I just watched Darkness Falls, which is one I've always liked a lot. I'm not sure just why I like it so much, because it's a really standard base-under-siege story, but I find the atmosphere really compelling - all that PNW darkness and rain is so very X-Files. And there's also something appealingly retro about the episode; it kind of reminds me of classic Tom Baker Doctor Who, with the slow pacing and the way the suspense builds. And I guess I just like hanging out in a cabin in the woods with Mulder and Scully; it feels cozy and comforting, even if there are killer bugs outside.
Watching it again, I still loved it, but it struck me for the first time that it's really not a good episode for Scully. For one thing, she doesn't really do anything all episode. There's none of the usual thesis/antithesis interplay where Mulder comes up with a theory and Scully challenges it with science. Instead, Mulder immediately figures out about the bugs, Spinney confirms his theory, the other characters argue about it, and Scully just sits there. Later, Scully sees some bugs on her and freaks out, and Mulder has to talk her down and explain that the bugs are on everything but won't swarm in the light. It's not that there's any great shame in freaking out about killer bugs - it's probably exactly what I would do - but I'm pretty sure a later episode would have had another character freak out and Scully be the one giving the scientific explanation and telling everyone to keep calm. The thing that really irritates me, though, is when they're looking at the rings of the old growth tree that's been cut down, and Scully asks the ranger, "The center rings are the older rings, right?" Why is Scully asking a question that could be easily answered by most third graders? That's not the kind of writing I expect for Dana Scully, Scientist.
A couple of other things I noticed on this rewatch:
I read somewhere that Gillian Anderson had serious morning sickness during this episode, and you can definitely tell once you're looking for it. During the scene where they're looking at the old-growth tree, there's a moment where they pan over to Scully and she looks exactly like she's about to throw up. I assume they left it in by accident, but it's really obvious once you see it.
I've always found Spinney's death very sad, but it gets more horrifying the more I think about it. He's attacked just seconds before Mulder and Scully are, so he's probably still alive when the rescuers arrive. But he's off somewhere in the woods, and the rescuers don't know to look for him. They keep repeating that there are "two, possibly three" people in need of help. They have no way of knowing that there are actually four. It's awful to think of him dying out there while everyone else is airlifted to safety, when he could have been saved.