The X-Files: Season 1, Episode 23

The Erlenmeyer Flask (13 May 1994)
"The X Files" The Erlenmeyer Flask (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 9.1/10 from 1,700 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 4 critic

Deep Throat tips Mulder to a critically important case involving a missing fugitive and the cloning of extraterrestrial viruses.



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Title: The Erlenmeyer Flask (13 May 1994)

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Episode cast overview:
Dr. Anne Carpenter (as Anne DeSalvo)
Simon Webb ...
Dr. William Secare
James Leard ...
Captain Roy Lacerio (as Jim Leard)
Ken Kramer ...
Dr. Terrance Allen Berube
Phillip MacKenzie ...
Jaylene Hamilton ...
Uniformed Cop
John Payne ...


Deep Throat contacts Mulder in the middle of the night to give him some important information. A man successfully evaded police when at the end of a high speed chase, he jumps into the river and promptly disappears. One of the officers did manage to shoot but the blood he leaves behind is green. Mulder follows the clues and it leads him to information that he only dreamed existed. It does mean death for someone however and perhaps the end of the X Files investigations. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

13 May 1994 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


After the agents meet Deep Throat in the empty warehouse, Scully returns to Georgetown University. The establishing shot shows the outside of the building from the Prospect Street Entrance. This near-exact view can be found in Google Streetview, but the entrance sign is now blue and white instead of light brown and black. The street view location is the corner of Prospect St NW and 37th St NW (DC 20057). See more »


In the early part of the police chase, we see the suspect's car crossing a railroad track; a CN (Canadian National) logo is clearly visible on the approaching locomotive. The chase supposedly takes place in Maryland and the CN's network, even in its American network, does not go close to Maryland. See more »


Mulder: They're shutting us down. It's over, Scully.
Scully: What are you going to do?
Mulder: I'm... not going to give up. I can't give up. Not as long as the truth is out there.
See more »


References The Silence of the Lambs (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Trust No One
6 October 2008 | by ( – See all my reviews

"The Erlenmeyer Flask" was written as both a season and series finale, I believe, as the ratings for much of season one were far from the dazzling level of popularity much of "The X-Files" experienced and the writers/producers were unsure if they were going to get another season just yet, so this is sort of a real finale for all the mythology episodes in season one rather than a first part of two/three sort of thing like "Anasazi" but oddly enough is also the birth of what the X-Files mythology arc would actually become later on. This is the first episode in which we really see the extent of the conspiracy, and it is the first we see of the human/alien hybrids and some other iconic imagery.

There are lots of good observations on this comments page to which I have nothing to add, so I'll just say that this is a really phenomenal script to open the water-cooler aspect of "The X-Files", packed with all sorts of catchphrases, iconic moments, and intrigue, and a fair amount of excellent character interaction. "Trust... Trust No One". This one is an action-packed, massively entertaining, and particularly iconic episode.



Season 1 Review: Although many disagree with me, many also agree that season one is far from the best season, and actually lacking in many ways. Not only is it dated and lacking in the sort of brilliant visual flair many of the later episodes had, but it is also quite repetitive and unimaginative, with numerous episodes ending up as middling anthology show sort of stuff, hardly as good as it could have been.

That said, as awkward as much of this season is, there are some brilliant episodes here. "E.B.E." and "The Erlenmeyer Flask" are really great early mythology episodes, "Beyond the Sea" is a stunning character piece and phenomenally involving, and features a brilliant guest performance from Brad Dourif, "Darkness Falls" is one of the most enjoyable pure horror/thriller episodes, and one of the most atmospheric, the Glen Morgan/James Wong episodes "Ice", "Squeeze", and "Tooms" are all a lot of fun. There are some really rotten episodes as I mentioned earlier though: "Born Again", "Space", and "Ghost in the Machine" are especially tiresome.

Season One is hardly an indication of what's to come. There are flashes of brilliance but much of it lacks confidence and skill (although not talent, mind you, even some of the worse episodes), and looks dated and cheap.

Average Rating: 6.33/10

10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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