The List (The X-Files)
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"The List" is the fifth episode of the
third season Third or 3rd may refer to: Numbers *3rd, the ordinal form of the cardinal number 3 *fraction (mathematics), , a fraction that is one of three equal parts *Second#Sexagesimal divisions of calendar time and day, ¹⁄₆₀ of a ''second'', or ¹⁄ ...
of the
science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, Parall ...

science fiction
television series A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
''
The X-Files ''The X-Files'' is an American science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and ...
''. It was first broadcast in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
on the
Fox network The Fox Broadcasting Company (often shortened to Fox and stylized in all caps In typography, all caps (short for "all capitalization, capitals") refers to text or a typeface, font in which all letters are capital letters, for example: TEXT IN ...
on October 20, 1995. "The List" was written and directed by series creator Chris Carter. The episode is a "Monster-of-the-Week" story, a stand-alone plot which is unconnected to the series' larger
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...
. "The List" received a Nielson household rating of 10.8, being watched by 16.72 million people on its initial broadcast, and received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The show centers on
FBI The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, cre ...

FBI
special agents
Fox Mulder FBI agent Fox William Mulder () is both a fictional character and protagonist in the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox science fiction-supernatural fiction, supernatural television series ''The X-Files'', played by David Duchovny. Mulder's peers consi ...
(
David Duchovny David William Duchovny ( ; born ) is an American actor, writer, producer, director, novelist, and singer-songwriter. He is known for playing Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI agent Fox Mulder on the television series ''The X-Files'' and wr ...

David Duchovny
) and
Dana Scully Dana Katherine Scully, M.D. is a fictional character In , a character is a or other being in a (such as a , , , , or ). The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction of a "fictional" ...
(
Gillian Anderson Gillian Leigh Anderson, (; ) (born August 9, 1968 ) is an American actress. Her credits include the roles of FBI Special Agent Dana Scully Dana Katherine Scully, M.D. is a fictional character In , a character is a or other being in a ...

Gillian Anderson
) who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called
X-File In the fictional universe of the television series ''The X-Files'', an "X-File" is a case that has been deemed unsolvable or given minimal-priority status by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; these files transferred to the X-Files unit. The fil ...
s. Mulder is a believer in the paranormal, while the skeptical Scully has been assigned to debunk his work. In this episode, Mulder and Scully investigate a case where a death row inmate declares that he will be reincarnated and that as a result five men will die. "The List" was written and directed by Carter after the success of the
second season The second (symbol: s, abbreviation: sec) is the SI base unit, base unit of time in the International System of Units (SI) (French: Système International d’unités), commonly understood and historically defined as of a day – this factor d ...
episode "
Duane Barry "Duane Barry" is the fifth episode of the The X-Files (season 2), second season and 29th episode overall of the science fiction television series ''The X-Files''. It originally aired in the United States and Canada on October 14, 1994, on Fox Broa ...
". The art department of ''The X-Files'' was tasked with creating a death row set quickly, a feat which eventually caused the episode to go over budget. Several sequences necessitated the use of real maggots, a turn of events that was not popular with the cast, most notably with Anderson. "The List" later was nominated—and won—several International Monitor Awards.


Plot

Napoleon "Neech" Manley (
Badja Djola Badja Medu Djola (April 9, 1948 – January 8, 2005) born Bernard Bradley, was an American actor from Brooklyn, New York. Djola appeared in 47 films and TV shows during his career. Career Djola's breakout role was as Leon Isaac Kennedy’s ce ...
), a
death row Death row, also known as condemned row, is a place in a prison that houses inmates awaiting Capital punishment, execution after being convicted of a capital crime and sentenced to death. The term is also used figuratively to describe the state of ...
inmate at a
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
prison, is brought to the
electric chair Execution by electrocution, performed using an electric chair, is a method of Capital punishment, execution originating in the United States in which the condemned person is strapped to a specially built wooden chair and Electrocution, electrocu ...

electric chair
. Before he is executed, Neech proclaims that he will be reincarnated and avenge himself against five men who tormented him in prison. Shortly after the execution,
Fox Mulder FBI agent Fox William Mulder () is both a fictional character and protagonist in the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox science fiction-supernatural fiction, supernatural television series ''The X-Files'', played by David Duchovny. Mulder's peers consi ...
(
David Duchovny David William Duchovny ( ; born ) is an American actor, writer, producer, director, novelist, and singer-songwriter. He is known for playing Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI agent Fox Mulder on the television series ''The X-Files'' and wr ...

