Over the past five seasons, FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, have investigated paranormal incidents as part of their work on the X-Files. Many of their investigations have brought them into the domain of a shadowy government conspiracy intent on covering up the existence and influence of aliens. This labyrinthine intrigue, seemingly involving many levels of the government and a number of different stakeholders, both human and alien, has grown increasingly convoluted over the course of the series, with each new revelation either raising new questions, or directly contradicting previously-supplied information. Does the conspiracy arc of "The X-Files" maintain its consistency, despite the often contradictory revelations? Can the disparate elements of the conspiracy arc be placed in an analytical framework, allowing an insight into the narrative's internal logic?
This analysis will examine the conspiracy arc up to the final episode of the fifth season ("The End"), and provide theories on the relationships between the various stakeholders and the ultimate outcome of the efforts of both the shadowy government conspiracy and the aliens they are trying to conceal.
The central authority directing all aspects of the shadow government's clandestine efforts has been called 'The Majestic Consortium', which was referred to by the Well-Manicured Man as 'a consortium representing certain global interests'. According to UFO conspiracy lore, the Majestic Project was founded in 1947 by President Truman after UFO wreckage and alien corpses were recovered near Roswell, Arizona (this also served as the basis for the now-defunct NBC series "Dark Skies"). The Majestic Consortium seems to be an offshoot of this initial effort, as revealed in "Anasazi", in which a data tape was created by The Thinker when he hacked into a Department of Defense (DoD) database and downloaded the 'MJ documents'. This episode also introduced the 'Council of Elders', a group of men that met in a room on 46th Street in New York, with numerous international connections (if you recall, government officials of various nationalities were concerned over the theft of the MJ documents).
The Majestic Consortium is led by The First Elder (TFE), though he has often been referred to as The Fat Man or the Gravelly-Voiced Man. He seems to be a high-placed government official, and has been seen directing both covert intelligence and military operations (such as the 'sanitization' of Dr. Ishimaru/Zama's experiments in "731"). He is also ruthless in defending the integrity of the Majestic Consortium (he ordered the execution of Mr. X in "Herrenvolk" and the attempted assassination of Cigarette-Smoking Man in "Redux II").
The Well-Manicured Man (WMM) and Cigarette-Smoking Man (CSM) are two other members of the Majestic Consortium, and they report directly to TFE. These two equally ranked members have often been seen at each other's throats over the course of the series, and it may be that they see each other as obstacles in attaining greater influence within the Consortium.
A number of other men round out the ranks of the Majestic Consortium, including the Second Elder (the bald man who smokes a cigar), the Third Elder (the wrinkled and skinny man), and the rest, an Asian man, two bearded men, and a balding man.
Despite the international influence and reach of the Majestic Consortium (such as the placement of Consortium operatives in the United Nations, and enforcement of "U.N. Resolution 1013" that calls for all nations capturing an alien to exterminate it), several incidents have shown this alliance to be fragile at best, with several member countries pursuing their own agendas at the expense of the Consortium. In the two-parter "Nisei" and "731", former World War II scientist Dr. Ishimaru/Zama attempted to steal the results of his alien-human hybridization work and ship it back to Japan. In "Tunguska" and "Terma", the Majestic Consortium had its secret Black Cancer research project shut down by the Russians. Another example would be found in "Piper Maru", in which the French unsuccessfully attempted to recover a UFO from beneath the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, it seems that the Majestic Consortium, despite being mandated to represent global interests, may be withholding information on alien technologies from its various member countries.
The Majestic Consortium administers several initiatives for the recovery and study of alien technology. A number of secret projects have been seen throughout the five seasons of "The X-Files", and they can be classified under one of the following headings:
This branch of the Majestic Consortium is under the authority of the United States Air Force (USAF). In a number of episodes involving the recovery of crashed alien spacecraft, the Blue Beret recovery teams (probably named after the Blue Teams of UFO lore) have been seen sporting USAF logos on their uniforms. Their job is to secure the crash site, provide a cover-story (such as the chemical spill cover used in "Fallen Angel"), recover all alien technology and E.B.E.'s (extraterrestrial biological entities), and direct the 'artifacts' to the respective divisions of the Majestic Consortium for further study. To date, they have been seen chasing after an invisible alien in "Fallen Angel", transporting a captured E.B.E. in "E.B.E.", wiping clean all evidence of alien contact at the Arecibo Radio Telescope in "Little Green Men", and recovering a shot-down UFO from New York's Lake Scandaga in "Max". This division is also probably responsible for carrying out U.N. Resolution 1013, which calls for any member country to exterminate any E.B.E.'s that they have captured.
They're here, aren't they?
Mr. Mulder, they have been here for a very, very long time.
This division may have been under the direct supervision of the late Deep Throat, Mulder's informant from the first season. Deep Throat has admitted to executing E.B.E.'s in the past (when he was with the CIA in Vietnam), and has been seen executing one as late as 1991 after losing a coin toss to CSM (if you can believe what you see in the seemingly-apocryphal episode "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man"). Furthermore, if one examines the pattern of Deep Throat's hints to Mulder, he seems to have been diverting Mulder away from any covert operations related to the recovery of alien technology. In "Deep Throat", Deep Throat warned Mulder to stay away from Ellens Air Force base, where alien technology was supposedly being tested by the Air Force. He also deliberately misled Mulder in "E.B.E.", citing that there "still exist some secrets that should remain secret". However, Deep Throat did not seem to have any qualms about providing information about the other ongoing studies within the Majestic Consortium, such as the Litchfield experiments in "Eve", the DoD's Artificial Intelligence research in "Ghost in the Machine", and the alien-human hybridization experiments in "The Erlenmeyer Flask". Therefore, it seems, for whatever reason, Deep Throat used Mulder as part of a scheme to expose the human experimentation that the Majestic Consortium was involved in, while at the same time, protecting his own interests in the operation that he oversaw, UFO Recovery Operations (and possibly UFO Technology).
The UFO Technology branch of the Majestic Consortium operates out of Ellens Air Force Base ("Deep Throat"), though there may be other test sites, such as the infamous Area 51. Like the UFO Recovery Operations, this branch seems to be administered by the USAF, possibly under the guidance of the late Deep Throat. Its mandate is to take recovered UFO technology and use it for creating the next generation of military aircraft.
