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"Apocrypha" is the sixteenth episode of the third season of The X-Files. Written by Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter, and directed by Kim Manners, it first aired in the United States on February 16, 1996 on the Fox network. Apocrypha concludes the events that occurred in the previous episode, Piper Maru.


The assassin who killed Scully's sister is finally captured after shooting Skinner while Mulder and Scully search for Alex Krycek, who has been infected with the black oil virus. (Part 2 of 2)


A radiated and dying sailor from the Zeus Faber is debriefed in 1953.

He recounts a series of incidents aboard the submarine, where a contingent of the crew are dying from radiation burns and the rest contemplate mutiny against the apparently insane Captain. After a struggle, the Captain is locked in the vessel's sickbay. As he gives up trying to force the door and turns around, the men look in horror as his eyes glaze over with black oil. One of the sailors strikes the Captain with a spanner, knocking him unconscious. The oil abandons its host, escaping through a drain in the floor.

The sailor insists to the government interrogators – who are revealed to be a young Bill Mulder and Cigarette Smoking Man – that they make the truth known. When the sailor asks whether he can trust Mulder, CSM steps forward and says "you can trust all of us."

Act One[]

Scully visits Skinner at the hospital and he tells her he recognized the man who shot him.

Having arrived in the United States, Krycek and Mulder get into a rental car, with the possessed Krycek remaining quiet and emotionless.  Mulder takes away the key to a storage locker, which presumably has the digital tape in it.  As they take to the road, Mulder realizes they are being followed. The trailing car pulls alongside and forces them down an embankment, the crash leaving Mulder dazed. One of the other car's occupants pulls an unharmed Krycek from his car and starts to take him away. The other occupant of the car suddenly sees a blinding light from where they had gone as he moves in on Mulder.  He goes to investigate.  Mulder sees another bright flash of light and hears screams before he passes out.

The Cigarette Smoking Man receives the prognosis of the two men in the vehicle who drove Mulder and Krycek off the road, and orders the medical staff to destroy the bodies, despite the fact that the men are still alive.

Act Two[]

Mulder wakes up in a hospital and explains to Scully that he ran into Krycek in Hong Kong and that they returned to Washington to get the tape. The man who shot Skinner has the identical genetic signature as the man who shot Scully's sister Melissa. Skinner is not surprised.

The Syndicate meet to deliberate on the situation with the tape, which they believed had been destroyed in a car bombing. The Well-Manicured Man makes clear his disdain for the haphazard work done by the CSM's assassins and scorns his dependence on violence and murder to achieve his goals.

Mulder has had the diving suit shipped to his office. The oil on it matches that found on Mrs. Gauthier, who was found unconscious in the men's room in Hong Kong (after infecting Krycek).

The The Lone Gunmen go ice-skating as a ruse to pick up an envelope that reportedly contains the tape and has been left in a locker inside the ice rink. The Gunmen give the envelope to Mulder, who has been waiting in a car outside the rink, but they find that the envelope contains only an empty tape case.

At an apartment used by the CSM, Krycek enters, flanked by Luis Cardinal. The CSM, in exchange for the tape, tells Krycek that he has something that the newcomer wants but does not go into further detail. The CSM is completely unsurprised when Krycek's eyes glaze over with the black oil.

Act Three[]

Well-Manicured Man (1997)

The Well-Manicured Man meets with Mulder.

The CSM collectively meets with the other members of the Syndicate, who are highly unhappy with his actions regarding the digital tape, the salvaged submarine and the attempted murder of Skinner. Although a calm CSM assures them that the tape has now been destroyed and that he will take care of Skinner for good, this neither convinces nor appeases the Well-Manicured Man, who once again voices his disapproval.

Mulder and the Lone Gunmen attempt to obtain clues from the envelope. When an indentation from someone writing using the tape case is found, Byers and Langly discuss various super-high-tech ways the feds have of recovering such information. Mulder uses a pencil to shade in the indentations and reveal a New York City phone number. He calls it, managing to contact the headquarters of the Syndicate. Mulder speaks to the Well-Manicured Man, who agrees to a meeting in Central Park.

Scully learns from background checks that the man they are looking for is Luis Cardinal, a Nicaraguan mercenary and assassin who worked with the CIA in Central America.  Other than that, the FBI can't find anything on him.

The Well-Manicured Man and Mulder meet that night. The Syndicate elder answers Mulder's inquiries as to the nature of the submarine, which had been deployed to locate and recover a crashed UFO. After a long conversation, Mulder goes to leave and is surprised when the Well-Manicured Man asks where the tape is. Mulder tells him that Krycek has it but realizes that, like himself, the Well-Manicured Man is not aware of Krycek's location.  The Well-Manicured Man warns that "anyone can be gotten to," which prompts Mulder to call Scully and tell her to check on Skinner.

Scully finds out that Skinner is being transferred to another hospital and the police guard she ordered has been called off. She catches up with the ambulance as it begins to depart and joins Skinner in the back of the vehicle. At a traffic light, Scully hears suspicious noises and abruptly opens the door on Cardinal, who fires wildly before fleeing. After a brief chase, Scully catches up with him and holds him at gunpoint. She repeatedly demands to know whether he killed her sister although he ultimately begs her to believe that Krycek is to blame. Cardinal also claims that he will tell her everything she wants to know. Scully chooses not to shoot him and, upon the arrival of the police, Scully shows them her badge before handing Cardinal over to them.

