X-Files Wiki
X-Files Wiki
The Sixth Extinction   Credits   Gallery   Transcript    

"The Sixth Extinction" is the premiere of The X-Files. Originally airing on the Fox network on November 7, 1999, it was written by series' creator Chris Carter, and was directed by Kim Manners.

The Sixth Extinction is the second installment of a three-part mythology arc story, continuing on from the sixth season finale Biogenesis, and concluding in the next episode The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati.


While Scully tries to piece together the meaning of the symbols on the spaceship beached in Africa, Mulder is imprisoned by his own frenetic brain activity.


On the coast of Côte d'Ivoire, Scully sits in her tent studying detailed photographs of the spacecraft half-buried on the beach nearby. A figure, the Primitive African Man, mysteriously appears before suddenly vanishing, after which Scully's tent is swarmed by flying insects. Back in the United States, Walter Skinner visits a delusional Fox Mulder, who is being kept in a padded cell at a Georgetown hospital. Mulder seemingly attacks Skinner, but actually covertly passes him a torn shred of his hospital gown reading, "HELP ME".

Scully and rubbings from the alien ship.

Scully is visited by Dr. Amina Ngebe, Solomon Merkmellen's former colleague who warns Scully to not tell any of the locals about the swarm or the Primitive African Man, although word is already out on the "African internet". Soon afterwards, one of the locals working on excavating the ship is apparently scalded by boiling seawater. With the arrival of Dr. Barnes another "plague" occurs – that night the ocean turns blood red.

Skinner revisits a heavily drugged Mulder, who cannot talk but writes "Kritschgau". Skinner goes to visit Kritschgau, now unemployed and living in a low-cost apartment, and convinces him to visit the hospital with him. Once there, Kritschgau believes Mulder has alien induced mind reading abilities and injects him with a drug (phenytoin) to slow down his brain activity. Later Diana Fowley and his doctor arrive, and with his mind-reading abilities, Mulder is able to tell Skinner that he knows about him being indebted to Krycek, and Diana Fowley's connections with the Cigarette Smoking Man.

Kritschgau tests Mulder's extra-sensory abilities.

Scully, with Dr. Barnes' help, is able to translate some of the spaceship, which contains information on genetics and various religions. Dr. Barnes' behavior becomes increasingly erratic however and, armed with a machete, he refuses to let Scully or Ngebe leave. He soon realizes that the craft is bringing dead fish back to life, and Scully and Ngebe take the opportunity to knock him out and escape. Scully sees the vanishing man again in the car as they drive off.

Kritschgau and Skinner put Mulder under additional tests to verify his abnormal brain activity. They again inject Mulder with phenytoin, but this time they are caught by Fowley and Mulder goes into a seizure. Meanwhile Dr. Barnes, in a bizarre type of experiment, kills his driver, but the driver soon reanimates and kills him instead. Scully flies back to the U.S. and visits Mulder at the hospital. On the African coast, Ngebe arrives with the police, finding Dr. Barnes dead and the spaceship gone.



Memorable Quotes[]

  • Episode Opening Voice Over, Scully: "I came in search of something I did not believe existed. I've stayed on now, in spite of myself. In spite of everything I've ever held to be true. I will continue here as long as I can... as long as you are beset by the haunting illness which I saw consume your beautiful mind. What is this discovery I've made? How can I reconcile what I see with what I know? I feel this was meant not for me to find but for you... to make sense of — make the connections which can't be ignored... connections which, for me, deny all logic and reason. What is this source of power I hold in my hand — this rubbing — a simple impression taken from the surface of the craft? I watched this rubbing take its undeniable hold on you, saw you succumb to its spiraling effect. Now I must work to uncover what your illness prevents you from finding. In the source of every illness lies its cure."
  • Kritschgau: I was destroyed to protect what Mulder knew all along. And now he's the proof. He's the X-file!

Background Information[]

  • 11:09: Mulder writes on Skinner's hand one way, but the next time it is shown (14:43) it is different.
  • When we see Scully writing down the translations of Navajo words for the nucleotides in DNA, adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine, Scully has written the first one as "ademine". Also, why would the aliens use a Navajo alphabet to spell out English words?
  • There is no "ancient Navajo alphabet," making Barnes' theories dubious at best. Navajo, like most Native American languages, had no written form until relatively recently.
  • The tagline for this episode is "The Truth is Out There".
  • The name of this episode makes a reference to a real scientific study with the same name that tells us that humanity is on the verge of extinction by its own hands.[1] Scully makes reference to this study in the next episode, "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati".
  • Scully says that the 24 panels on the surface of the spacecraft correspond to the 24 human chromosomes. In fact, humans have 46 chromosomes ordered into 23 pairs.


  • (to Michael Kritschgau) Who you gonna call? This refers to the movie Ghostbusters. Mulder says this as he is about to undergo tests on his psychic ability just as Bill Murray does with the 2 students early on in Ghostbusters.
  • The titular "Sixth Extinction" refers to the mass extinction brought about since the last Ice Age by human that some debate is continuing to this day.



Also Starring

Special Guest Starring

Guest Starring


External Links[]

Episode Navigation[]