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  -   -  Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,205 users  
Reviews: 12 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

3 November 1996 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first cut was over an hour long, an excess length record for the series. Eighteen minutes had to be cut, which included two additional personalities of Melissa, and most of a third, Lily, which only makes a brief appearance in the final cut. 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

Duchovny's bad show
29 August 2013 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

As a practicing Buddhist, I am dismayed when Youtube Buddhists prattle on about reincarnation and nirvana. It's the same situation I encounter in this episode where reincarnation is central. A bad performance reducing spirituality to a postcard you can send home and feel good about the obligation expected of you.

Mainly this fails for me, for the same, recurring reason in the show. It's not enough in the world of the show for aliens to exist; for secret government to be conducting experiments and so forth. Every other thing often lumped in the 'conspiratorial' agenda has to simultaneously exist. Ghosts. Vampires. Mysterious forces of every sort. In this case, Mulder finds that in a previous life he was a Civil War soldier who died at Chattanooga.

Specifically this fails because Duchovny is a bad actor. He can pull off a wryness around the mouth, but not much else. In this, Mulder is fascinated by a woman who gives a great performance. She's a case of multiple personalities, which is an opportunity for her to give us three or four characters—a black man, a child, a Civil War nurse. It isn't great acting by my standards. But it must by the creators'. Histrionic. Lots of crying and twitching. She is at least intense enough.

Fascinated by her, Mulder puts himself under hypnosis to conjure past lives, the same as her. Needless to say that immediately one bubbles up. But he's so bad in giving it to us, it feels phoney. We don't buy it. Worse, we're dismayed that the show sings an elegiac song of memory and universal life instead of dwelling on the this-worldly untrustworthiness of its narrator.

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