David Duchovny
) and
Dana Scully Dana Katherine Scully, M.D. is a fictional character In , a character is a or other being in a (such as a , , , , or ). The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction of a "fictional" ...
(
Gillian Anderson Gillian Leigh Anderson, (; ) (born August 9, 1968 ) is an American actress. Her credits include the roles of FBI Special Agent Dana Scully Dana Katherine Scully, M.D. is a fictional character In , a character is a or other being in a ...

Gillian Anderson
) investigate the prison after a guard is mysteriously found dead in Neech's cell. The agents meet the prison's
warden A warden is a person who has been entrusted with the oversight of something important to the community, such as a college, church, prison, wild game or firefighting. It may also refer to: Occupations, ranks and roles * Prison warden, the chief a ...
, Brodeur ( J. T. Walsh), who believes that Neech planned the guard's murder with someone on the outside before the execution. John Speranza, another inmate, believes that Neech has returned. When Scully explores the prison's
showers
showers
, she meets another guard named Vincent Parmelly (
Ken Foree Ken Foree (born February 29, 1948) is an American actor, best known as the protagonist Peter from the horror film ''Dawn of the Dead (1978 film), Dawn of the Dead'' (1978) and as Roger Rockmore on the Nickelodeon television sitcom ''Kenan & Kel'' ...

Ken Foree
). He claims that another prisoner, Roque (
Bokeem Woodbine Bokeem Woodbine (born April 13, 1973) is an American actor. He won a Black Reel Award and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and a Critics' Choice Television Award for his role as Mike Milligan on the Fargo (season 2), second season of ''Fa ...

Bokeem Woodbine
), is keeping a list of the remaining four victims. Later, the head of another guard, Fornier, is found inside a paint can. An examination of the head shows the premature appearance of larvae. The prison
coroner A coroner is a government or judicial official who is empowered to conduct or order an inquest An inquest is a judicial inquiry in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is t ...

coroner
tells Scully that the first guard's lungs were completely infested with the larvae, belonging to the
green bottle fly
green bottle fly
. Meanwhile, Mulder talks to Roque, who wants a transfer out of the prison in exchange for revealing the remaining three people on the list, but Brodeur refuses to let this happen. Brodeur later finds Fornier's headless body in his office. While searching Neech's cell, Mulder discovers evidence of his obsession with reincarnation. The agents talk to Neech's fearful
widow A widow is a woman whose spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially used as a term for a person's partner in an intimate relationship An intimate relationship is an interpersona ...
, Danielle Manley (April Grace), who is secretly seeing Parmelly. Roque is brought to the showers, where he is beaten to death by Brodeur after revealing he is the fifth person on the list. Brodeur puts the prison under
lockdown A lockdown is a restriction policy for people or community to stay where they are, usually due to specific risks to themselves or to others if they can move and interact freely. The term "stay-at-home" or "shelter-in-place" is often used for lo ...

lockdown
and tells Mulder that Neech had a violent history with all three victims. Mulder believes that Neech came back for revenge against the guards, but doubts that Roque was on the list. He requests that he be provided with the name of Neech's
executioner An executioner, also known as a hanging, hangman or Decapitation, headsman, is an official who executes a sentence of capital punishment on a legally Death sentence, condemned person. Scope and job The executioner was usually presented ...

executioner
, who turns out to be a volunteer named Perry Simon. The agents arrive at Simon's home to discover his decomposing body in the attic. Mulder confronts Speranza about the list, but Speranza only tells him that Roque was not on it. He claims to have seen Neech "big as life" outside of his cell. Based on phone records, Scully theorizes that Neech's lawyer, Danny Charez, may have engineered the murders with Speranza. The agents interview Charez, who tells them about Danielle's relationship with Parmelly; after they leave, Charez is suffocated by a resurrected Neech. Brodeur visits Speranza in his cell, and offers to have his
death sentence Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...
commuted in exchange for stopping the murders. Speranza takes the offer. That night, Parmelly visits Danielle, who has become agitated since Mulder and Scully have begun
staking out Staking may refer to: * Staking (manufacturing), a process for connecting two components * Poker staking, the act of one person putting up cash for a poker player to play with in hopes that the player wins * Construction surveying, Construction s ...

