[Contains leash-dropping, doggy-losing SPOILERS!!!]
Season Three of The X-Files saw some pretty momentous changes in the life of our heroine, ‘Special Agent Dana Scully’: First her hippy-dippy sister ‘Melissa’ was killed in a botched assassination attempt on her own life… then she learned she had a computer-chip of unknown origin implanted in her neck during her previous abduction… then she encountered a support group for abductees who recognised her on sight from their own time aboard the alien ship (or wherever they all were)… then she adopted a dog that was subsequently eaten by an alligator posing as a mythical monster… then she was sent batshit crazy by a subliminal signal hidden in a crappy cable channel… and to top it all off, she also learned that she might be an immortal Angel of the Lord! Crikey! Although Gillian Anderson earned an Emmy nomination for her fine work in ep #3.15 (titled “Piper Maru”, in tribute to her new-born daughter!), my fave episode of hers this season has to be #3.22 (“Quagmire”)… partly for the way she dotes on (and then mourns for) her fluffy little mutt ‘Queequeg’, but mostly for the face she makes when Mulder quotes a humorous line from Moby Dick at her. That scene of them stranded on a lonely rock was so freakin’ adorable! Apparently Anderson is very fond of it herself: “I loved that. That was so much fun, and I think it was written really well… It was just neat to have us separated from everything and stuck on this island where we could wax philosophical and kind of tell the truth to each other in strange ways.” Amen.
As far as noteworthy guest-stars go, the ladies were vastly outnumbered by the gents this time around, but there were still a few actresses I’d like to call-out here:
April Grace appeared in ep #3.5 (“The List”) as ‘Danielle Manley’, the cheatin’ wife/widow of a doomed death-row inmate who manages to come back from the dead to seek vengeance against those who’ve wronged him. Besides her turn as transporter chief ‘Maggie Hubbell’ in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Grace is probably best known to genre fans for playing ‘Beatrice “Bea” Klugh’, a senior member of “The Others” in Lost. Glynis Davies appeared in ep #3.6 (“2Shy”), as ‘Monica Landis’, the flirty landlady of a man who turned out to be fat-sucking serial killer! Davies actually appeared in smaller roles in two previous episodes, but really stood-out here as a lonely single mother trying to persuade her super-creepy, pseudo-intellectual tenant to read her poems. Poor thing. Away from The X-Files, Davies also appeared as ‘Maryann Wallace’, mother of the geeky genius ‘Eli’ in SGU: Stargate Universe. Jewel Staite appeared in ep #3.8 (“Oubliette”) as ‘Amy Jacobs’, a young girl who’s kidnapped from her bedroom by a stalky photographer, and only recovered thanks to an inexplicable psychic connection with one of his previous victims. Staite was only 13 at the time, but played a character aged 15… and she does some excellent work, considering all of the physical and emotional challenges the story threw at her. Besides a recurring role in Stargate: Atlantis, Staite’s probably best known (and most loved) as ‘Kaylee Frye’ in Firefly.
Suleka “Sue” Mathew appeared in ep #3.16 (“Apocrypha”) as ‘Linda Caleca’, a mostly superfluous FBI agent assigned to investigate Assistant Director Skinner’s shooting. Again, Mathew had a minor role in a previous episode, as well as recurring roles in The Crow: Stairway to Heaven and The West Wing. Probably the biggest name (and most welcome face) to appear this season was Lucy Liu, as ‘Kim Hsin’, the sickly daughter of an impoverished carpet-layer who takes part in a crazy game of organ-donation-roulette, in the hope of winning enough money to pay for her medical care. I know everyone has to start somewhere, but it’s a little sad seeing the nascent Liu confined to a bed, or slumped in a chair all weepy and weak, when she should be out kicking ass, Charlie’s Angels-style! And finally, Amanda Tapping appeared in ep #3.21 (“Avatar”) as ‘Carina Sayles’, an endearing escort hired as bait in a trap to implicate AD Skinner in a series of murders (starting with her own). I’m still not entirely sure who actually killed her, or how… but… er… I guess Mulder and Scully managed to prove Skinner’s innocence somehow, because he’s back at work by the end of the episode! Just a year after filming this cameo, Tapping landed her breakout role as ‘Samantha Carter’ in Stargate SG-1 (and its various spin-offs)… more recently she was cast as the lead in Sanctuary, which I really must get around to checking out sometime.
On the more manly side of things: John Neville made his debut as recurring baddie ‘The Well-Manicured Man’ in ep #3.1… Giovanni Ribisi appeared as a slow-witted slacker with the power to control lightning in ep #3.3, which understandably freaks out his best bud, played by Jack Black… Peter Boyle won an Emmy for his portrayal of ‘Clyde Bruckman’, a weary insurance salesman with the ability to foresee people’s deaths in ep #3.4… R. Lee Ermey played a short-lived “stigmatic” priest in the opening teaser of #3.11… Ryan Reynolds made an equally brief appearance as an ill-fated jock in #3.13… Kurtwood Smith played the FBI’s chief profiler (and a former mentor of Mulder’s) in ep #3.14… and Charles Nelson Reilly played an eccentric sci-fi author hoping to write a book based on Scully’s recollections of a rather confusing case in #3.20.