Sanguinarium – Season 4, Ep 6

SCULLY: So this man committed these murders in order to make himself beautiful?

MULDER: Everybody wants to be beautiful, Scully.

Uh…no offense to anyone, I mean, you are beautiful no matter what they say, but was this the best Dr. Franklyn could do? This is the face he ritually killed people for?

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 12.24.29 PM

Season 4, Episode 6: “Sanguinarium”


So, for the past two weeks I’ve been battling a very inconvenient little stomach bug, which might be the most legitimate excuse I’ve given for not putting a review up in a while since the day I started this blog. Considering the episode, that is. “Sanguinarium” is not an episode you want to watch on an upset stomach.

I have a friend who watched every episode of The X-Files on Netflix except for this one. When she saw the description, she skipped it. Not because it’s necessarily the scariest or even the most disturbing episode the show has ever done (because it’s not), but because she did not like the idea of horrible things going wrong in hospitals, which I think is a very real fear that many people have. After all, when you put your body – sometimes your life – entirely in the hands of someone else, it’s terrifying to think that something could go wrong.

The X-Files is careful not to delve too deep into this fear. For example, it makes this hospital one for plastic surgeries and not critical illnesses or something like that. This makes the doctors a little less complex than they might be if, say, they were trying to remove a tumor. Also, the whole black magic/witchcraft thing à la “Die Hand Die Verletzt” (S2 E14) further removes the audience from the reality of the fear itself. The fear is still there, but it’s shrouded in blood, blood, and more blood. This episode relishes in grossness and isn’t afraid to be more about that than anything else.

There is certainly a place for that in a show like The X-Files, and while it may not be able to go full blood-guts-slasher horror film on us, I’ll admit that sometimes it’s ok to turn your brain off and wince for 45 minutes. If you’re into that kind of stuff. If you’re not, then you might want to skip this one, because there really isn’t much else to it. Does it offer a commentary on plastic surgery or the patient’s trust in their doctor? No. Does it explore society’s pressures on people to look a certain way? No. Does it give us a different, non-cliched portrayal of witchcraft? Hell no. Is it something you can shout eeew at and feel queasy watching? Yep.

Enjoy your blood and gore.


Final Score


Final score for “Sanguinarium” is 6/10. By all accounts, an average episode with an average score. But still, points for grossness.


Notable Nuggets, Nitpicks, and News

  • I admit I really do love the scene where Mulder looks at himself in the mirror, assessing his own imperfections. It’s my favorite part of the episode because it shows that guys can be obsessive about their appearances too, and it makes way more sense to have Mulder be that person instead of Scully, given their personalities.
  • Speaking of Mulder and Scully, though, they’re really not very good investigators in this episode. It takes them a while to finally catch on.
  • NEWS! It appears that (and I emphasize the word “appears” because there’s been no official announcement) that the author of my all-time favorite X-Files blog, Musings of an X-Phile, is making a return. If that is the case, then I might as well quit here and now. Ok, not really, but in all seriousness her reviews make mine look like every kind of trash ever. And I’m ok with that. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Sanguinarium – Season 4, Ep 6

  1. TJ says:

    I never totally loved this episode, and I agree with all your reasons why. I think the main goal was the gross-out factor, not much substance beyond that.

    That IS exciting – hope it’s true!

  2. Knife Ink says:

    Exactly. And, in case I gave the wrong impression, let me clarify: that’s absolutely fine. Every show has episodes like that. There’s just not much I’m able to say about them. 🙂

  3. River says:

    Same, Knife. Never a favorite of mine either. Whenever that happens, I revert (ironically, considering the episode) to observing and pausing to stare at our two favorite agents — who are both in Prime Hotness at this point in the season. For Science, of course.

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