Act Four[]

Krycek (1997) Behind Door 1013

Krycek trapped behind Door 1013

After learning that the UFO is being stored at an abandoned missile silo in North Dakota, Scully and Mulder travel there and break into the complex. They enter one of many bunkers in the area and journey underground to a series of tunnels, where they find irradiated soldiers.  Suddenly the lights come on and they are pursued and detained by more soldiers. As the agents are led outside, the CSM arrives via helicopter and brushes off Mulder's angry accusations. Behind a door that Scully and Mulder had almost reached, Krycek painfully regurgitates the black oil, with pours into a spiral symbol atop the immobile UFO.  CSM, knowing Krycek is inside, leaves after ordering the irradiated bodies disposed of.

Skinner comes to Mulder's office, where Mulder thanks him for putting his career and life on the line for them.  Skinner has something he needs to tell Scully, whom Mulder meets at Melissa's grave.  He reveals that Luis Cardinal found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide.  Scully contemplates that the men they are dealing with will face no justice, recalling something her father's old friend Christopher Johansen said: conscience is the dead haunting them.

Meanwhile, a disheveled Krycek hammers on a small window built into door 1013, screaming for help. The silo, however, has been abandoned once again, leaving Krycek trapped underground.


Black oil; Northeast Georgetown Medical Center; Washington, D.C.; Maryland; Lariat Rent-a-car; Maryland; New York City; New York; North Dakota; Silo 1013

Background Information[]

  • The door that Krycek is trapped behind in this episode is marked 1013, the birth-month and date of series creator Chris Carter. Similarly, the phone number of the Well Manicured Man found is 1012. Ten Thirteen is also the name of Carter's production company.
  • For the scene in which Krycek expels the Black Oil into the UFO, Nicholas Lea wore a mask that fitted over his face, with many tubes that ran through his hair and down his back. Fake oil was then pumped out of the tubes, from off-camera. The prosthetics took over an hour to be applied to Lea and, while wearing the appliance, he found it too difficult to see and had to breathe through a straw. Just as the crew finished applying the prosthetics, everyone took a lunch interval, annoying Lea even more.
  • The term "Apocrypha" means writings that are not considered genuine, such as Biblical or related texts that consequently do not form part of the accepted canon of scripture. In Greek "apokrypho" is sth hidden and, in the plural, it often refers to genitalia (because throughout civilizations people tend to hide them behind clothes)
  • Bruce Harwood, who portrays John Fitzgerald Byers, had no problem with the scene in which the Lone Gunmen visit the ice rink because he had trained as a figure skater in his early life.
  • This episode contains the second appearance of Agent Brian Fuller, who had previously appeared in the Season 1 episode "Squeeze".  Kevin McNulty also appeared as Christopher Davey in the Season 2 episode "Soft Light ".
  • This was Kim Manners' first mythology episode. Before this, he had only worked on stand-alone episodes.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Luis Cardinal.


In the beginning of this episode we see young Bill Mulder and CSM in 1953, apparently involved in the alien conspiracy and acting on behalf of the FBI.  In Season 4's Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, the two are shown to be still in the army in 1963.

When young Bill Mulder speaks, there is a hint of a Russian accent, which seems odd for an American FBI agent.  When CSM speaks, on the other hand, it is fairly obvious that William B. Davis's voice was dubbed in.

When Frohike leaves the ice, he starts walking normally. That indicates that he wasn't wearing ice skates although he skated like he did.

As Mulder and Scully get out of the car at missile silo the reflection of camera and operator is visible on the trunk above the license plate 33:52.

Mulder recalls to Scully that he saw Krycek being pulled out of the car and then saw the bright flash, but he only came to just in time to see the flash.

In the ambulance, Skinner is hooked up to an IV. In real life, patients with an IV are accompanied by a nurse or paramedic when traveling.  Additionally, an ALS unit (Advanced Life Support) would have at least two personnel assigned to it, one to drive and one to monitor the patient.

When Scully gets to the hospital, she finds Skinner has been transferred and the ambulance has just left, yet the room is already clean and made-up. Unless the housekeepers in that hospital work at warp speed, this is just too fast.

When agent Pendrell runs the saliva sample and gives the results to Scully she says: "looking for a man... with blood type B+, but we already know that from the waitresses description".  How should the waitress know the man's blood type?


Foo fighter was a term used in World War II to refer to the types of aerial sightings that, in the postwar period, became known as UFOs. They were usually assumed to be some sort of enemy secret weapon or experimental aircraft. Many were described as "...blobs or flares of light...". The 1953 Robertson Panel, a CIA committee convened in 1952 to examine the rash of UFO reports, reviewed the foo fighter sightings and noted that many objects sighted during the war were metallic and disc shaped and that if the term flying saucer had been in use then, it would have been appropriate. Due to the ephemeral nature of the sightings, it also became synonymous with red herring.

The term is thought to have been taken from the Smokey Stover comic strip, which ran in the Chicago Tribune from 1935 to 1973. In it, Smokey, a fireman, drove a two-wheeled fire truck he called the Foomobile. One of his catchphrases was Where there's foo, there's fire. The strip's artist, Bill Holman, never explained the term.

In 1995, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl named his new band Foo Fighters.

Cast and Characters[]

  • Dmitry Chepovetsky (credited as Government Man #1 but referred to as Mr. Mulder by the surviving Navy crewman in the episode) previously played Lieutenant Richard Harper in The X-Files episode "Død Kalm" and later played Supervisor in the episode Folie a Deux.



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Guest Starring




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