The X-Files: Season 1, Episode 22

Roland (6 May 1994)
"The X Files" Roland (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,480 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 3 critic

When scientists at an aeronautics lab die under mysterious circumstances, the agents suspect a mentally challenged janitor may be the culprit.



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Title: Roland (06 May 1994)

Roland (06 May 1994) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Episode credited cast:
Mrs. Stodie
Kerry Sandomirsky ...
Garry Davey ...
Dr. Keats
Dr. Frank Nollette
Matthew Walker ...
Dr. Ronald Surnow
David Hurtubise ...
Barrington (as Dave Hurtubise)
Lisa Dole (as Sue Mathew)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Todd Cornborough ...
Young Roland Grable
Tyler Cornborough ...
Young Arthur Grable


Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate the murder of a jet propulsion scientist who was trapped in a wind chamber and sucked through a jet engine when the unit was activated. It isn't the first death among the scientists there with Arthur Grable having died in a accident several months before. As they gather evidence in the case the main suspect is the janitor, Roland, who is autistic but with a great facility for complex numbers. When Mulder finds a connection between Roland and the first dead scientist, it opens up any number of possibilities. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

6 May 1994 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Zeljko Ivanek was the first actor to read for the part of Roland. Chris Carter was blown away and decided almost immediately to cast him. See more »


Turbine engines will sustain heavy damage if an animal is sucked into them. An object as large as a full grown man would cause catastrophic damage and require serious repair before it was operational again. It does not seem that enough time had passed for that to happen in this episode. See more »


Mulder: You know, I had a dream last night. I dreamt I was swimming in this, uh, pool. And I could see my father underwater. But when I dove down, the water stung my eyes. And there was another man at the pool, watching me. He upset me. He was asking me questions I didn't want to answer. And I had to leave. I couldn't find my father.
See more »


References Beakman's World (1992) See more »


Roland Theme
Written by Mark Snow
Performed by Mark Snow
See more »

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User Reviews

Does this pitch somehow end with a way for me to lower my long distance charges?
19 April 2006 | by (Washington Terrace, Utah) – See all my reviews

The biggest downfall for Roland is that it is the fourth episode in season one that deals with the dead exacting revenge from beyond the grave through a living person. Not only that, but it follows right after 'Born Again' another episode of a similar theme. I was a bit tired of this theme by the time Roland rolled around. However, I still recommend Roland for viewing, and I'll tell you why.

The episode starts out with a cool, though unrealistic teaser. Nothing says gross like seeing someone get sucked into a jet engine (the subtitles for the episode even say (splat)). However, Dr. Surnow could have crouched by the side of the jet engine and avoid being sucked in.

I found it interesting the Mulder immediately asks about the handwriting, remarking that it is different. Well, there are three scientists working on this jet engine. Chances are that more than one style of handwriting would be on that board. It allows Mulder to make the connection to Roland, but it's shoddy writing.

The loud music in Dr. Keats' earphones doesn't seem to match his personality.

Roland has flashes of the future (how to murder people) and flashbacks of his past. I like how the color of the people are kind of a grayscale but the green coat of Roland's mother stands out. Roland then picks a green shirt to wear right after this flashback.

Of course, there is the classic visual of Roland killing a scientist by freezing his head in liquid nitrogen. The head shatters and Roland steps on one of the ears. *CRUNCH* The visual is completed with the chalk outline of the body and shattered head by the police.

The writing of this episode is its weak point, with minor annoyances throughout. What bugs me the most of all these is why Roland receives a future flash to kill his friend Tracy. Why would Arthur Grable want Tracy dead? It doesn't make any sense.

Now, what is really impressive about this episode is Zeljko Ivanek's performance as the mentally handicapped Roland. Kerry Sandomirsky is also good as Tracy, Roland's friend. If you didn't know these actors from other performances, you would think they were really mentally handicapped.

Roland plays us a tired theme for season one and the writing is inconsistent, but the guest acting is strong enough to save this episode and make it watchable.

15 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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