25 best standalone episodes of The X-Files

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11. “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”

Many people would argue that some of the best episodes of The X-Files are its funny ones. Moreover, the best of the best, the most humorous tales, are made even better when they’re self-aware. Such is the case with “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”, an intelligent spoof of both UFO conspiracy theories and The X-Files itself.

The whole mess begins with a teenage couple driving back from a date. Their car suddenly stops, whereupon they are abducted by aliens. Cut to Agent Scully. She’s being interviewed by the titular Jose Chung, an author who is writing a book about the phenomena of UFOs and alien abduction.

Scully notes that the girl’s clothes were on inside out. She takes this to be evidence of date rape, despite reports of extraterrestrial encounters. However, the teenage boy vehemently claims that he did not assault his date. Mulder, who is inclined to agree, insists on hypnotic sessions for the pair. Multiple instances of hypnosis reveal a strange and ever-changing web of events.

Scully and Mulder attempt to get to the bottom of the matter by interviewing other people in the town. However, this serves only to make things more confusing. Roky Crikenson, a lineman, says he witnessed the abduction and is turning it into a screenplay. He also claims to have been visited by two menacing “men in black”, who tell him to stay away from the matter. Strangely enough, those two figures look an awful lot like Alex Trebek and Jesse Ventura.

“Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” can be, frankly, difficult to follow. Probably, Mulder and Scully feel the same. Still, it’s an interesting look at the messy state of the UFO phenomenon and of human memory in general. Plus, it is truly, genuinely funny.