staking out
her house. The agents now suspect Parmelly to be behind the murders and leave to notify Brodeur, who asks that Parmelly be arrested. Soon afterward, Danielle wakes up to see Neech standing at her bedroom door. She grabs her gun and confronts Parmelly, thinking he is Neech's resurrected form. The agents and a police
task force A task force (TF) is a unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity. Originally introduced by the United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unoffici ...
arrive to see her shoot and kill Parmelly. Meanwhile, Brodeur—assuming that Charez and Parmelly were on the list—thinks Speranza has reneged on their deal and has him taken to the showers. Before Brodeur kills him, Speranza claims that one person remains on the list. Parmelly is blamed for the murders. The agents start to leave Florida, but Mulder soon pulls over. He remains frustrated, since Parmelly was on-duty during only one murder, and was not one of the three men who knew Perry Simon's
confidential Confidentiality involves a set of rules or a promise usually executed through confidentiality agreements that limits access or places restrictions on certain types of information Information is processed, organised and structured data ...
identity. He also points out inconsistencies in the actions of Parmelly and Roque, who was also assumed to be part of the plot. Mulder believes that Parmelly was not responsible for the deaths, and that Neech had indeed been reincarnated to exact his revenge. However, Scully convinces Mulder that the case is over, and that they should return home. Just then, Brodeur passes them in his car. Looking in his
rear view mirror A rear-view mirror (or rearview mirror) is a flat mirror in automobiles and other vehicles, designed to allow the driver to see rearward through the vehicle's rear window (rear windshield). In cars, the rear-view mirror is usually affixed to t ...
, he sees Neech, who attacks Brodeur and causes his car to crash into a tree, claiming his last victim.Lowry, pp. 99–101.Lovece, pp. 193–94.


Production

"The List" was written and directed by series creator Chris Carter, making it the second time he had directed an episode after
season twoSeason 2 may refer to: * Season 2 (Infinite album), ''Season 2'' (Infinite album) * ''2econd Season'' See also

* {{disambig ...
's "
Duane Barry "Duane Barry" is the fifth episode of the The X-Files (season 2), second season and 29th episode overall of the science fiction television series ''The X-Files''. It originally aired in the United States and Canada on October 14, 1994, on Fox Broa ...
".Hurwitz and Knowles, p. 57. For this episode, the art department was asked to create a "convincing" death row set "out of thin air".Hurwitz and Knowles, p. 76. The set took 10 days to construct, making it one of the season's more complicated set assignments. Construction of the set almost single-handedly caused the episode to go over budget, but the show was able to reuse the set in the season in the later season episodes " Teso Dos Bichos" and " Talitha Cumi". Unaffiliated television and film projects in the
Greater Vancouver Greater Vancouver, also known as Metro Vancouver, is the metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * ...
area also rented the set for use in their productions. For many of the scenes, the show's producers opted to use real maggotscreatures that series co-star Gillian Anderson later called among the hardest animals with which to work. Due to a number of issues, the show's design crew was not able to create a "full-body replica" of the first murder victim, so the portraying actor had to lay on an autopsy table while maggots were poured over his body. In other scenes, rice grains were used as maggot stand-ins. The elaborate car crash featured at the end of the episode was described by stunt coordinator Tony Morelli as "the most harrowing action sequence" during the show's third season.Lowry, pp. 101–03. Hoping to give the episode somewhat of a different look, the producers applied a green tint to the film in the post-production editing process.Edwards, p. 145. The executioner, Perry Simon, was named after an
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), c ...
executive producer that Carter knew.Lowry, p. 142. The part was played by Bruce Pinard, but he was uncredited. Joseph Patrick Finn, a producer on the show, played the prison chaplain.


