goes to deliver the groceries to who lets him into her house cheerfully and tells him that they always leave the backdoor open like he is one of the family. Little does she know that if Donnie hadn't been caught her and probably more likely her daughter would have been killed. I find two elements of the episode that really kind of sum up what Chris Carter was trying to do with this episode in my opinion. The first is what Donnie's professor is teaching as Donnie stares at his wouldbe victim.

TEACHER: The necessity of the story, the myth or the legend in a culture is almost universal. We think of myths as things that entertain or instruct, but their deeper purpose is often to explain, or make fanciful, wishes, desires or behavior that society would otherwise deem unacceptable. Myths often disguise thoughts that are simply too terrible to think about, but because they are conveyed in a wrapping of untruth - the story - these thoughts become harmless fiction.

Take for example stories that we recite for children, such as Snow White or Alice in Wonderland. The subtextural themes where the Queen orders "off with her head", or the prince wakens Sleeping Beauty with a kiss, are what Freud would describe as death/wish imagining.

To me this sounds like a kind of commentary on the fact that we watch these things on television as a form of entertainment, but we often tend to look past the fact that these things but they are real. I don't know that it is good or bad. Its just a fact. And this episode's goal really is to make us feel vulnerable to reality and Scully is the mechanism through which this is done.

The second part that explains the episode is Mulder's final commentary.

MULDER'S VOICE OVER: The conquest of fear lies in the moment of its acceptance. And understanding what scares us most is that which is most familiar, most common place. That boy next door, Donnie Pfaster, the unremarkable younger brother of four older sisters, extraordinary only in his ordinariness, could grow up to be the devil in a buttoned-down shirt. It's been said that the fear of the unknown is an irrational response to the excesses of the imagination. But our fear of the everyday, of the lurking stranger, and the sound of foot-falls on the stairs. The fear of violent death and the primitive impulse to survive, are as frightening as any x-file, as real as the acceptance that it could happen to you.

The message is pretty clear. I like the episode. 10 out of 10.
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Though I've never quite understood salt and pepper shakers myself.
Muldernscully6 April 2006
Irresistible is indeed irresistible. You cannot do a casual examination of the X-Files without including this episode in your list.

Donnie Pfaster is as creepy of a villain as you'll ever find on t.v. or anywhere else. The fact that he appears to be just an ordinary guy adds to the creepiness level.

Although the case does not appear to be paranormal at first glance, a paranormal element does develop. At various times throughout the episode, even in the teaser, Donnie appears in the form of a demon.

Not only is this episode about the agents investigation of a death fetishist, it also focuses on Scully's insecurities about herself and her job. It is very odd to see Scully appear squeamish around the desecrated corpses, yet she has done numerous autopsies before this. These two stories flow side-by-side seamlessly. Mulder expresses his concern and support for his partner as she continues to shut him out.

The resolution of this episode powerfully shows Scully's reliance on Mulder as partner and friend. After watching this episode, you will find it "irresistible" not to view it again and again.
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ron geremy16 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you divide the X-files into those which deal with extra-terrestrial phenonema and those which deal with the unexplained events and evil here on earth,then Irresistible falls into the latter category.Indeed it could be considered as one of the 'monster'episodes,except here instead of a Jersey Devil or a Flukeman,the monster is human.An evil predator. Donnie Pfaster looks unremarkable on the outside.Though tall and ruggedly handsome he is not someone who would demand a second look should you pass him on the street.However all is not as it would appear at first with this guy.This becomes apparent very early in the episode when he is dismissed from his job at a funeral parlour,after being caught cutting the hair of a young dead girl.After several dead bodies are uprooted and desecrated,in particular hair and fingernails are missing,M&S are called in to investigate and to catch whomever is committing the crimes,before he graduates to killing victims for the purpose of mutilating them afterwards,which they suspect he will do. This episode is bleak and distressing as you would expect watching an evil perverted killer at work would be.However all the same it is riveting viewing.Nick Chinlund really has this character down to a tee.He talks slowly and deliberately,he stares intensely at the pretty young women he sees and he moves stealthily,someimes seeming to appear from nowhere.The idea of having him switch jobs during the episode was a good one by the writers,as real life predatore are often known to drift between jobs.The producers also show him appearing as a demonlike form in silhouette to emphasise his evil nature,but this seems a bit gimmicky and unnecessary to me.Oh and btw,i don't want to spoil the episode for you,but lets just say this would not be one of Scully's favourite X-files!
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One of the Few Episodes I Can't Watch Anymore
loudprincess29 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'm probably not the only X-Files junkie that watches re-runs of the show on TNT or Sci-Fi Channel. Late at night, curled up under my blankets, I love finding new things in episodes I haven't seen in a long time. But, I've come to the conclusion that I can't watch this episode anymore simply because it's too well-done, too creepy, and it causes major insomnia.

