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The X-Files episode The-X-Files-2-32
Series: The X-Files
Original Airdate: December 1, 1996
Production Number: 4x10
Date(s): November 25, 1996
Written by: Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter
Directed by: Rob Bowman
Episode chronology




"Paper Hearts"
Season 4 Bullet toggle plus

"Terma" is the ninth episode of the fourth season of The X-Files.


Mulder escapes from Russia and is reunited with Scully. Together, they continue to investigate a biohazardous material that was found in the diplomatic pouch and seems to have extraterrestrial origins. (Part 2 of 2)


Having been imprisoned in a gulag in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny ) learns that Alex Krycek(Nicholas Lea ), the shadowy agent he was captured alongside, is in fact a double agent working for the Russians. Mulder is able to escape from the camp while taking Krycek hostage, although the two become separated in the confusion. Krycek is found by a group of men whose left arms have all been amputated, and has his arm forcibly severed to prevent his involvements in black oil vaccination tests.

Meanwhile, Vasily Peskow, a former KGB agent, has come out of retirement in order to travel to America. While there, he assassinates Bonita Charne-Sayre, a doctor working for the Syndicate to develop a black oil vaccine. From here, Peskow tracks down Charne-Sayre's test subjects, testing a Russian vaccine on them before killing them to cover his tracks. Mulder has been able to return to America with the help of a group of Russian peasants, and rejoins his partner Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson ). Scully and assistant director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi ) had been detained by a United States Senate committee seeking to uncover Mulder's whereabouts, which is adjourned upon Mulder's arrival. The agents attempt to track down Peskow, following the trail of murders. However, the assassin is able to outwit the agents, and destroys the last of the oil-containing rocks seen in the previous episode in an oil-well explosion. He returns to Russia, where it is revealed that he had been hired for this task by Krycek.

Campbell and John Richter We are not who we are!

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Background InformationEdit

Due to production time constraints some of the visual effects of the black-oil worms weren't ready until the very last minute so the networks in Canada and in the Midwest, who had to have the episode a couple hours earlier, saw a different version of that particular visual effect in the original broadcast.

'Terma' is the corrupted form of the Russian word "Tyurma" for prison or jail, and is also a Latin conjunction of 'death'. It has also been suggested that the title refers to the Tibetan Buddhist term "Terma", meaning hidden or buried truth. Of course, within in the episode it was the name of a town in North Dakota.

This episode's tagline changes to 'E Pur Si Muove', Italian for "But It Does Move". Supposedly, this is the phrase Galileo said under his breath after the Church forced him to admit that his theory on the Earth revolving around the sun was incorrect - meaning that no matter what someone makes you say, it doesn't change what you know to be true.

Well Manicured Man said "But, Senator Sorenson is an honorable man. They are all honorable ...these Honorable men." This comes from the famous speech Mark Anthony held at Caesar's burial in the Roman age. Mark Anthony said: For Brutus is an honorable man. So are they all, all honorable men. In Mark Anthony's speech it is meant to be sarcastic, because he suspects Brutus to be part of the group who murdered Caesar.


This is the episode where Alex Krycek's left arm is cut off.

This episode uses footage of Scully's Congressional hearing from "Tunguska"'s teaser.

At a time span from 32:40 to 32:50, when Scully and Mulder are in the Retirement home, they inspect the bedded patients, the one both Mulder and Scully focus on has those worm like alien viruses on her face. Neither of them react.

Krycek's Russian alias (or perhaps his real name), 'Comrade Arntzen' is named for Val Arntzen, a member of the Set Decorating Department.


However, some of the events of the hearing have been altered - at one point in "Tunguska"'s teaser, Scully says, "I respectfully decline to answer that question", but in this episode she instead says, ""I respectfully refuse to answer that question".



Also Starring

Guest Starring

Special Guest Starring




Black oil

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