25 best standalone episodes of The X-Files

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18. “Small Potatoes”

Some people, no matter what they do, never feel like they’re quite “enough.” Has this happened to you? I mean, you work and work and hustle your butt off, but some days it feels like it’s all come to diddly-squat. Even if you were born with some extraordinary anomaly – like, oh, a tail – it can feel like nothing at all.

This will all make sense in a second, but first we have to pull back a bit. Mulder and Scully are called to the town of Martinsburg, West Virginia. Five children have recently been born there, all with prominent tails. The most recent mother even claims that the mysterious father was Luke Skywalker. Genetic analysis shows that the children all share the same father, though both Scully and Mulder remain skeptical on the Skywalker hypothesis.

Instead, all signs point to local janitor Eddie Van Blundht. Mulder discovers that Van Blundht used to sport a tail himself. In fact, Eddie’s father is a former circus act known for his own tail. Scully thinks that he must have used some sort of date rape drug to commit these assaults, but Mulder isn’t sure that Eddie could have given it to all the affected women.

As it turns out early on, Eddie is actually a shapeshifter. Despite having powers that would make an X-Man jealous, he’s made almost nothing out of himself. Moreover, Eddie really knows it. So, after tricking five different women into sleeping with him, he decides to take the place of Agent Mulder himself. However, it soon becomes clear that Eddie is no good at that either.

Despite the uncomfortable date rape aspects of the plot, “Small Potatoes” is otherwise a fun story. David Duchovny gets extra kudos for his portrayal of Eddie-as-Mulder, who generally mucks around Mulder’s apartment, makes fun of his loner lifestyle, and tries to put a move on Scully herself.