The enemy sees an American recon plane, they start shooting. They see a flying saucer from another galaxy? They hesitate.
In addition to the strange aircraft that Mulder saw in "Deep Throat", the efforts of this division may have been seen in "Jose Chung's From Outer Space", where it seemed (depending on how you interpret the events of this episode) that USAF pilots, dressed in alien outfits, were flying UFOs for the purpose of gathering military intelligence. Furthermore, the abducted teenage girl, when placed under regressive hypnosis, remembered seeing men in USAF uniforms questioning her.
According to UFO lore, Garnet is the codename for the security division of Majestic-12. Similarly, in "The X-Files", the Majestic Consortium has its own internal security division, a 'multi-national black-ops unit', which is in charge of cleaning up the mess left behind in the event of a leak, which has been happening with regular frequency thanks to the efforts of Agents Mulder and Scully. The agents of Garnet have been seen on numerous occasions, including the many nameless Men in Black that Mulder and Scully have run into during the course of their investigations, and the various hitmen that have killed witnesses and family members (such as Alex Krycek). According to the Lone Gunmen, Garnet recruits are sent to the School of the Americas for training (this training facility, based in Ft. Benning GA, is the same place where the Contras supposedly received counter-insurgency training from the U.S. Army).
Everything you've seen here is equal to the protection we give it. It's you who've acted inappropriately.
The Men in Black (MiB) of UFO lore are described as mysterious visitors dressed in black suits, black fedora hats, and sunglasses who have visited and intimidated witnesses into recanting their alleged alien encounters (two 'classical' MiBs are seen in "Jose Chung's From Outer Space"). However, in the world of "The X-Files", they have become synonymous with any shady characters that do the dirty work for the Majestic Consortium. Dozens of nameless MiBs have been seen attacking Mulder and Scully in "Deep Throat", chasing after The Thinker in "Anasazi", machine-gunning down Mulder and Scully in a West Virginia mine ("Paper Clip"), and chasing Mulder and Scully out of a missile silo in "Apocrypha". The 'regular' Garnet operatives include: The Crewcut Man (who shot Deep Throat and handed the recovered alien fetus to CSM), Alex Krycek (who killed Mulder's father and Scully's sister, before being revealed as a Soviet double agent), Luis Cardinal (who helped Krycek kill Melissa Scully, and also shot Skinner), The Red Haired Man (who killed two Japanese spies and almost killed Mulder before being done in by Mr. X in "731"), Scott Garrett (who tried to cover up the crash of Flight 549 and killed Scully-obsessed Agent Pendrell in "Tempus Fugit" and "Max") and the Grey Haired Man (who framed Skinner for murder and killed Mr. X).
You should be the one to die.
Why? Look at me. No wife. No family. Some power. I'm in the game because I believe what I'm doing is right.
Right? Who are you to decide what's right?
Who are you? Who indeed, Agent Mulder? Who indeed?
Throughout the series, one man has consistently been involved with destroying evidence and covering up the truth-- Cigarette-Smoking Man, which most likely makes him the man in charge of this branch of the Majestic Consortium. Time and time again, the First Elder, or his representatives, have called upon CSM to take care of various security issues, from squirreling away the implant recovered from alleged abductees in "The Pilot", to having an assassin executed and Gibson Praise captured in "The End". In the first season, CSM was an enigmatic figure without any dialogue, lurking in the background, quietly observing the activities within the FBI. However, as the series developed, so did CSM, who became more than just a stock villain. According to actor William B. Davis, who plays CSM, the real hero of "The X-Files" is CSM, a man who passionately believes what he is doing is right, and must contend with a young hot-head (Mulder) that goes about trying to disrupt the natural order of things. Despite the despicable acts he must carry out, CSM genuinely believes he is achieving the greater good by keeping the activities of the Majestic Consortium out of the public eye, thereby avoiding the societal chaos that would arise from their admission. For example, in "Musings of a Smoking Man", he reveres the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, however, he sacrifices this respect when he allegedly shoots the civil rights leader, because he believed that it was the greater good of his country:
I respect King, he's an extraordinary man, but he's talking like a Maoist.
By the third season, a few more wrinkles had been added to CSM, where he was shown reporting to a higher authority, the Majestic Consortium. It is in the episodes of "The Blessing Way" and "Paper Clip" that we see CSM being motivated by more than his idealism-- he is trying to also protect himself from his superiors, especially over the MJ-12 fiasco. As the relationship between the Majestic Consortium and CSM developed further, a parallel was developed between CSM and Mulder-- both are impulsive men who are willing to bend the rules to achieve their objectives. Whereas Mulder will do anything to find the truth about the existence of aliens, CSM will do anything to maintain the status quo, and hence deny the existence of aliens. Both men have also been called up for their unauthorized actions-- Mulder having his career threatened on numerous occasions, and CSM having his actions questioned by the Majestic Consortium ("Apocrypha") and being the victim of an attempted assassination attempt ("Redux II").
Life is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates. So you're stuck with this undefinable whipped mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there's nothing else to eat. Sure, once in a while there's a peanut butter cup or an english toffee but they're gone too fast and taste is fleeting. You end up with nothing but broken bits of hardened jelly and teeth shattering nuts. If you're desperate enough to eat those, all you got left is an empty box filled with useless, brown, paper wrappers.
We predict the future, and the best way to predict the future is to invent it.
This branch of the Majestic Consortium was most likely headed up by Mulder's father, Bill Mulder. From what has been revealed so far, Operation Paper Clip (also referred to as 'Purity Control') was started in the late 1940s in order to create an alien-human hybrid, with the assistance of Axis scientists. These alien-human hybrids have been promoted as a means for developing a hardier type of soldier, resistant to conventional, chemical, biological, and possibly alien weapon. However, other evidence has suggested that the Majestic Consortium is also attempting to speed up human evolution, in order to survive a possible colonization effort by the aliens. The ongoing research in this division can be classified into two sub-projects: gene-splicing and genetic record-keeping.
