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Mind's Eye (The X-Files)

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"Mind's Eye"
The X-Files episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 16
Directed by Kim Manners
Written by Tim Minear
Production code 5X16
Original air date April 19, 1998
Running time 45 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of The X-Files episodes

"Mind's Eye" is the sixteenth episode of the fifth season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files. The episode first aired in the United States on April 19, 1998 on the Fox network. It was written by Tim Minear and directed by Kim Manners. The episode is a "Monster-of-the-Week"" story, a stand-alone plot which is unconnected to the series' wider mythology. "Mind's Eye" received a Nielsen household rating of 10.4 and was watched by 16.53 million viewers. The episode received moderately positive reviews, with many critics praising Taylor's performance as Glenn, who received a Primetime Emmy Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series nomination.

The show centers on FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files. In this episode, Mulder and Scully investigate a murder that seems to have been committed by a blind woman, Marty Glenn (Lili Taylor), but Mulder suspects that she is capable of seeing images in some other way. Eventually, it is revealed that Glenn, while blind, can see the actions of her murderous father via her mind's eye.

"Mind's Eye" was inspired by the concept of "remote viewing", or being able to see events beyond the range of normal vision. Minear sought to make Glenn the opposite of Audrey Hepburn's character in the 1967 film Wait Until Dark, in which Hepburn played the part of an innocent but terrorized blind woman. "Mind's Eye" marked the rare television appearance of Taylor, who primarily worked on well-regarded independent films. In fact, Taylor herself requested to appear in the series.


In Wilmington, Delaware, while Marty Glenn (Lili Taylor) is walking around her apartment, she experiences a vision: someone brandishing a knife approaches a man standing in front of a bathroom sink. Later, local police are called to a motel, where they find a murdered man on the bathroom floor. Marty is discovered hiding in the shower holding a bloody sponge. The police arrest her, only to realize that she is blind. Detective Lloyd Pennock (Blu Mankuma) calls in Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) because he believes Marty (who has been blind since birth) possesses a "sixth sense" that makes her capable of committing this crime.

During an interrogation, it becomes obvious that Marty, who is being uncooperative, possesses knowledge of the crimes that only the guilty party should know. Mulder decides to administer a polygraph while Scully looks over the crime scene. In the bathroom, Scully discovers a leather glove hidden behind an old razor disposal bin. Mulder, meanwhile, becomes convinced that Marty somehow did observe the murder. Suddenly, Marty experiences another vision: the murderer approaches a woman, Susan Forester, at a bar. In the vision, Marty is able to see the name of the bar. When her premonition ends, she requests to make a phone call; she calls the bar and warns a man named Gotts (Richard Fitzpatrick) to leave Forester alone. Later, Scully shows the glove to Marty, who informs her that her fingerprints were found on it and that it fits her. Pennock concludes that the evidence is enough to charge Marty, but Mulder still does not think she did it. Scully proposes that Marty may not be blind, and an eye examination is undertaken. During the test, Marty experiences another vision and Mulder points out that the measurement mode screen used to gauge whether Marty can see has a reaction. Despite this, the examiner concludes Marty is truly blind. Mulder, however, believes Marty's ocular reaction is a physical response to an image in her mind's eye. After the district attorney concludes that charging a blind woman solely based on fingerprints would not be enough to convict her, Marty is released.

While walking home, Marty experiences a vision of Gotts attacking Forester. Marty eventually makes her way to the crime scene where she finds the victim's body. She returns to the police station and confesses to the murders. To convince the police that she is the murderer, Marty tells Pennock where Gotts hid the heroin he stole from the first victim, but none of the prints on the heroin belong to Marty, furthering Mulder's argument that she is, in fact, innocent. Mulder approaches Marty and tells her that he researched her mother's murder—she died from a stab wound to the kidney, the same way Gotts kills his victims. Mulder concludes that Marty was given her ability when her then-pregnant mother was killed by Gotts; it is revealed that Gotts is actually Marty's father and that he had spent thirty years (her whole life) in prison until being paroled. Marty sends Mulder and Scully to the bar that Gotts was last seen at, while Pennock takes her back to her apartment to pick up some things before entering protective custody. While packing, Marty has a vision of Gotts in the apartment lobby; she knocks Pennock out, takes his gun and waits. Mulder figures out that Marty had been experiencing Gotts' sight for the thirty years he was in prison; in effect spending her whole life in prison. Mulder and Scully arrive at Marty's apartment to find Gotts dead by his daughter's hands. Marty is convicted of his murder and is sentenced to prison, but she is finally free of her father's vision.[1]



"Mind's Eye" was written by Tim Minear—his second credit for the series—and directed by Kim Manners. He was inspired to write the episode after hearing about the concept of "remote viewing". Purportedly, the process allows one to view events—either through one's eyes, or through the eyes of others—beyond the range of normal vision. Reportedly, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency spent $20 million on a research project to determine if the ability exists.[2]

