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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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 ... See full summary »



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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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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


At 20mins 51secs, the film makers perform a Dolly Zoom in-camera effect on Mulder. See more »


The police chase involves a Buick Century as the suspect's car. However, when Mulder asks the alleged owner (Dr. Berube) about his car, they mention that it is a Ciera (Oldsmobile), a different car altogether, though it was built on the same platform. What's more, the Buick that is shown is clearly from the late eighties (1988 at the latest) judging from the headlight style. Scully and Mulder determine that one of the two identical cars belong to a rental agency and it is extremely unlikely that a 6-year old (or more) car would have been kept in a rental agency's fleet. See more »


Guard: [Scully is attempting to bluff her way into a top secret project in order to rescue Mulder] Name?
Scully: Dana Scully.
Guard: Company or institution?
Scully: [steadily] Federal government.
Guard: Project password?
[she gazes around the room, stalling for the answer]
Guard: *Project password*?
Scully: [a leap of faith] Purity control.
Guard: [long pause as he types something on a keyboard. The door unlocks] Log in, please.
See more »


Referenced in Breaking Bad: Pilot (2008) 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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