Reception

"The List" premiered on the
Fox network The Fox Broadcasting Company (often shortened to Fox and stylized in all caps In typography, all caps (short for "all capitalization, capitals") refers to text or a typeface, font in which all letters are capital letters, for example: TEXT IN ...
in the United States on October 20, 1995. The episode earned a
Nielsen rating Nielsen TV ratings (commonly referred to as Nielsen ratings) are the audience measurement Audience measurement measures how many people are in an audience, usually in relation to radio listenership and television viewership, but also in relatio ...
of 10.8, with a 19 share, meaning that roughly 10.8 percent of all television-equipped households, and 19 percent of households watching television, were tuned in to the episode. It was watched by a total of 16.72 million viewers,Lowry, p. 251. and was later nominated for several International Monitor Awards, including nominations for best director, best editing, and best color correction. "The List" later won the award for best director.Lowry, p. 254–55. Story editor
Frank Spotnitz Frank Charles Spotnitz (born ) is an American television writer and executive producer, best known for his work on ''The X-Files'' and ''The Man in the High Castle (TV series), The Man in the High Castle''. Spotnitz is also the chief executive o ...
said of the episode, "I think this is a vastly underrated episode. I also think it was a very brave and different show to do and that it will weather the test of time very well. I think it was brave because there is not a single likable character - nobody you can root for. Mulder and Scully do not solve the case, and that is something I had been interested in doing for some time."Edwards, p. 147. Chris Carter was nominated for an award by the
Directors Guild of America The Directors Guild of America (DGA) is an entertainment guild A guild is an association of artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objec ...
for his work on this episode.Lowry, p. 103. "The List" received mixed to positive reviews from television critics. ''
Entertainment Weekly ''Entertainment Weekly'' (sometimes abbreviated as ''EW'') is an American monthly entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, ...
'' gave "The List" a B+, describing it as "standard but well executed". Zack Handlen, writing for ''
The A.V. Club ''The A.V. Club'' is an American online newspaper An online newspaper is the online version of a newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is oft ...
'', had mixed feelings about it, ultimately rating it a B-. He felt that "The List" embodied a bland stand-alone ''X-Files'' episode for its underdeveloped concept and script, with "attempts at drama" that had no depth, and "sideplots
hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men's beaver felt hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safet ...

hat
have so little effect on the main narrative as to be basically padding". Handlen however praised the cinematography and art direction, the performances of both Ken Foree and J.T. Walsh, and the final scene, but ultimately considered that "once you get past the set-design and cinematography, you end up with some good lines and a few scary moments, and that's it." Paula Vitaris from ''
Cinefantastique ''Cinefantastique'' is an American Horror fiction, horror, fantasy, and science fiction List of film journals and magazines, film magazine. History The magazine originally started as a Mimeograph machine, mimeographed fanzine in 1967, then relaun ...
'' gave the episode two stars out of four. She praised Carter's directing, but felt that the story suffered in comparison to the
second season The second (symbol: s, abbreviation: sec) is the SI base unit, base unit of time in the International System of Units (SI) (French: Système International d’unités), commonly understood and historically defined as of a day – this factor d ...
's "
Duane Barry "Duane Barry" is the fifth episode of the The X-Files (season 2), second season and 29th episode overall of the science fiction television series ''The X-Files''. It originally aired in the United States and Canada on October 14, 1994, on Fox Broa ...
", also written and directed by Carter, which was better at "unsettling ambiguity". She felt that there were too many characters for the audience to get to know them, and the lack of resolution would leave the audience "utterly frustrated". Other reviews were more critical. Author Phil Farrand wrote negatively of the episode, calling it his third least favorite episode of the first four seasons in his book ''The Nitpickers Guide to the X-Files.''
Robert Shearman Robert Charles Shearman, sometimes credited as Rob Shearman, is an English television, radio, stage play and short story writer. He is known for his World Fantasy Award-winning short stories, as well as his work for ''Doctor Who'', and his asso ...

Robert Shearman
and
Lars Pearson Lars Pearson (born 1973, in Iowa Iowa () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. ...
, in their book ''Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen'', rated the episode one-and-a-half stars out of five. The two positively critiqued Carter's directing, calling the entry "good looking" and noting that it was "a decidedly grisly hour of television." However, they derided the plot and called it "barely cooked", writing that the characters that are killed are wholly one-dimensional and are not fleshed out.Shearman and Pearson, p. 61.


Footnotes


Bibliography

* * * *


External links


"The List"
on ''The X-Files'' official website * {{DEFAULTSORT:List (The X-Files), The 1995 American television episodes Television episodes set in Florida The X-Files (season 3) episodes Television episodes about reincarnation