“Ice” is probably the best episode of The X-Files that I have seen so far. It is filled with tense action right from the start. Unlike other episodes where the cold open sets up the appearance of some paranormal monster/force, “Ice” has two men standing off at gunpoint. It is not clear why they are fighting. Is it a heated argument or did something serious happen? One of the men looks badly injured. The scene ends with the two guys committing suicide with no reason as to why.
As soon as the opening credits finish, Mulder and Scully are watching footage of a team of scientists in Alaska which features the two men from the cold open. Something is wrong. One scientist sounds like he has gone crazy, but it is highly unlikely for that to happen. Mulder and Scully fly out to Alaska to investigate the case. Pretty much all of the episode takes place in the Alaskan outpost that they fly to. This was supposedly done for budget reasons, but with the pacing of the episode, it is something that I barely noticed (it just gave me less opportunities to find stuff in the background that I found mildly interesting).
Investigations show parasites moving around underneath a dog’s skin. Eventually the parasites move to a human body and the tenseness really starts to ramp up. There is fear that the parasites may have spread and it leads to a great standoff between Scully and Mulder. This is the first time that they have been at such a large disagreement.
There is a sense of peril in “Ice” that I have not felt in other episodes. This is mainly due to the fact that all of the characters are aware of the danger lurking because they can actually see it. The threat is real. That is not to say that the threats in other episodes have not been real, but they are built up in such a way that not every character is aware of them right away or at all.
I hope that there are plenty of more episodes that are as gripping as “Ice”.