Gene-splicing involves the mingling of alien and human DNA by various means. One method is to introduce alien DNA into an existing host, with the objective of incorporating the new DNA into the host's cells. This was seen in "The Erlenmeyer Flask", where Dr. Berube used gene therapy to introduce alien DNA into human subjects via the use of virus-infected bacteria. This resulted in hybrids that were resistant to cancer, possessed heightened strength, and could survive in conditions that normal humans could not. In "Red Museum", Dr. Larson injected cattle and the local children with growth hormones derived from alien DNA, which made them grow up stronger and more aggressive. Another victim of gene therapy may have been the teenagers from the pilot episode-- when Mulder and Scully exhumed the body of Ray Soames, one of the local teenagers that had died mysteriously, his body had transformed into something alien-like.
People around here've changed... gotten mean.
Another means by which hybrids could be created is from scratch-- in other words, from fertilized ovum. The results of Dr. Klemper's work, mentioned in "The Blessing Way", were most likely the bodies that Mulder found in the buried train car in Arizona (referred to as 'the merchandise' in the Majestic files). These hybrids had many alien-like features, including large misshapen heads, large eyes, and long fingers. Mulder also noted that the bodies also had smallpox vaccination scars (more about this later).
The more recent efforts of Dr. Ishimaru/Zama in "Nisei" and "731" created two types of hybrids. The 'older model' hybrids were still distinctively alien in appearance, but were certainly more human-looking than the ones created by Dr. Klemper. These hybrids, locked away in an abandoned leper treatment facility, were subjected to various experiments that inflicted 'terrible burns', perhaps testing their ability to withstand extraterrestrial weapons (if you can remember, many humans who have come into contact with aliens during the series have suffered from terrible burns, such as in "Fallen Angel" and "Piper Maru"). All of these 'older model' hybrids were killed and buried in mass graves in "731", including one which was destroyed after Dr. Ishimaru/Zama attempted to smuggle it out of the United States via Canada.
Experiments were done on innocent human subjects for years, operating out of a leper colony. This secret railroad was being used to conduct these tests all around the country. What I'm saying Mulder is that there is no such thing as alien abduction. It is just a smokescreen happily created by our government to cover up the biggest lie of all. Only guess what?
Those experiments never ended.
The 'new model' hybrids were human in appearance, and only differed in their biochemistry. These hybrids were created by the supposed government 'radiation experiments', in which thousands of women were abducted and had their ova removed in mobile operating theaters. One of the victims of this hybrid-creation program was Agent Scully, who disappeared for several weeks during the second season ("Ascension"). Her experience, which has gradually been pieced together over the course of the series, was probably typical for the victims of this program. During her abduction, Scully's ovaries were placed in a state of hyper-ovulation with high-energy bursts of radiation, and the ova were collected for future use. Unfortunately, the procedure also resulted in sterilization. Before being returned, Scully's memories of the event were replaced by a series of false 'abduction' memories, which were similar to the false memories that were planted into Duane Barry's mind, who was led to believe that 'Greys' had performed medical procedures on him, when in actual fact they were Dr. Ishimaru/Zama's experiments. Scully also had a microchip implanted into the base of her neck, which upon closer examination originated from a Japanese factory. Though these microchips could be removed, the victim developed a rare and untreatable brain tumor not long after ("Memento Mori"), which could only be reversed by re-implantation of the microchip ("Redux II"). The purpose of these microchips was three-fold: to serve as a means of tracking the abductees, to prevent the abductees own immune system from creating an immunological response (cancer) to the physiological changes that the abductees underwent during their procedure (after Scully's abduction, 'branched DNA' was found in her bloodstream), and for summoning abductees for further procedures (as seen in the various gatherings of abductees in "Patient X", which was supposedly related to the Majestic Consortium's colonization efforts).
The extracted ovum, after combination with alien DNA, was then implanted into a host womb, possibly even that of the abductee, where it was either allowed to be carried to term (such as in the elderly-women residents of the Dimsdale Retirement Home in "Emily"), or were removed after a period of time to continue gestating in fluid-filled tanks (such as those seen in "The Erlenmeyer Flask").
They've gotten away with it, Mulder. And what they can't cover they apologize for. Apology has become policy.
The end-result of the 'newer model' hybrids may have been seen in "Memento Mori", "Christmas Carol", and "Emily". In "Memento Mori", several clones, known as the Kurts, exhibited many properties of the other alien clones that have been seen on the series: they could only be killed by a puncture to the base of the neck, and their bodies decomposed readily into a greenish ooze upon death. The Kurts were working for the Majestic Consortium in a fertility clinic, harvesting the ova obtained from the railcar procedures (Mulder found a sample of Scully's ova in a vault), and claimed to have been the direct progeny of these experiments. Despite their ties to the Consortium, the Kurts stated that their loyalties were to their 'birth mothers' (abductees), and their goal was to prevent their unnecessary deaths. In the two-parter "Christmas Carol" and "Emily", Scully learned that she had a three-year old daughter, Emily Sim, who was a direct end-product of the hybridization experiments on her ova. However, Emily exhibited alien physiology (toxic blood), which necessitated her having regular injections of an unknown green substance. Unfortunately, despite Scully's best efforts, Emily lapsed into a coma and died, and all evidence of the ova harvesting operation was quickly destroyed by two shapechanging aliens.
Mulder and Scully have inadvertently come across vast genetic databases during their investigations of the X-Files. The first was found in "Paper Clip", where thousands of medical files were found stored in an abandoned West Virginia Mine ("Lots and lots of files", as Scully noted). These medical files formed a comprehensive DNA database for every man, woman, and child born since the 1950s, and were secretly collected during smallpox inoculations (SEP, or Smallpox Eradication Program). The basis for the cataloging of each individual was uncovered in "Talitha Cumi", when Mulder and Scully met the Jeremiah Smith clones who were employed at several social security offices across the country. A search of a computer belonging to one of the Smiths found reams of coded data, based on the nucleotide sequences of the cowpox virus, which serves as the basis for the smallpox vaccine. Each one of the millions of Americans catalogued in this database was identified by having been 'tagged by a unique genetic variant of the cowpox virus.
This extensive genetic data was collected as part of Bill Mulder's work on Paper Clip, but it is unclear for what purpose. It has been suggested that the Jeremiah Smiths were finding identities for the colonizing aliens (allowing them to integrate into human society without detection), or finding suitable hosts (based on the compatibility of their DNA) for the alien-human hybridization experiments.
So what's the business with the bees, anyways? When the bees were first seen in "Herrenvolk", they were being cultivated by a colony of alien clones to pollinate a crop of alien plants. These seemingly genetically-engineered bees were both aggressive and lethal, requiring the sting of only one bee to kill a telephone line repairman. Furthermore, during the bees' attack on the Alien Bounty Hunter (ABH), the stingmarks resembled smallpox sores.