Minear initially had trouble conceptualizing his idea, noting that "it might be a good idea for a short story, but how do you make the whole thing work visually?"[2] To combat this issue, Minear decided to make the remote viewer blind. He sought to make the blind woman "not Audrey Hepburn", a reference to the 1967 film Wait Until Dark, in which Hepburn played the part of an innocent but terrorized blind woman.[2] He later said, "I wanted to make [Glenn] a bitch, because the fact is that disability doesn't necessarily ennoble a person."[2] After several meetings with fellow writers John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, and Frank Spotnitz—who provided storyboard support—Minear was allowed to begin work on the episode.[2]

Casting and filming[edit]

"Mind's Eye" marked the rare television appearance of Lili Taylor, who primarily worked on well-regarded independent films.[2][3] Taylor was cast as Glenn; initially, the producers for the show felt that Taylor would not be interested, but she actually was a fan of the show and series co-star Anderson. Taylor, in fact, had contacted the series' casting director, Rick Milikan, and requested a role. Blu Mankuma, who played the part of Detective Pennock, had previously appeared in the first season episode "Ghost in the Machine". Mulder's line "even if the gloves do fit – you can still acquit", a reference to the leather gloves of the O. J. Simpson murder case, was improvised by Duchovny during filming.[2]

During the filming of the episode, art director Greg Loewen pointed out that, in her apartment, Glenn would not need lamps and ceiling lights. The lighting department for the show, however, countered that "although The X-Files was a dark show, it wasn't that dark."[2] The "staccato" and "nightmarish" remote visions that Glenn experiences were created in post-production by visual effects supervisor Laurie Kallsen-George.[2]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

"Mind's Eye" premiered on the Fox network in the United States on April 19, 1998, and was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on February 10, 1999.[4] It earned a Nielsen household rating of 10.4, with a 16 share, meaning that roughly 10.4 percent of all television-equipped households, and 16 percent of households watching television, were tuned in to the episode.[5] It was viewed by 16.53 million viewers.[5] "Mind's Eye" also was nominated for several Emmy Awards. Taylor was nominated for an award in the category of Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series—a nomination shared by fellow X-Files guest star Veronica Cartwright—although Cloris Leachman won.[6][7] Editor Casey O Rohrs was nominated for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing.[2][6][8]

The episode received moderately positive reviews from television critics, with many praising Taylor's performance as Glenn. Zack Handlen from The A.V. Club gave the episode a moderately positive review and awarded it a B+.[9] He was slightly critical that Glenn's ability to see visions was not sufficiently expanded upon; he ultimately called Mulder's explanation "crap".[9] However, Handlen praised guest star Taylor and Duchovny, noting that "Taylor is convincing in the role, and Duchovny does a good job making his lines sound more logical than they actually are."[9] He ultimately concluded that the entry is "not a bad episode, exactly" but that "it's far from a great one."[9] John Keegan from Critical Myth gave the episode a positive review and awarded it an 8 out of 10.[10] He labeled the episode "a strong stand-alone installment" helped by the "powerful" chemistry between Duchovny and Taylor.[10] He noted that "there are some interesting philosophical themes at work".[10] Keegan concluded that "[t]he lack of context within the season arc itself could have worked against it, but the episode manages to stand on its own."[10]

Paula Vitaris from Cinefantastique gave the episode a moderately positive review and awarded it two-and-a-half stars out of four.[11] Vitaris drew comparisons between the installment and the third season episode "Oubliette". However, she noted that because "the new episodes doesn't have the specific connection 'Oubliette' drew between Lucy and Mulder's sister Samantha, it doesn't touch the heart as deeply."[11] She did, however, praise Taylor's performance, writing "it is [Taylor] who makes 'Mind's Eye' truly memorable."[11] Robert Shearman and Lars Pearson, in their book Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen, rated the episode three stars out of five.[12] The two called the entry "solid, if unspectacular", noting that, once the premise is developed, "there's really not much depth to be mined from it."[12] Shearman and Pearson, however, concluded that "the episode works nonetheless, thanks to a superb central performance from Lili Taylor [who] gives the best guest star turn of the year, lending a strength, an anger, and a redeeming humour to a blind woman who has adapted the world to her disability."[12]



  1. ^ a b Meisler, pp. 212–224
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Meisler, p. 224
  3. ^ Hurwitz and Knowles, p. 131
  4. ^ The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season (booklet). R. W. Goodwin, et al. Fox. 
  5. ^ a b Meisler, p. 284
  6. ^ a b Meisler, p. 282
  7. ^ "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series 1998". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "The X-Files". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d Handlen, Zack (9 July 2011). "'Mind's Eye'/'Roosters' | The X-Files/Millennium | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d Keegan, John. "Mind' Eye". Critical Myth. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c Vitaris, Paula (October 1998). "Fifth Season Episode Guide". Cinefantastique. 30 (7/8): 29–50. 
  12. ^ a b c Shearman and Pearson, pp. 139–140


  • Hurwitz, Matt & Knowles, Chris (2008). The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series the Myths and the Movies. New York, US: Insight Editions. ISBN 1933784725. 
  • Meisler, Andy (1999), Resist or Serve: The Official Guide to The X-Files, Vol. 4, London: HarperCollins, ISBN 0-00-257133-1 
  • Shearman, Robert; Pearson, Lars (2009). Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen. Mad Norwegian Press. ISBN 097594469X. 

External links[edit]