25 best standalone episodes of The X-Files

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16. “War of the Coprophages”

Few amongst us like bugs. Though insects, arachnids, and the like are important members of our ecosystems, there’s just something off about them. Maybe our hominid brains just can’t deal with the exoskeletons, too-many legs, and possible poison hazard presented by so many creepy crawlies. It’s enough to send many an intelligent person into outright panic.

This explains some of the panic in “War of the Coprophages,” from the third season of The X-Files. “Coprophages” refers specifically to cockroaches, known for their affinity for, well, dung. Research the prefix “copro-” and you’ll see what I mean.

The whole mess beings with the unfortunate death of an exterminator. The exterminator, who was visiting the basement of Dr. Jeff Eckerle, dies alone of apparent anaphylactic shock – that is, an allergic reaction. When Dr. Eckerle comes down to check on the man, he finds the exterminator covered in roaches.

Dr. Eckerle freaks out like any normal human would. However, soon the entire town is losing their minds over cockroaches. It seems as if more and more people are dying from these killer insects, though one begins to wonder just how much panic and allergic reactions are playing into these deaths.

Mulder comes in to investigate on his own. Though he’s ostensibly going solo, he continually calls Scully at home, to such a point that she feels compelled to check it out in person, too.

Though the cause is eventually revealed to be something a little more mundane that what Mulder may have hoped, “War of the Coprophages” is still good TV. It’s funny and entertaining while poking fun at our species’ tendency to lose our heads when it comes to our buggy compatriots.