The next appearance of the bees was in "Zero Sum", when the Majestic Consortium conducted a field test in a schoolyard full of children in South Carolina. However, in this appearance, the lethality of the bees had diminished from "Herrenvolk", as the unwitting test subjects suffered multiple stings without succumbing. However, like the attacks witnessed in "Herrenvolk", the lesions that erupted were the result of smallpox. When the children were brought to a local hospital, U.S. Military personnel took over their treatment, though it is unknown what sort of treatment was administered.
I can only guess, but I think that somebody is trying to engineer a method of delivery... for a disease that has killed more people throughout history than any contagion known to mankind.
Therefore, it seems that the bees were being used as a delivery system for the smallpox virus, though the virus in this case was considerably more virulent, as the test subjects developed full-blown cases of the disease in a short time period. Whether the altered smallpox virus was being introduced into the bees via the alien plant that it has been seen pollinating, or by some other means, is unclear. It is also unclear what the field test was actually testing. On initial inspection, it would seem that the Majestic Consortium was testing the ability of the bees to deliver the smallpox virus, but given the military involvement following the test, they could have easily have been testing the effects of the new smallpox virus on the subjects, or the efficacy of a vaccine to counter the effects of this new smallpox virus.
This most recent branch of the Majestic Consortium was first introduced in "Tunguska" and "Terma". Until her untimely death at the hands of a re-activated KGB operative, this ultra-secret division (according to WMM, only six members of the Majestic Consortium were aware of it) was headed up by Dr. Bonita Charne-Sayer, an accomplished virologist, especially with respect to the smallpox virus. This project centered on a mysterious alien substance called the Black Cancer, which was excavated from a crater at Tunguska where an extraterrestrial object, possibly an alien spacecraft, impacted in 1908. Black Cancer has been found to be a bio-hazardous material with certain life-like qualities, able to enter its victims under its own locomotion. Once the Black Cancer has entered its victim, it attacks the pineal gland, creating a paralytic or comatose state. This toxic property of the Black Cancer was supposedly used by the Soviets to create a bio-weapon, which was sold to the Iraqis and used against American soldiers during the Gulf War.
Wake the Russian Bear, and it may find we've stolen its honey.
Mulder and Scully first came into contact with this substance when, based on a tip from Krycek, they intercepted a diplomatic pouch arriving from Russia ("Tunguska"). Inside was a rock sample from the Tunguska crater that contained a sample of the Black Cancer, destined for the laboratory of Dr. Bonita Charne-Sayer. After Mulder traveled to Russia to investigate the source of the mysterious rock sample, he was imprisoned in a gulag where he was used as a test subject and exposed to the Black Cancer. However, because of a pre-exposure injection of smallpox vaccine, Mulder seemed to suffer no ill effects from the experiment.
Once the Soviets became aware of the theft of their 'secret weapon', retired KGB operative Vassily Peskow was sent to shut down the Majestic Consortium's Black Cancer Inoculation Project, under the direction of Comrade Arntzen (sleeper spy Krycek's codename). Once in the United States, Peskow single-handedly wiped out all of the Consortium's research on the Black Cancer by killing Dr. Charne-Sayer, confiscating the rock samples from Tunguska, and killing all the project's test subjects, senior citizens in the Harrow Convalescent Home who had unwittingly been used by Dr. Charne-Sayer.
In "Patient X" and "The Red and the Black", the issue of the Black Cancer vaccine was raised again. Expecting to be double-crossed by the Majestic Consortium, Krycek deliberately infected Mulder's latest informant, Marita Covarrubias, with the Black Cancer, and offered a 'vaccine' in exchange for his own freedom. WMM was hopeful that the vaccine provided by Krycek would mean 'resistance to the alien colonists', but after using it on Covarrubias, it was found to be useless.
Over the course of the series, Mulder and Scully have had a number of alleged alien encounters, with beings of various shapes and sizes. Each type of alien 'race' encountered seemed to possess their own agenda, which was either congruent or contrary to those of the Majestic Consortium. The major 'races' of aliens encountered on "The X-Files" so far (with direct bearing to the overall conspiracy arc, that is) can be classified as 'The Greys', 'The Shapechangers/Clones', and 'The Black Oil'.
The Greys are your pop-culture aliens, with the short bodies, large bulbous heads, grey skin, large black almond-shaped eyes, and slender fingers. This type of alien has been associated with the typical abduction phenomenon-- bright lights, abduction, medical experiments, and missing time. They have been seen on numerous occasions, including Mulder's alleged 'close encounter' in "Little Green Men" at the Arecibo Radio Observatory, during an alleged execution of a Grey in the possibly-apocryphal "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man", scurrying past Scully through the abandoned West Virginia mine in "Paperclip", and in the mid-air sequence of "Max", in which the Greys took back an energy source that had been stolen from them.
There have been other incidents in which the Greys may have been involved, though they were never actually seen. One such event would have been "Fallen Angel", in which an invisible alien attempted to outrun a UFO recovery operation, armed with a weapon that could burn its adversaries with radiation. The alien in this case was most likely a Grey in some sort of light-bending armor, as the images seen through the 'eyes' of the invisible alien were always from an inferior perspective. The captured alien in "E.B.E." was never seen either, but it too was most likely a Grey, as Deep Throat had mentioned that he had encountered the same type of alien before, and in the 1991 flashback of "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man", Deep Throat was seen executing a Grey.
There have also been incidents where the Greys encountered were actually false memories implanted by the agents of the Majestic Consortium. Duane Barry thought he had been abducted and experimented on by the Greys, however, it was revealed later on that he was actually a victim of Dr. Ishimaru/Zama's railcar experiments. In "Jose Chung's From Outer Space", Lt. Schaeffer and Major Vallee were dressed up as Grey aliens as part of a covert mission to abduct two teenagers. Upon hypnotic regression, Chrissy, one of the abductees, first remembered being questioned by a room full of Greys, however, deeper regression revealed that it was a smokescreen for an USAF interrogation.
