Fox’s The X-Files is returning to television in January, and the network has given fans a challenge to watch all 201 episodes of the series counting down to the release. We’ve taken the challenge and will post one of these articles every day leading up to the release of the new season. All nine seasons of The X-Files are available on DVD and are currently streaming. Both movies will be included in this countdown, and will be viewed following the season five finale and the season finale.
Conduit is the fourth episode of the first season. After two Mythology episodes and a Monster of the Week, we’re back to UFOs although it’s not strictly part of the Mythology. It does continue to set up a part of Mulder’s character that will become a major story element later in the series.
The FBI questions why Mulder wants a case made out of a tabloid headline, and both his superiors and Scully can see it’s because of the similarity between the vanishing of his sister and this case. It’s about a girl seemingly abducted by aliens and her younger brother who is being fed binary code from the TV set (cue Poltergiest’s “There’s heeeere”). There’s also a connection with their mother who spotted a UFO while a girl scout in her youth.
That code being fed to the brother is binary from a defense satellite, but when the papers are aligned together it forms a picture of his sister. The revelation of that is a lot like the “X marks the spot” scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, while stuff with the little boy wanting to run to the UFO will remind people of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Knowing what comes up in later seasons, Mulder’s pursuit of the case in Conduit does add more weight when the show seriously gets into the Samantha stuff. It’s not a Mythology episode, but it establishes more stuff about Mulder and his sister and at the end we do get to hear his hypnotic regression.