25 best standalone episodes of The X-Files

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24. “Field Trip”

If Mulder eventually has a fun, if weird, time with weaponized fungus in “Unusual Suspects”, the same cannot be said for both him and Scully in “Field Trip”. This sixth season episode also features a fungus, but it is far more sinister than anything facilitated by The Lone Gunmen. Consider “Field Trip” to be the bad acid trip cousin to “Unusual Suspects.”

Wallace and Angela Schiff are just finished with their hiking trip in the woods of North Carolina. They return home and begin to clean up and get ready for bed. While Angela is taking a shower, however, she is hit by a massive headache. She also hallucinates gross yellow gunk sliding down the walls of her shower. Then, the vision passes and she calmly goes to bed in the arms of her husband. However, as the camera begins to pan out, we see their skeletal remains in the same position in the middle of an open field.

Clearly, this is a case for the X-Files team. When Mulder and Scully investigate the remains, they discover that the bones are covered in a strange yellow substance. Scully stays back to continue work with the local coroner, while Mulder goes into the field. Unfortunately, Mulder’s vehicle passes over a patch of mushrooms, which release a strange gas.

What follows is a little difficult to describe. Both Mulder and Scully begin to experience powerful, realistic hallucinations. At various points, they believe that they have escaped the murderous mushrooms, only to discover that they’re back where they started.

Meanwhile, it appears that the fungus is intent on devouring them, just like it did with the unfortunate couple at the beginning of the episode. Mulder and Scully are quickly running out of time and must draw on all of their intelligence and willpower to defeat the organism. While “monster mushroom” sounds goofy, “Field Trip” is actually really creepy, mind-bending stuff.