Samantha Mulder

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Samantha Mulder
Ashlyn Rose as Samantha Mulder in "Dreamland II"
First appearance "Conduit"
Last appearance The X-Files: I Want to Believe (photo)
Portrayed by Various, see below

Samantha T. Mulder is a fictional character in the television series The X-Files. She attended Hays High School. She is the sister of FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder and the daughter of Teena and Bill Mulder. As a child, Samantha was abducted, ostensibly by aliens, and was never returned. It is this experience that drives her older brother Fox Mulder to join the FBI, and later take the reins of the X-Files section.

Character arc[edit]

On the evening of November 27, 1973,[1] Samantha Mulder was mysteriously abducted by aliens from the Mulder family home on Martha's Vineyard, when she was 8 years old. Her older brother Fox Mulder, who was 12 years old at the time, witnessed the abduction that began his life-long obsession with finding the truth about extraterrestrials to shed light on this unexplained incident.[2] Many episodes of the show focused on Mulder's determined efforts to discover what happened to his little sister and find out about her whereabouts or unveil her fate. However, much of Mulder's attempts had failed.

When a woman who claimed to be Samantha first reappeared 25 years later as an adult, she claimed that she lost her memory after her abduction and was adopted by a new family when the aliens returned her to earth in 1979. She stated she had been gradually regaining her memory regarding her tragic childhood during the last year before finally reuniting with her real family and Mulder.[3] Shockingly, this person was later revealed to be an imposter who was just one of the several adult Samantha clones, all of whom were killed by the Alien Bounty Hunter.[4]

Jeremiah Smith takes Mulder to a covert bee husbandry facility in remote Alberta. There, he finds a group of Samantha clones, all no older than the day the real Samantha originally disappeared in 1973. The clones had been working on the alien colonists' and Syndicate's joint project of spreading the Black Oil. The facility was soon after destroyed, and the clones were presumably killed by the Alien Bounty Hunter.[5]

Later in the fourth season, Mulder becomes convinced that Samantha was kidnapped and murdered by John L. Roche. Roche is a serial killer whom Mulder previously profiled, and helped lock up for the murder of thirteen young girls. His signature was the removal of a heart-shaped piece of cloth from each girl's clothing. Through a dream, Mulder finds another girl, and the discovery of the missing "paper hearts" reveals that two are still missing, for a total of sixteen. Roche manipulates Mulder into believing that Samantha is one of his victims, taking him to the scene of the abduction to explain it. However, Mulder took him to the wrong house and catches him in the lie. At the end of the episode Roche gives the location of one of the missing victims, but is shot and killed by Mulder during a standoff before revealing the location of the last body.[1]

At the beginning of the fifth season, The Smoking Man introduced Mulder to a woman who he claims is, and who herself believes to be, Samantha. She tells Mulder that she has children of her own, thought that her mother had died some time ago, and believed Cigarette Smoking Man to be her father. She leaves abruptly during the meeting, and is never seen again. According to Cassandra Spender, she was indeed another clone, but not the real Samantha.[6]

Samantha's true storyline is revealed and presumably resolved in the seventh season. In that episode, Dana Scully watches a 1989 tape in which Mulder undergoes hypnotic regression therapy, which another agent describes as "garden-variety compensatory abduction fantasy" which feeds Mulder's "unconscious hope that his sister is still alive". Later, with the help of a medium, Mulder discovers that Samantha was neither abducted nor murdered. She was actually sacrificed by their own father, who had made a secret deal with the aliens and gave them special permission to take his child. When the Syndicate formed in 1973 to work with the aliens, the aliens decided to make an arrangement to take one human member from each main Syndicate family as "collateral". William Mulder discussed this deal with his wife Teena, as to which child they would give up, but she refused to make a choice. William later decided to choose Fox, as he was the eldest. However, that decision was superseded by the Cigarette Smoking Man who forced them to take Samantha instead because he wanted the aliens to test on at least one adolescent female.

