The X-Files: Season 4, Episode 5

The Field Where I Died (3 Nov. 1996)
"The X Files" The Field Where I Died (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,427 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 2 critic

Agents Mulder and Scully investigate a suspicious religious cult, which inadvertently draws Mulder into recalling a past life, in the field where he died.



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Title: The Field Where I Died (03 Nov 1996)

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Episode credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Doug Abrahams ...
Melissa Rydell Ephesian
Mighty Man
BATF Agent
Les Gallagher ...
Agent Riggins
Donna White ...
The Therapist


When authorities receive a telephone tip from someone named Sydney, the FBI and ATF stage a raid at Temple of the Seven Stars, a religious cult the anonymous caller says is abusing children and has a cache of firearms. Mulder feels that he's been there before and has a powerful sense of deja vu. They arrest the cult leader Vernon Ephesian and several of his followers including one of his wives, Melissa Rydell Ephesian. They don't find the arms cache however and Assistant Director Skinner thinks they have less than a day to get some hard evidence or they will all be released. Melissa seems to be suffering from multiple personality disorder and has a personality known as Sydney, the person who made the call. In fact she has several personalities including a Southern belle who tells Mulder they were there for a Civil War battle. Mulder thinks she's recounting a past life. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

3 November 1996 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The poem Mulder reads at the beginning and end is from "Paracelsus" by Robert Browning. See more »


(at around 1 min) Mulder is in an interrogation room with Melissa. In the shot from behind her, Mulder is holding her hand. The camera angle switches to a shot from the door (behind Mulder) and his hands are nowhere near Melissa's. The camera switches back to being behind Melissa and he is holding her hand again. See more »


Mulder: Dana? If... early in the four years we've been working together... an event occurred that suggested... or somebody told you that we'd been friends together... in other lifetimes. Always. Would it have changed some of the ways we looked at one another?
Scully: Even if I knew for certain, I wouldn't change a day... Well... maybe that flukeman thing. I could have lived without that just fine.
See more »

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User Reviews

"I was here. As were you. This is the field where I watched you die."
9 September 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Field Where I Died," perhaps more than any episode from the fourth season, is one that fans either loved or hated. Loved because it was, as someone aptly put it, a poetic departure from the norm, or hated for its contradicting the mythology and the vocal fanbase of a yet- to-blossom Mulder and Scully relationship.

Many rank this among the lesser of the show's efforts, but this reaction is exaggerated. There is some beautiful writing to be found here from James Wong and Glen Morgan, two of the show's writers who spear-headed the series' character development department more than once with fan favorites like "Beyond the Sea" and "One Breath." This particular episode does not serve the same function per se, but maintains a similar emotional momentum as Mulder confronts his past lives and reencounters the soulmate he lost, Kristin Cloke's Melissa Ephesian, a member of a suicidal religious sect.

One of the strengths of this episode is its memorable acting on the part of Cloke, a talent Morgan and Wong had and would continue to work with on other shows such as Millennium. Though the portrayal of a dissociative identity disorder sufferer is largely exaggerated for spectacle's sake, Cloke is dynamic and charged in her multiple roles. Without a suspenseful plot for support, her acting manages to drive the episode from start to finish.

There is a distinct lack of an "X-Files" feel right from the get-go, calling into question why Mulder and Scully were dispatched to investigate Ephesian's cult in the first place. Other inconsistencies have already been noted, namely the impossibility of the Cigarette-Smoking Man living in WWII as a Nazi soldier, and that Melissa was insinuated to be the soulmate of Mulder rather than Scully, a revelation that blatantly opposes the events that unraveled in later seasons.

"The Field Where I Died" is not a great episode, nor is it an ideal representative of the show's usual motif. It also tends to drag a bit near the end of its second act. This is an episode best recommended to be viewed outside of the series' over-arching continuity, with enough journeyman acting to keep it fresh and some insightful character moments from Mulder and Scully.


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