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"Terms of Endearment" is the seventh episode of the sixth season of The X-Files. It first aired in the United States on January 3, 1999, on the Fox network. The episode was written by David Amann — his first contribution to the show, and was directed by Rob Bowman.

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


Mulder believes that a bigamist, suspected of prenatal infanticide, is actually a demon.


Demon in the dream takes the child.

Jeffrey Spender receives and discards an X-File from a sheriff from Virginia. The x-file involves a woman who, after finding out her unborn child had demon-like abnormalities, dreamt her baby was taken from her. When the woman woke up she had miscarried. Mulder picks up the x-file and, after visiting the couple, suspects the husband of committing a 'demon fetus harvest'.

Wayne Weinsider & Betsy Monroe (the other wife).

While the police are investigating the case, in particular the possibility of illegal abortion, they find the remains of the baby in the garden furnace. The husband quickly confesses to destroying the evidence after he found his wife had aborted in a trance like state the night they lost their baby. The wife takes the blame for the abortion and goes to jail. Meanwhile the husband maintains an affair with another pregnant 'wife'. Mulder puts the pieces together and reaches the conclusion that the husband is a demon trying to have a normal baby and terminating pregnancies when the fetus exhibits demon-like abnormalities.

Wayne takes his wife's soul.

The 'other wife' experiences a similar dream except she recognizes the dream demon as her husband. Nevertheless, she loses her baby and tracks down Mulder and Scully. Mulder and Scully seek out the demon and caught him digging something. They have a short conversation before he is shot by the original sheriff.

At the end of the episode, Mulder and Scully discover the remains of normal babies in this 'other wife's' yard. Upon seeing the evidence, Mulder figured out that this wife is, in fact, another demon who is unable to have a baby demon spawn unless another male demon impregnates her. And all she ever wanted was a baby demon spawn. That she is a demon herself is the reason why she could recognize her husband as a demon, and was able to stop him from extracting her baby. It becomes apparent that 'losing her baby' didn't really happen and was, in fact, just a trick to frame her demon husband.

Betsy Monroe leaves with her new demon child.

The episode ends showing her driving away with a baby demon, whose seed came from her demon husband. Her eyes flashed with red gleam and vertical pupils before returning back to normal. Then screen turns black.


Czechoslovakia; demon; Hollins; Vele; Virginia

Background Information[]

  • The scene where Wayne Weinsider walks upstairs with a glowing glass of milk is a nod to the Alfred Hitchcock film Suspicion where husband Johnnie (Cary Grant) is taking a glass of milk upstairs to his wife Lina (Joan Fontaine) that may or may not be poisoned.
  • The episode shares similarities with Roman Polansky's cult film "Rosemary's Baby" in which woman is poisoned by her husband and her baby is taken by the Devil. Scully also mentions to Mulder when he informs her about the case that she saw the same film last night.
  • The baby that had to play the demon child of Wayne and Laura Weinsider was replaced at the very last moment (when all cameras and lights were already set-up). The mother of the child was a devout Catholic and just couldn't let her baby get involved into anything that had to do with the devil. After 45 minutes, and several frantic calls, another baby arrived on set.


  • The man Scully is interviewing is named "Mr. Ginsberg." This is possibly a reference to Allen Ginsberg, a famous Beatnik poet. She asks the man if he has ever smoked marijuana, and it is no secret that the Beatniks smoked marijuana. Bruce Campbell guest stars in this episode. According to his autobiography "Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way" he was considered for the role of Agent Doggett, which of course eventually went to Robert Patrick.
  • The song playing when Wayne (and later Betsy) is driving the red sports car is "Only Happy When It Rains" by the alt-rock band Garbage.
  • The film that is playing on the television when Mulder and Scully enter Wayne's home near the end of the episode is "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit" from 1956 and starring Gregory Peck.
  • Although it was the 6th show filmed of the 6th season, "Terms of Endearment" was the 7th aired. The reason: an elaborate shuffling of the post-production schedule to get Chris Carter's "How the Ghost Stole Christmas" on the air on December 13, 1998, the final original episode air date before the end of the holiday season.
  • In an early draft of the script, Laura Weinsider gave birth to a serpent and not a humanoid.
  • When describing Laura's abortion, Wayne claims that she chants "Zazas Zazas Nasatanta Zazas". This is a line from an Enochian (Angelic language) invocation to summon the Wendigo of Algonquian legend.


  • When Mulder is sharing case information with Scully in the Weinsider's house, Wayne is spying on the conversation via baby intercom. We can actually hear Scully's voice, too, coming out of the speaker - despite the fact that Mulder is on the phone.
  • Mulder tells Scully at one point that he does not suspect Laura to have killed her own child, but that he wasn't a psychologist after all. It was mentioned in earlier episodes, however, that he has a degree in Psychology from the University of Oxford which got him into profiling in the first place (though this was most likely in jest, as Mulder is not an occupational psychologist despite having extremely high qualifications)
  • As Scully reads the background check of Wayne, there are mentioned Slavic societies, but they mention Lithuanian origin of the name. Although Lithuania was in past part of the Soviet Union and long before was united with Poland, both Slavic countries, Lithuanian is a Baltic language, not Slavic.
  • When Wayne is trading his essence to Laura he's starts shaking violently and his heartbeat starts to go into flat line we can see nurses are just casually standing at the other end of the room. How could they not notice the shaking or the two in distress. Some hospital!
  • When Wayne dies we see in ECG flatlines as his essence enters Laura. However in the very next shot his ECG is that of a living person.


  • Terms of Endearment An allusion to the book by Larry McMurtry and the 1984 film with Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson and Debra Winger, that won tons of awards and is considered a classic by some and a manipulative schmaltzfest by others. Much of the story concerns the difficult relationships between mothers and children, and this episode takes it to very dark levels. It could also be seen as a play on the word 'Terms', as Wayne Weinseider has specific rules for loving the women he does. If his terms aren't met and there are no 'normal' fetuses he goes to a very nasty place.
  • Ok, Speed Racers, that's enough driver's education for today. Speed Racer was a Japanese anime series that was popular in the U.S. during the 1960s. It has also been made into a new Disney movie.
  • Rosemary's Baby: Scully references this infamous novel and film. The film concerns a husband getting his wife impregnated with the Devil's child. More subtle references include the use of "herbal sleep aids" to help nurture the demon seed.
  • The scenes where Wayne carries a poisoned glass of milk upstairs to each of his wives are an homage to Alfred Hitchcock's 1941 film Suspicion, where Cary Grant similarly carries a glass of milk that is suspected of being poisoned up the stairs to his wife.



Also Starring

Guest Starring


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