The X-Files: Season 1, Episode 18

Miracle Man (18 Mar. 1994)
"The X Files" Miracle Man (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,662 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 4 critic

The agents investigate a ministry led by a man whose son possesses the power to heal, and to kill, with a touch of his hand.

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Title: Miracle Man (18 Mar 1994)

Miracle Man (18 Mar 1994) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Sheriff Maurice Daniels
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Samuel Hartley
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Reverend Calvin Hartley
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Leonard Vance
Walter Marsh ...
Judge Hamish Purdy
Campbell Lane ...
Hohman's Father
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Margaret Hohman
Howard Storey ...
Fire Chief
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Lillian Daniels (as Iris Quinn Bernard)
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Beatrice Salinger
Alex Doduk ...
Young Samuel
Roger Haskett ...
Deputy Dennis Tyson
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Storyline

The FBI is called in to assist Sheriff Maurice Daniels who thinks that a young preacher, Samuel Hartley, is responsible for several deaths. Since he was a young child Hartley has reputedly been able to cure the sick by the laying on of hands. As a boy he revived someone who had been badly burned and pronounced dead at the scene. He and his stepfather, Calvin Hartley, now run a revival-like tent ministry but Samuel's attempts at healing has resulted in several deaths. As far as Sheriff Daniels is concerned, Samuel is a murderer and wants to get the proof to arrest him. Mulder isn't so sure and wonders if there might be other forces at work. Written by garykmcd

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18 March 1994 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Producer R. W. Goodwin felt that the greatest difficulty was finding enough Vancouver-area actors who could portray a convincing Southern US accent, so they hired a dialect coach to prevent the cast from sounding "like they were coming from fifteen different parts of the South". See more »

Goofs

(at around 15 mins) The caption says "Kenwood County Courthouse" but the building shown is labeled "Dekalb County Courthouse". It is a building in Auburn, Indiana that has distinctive U's that look like V's on the inscription. See more »

Quotes

Mulder: I think I saw some of these people at Woodstock.
Scully: Mulder, you weren't at Woodstock.
Mulder: I saw the movie!
See more »

Connections

References Woodstock (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I think people are looking hard for miracles...so hard that maybe they make themselves see what they want to see.
27 September 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The monster-of-the-week episodes from season one were, perhaps more so than any subsequent season, a mixed bag. Their quality was not determined so much by innovation ("Ice" was primarily an update of John Carpenter's The Thing and "Beyond the Sea" an abbreviated version of The Silence of the Lambs), but by the personal stakes the main protagonists had in them. The two aforementioned episodes were integral in the evolution of Mulder and Scully's relationship, and as such succeeded far more than say, "Space" or "Genderbender," which were not.

"Miracle Man" doesn't cleanly fit in either category, but it could be argued that it falls closer to the former. Like the earlier episode "Conduit," the plot dips in to the overarching MacGuffin of the search for Samantha Mulder. The two agents arrive in Tennessee to investigate Samuel Hartley, a faith healer whose touch has recently become a nail-in-the-coffin for his reverend father's congregation members.

The religion-based X-Files are seldom considered to be fan darlings, perhaps due to both religious sensitivity and their higher-level of open-endedness. Carter and Gordon's script does an admirable job of avoiding both of these potential pitfalls. Although the characters themselves are not fully able to piece together the puzzle by the end, it is fairly obvious to the viewer of Hartley's legitimacy. If anything, Mulder and Scully's confusion is too over-played, especially given Mulder's aversion to more pedestrian explanations. Perhaps this is part of his reaction to the visions of his sister, which although appropriate in the context of the episode, tend to throw off the pacing in parts.

I was trying to find a way to score this episode an 8 because it is certainly in the upper echelon of the season one catalog. For some reason I don't find it quite as captivating as several other episodes, but Gordon and Carter's first joint script is still a solid X-File that proved the show could move into more spiritual territories without meandering into ham-handed ones. Some excellent guest acting and a truly creepy villain played by Dennis Lipscomb make this a near-classic. 7 out of 10.


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