The actor playing serial killer Donnie Pfaster is a little too convincing in this one, so much so, that when I see him on Law & Order or some other show, I catch myself gasping. Donnie Pfaster has a grotesque obsession with fingernails and hair, and he's compelled to worship both, at the expense of local girls in his path.

****Spoiler**** There's a follow-up episode to this one, though the title escapes me at the moment, and it's equally nerve-wracking to watch. If you're not a fan of episodes where Scully is left vulnerable at the hands of a murderer, this one is not for you, and neither is the sequel episode. ****Spoiler****

However, if you crave tension and scary moments, this might be your cup of tea. I think I'll be content watching Humbug or Clyde Bruckman instead.
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Some people collect salt and pepper shakers. The fetishist collects dead things.
D. Williams24 June 2010
As I had mentioned in a review for another episode, the best stand-alone X Files are the ones that integrate the emotional reactions of the main characters and provide the viewers with greater insight into the minds of agents Mulder and Scully. Even when the subject material requires a suspension of judgment (an example would be season 4's "Unruhe"), the unreality of the circumstances becomes irrelevant when the protagonists have a personal stake in the matter. When they manage to pull it off convincingly and in a way that demands empathy from the viewers, they make for engaging storytelling. "Irresistible" is one such episode, and once again it is Gillian Anderson who steals the thunder, portraying Scully's anxieties and terrors in a convincing fashion that fits in logically within the overarching plot of the series (a little more than a month following her abduction). The premise of the story is less concerned with the usual paranormal phenomena than it is the atrocities wreaked by a man driven by horrible primitive urges - in this case, Donnie Pfaster, who has a disturbing affinity for the hair and fingernails of the deceased. Despite the eternal creepiness of the crimes, the episode is driven more by Scully and her struggle to deal with the magnitude of them, which becomes so consuming that she is forced to retreat to DC and seek the assistance of a therapist (who returns for a similar scene in "Elegy") before she herself can confront her demons.

This episode intrigues me because I think at it's core it has to do with facades. Under one we can find the merciless desires of a demon made flesh, under the other is a fragile human grasping at straws for a sense of security. When you factor in the realism of the story and the fact that it could actually happen it makes it even more frightening. While I think "Irresistible" would have worked better had it been aired a few episodes earlier, it is certainly one of the more memorable episodes from this particular season. I originally wanted to give it an 8, but my better judgment is telling me to give it a 9/10.
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Whose hand is that?
Josip Broz16 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Recently I enjoyed watching some old episodes from The X Files. In the 13th episode of the 2nd season named Irresistible I discovered what is for me a directing mistake and a funny thing for the fans of the series.

At the end of the episode, when Scully fights Pfaster and they fell down the stairs, an unknown hand enters the screen from the left, dropping or grabbing something. The funny thing is that in the scene no one was supposed to be in the house beside the two. Mulder enters the house with a police squad a moment later, which proves the fact.

I wonder whose hand is that? And what was it really doing in the scene?
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The Devil you Don't
XweAponX30 March 2012
The Creep Factor for this 'Sode is beyond all boundaries of disgust. Oh, "Friday the 13th - The Series" had some good disgust, but this is way beyond the boundaries of that series even.