Given these observations, it seems that the Greys are the exclusive target of U.N. Resolution 1013, the shoot-to-kill policy. The USAF, or its equivalent in other treaty-abiding countries, has consistently attacked Grey spacecraft and their occupants. Operation Falcon hunted down the invisible alien after its spacecraft crashed in "Fallen Angel"; the Iraqi Air Force shot down a spacecraft in "E.B.E." and its pilot was taken prisoner by the Majestic Consortium, and Flight 549 was downed inadvertently when the USAF downed another spacecraft that was attempting to abduct Max Fenig in "Tempus Fugit". Finally, in "End Game", the nuclear submarine USS Allegiance, operating beneath the Arctic ice cap, was instructed to destroy an anomalous sonar contact. However, the sonar contact, which turned out to be an alien spacecraft, ended up disabling the submarine, and a US attack fleet was sent in response to finish the job. As it will be explained later, in the context of the conspiracy arc, this alien spacecraft was also probably piloted by Greys.
Most enigmatic of the various alien races are the Shapechangers/Clones, whose allegiances have seemed to flip-flop over the course of the series. When they were first introduced in the second season ("Colony" and "Endgame"), a number of identical-looking abortion doctors were being murdered across the country. Mulder's investigation turned up the Gregors and the Samanthas (alien-human hybrid clones of his missing sister), who were the progeny of two visitors who arrived on Earth in the 1940s. It was their plan to genetically merge with humans to colonize the Earth, once the carelessness of humanity had made the planet inhospitable for human. However, before Mulder could learn more, a shapechanging alien, known as the Alien Bounty Hunter (ABH), burned down the clinic and killed all the clones. This shut-down experiment may ultimately have succeeded-- in "The End", the young chess grandmaster Gibson Praise was found to have clairvoyant abilities as a result of heightened activity in an area of the brain called the 'God Module'. It was Mulder's belief that this evolutionary leap was made possible through genetic manipulation of the boy's DNA, or by combining it with alien DNA. However, before this conjecture could be confirmed, CSM delivered the young boy to WMM, thereby eliminating some threat that the boy posed to the Majestic Consortium.
Throughout the course of the series, we have been given glimpses of the clones and the shapechangers on numerous occasions, revealing their telltale characteristics. The clones, according to a Samantha clone, were the result of alien hybridization experiments aimed at eliminating the identical look of all their end products. They are extremely resistant to injury and illness, and can only be killed by puncturing the base of the neck with an 'alien stiletto'-- a handheld weapon with a retractable puncturing extension. Upon death, their bodies dissolved into a green ooze. More clones were seen in "Talitha Cumi" and "Memento Mori", though this time, it seemed they were under the direct employ of the Majestic Consortium. Another type of clone was also seen under the control of the Consortium in "Herrenvolk"-- the drone. These clones, which were 'little blond boys' and young Samanthas, worked on the alien crops in the Canadian colony. They were 'low-grade' clones, meant to be used only for manual labor, and not possessing any language skills.
The Shapechangers, which includes the ABH and the Jeremiah Smiths, are distinguished from the Clones by the ability to change their appearance at will, a blood chemistry that is toxic to humans upon exposure to air, and the ability to heal injuries and illnesses. However, like the Clones, they can be killed by a puncture wound to the base of the neck. The Jeremiah Smiths, who were part of the Majestic Consortium's Genetic Record-keeping and Delivery Systems projects, began to question the colonization plan, and attempted to expose the activities in the Canadian colony. However, this was soon stopped by the Consortium, and its agent, the ABH. And when CSM asked the ABH to heal Mulder's ailing mother, it was also revealed that the Alien Bounty Hunter was in the direct employ of the Consortium.
The Black Oil is a sentient entity that arrived on Earth in 1945, after its ship was shot down over the Pacific Ocean by a squadron of US Army Air Corps P51 Mustang fighters. The US Submarine Zeus Faber was sent to recover the downed spacecraft that same year, but the Black Oil sabotaged the operation by possessing the Zeus Faber's captain. However, when the crew turned on the possessed Captain, the Black Oil slinked back into the ocean, where it remained undisturbed until 1995.
With a consistency that resembles crude oil, this alien entity is able to enter the bodies of human beings or other hosts and control its actions, and the telltale sign of a Black Oil infestation is a black cloudiness in the host's eyes. Once inside, the Black Oil has the ability to access its host's memories-- while it inhabited Krycek in "Apocrypha", it used Krycek's possession of the MJ data tape and Krycek's former association with CSM to cut a deal for the return of its spacecraft, which had been carted off by the Talapus ("Nisei"). It also seems that the Black Oil is inherently radioactive and is able to use its radioactivity as a weapon, as it did on the crew of the French salvage ship Piper Maru.
This description, of course, sounds very similar to the Black Cancer, the bio-hazardous material being excavated from the Tunguska crater and the subject of at least two inoculation projects. In many respects, the Black Oil and the Black Cancer are identical, able to slither into its hosts under its own volition and creating a recognizable black cloudiness in the victim's eyes. However, whereas the Black Oil is able to control the actions of its host, the Black Cancer causes a paralytic stupor. The explanation for this difference in behavior is that the Black Oil is a living, conscious entity, while the Black Cancer is the lifeless remains of the Black Oil, completely lacking any consciousness, which was destroyed in the crash that created the Tunguska crater. But because the Black Oil and Black Cancer are identical on a 'cellular' level, with similar biochemical mechanisms for seeking and possessing hosts, creating a vaccine for one would most likely ensure protection against the other.
The inter-relationships between the various stakeholders of the X-Files conspiracy arc can now be conjectured, based on the above information. Of course, the validity of the interpretation of the events seen during the past five seasons is subject to how consistent Chris Carter has been to his original 'vision' (which assumes that he had one, and didn't just make it up as he went along). Furthermore, much of the interpretation is based on the dialogue between the various characters of the series, which have been taken as canon, or at as a variation on the truth. In some cases, this can be done with confidence, as the discussions are related to internal matters (such as the dialogue between the various Majestic Consortium members), or there is enough corroborating evidence and dialogue from third-parties. However, there are some characters with a history of duplicity, and their statements may misrepresent the truth, or be complete fabrications (Krycek is an excellent example, who seems to have lied about everything).
