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"Small Potatoes" is the twentieth episode of the fourth season of The X-Files. It was written by Vince Gilligan and directed by Cliff Bole, and premiered on the Fox network on April 20, 1997.

The episode is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, independent of the series' mythology arc.


A town celebrates a surprising number of births in a short span of time, only all the newborns have tails...


While being rolled down a hospital hallway to deliver, a pregnant woman admits the father is from another planet. She gives birth to a little girl, but the doctor looks puzzled. Out of view of the mother, he holds up the child to reveal a wiggling tail on the baby and says, "Lord, not another one..."

Mulder and Scully are driving to investigate while Scully examines a tabloid front page featuring the Monkey Babies. They interview the mother, Amanda Nelligan, who states the father was Luke Skywalker (she has seen Star Wars nearly 400 times). The agents then visit the fertility clinic where the other four babies were conceived via IVF and Dr. Pugh admits he was surprised at the 90% success rate, speculating that maybe IVF wasn't really responsible. Mulder takes a foray down the hall and finds a maintenance worker, Eddie, whose "plumber's crack" reveals he once had a tail. PCR DNA results show he's the father of all the tail babies. While in police custody, he transforms into a policeman and escapes.

The agents visit Amanda again who says she dated Eddie Van Blundht (the "h" is silent) in high school, so the agents go to his house and talk to his father. The father has a tail and performed in the circus. Mulder soon realizes the old man is really Eddie, who runs off and pretends to be the husband of a woman down the street who is the mother of one of the tail babies. A search of the Van Blundht house reveals the remains of the father, including the tail, in the attic preserved by quicklime. Scully finds anomalous striated skin muscles covered the man's entire dermal structure. Mulder revisits Amanda in the hospital again, but she says he was just there. It was Eddie pretending to be Mulder. In the hospital locker room, Eddie jumps from the ceiling tiles, locks Mulder in the basement with a sandwich, and successfully impersonates Mulder by the time Scully and the others arrive.

Eddie's mannerisms carry through into his performance as Mulder, as well as his tendency to repeat word phrases, such as "small potatoes," even throughout different personas. Although Eddie's portrayal of Mulder is not perfect, Scully and Skinner do not catch on. Skinner reprimands Mulder for misspelling "Federal Bureau of Investigation" in his report... twice. Afterwards, as Scully and Mulder are talking in the hallway, Mulder can't locate the correct key to unlock the door to his office. Later, Eddie, as Mulder, attempts to seduce Scully at her apartment with a bottle of wine. Due, presumably, to Scully's latent feelings for Mulder, the two spend a long time talking, and Eddie is very nearly successful—until the real Mulder bursts through the door. Eddie meekly surrenders.

In the final scene, Mulder visits Eddie in jail, at Eddie's request. When Mulder questions Eddie about the hat he is wearing, Eddie explains that his court-appointed therapist makes him wear it. It is revealed that Eddie is on muscle relaxers to prevent him from using his ability. During their discussion, Eddie suggests that Mulder is a loser. On their way out, Scully disagrees with Eddie's assessment. As the two agents walk down the hallway, they pass by the camera, revealing a clear view of a prisoner mopping the floor, wearing the same prison garb and hat as Eddie was wearing in confinement.


Michael Jackson


Mulder to Scully: "Scully, should we be pickin' out china patterns or what?"

Eddie to Mulder: "You're a damn good-lookin' man."

"Not so spry. " - Mulder's comment when the mummified body falls from the attic.

Van Blundht to Mulder: "I just think it's funny. I was born a loser, but you're one by choice." Mulder: "On what do you base that astute assessment?" Van Blundht: "Experience. ...You should live a little. Treat yourself. God knows I would if I were you."

Background Information[]


Vince Gilligan wrote this episode with Darin Morgan in mind to play the character of Eddie Van Blundht. Morgan, who wrote many of the most memorable episodes during the second and third season, returns to The X-Files for the final time.

David Duchovny lists this episode on his blog as a favorite, probably because he does a superb job of playing Eddie-as-Mulder and he enjoys performing comedy.

Although they never share a scene in this episode, Paul McGillion, who plays the angry husband Fred Neiman, and Mitch Pileggi would both later go on to play the characters of Dr. Carson Beckett and Colonel Stephen Caldwell in the show Stargate Atlantis.

The silent H in Eddie's surname van Blundht is a joke about David Duchovny's surname often being pronounced with the H included, whereas in his name also, the H is silent. Furthermore, the H falling off the name on Eddie's front door could be a reference to the fact that David's father and brother have changed their surname to Ducovny, without the H. At the same time it highlights a recurring joke throughout the episode.

According to the DVD commentary by writer Vince Gilligan, they had originally wanted wings for the babies because they thought wings were cuter than tails. However, the wing effect was much harder than the tail effect, so they went with tails, which turned out to be funnier and still cute.

The voice of Amanda Nelligan, the mother of the "Luke Skywalker" baby, may be familiar because she is played by Christine Cavanaugh, who usually appears as a voice artist for animated shows and features. She is probably best known for being the voice of Chuckie Finster of Rugrats fame, the title character of Dexter's Laboratory, and the title character of the movie Babe.

"Birds do it, bees do it, even educated MDs do it." This is a 'play' on the opening of Cole Porter's Let's Fall in Love.

Eddie's address of 17 Prospect Parkway is also a former residence in Virgina of writer Vince Gilligan's girlfriend, Holly Rice.

This episode was named by TV Guide as one of the greatest episodes in TV history.

When Eddie Van Blundht is posturing in the mirror as Mulder, he is mis-quoting Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in a scene from Taxi Driver. That character is also posturing in front of a mirror.


Eddie-as-Mulder's comment in his apartment, "Where the hell do I sleep?" is a rib to the many X-Philes who have asked that very same question. Also, picking up the basketball and clumsily dribbling it in Mulder's apartment is a likely reference to David Duchuvony's interest in the game (he played collegiately for Princeton).

On the front page of the mock World Weekly Informer newspaper read by Mulder and Scully at the beginning of the episode, there is a headline "ETAP BIGSHOT BUSTED" beneath a mugshot. This is a reference to an earlier Season Four episode, Unruhe, in which Etap was the brand of film sold at the drugstore. The man pictured in the mugshot is Jim Pate, an assistant prop master for the show, whose last name spelled backward is Etap.

Sweet Babboo - In the scene where Eddie van Blundht flees from Mulder and Scully and takes refuge in the guise of the husband of one of the tailed babies' mothers, the pet name the husband has for his wife is "Babboo". In the Peanuts comic strip, Sally Brown calls Linus her "Sweet Babboo."

Info from Mulder's driver's license: 42-2630 Hegal Place Alexandria, VA DOB: 10-13-61.


When Scully mentions using PCR showed that the five children have the same parental DNA, she actually means gel electrophoresis. Polymerase Chain Reaction, PCR, basically augments a small amount of DNA into a large amount while it is the electrophoresis that does the actual separation and shows the different bands of DNA we see in one scene.

Cast and Characters[]



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