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By its third season, The X-Files had grown from a cult hit to a global phenomenon, becoming the most popular show in many countries outside the U.S. Armed with the knowledge that the show was here to stay, series creator Chris Carter expanded its mythology, and the 24 episodes in this boxed set represent arguably the strongest of all the X-Files seasons. As usual, stand-alone episodes explored the paranormal and sometimes terrifying possibilities in mythology, pop culture, and religion. Darin Morgan helps the show to mature by expanding its use of humor, directing classic episodes such as "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" (featuring a fabulous performance from Peter Boyle) and "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space.'" Meanwhile, two-part episodes continue to delve into the X-Files' own mythology, introducing the alien black oil, the implant in Scully's neck, the mysterious Agent X, and the shape-shifting Jeremiah Smith. But following the complex mythology is not crucial to enjoying the show. The strength of the X-Files lies not in resolution but in feeding the paranoia of its rabid audience by revealing conspiracies that linger in the mind as unanswered questions. Series creator Carter realized wisely that fans did not look to the X-Files to explain the unexplained, but to question that which they thought they understood. The third season was effective because it hinted that while the truth was out there, it was more complex, sinister, and amazing than even Mulder had imagined.

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