The topic of 'colonization' has come up in numerous episodes ("Colony", "End Game", "Paperclip", "Talitha Cumi", "Herrenvolk"), but it wasn't until "Patient X" and "The Red and the Black" in the fifth season that the Majestic Consortium actually discussed it openly. In this two-parter, groups of UFO abductees, were summoned via their microchip implants to remote locations (Kazakhstan, Skyland Mountain, and a bridge in Pennsylvania), where they were met by what appeared to be a UFO. However, these gatherings were then interrupted by 'Faceless Men', wielding 'firestarters', which burned the congregation beyond recognition. The Faceless Men were human in appearance, however, their bodily orifices had been sewn shut, presumably as a means of holding a Black Oil entity within (in the same episode, Krycek used a similar means to use a Russian teenager as a vessel for Black Cancer). These attacks caused great consternation for the Majestic Consortium, who believed that the attacks are directed against them, an attempt to disrupt their work.
It was also during this time that a spacecraft crashed at Fort Weikamp Air Force Base, and a Faceless Man, the only survivor, was captured. The Majestic Consortium, upon seeing photographs of the crash survivor, recognized him as a resistance fighter, part of a group that was undermining the efforts of the 'Colonists'. When the First Elder decided to turn over the Faceless Man over to the colonists, Krycek went to Mulder's apartment and tells him what the Consortium members discussed privately-- that the burnings were an attempt by a resistance group to sabotage the Colonists' plan for takeover. Krycek also gave Mulder the location of the captured Faceless Man, and told him that this alien was the leader of the 'Resistance'. If he died, the Resistance would die with him (this was then followed by Krycek planting a big wet smooch on Mulder's cheek, but a discussion on the homoerotic subtext of this gesture will have to wait until another time). Mulder finds the truck that the Faceless Man was being held in, but before he can be freed, the driver morphs into the ABH and attempts to execute the Faceless Man. Before Mulder loses consciousness, he sees a second Faceless Man appear behind the ABH, presumably there to rescue his imprisoned comrade.
As revealed in these two episodes, there are at least two groups of aliens, the Colonists, and the Resistance. The Colonists are intent on establishing a colony on the Earth, possibly with the use of alien-human hybrids, and may even plan to become the dominant species. The Shapechangers (the Jeremiah Smiths) and the Clones (the Samanthas) are directly involved with the colonization effort, with the ABH serving as security and clean-up. The Majestic Consortium is assisting the colonization effort, by providing resources (such as test subjects and test facilities) and support (the use of Garnet to hide the evidence of their existence), in addition to creating their own hybrids for this 'new world order' (WMM's comments on 'inventing the future').
The Resistance's agenda is to prevent the Colonists from becoming established on the Earth, and may even want to establish colonies for themselves. The members of the Resistance would seem to be the Greys and the Black Oil working in cooperation, perhaps as a symbiotic species. The supporting evidence for this theory is as follows:
Using this model, other events witnessed during the course of the series can be re-interpreted. For example, in "Colony" and "End Game", the efforts of the Gregors and the Samanthas were wiped out by the ABH. However, I believe that the ABH was an agent of the Resistance, and not the Colonists, in this case (since the aliens, regardless of whether they are Colonists or Resistance, will adopt a human appearance when traveling among humans). At the beginning of "End Game", the nuclear submarine USS Allegiance sighted an unknown sonar contact, which turned out to be an alien spacecraft underneath the Arctic ice cap. They were given orders to attack the spacecraft, but were quickly disabled by the unseen aliens. This resulted in a US attack fleet being dispatched to destroy the spacecraft. Unfortunately, the ABH escaped with the submarine, which he used to rendezvous with his spacecraft. This incident seems to be an execution of U.N. Resolution 1013, which would mean that the ABH and the spacecraft belonged to the Resistance. This would make sense, since it was a colonization experiment that was disrupted by the efforts of the ABH.
Smallpox, caused by the variola virus of the orthopoxvirus family, was declared eradicated in the early 1980s, after the successful Smallpox Eradication Program (SEP) initiated by the World Health Organization in 1967. The last natural victim of the disease was found in Somalia in 1977, and no further cases were identified. Though routine administration is no longer required, the smallpox vaccine is still administered as a precautionary measure to military personnel and at-risk populations.
The smallpox (variola) virus, and its close cousin the cowpox (vaccinia) virus have shown up numerous times in the conspiracy arc of "The X-Files". The smallpox association was first seen in "Anasazi", in which the alien-human hybrid bodies that Mulder found had smallpox vaccination scars. In "Herrenvolk", Scully discovered a huge human genetic database stored on the computer terminal belonging to the Jeremiah Smith clone. Each one of the millions of human beings that had been given the smallpox vaccine was 'tagged' with a unique genetic variant of the smallpox vaccine. This episode also introduced the genetically-altered bees that were pollinating the alien plants at the Canadian colony-- the toxic venom in the bees' stingers contained a fatal variant of the smallpox virus. The smallpox vaccine then showed up again in "Tunguska", only this time it served as the vehicle for the Black Cancer vaccine. Finally, in "Zero Sum", the bees returned, attacking a schoolyard full of children and infecting them with an abnormally virulent strain of smallpox.
What exactly is the role of the smallpox virus (and the closely-related cowpox virus) in the colonization plans? Based on its use in the various experiments being carried out, it is most likely being used as a vector for the delivery of alien DNA. The reasons for this conclusion are:
Based on these observations, it seems that the smallpox virus is being used by the Majestic Consortium and the Colonists to introduce alien DNA or some kind of biological toxin to human populations, with bees as the delivery vehicle. The end result would be either the Consortium's plan for 'inventing the future', helping humanity evolve with the assistance of alien DNA, or eradicating humanity to make room for the Colonists.
Agent Mulder's long-standing quest to learn the fate of his younger sister Samantha has taken a number of turns in the past five years. Mulder remembers Samantha being abducted from his parents' home in 1973, and her disappearance has been a primary motivator for his work on the X-Files. According to WMM, Samantha was abducted to ensure Bill Mulder's silence on his work with Paper Clip, and it was Bill Mulder that decided which child would be taken from him. Mulder has come across numerous Samantha clones during his investigations, such as the ones administering the fetal tissue extractions ("End Game"), and the mindless drones tending the alien crops in the Canadian colony ("Herrenvolk"). However, in "Redux II", Mulder may have met his real sister, who was brought to him for a brief meeting by CSM. According to this Samantha, CSM was her father (contrary to CSM's statement of having 'no family' in "One Breath"), and she had her own life with a family of her own. It was also revealed in "Talitha Cumi" that Mulder's mother and CSM may have had a romantic relationship in the past, which raised questions on who Mulder's and Samantha's father was.
