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Actor, comedian, and host of the The X-Files Files podcast, Kumail Nanjiani, has picked just a handful of the best episodes to get you started.

GREAT list. All stand alone episodes. 

Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot”: Watch it not only because it’s the first episode, but also because it’s fantastic. Mulder and Scully’s first meeting will give you chills. “Nothing down here but the F.B.I.’s Least Wanted.”

Season 1, Episode 3 “Squeeze”: The first “Monster of the Week” episode features a fantastically creepy bad guy (Doug Hutchison) who can stretch his body and eats human livers to survive, because those two things go together. The actor later married a 16-year-old girl and showed us that he’s still good at playing creepy.

Season 2, Episode 20 “Humbug”: Circus freaks, bug eaters, and the late, great Vincent Schiavelli get together in this episode about the importance of finding your people. It also makes Mulder look like a total putz, which is hard to do because David Duchovny is so handsome.

Season 3, Episode 4 “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”: The greatest X-Files episode of all time. I once watched this episode three times in one day and cried each time. Darin Morgan won an Emmy for writing this episode. The late, great Peter Boyle won an Emmy for playing a psychic who can only see how people die and tells Mulder how it ends for him. (Hint: It’s the worst possible way to go.)

Season 3, Episode 20 “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’”: A meta-deconstruction of the show itself. The late, great Charles Nelson Reilly plays a pulpy writer trying to get to the bottom of an alleged alien abduction incident by talking to a group of unreliable narrators. Or was it an alien abduction incident at all? I would tell you about all the wonderful cameos in this episode, but that would ruin half the fun. Or would it ruin any of the fun at all?

Season 4, Episode 2 “Home”: The scariest episode of television ever made. Period. End of discussion. You’ll never hear Johnny Mathis’s “Wonderful Wonderful” the same way ever again.

Season 5, Episode 12 “Bad Blood”: Luke Wilson stars in this vampire episode told separately through both Scully and Mulder’s perspectives. This is Gillian Anderson’s favorite episode.

Season 6, Episode 2 “Drive”: There’s a pretty good show called Breaking Bad. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it was created by The X-Files writer Vince Gilligan and starred Bryan Cranston. This episode is where they met, and you see how likable Cranston can be while saying and doing some pretty unlikable things. Not “Start selling meth and murdering competitors” unlikeable, but unlikeable nonetheless.

Season 7, Episode 12 “X-Cops”: The X-Files and Cops crossover. Sounds bad, right? It’s not. It’s scary and cool and highlights the show at its most inventive. It also shows how resilient the Mulder/Scully dynamic is. Seven years in and Mulder is still coming up with a crazy theory, Scully is pointing out that it’s a crazy theory, but because the universe is unfair, Mulder is proven right and Scully wrong.

Shield & Hammer:  A Thor and Cap Headcanon

1.  The only persons who were totally not surprised that Steve Rogers and Thor would become Best Bros were Natasha and Sam. 

2.  “It’s like watching a pair of ginormous Golden Retrievers play together,” Sam said.

“Huskies,” Natasha corrected.

“No way - they’re all big ol’ happy Golden Retriever puppies.”

“Sam, you look me in the eye and tell me they’re not also total little shits.”

“…”

“Like I said.  Huskies.”  

3.  Thor is not a moron.  Nor is he unaware that the “gloriousness that is Pop Tarts” is actually junk food.  But he’s no stranger to depression and melancholy either.  And certainly, he is not a stranger to pain and loss.  So inevitably:

“Friend Steven!  Come and partake of this deliciousness and I will come sit with you while they tell us about the legendary Wars of the Stars and get everything wrong.”

“… wait, Star Wars is real?”

Somehow, the legends have made to Midgard, though the prequels are an inaccurate retelling of the tales of the Skywalkers.”

“Thor, you’re not trolling me, are you?”

“I swear on sweet Mjolnir.”

4.  Steve and Thor agreed that they would totally keep their gamer identities secret from Tony right up until Tony declared a Gamers’ Tournament for DoTA.  And then, the fun really started. 

“LEEEEEEERRRRRROOOOOYYYYYY JEEEENNNNNNKIIIIINNNNNSSSSSS.”

“Aw, Thor, no.”

“Cap, that’s my line.”

“What is this - you are gamers too - my brain is broken - what the fuck - how the hell did this happen — what — JAAARVVVVIIISSSSS!!!!“

5.  It was one fine and sunny day when Steve Rogers decided to teach Thor about baseball.  Thor took to it like a duck to water.  Except Mjolnir.

“Aw, shield, no.”  Yes, Steve was picking up a lot of speech patterns from Clint.  It was already beginning to worry Natasha. 

“Fear not, friend Steven!  I shall return thy shield to you! Methinks I swung a bit too hard.”

“Yeah, that’s a foul ball buddy.  Well, foul shield anyway.  We’ll try again.”

6.  When Steve found the baby girls instead of Bucky in the HYDRA base he had raided, he had been totally flabbergasted to find out that the little ones were actually created out of his and Bucky’s DNA.  Naturally, the very idea of putting the girls into foster care or letting them out of his sight was out of the question.   For better or for worse, he was going to be a father. 

Panic ensued. 

It was Thor who first stepped in and volunteered himself as a babysitter because seriously, taking care of twins was really meant to be the work of about the entire Avengers’ team.  The girls fell asleep to the sound of Thor singing them Asgardian lullabies his mother had taught him.

7.  Mjolnir had a crush on Steve.  Darcy totally called it. 

8.  The first time Steve Rogers lifted Mjolnir, he was temporarily bitty-fied due to a botched spell from a wizard apparently affiliated with HYDRA.

He did it to save Bucky from falling under HYDRA control again when they tried to use a trigger word:  Sputnik. 

9.  Thor had been totally bewildered when Steve apparently could not admit that Bucky was his “shieldmate.”   Therefore, he was recruited into Team Save the Sad Grandpas by Natasha and Sam.   Darcy was also included on this team.  Steve and Bucky were totally doomed. 

10.    “So our cubs are going to have a literal godfather?”

“Luckily, the parish priest over at St. James’ has a sense of humor.  Thor insists on doing a few blessings of his own too.” 

“Baby, I think our babies will need all the blessings they can get.”

“You ain’t gonna hear me arguing about that.”