25 best standalone episodes of The X-Files

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7. “Triangle”

“Triangle” is often touted for its technical achievements, namely the one where the entire episode is apparently shot in four uninterrupted takes. Of course, the steadicams used by crew could only take up to four minutes of film, so clever editing naturally came into play. However, the episode is also rightfully known for its interesting, time-hopping story.

The episode begins with Fox Mulder, found unconscious in the ocean. The crew of the Queen Anne takes him aboard. When Mulder comes to, he tries to explain to the captain that the ship has disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in 1939, and has just reappeared in 1998. However, the highly skeptical reaction of the crew and a radio broadcast convince Mulder that he is the one traveling through time. It appears that he is now in 1939.

While on board, Mulder must deal with Nazis (lead by a man who looks incredibly similar to series baddie, The Smoking Man) and a woman who could be an exact copy of Scully herself. The Nazis, it seems, are looking for something called “Thor’s Hammer.” However, instead of this “Hammer” being a weapon, it turns out to be a scientist with the capability of building it. Such a person would be very useful to the Axis powers, considering that World War II has just begun. Mulder must fight against the Nazis and also find a way back to 1998.

Meanwhile, the modern Scully works with The Lone Gunmen, a trio of counterculture nerd allies, to figure out where Mulder has gone. When they discover the drifting Queen Anne, it is eerily empty. Will Mulder ever return to the present time? “Triangle” is a smart thriller episode that takes great advantage of the wibbly-wobbly time travel concept.