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"Darkness Falls" is the twentieth episode of the first season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on April 15, 1994. It was written by series creator Chris Carter and directed by Joe Napolitano. The episode is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, separate from the series' Mythology arc.


The agents become trapped in a forest where thirty loggers strangely disappeared, with the same fate eerily approaching them.


FBI Special Agents Scully and Mulder are called in to investigate the disappearance of a logging crew. They travel to the remote logging area in Washington with a U.S. Forest Ranger and a representative of the logging company. On the journey they fall foul of an eco-terrorist's caltrops and have to abandon the car and travel on foot to the cabin. On arrival none of the loggers are in sight; an investigation of the camp finds all the vehicles sabotaged.

Scully, Mulder, and the ranger travel to the woods and find a large cocoon of some sort; on further investigation, they find a fully desiccated human body inside. On returning to the camp, they find the logging company representative has caught one of the eco-terrorists, who tells them all that some strange bugs have taken the other loggers. These green bugs only come out at night so the group decides to stay inside with the lights on. The bioluminescent bugs cover the house but for some reason do not attack in the light.

The next day the group finds a centuries old tree with a strange green ring scarred deep in its core. The eco-terrorist says that the disappearances and deaths began after the loggers felled that tree. The obnoxious and disbelieving logging representative decides to escape by returning to the Ranger's truck, but he doesn't make it in time before nightfall; the bugs swarm and cocoon him inside the truck. Mulder attempts to fix the smashed communication radio, but is only able to transmit messages, not knowing if they are being received by anyone. The next morning, the eco-terrorist convinces Mulder to let him take a car battery and gas to rescue his friends camped a valley over and promises to return for Mulder, Scully, and the Ranger the following day. He claims that his friends had only 15–20 hours of fuel left when he left them to find supplies at the loggers' camp. When the ranger discovers what Mulder has done, he points out that the eco-terrorist took the last can of fuel, so the three huddle in the cabin that night hoping the fuel will last until day break. Fortunately the generator splutters to a stop just as the sun rises.

Scully Hospital Darkness Falls

Scully recovering in a hospital.

The three make a break for the Ranger's car where they are met by the returning eco-terrorist in his Jeep; he says his friends didn't make it. They make it most of the way down the mountain but in their hurry fall victim to the caltrops again. When the eco-terrorist leaves the car to investigate, he is swarmed by the bugs, as it is now already dark. Entering the car, the insects overwhelm Mulder, Scully and the Ranger and they too are cocooned. However, luckily a bio-hazard rescue team arrives while they're still alive, apparently having received Mulder's transmissions.

At the end, the three are confined to a secure quarantine facility in Washington to recuperate. When Mulder asks the head doctor what will happen if they fail to eradicate the insects with the planned controlled burns and pesticides, the doctor replies, "That is not an option, Mr. Mulder."


Olympic National Forest; Washington


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