First of all, Mulder is probably Bill Mulder's son, while Samantha is the product of an illicit affair between CSM and Mulder's mother. When Bill Mulder made a choice as to which child would be taken from him, he chose Samantha because he saw a clear point of differentiation between her and Mulder. Furthermore, Mulder saw CSM embracing Samantha in a fatherly manner during his drug-induced flashbacks in "Demon".
As for the true fate of Samantha Mulder, it seems likely that the Samantha that Mulder saw in "Redux II" was actually his sister, since it would fit with the above supposition of CSM being Samantha's father. Given the plans of the Colonists and the Majestic Consortium, it is plausible that CSM may have been preparing his only family, Samantha, for the imminent alien colonization, sheltering her from Majestic-unfriendly influences, while using her DNA for the purposes of advancing the various pro-colonization projects. It may even be possible that CSM's 'adoption' of Samantha may have been a deal cut by CSM between himself, the head of security for the Majestic Consortium, and Bill Mulder, who was on the verge of speaking publicly about Paper Clip.
The truth, the truth... There is no truth. These men just make it up as they go along. They're the engineers of the future.
The conspiracy arc of "The X-Files" is perhaps one of the most convoluted series mythologies ever seen, which is probably a function of the haphazard manner in which it was constructed. Despite what appears to be a logical underpinning to the various events that Agents Mulder and Scully have witnessed in their work, there are numerous instances where the internal logic of the conspiracy arc breaks down, often contradicting previously-presented information. However, this may be the result of only being able to see only a few pieces of the puzzle-- the X-Files feature film, set to open on June 19th of this year, has been promoted as finally 'revealing the truth', providing the tantalizing missing pieces that are needed to fully grasp the conspiracy arc. However, this is perhaps wishful thinking, as it has been the mythology arc that has captivated audiences worldwide and propelled the series' success-- the major points of the conspiracy arc will most likely be addressed, including the nature of the activities of the Consortium-Colonist alliance. But in the wake of such revelations, there will no doubt be new questions posed.
FBI Agent Dana Scully, a skeptic at heart, is partnered with the unconventional Agent Fox Mulder, who investigates paranormal cases, known collectively as the X-Files. Their first investigation together takes them to a Pacific Northwest town where teenagers are winding up dead, and may possibly involve alien abduction. This episode not only introduced the platonic Mulder-Scully relationship, but also the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man, and the alien conspiracy arc.
When Mulder and Scully go to Idaho to investigate the mysterious deaths of test pilots, they uncover a secret government program using alien technology for developing new aircraft. Mulder is also first introduced to his first informant, a mysterious figure known as Deep Throat.
Mulder's memories of his sister's abduction twenty-one years earlier surface when he and Scully investigate a boy whose sister disappeared in a similar fashion.
While an alien crash survivor tries to outrun a USAF UFO recovery team, Mulder investigates the government cover-up and watches UFO activist Max Fenig get abducted (who returns in "Tempus Fugit").
Deep Throat deliberately misleads Mulder on a wild goose chase as an E.B.E. is transported across the country. This episode also introduced the Lone Gunmen, Mulder's trio of conspiracy hacks.
A shocking finale for the series' first season, with Scully finding what looks to be an alien fetus, Deep Throat being killed off and the X-Files shut down. Also the first episode to reveal the alien-human hybrid experiments.
Based on information provided by Senator Richard Matheson, Mulder rushes down to the Arecibo Radio Observatory where an alien message may have been picked up.
With the X-Files still closed, Mulder is assigned a new partner, Alex Krycek. Together, they investigate ex-soldiers who may have been part of a sleep-deprivation experiment. However, Krycek seems to be sabotaging his new partner's efforts at finding the truth. This episode also marks the first appearance of Mulder's second informant, Mr. X.
Former FBI Agent Duane Barry, who claims to be an alien abductee, kidnaps Scully in the hopes that the 'aliens' will take her instead.
Despite his best efforts, Mulder is unable to catch up with Barry and Scully, and finds only Barry at the top of Skyland Mountain. Scully's disappearance then prompts Assistant Director Skinner, who seems partial to Mulder's cause, to re-open the X-Files. The relationship between Krycek and CSM is also revealed here.
Scully turns up in a local hospital, unaware of what happened to her, while an angry Mulder confronts CSM.
Originally meant as a crossover episode with CBS' "Picket Fences", this episode had Mulder and Scully investigating the disappearances of cattle and children. It is revealed that they have been subject to injections of alien hormones by Dr. Larson, an associate of the shadowy government conspiracy.
Mulder tracks the mysterious deaths of identical-looking abortion doctors, uncovering what appears to be an alien colonization scheme. This episode also featured the Samantha clone and the first appearance of the Alien Bounty Hunter.
After the colonization effort is destroyed, Mulder chases the ABH to a disabled submarine in the Arctic.
Mulder and Scully investigate possible alien abductions of zoo animals. Whatever.
The Thinker, the fourth member of the Lone Gunmen, steals the Majestic Files from a Department of Defense database and gives them to Mulder on a data tape. When Bill Mulder is about to reveal his involvement with the conspiracy, he is killed by Krycek. Mulder then travels to Arizona, where he finds a buried railcar full of alien-looking bodies. However, CSM shows up and sets the railcar ablaze, with Mulder inside.
Scully first meets the Well-Manicured Man, who warns her of a possible assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Krycek shoots Melissa Scully, thinking that she is Dana Scully. Finally, Skinner, Mulder, and Scully share a Tarantino moment, pointing their guns at one another.
Mulder learns of his late father's involvement in Operation Paper Clip, a project attempting to create an alien-human hybrid with the help of WWII war criminals. Mulder and Scully also find an abandoned West Virginia mine full of medical files. Krycek is double-crossed by his employers, turning him into a rogue agent. Oh yeah, Skinner tells CSM "this is where you pucker up and kiss my ass!"
Scully learns more about what happened to her during her abduction, and the connection to the railcar experiments of Dr. Ishimaru/Zama.
Mulder hops on a train containing an alien-human hybrid, while Scully is given a prosaic explanation by The First Elder of her abduction-- she was the victim of secret radiation experiments.