The X-Files could be scary, Truly scary, at times and this is one time they succeeded - Almost Too Well. This episode is exactly on the level with two of season 1's creepo-eps: "Squeeze" and "Toombs." But where Toombs acted out of necessity, this guy here is the personification of what he is revealed to be.

Nick Chinlund ("Toombs" from "Chronicles of Riddick") is Donnie pFaster, who at first seems like a nice clean-cut young man. But he's not, we don't know what he is. His true form is shown, at first to the Mortician then later to Skully. Which leaves the viewer at first questioning what's happening.

But then we see what this guy does: We see it by it not being shown to us. Chris Carter in this ep experiments with pure suggestivity... (suggestiveness?) It is suggested what pFaster is, and our minds and imaginations fill in the blanks.

And my mind filled in quite a few blanks.

This is one of the early Skully-Centric eps, and the story is somehow related to her Faith. Also, pFaster seems to be attracted to Red-Haired Girls, and Skully is the perfect "Girly Girl" - He wants her, Bad.

If only to add to his late-night diner repast.

It is not shown if pFaster eats his victims, it is merely hinted at. Only in the later episode "Orison" does Mulder suggests this guy is doing a Hannibal.

The Devil you Don't Know is the one that's got to be looked out for. Could be anybody - Or AnyThing.
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Hair and nails, girly girl.
n-town-smash18 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Irresistible" is dark, bleak, and nasty, the story of a "death fetishist", mutilating the dead post mortem as a means of gratification, before later going looking for the dead themselves. All well and horrible, but then he fixates on Scully.

Make no mistake: this is psychological, rather than showy. Apparently the demonic images surrounding the killer - in which, at times, he morphs into another person - were added to the show very late on in the proceedings, when they realised that there was nothing technically paranormal about the story. The agents are called in to investigate the mutilations as evidence of UFOs, something which Mulder dismisses off-hand early on, and other than that, our killer is just a bad, messed-up person. It's frustrating, because without those images, the show works fine as a stand-alone, and we know the characters well enough by now for them to do a show about them, without having to crowbar some paranormal element into it.

The point being made, all the way through, is that the human "monster" can be as dark and disturbing as any ghoul or ghost. Personally... I'm not so sure it comes across. It seems a little unfair to criticise Scully's reaction to the desecrations of the bodies - her fear and disgust is palpable and perhaps intended to indicate an innate understanding of the evil which Mulder is able to dismiss - but the scheduling of the show precludes the depiction of a real monster. Pfaster is horrible, sure, but no more horrible than a lot of the monsters the show has depicted (personally I found the guy from "Young At Heart" a lot creepier). I'm not sure if there was something screwy with the sound, but he always sounds slightly too loud when he talks, which is more disconcerting than a lot of his more ghoulish behaviour.

The "sequel", surprisingly, works a lot better, so this is worth watching if only to make that better. And it's not a bad little episode. But a few little flaws - the unnecessary morphing being a major one - undermine it really badly.
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It tries to make a point...
Casey Smith26 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
So, as far as I gather, this episode is trying to make a statement about how real-life villains are very bad people, and this is just as scary as the paranormal. The "paranormal" imagery associated with the villain, Donnie, is purely symbolic. He's actually just a normal human being.

The problem is that I just don't buy it. Donnie is simply not scarier than the paranormal. He's not even that scary at all. As a guy who seems confused and weird rather than malicious, likes dead girls and hair, and has only newly become a murderer, he's significantly less disturbing than most well-known real-life serial killers (eg: he's like a VERY watered-down version of Ed Gein). Which is why Scully's horror at seeing nothing but bodies with hair and nails cut off (something not too different from a normal personal hygiene routine), before anybody has even been killed or hurt at all, is completely out of character. She sees things a hundred times worse in almost every other episode and hardly flinches.

So, as Comic Book Guy says... "worst episode EVER!"
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