The medium also helps Mulder find Samantha's old diary, which states that after she had been kidnapped by the extraterrestrials in 1973, she was constantly experimented on and then somehow returned shortly after the aliens no longer considered her valuable. She was immediately taken to an isolated place called April Air Force Base in California. Once there, she was held captive along with Jeffrey Spender, and was the subject of many torturous hybrid tests at the hands of the Cigarette Smoking Man, who she was brainwashed to believe was her father. Overtime, Samantha grew to hate the test and the scientist who mercilessly performed them on her. Unable to bear the pain of the testing any longer, in 1979 at age 14, six years after being taken from her original home, Samantha ran away. She believed that all those performing the tests had erased most of her past memories, as she had only vague memories of a brother, and nothing else. Eventually, she was picked up by police as a wandering runaway and taken to Dominic Savio Memorial Hospital, suffering from paranoia and what authorities considered to be self-inflicted wounds. She gave no name or personal information and allowed no one but the emergency room nurse, Arbutus Ray, to touch her. Decades later, Ray informs Scully and Harold Pillar, the psychic, (while Mulder stands by the car) about the mysterious young girl. Ray adds that a group of men (who seemed to be working for Cigarette Smoking Man) came to the hospital to claim the girl, only to find out upon their arrival that she was gone, despite being locked in her hospital room. Samantha had suddenly vanished into thin air, never to be seen or heard from again.

Ray also describes how she had a vision that was eerily similar to others', who had also lost children in a similar fashion. It is revealed that Samantha was consumed by "spiritual intervention" beings called "Walk-ins", which try to save the innocent souls of children who are unfairly doomed to live unhappy lives or suffer terrible fates. When Cigarette Smoking Man and his team found out where Samantha was located, the Walk-Ins took pity on the girl and turned her into an energy form called starlight, which made her die a painless death, and without leaving behind a body.

While in the nearby woods later, Mulder has a paranormal experience and is briefly reunited with Samantha's ghostly spirit, which is finally at peace among all the other starlight children. After Mulder returns, Scully asks if he is all right. Finally at peace, Mulder replies "I'm fine. I'm free," suggesting that he, like several of the other parents whose children have disappeared, accepts that Samantha is technically dead, had been for decades. But she is no longer in pain and her soul is in "a better place". Mulder also tells Harold that he saw Harold's son and that he, like Mulder, needed to "let it go."[7]

Samantha is mentioned once again in The X-Files: I Want to Believe, being the inspiration that drives Mulder to try to save a likely-dead agent. Mulder is seen to admit she is dead, but keeps her picture on the wall with newspaper clippings of his own exploits with the FBI and alien evidence.[8]

Portrayal history[edit]

Samantha Mulder was played as a child by Vanessa Morley, and as an adult by Megan Leitch. Several other actors played the part for individual episodes—Brianne Benitz in the first season's "Miracle Man", Ashlynn Rose in the sixth season's "Dreamland II", and Mimi Paley in the seventh season episode "Closure".


Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club praised the way Samantha was presented in "Colony", saying that "In the seasons to come, we end up with enough Samantha's [sic] to fill a clown-car, but here, the reveal is shocking, effective, and unsettling".[9]


  1. ^ a b Director: Rob Bowman; Writer: Vince Gilligan (15 December 1996). "Paper Hearts". The X-Files. Season 4. Episode 10. Fox. 
  2. ^ Director: David Nutter; writers: Glen Morgan, James Wong. "Little Green Men". The X-Files. Season 2. Episode 1. Fox. 
  3. ^ Director: Nick Marck; Writers: Chris Carter, David Duchovny. "Colony". The X-Files. Season 2. Episode 16. Fox. 
  4. ^ Director: Rob Bowman; Writer: Frank Spotnitz. "End Game". The X-Files. Season 2. Episode 17. Fox. 
  5. ^ Director: R. W. Goodwin; writer: Chris Carter. "Herrenvolk". The X-Files. Season 4. Episode 1. Fox. 
  6. ^ Directors: R. W. Goodwin & Kim Manners; writer: Chris Carter. "Redux". The X-Files. Season 5. Episode 1 & 2. Fox. 
  7. ^ Director: Kim Manners; writers: Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz. "Closure". The X-Files. Season 7. Episode 11. Fox. 
  8. ^ Director: Chris Carter; writers: Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz (25 July 2008). "The X-Files: I Want to Believe".  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  9. ^ Handlen, Zack (13 June 2010). ""Colony"/"End Game"/"Fearful Symmetry" | The X-Files/Millennium | TV Club". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 18 March 2012.