A French salvage vessel, in search of a crashed UFO in the Pacific Ocean, inadvertently picks up the Black Oil. The Black Oil then finds and possesses Krycek. Meanwhile, Scully learns from an old family friend of a failed salvage mission in the 1950s that marked the first appearance of the Black Oil.
Black Oil-possessed Krycek makes a deal with CSM for the data tape in exchange for access to the captured alien spacecraft.
Proof that when you watch "The X-Files", you never know what to expect. With its twisted sense of humor, shifting points-of-view leading to multiple interpretations, tie-in with the overall mythology arc, and Alex Trebek (!), this is one of the best episodes. As Mulder and Scully investigate an apparent abduction, they find that the stories from those involved get weirder and more contradictory the further they get. Scully's facial expressions are hilarious as she puts up with all the inane nonsense going on around her, the alien autopsy spoof is priceless, and don't forget the plug for "Space: Above and Beyond" by the UFO-geek that said "I didn't spend all those years playing Dungeons and Dragons without learning anything about courage" (that same week, Duchovny appeared as an A.I. on "Space"). With respect to the conspiracy arc, it seemed that some UFOs are piloted by the USAF.
When a man named Jeremiah Smith miraculously heals a gunshot victim in a thinly-disguised McDonalds, Mulder and Scully become drawn further into the conspiracy of colonization. Mulder also learns of a prior relationship between his mother and CSM.
Mulder is taken by Jeremiah Smith to a Canadian farm where Samantha drones are harvesting an alien crop and aggressive bees with deadly stings are kept. While Scully learns that millions of human beings have been tagged via the Smallpox Eradication Program, Mr. X is assassinated, and Mulder makes contact with the assistant to the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Marita Covarrubias (also referred to as the Uniblonder).
Did CSM shoot Kennedy and King? Is he a mastermind conspirator because no one takes his writing seriously? You be the judge!
Everyone's favorite backstabber, Krycek, shows up and introduces Mulder and Scully to the Black Cancer. With the help of the UNiblonder, Mulder goes with Krycek to the Tunguska crater, where he is double-crossed by Krycek and used for a Black Cancer inoculation experiment.
Krycek, actually a KGB sleeper spy, sends retired KGB agent Vassily Peskow to the United States to single-handedly wipe out the Consortium's Black Cancer Inoculation Project. Mulder, who survived the inoculation test, escapes the gulag, while Krycek, who is not so fortunate, loses his arm.
This eloquent episode has Scully hospitalized for the cancer ravaging her body, which may have been a result of her abduction two years prior. Mulder searches for a cure, and comes across a group of clones named Kurt, who identify Scully as an unwitting egg donor for the Consortium's experiments. Skinner also cuts a deal with CSM, in exchange for a cure for Scully's cancer.
On Scully's birthday, UFO abductee Max Fenig ("Fallen Angel") is one of the innocent victims of a plane crash instigated by the USAF, attempting to shoot down a UFO. While protecting a witness to the plane crash, the lovelorn Agent Pendrell is accidentally killed by one of Majestic's agents.
A crashed UFO is recovered from a lake near the plane crash. The aliens return, taking back a stolen alien power system in mid-air.
Skinner repays the debt to CSM from "Memento Mori", by covering up a suspicious death resulting from Majestic's experiments. The Consortium conducts a field test of smallpox-infested bees.
While under the influence of drugs and hypnotherapy, Mulder recalls seeing CSM at his parents' summer house shortly before Samantha's abduction.
Mulder is led to what appears to be a frozen alien corpse, but soon he finds his beliefs unraveled as he is convinced that his pursuit of the truth has been a mere Department of Defense disinformation campaign.
After faking his own death, Mulder is convinced by Defense Department operative Michael Kritschgau that the alien hoax was a smokescreen to deflect public attention away from the military's unethical projects. Scully finds evidence of the source of her cancer, just as her condition worsens.
CSM attempts to recruit Mulder for the Consortium's cause, a hearing into Mulder's actions uncovers a Consortium mole within the FBI, and Scully's cancer goes into remission, as a result of the 'cure' that Mulder found in the Pentagon.
While at her brother's house for Christmas, Scully finds a girl orphaned by the murder of her parents, led by a mysterious phone call from a woman who sounds exactly like Melissa Scully. Scully is intrigued by the girl, Emily Sim, and further investigation reveals Emily to be her biological daughter, and that she is part of a mysterious clinical trial of a pharmaceutical company.
Scully attempts to adopt Emily, while Mulder investigates the Dimsdale Convalescent home, where Emily may have been conceived artificially. A barrage of medical tests on Emily also reveals that her biology is half-alien.
Former UFO abductees are mysteriously summoned to remote locations, where they await the arrival of aliens. However, groups of Faceless Men arrive and burn the congregations to death. Meanwhile, Krycek attempts to trade a witness to one of these burnings for all research and information on Majestic's Black Cancer Inoculation Project. Agent Spender, the son of an alleged abductee, is first introduced here.
After Scully survives the most recent burning, she undergoes hypnosis to find out what happened to her. Mulder is told by Krycek of an alien resistance leader being held prisoner by the Consortium, and when he goes to intercept a truck carrying the alien, Mulder witnesses a rescue attempt. Meanwhile, a vaccine provided by Krycek, supposedly for use against the Black Cancer, is found to be useless on an incapacitated Marita Covarrubias.
The Consortium attempts to assassinate a 12-year old chess master. Mulder and Scully discover that the boy possesses a heightened level of activity in the brain called the 'God Module', which may unlock the mysteries of the X-Files and shed light on the link between humanity and the aliens. However, CSM abducts the boy and turns him over to WMM, and sets Mulder and Scully's basement office on fire, destroying the X-Files.
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2. Gross, E., "Myth Takes", The X-Files and Conspiracy Television, November 1996, pp. 42-51.
3. Lowry, B., The Truth is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files, Harper Prism, 1995.
4. Lowry, B., Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files, Harper Prism, 1996.
5. Meisler, A., I Want to Believe: The Official Guide to The X-Files, Harper Prism, 1998.
6. Ryan, M. "The Secret History", The X-Files Official Magazine, Vol. 1(3), Fall 1997, pp. 30-39.
7. Ryan, M., "X-Appeal", The X-Files and Conspiracy Television, November 1996, pp. 18-37.