Season 3, Episode 2
Original Airdate: September 29, 1995
Cliches aside, this one really does “have it all”: a hidden government complex, alien spacecraft, aliens, Alex Krycek, the Syndicate, a gun-toting Skinner (!), bobbing flashlights, and, yes, even the Lone Gunmen. The second-half of a two-part mythology arc, “Paper Clip” is the sort of episode one recalls when someone mutters “The X-Files”, or “UFOs”, or “David Duchovny”.
At this point in the show, Carter hadn’t yet complicated the mythology, and rewarded viewers with a renewed sense of intrigue stemming from revelations at how deep the secrets tied to real-world history. When Mulder and Scully discover and proceed to break into the expansive government storage facility — hidden behind the gloomy, decrepit Strughold Mining Company in the equally gloomy, decrepit West Virginia — the scene’s tension and magic is palpable. Listen for the footsteps: Are they human or out of this world? You’ll want to believe the former.