Gender Bender (The X-Files)

"Gender Bender"[nb 1] is the fourteenth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files, premiering on the Fox network on January 21, 1994. It was written by Larry and Paul Barber, directed by Rob Bowman, and featured a guest appearance by Nicholas Lea, who would later appear in the recurring role of Alex Krycek. The episode is a "Monster-of-the-Week" story, a stand-alone plot which is unconnected to the series' overarching mythology.

"Gender Bender"
The X-Files episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 14
Directed byRob Bowman
Written byLarry Barber
Paul Barber
Production code1X13
Original air dateJanuary 21, 1994 (1994-01-21)
Running time44 minutes
Guest appearances
  • Michele Goodger as Sister Abigail
  • Peter Stebbings as Marty (male)
  • Kate Twa as Marty (female)
  • Nicholas Lea as Michel
  • Brent Hinkley as Brother Andrew
  • Paul Batten as Brother Wilson[1]
Episode chronology
"Beyond the Sea"
The X-Files (season 1)
List of episodes

The show centers on FBI 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 begin investigating a series of murders following sexual encounters. The two soon discover that a member of a religious sect living in Massachusetts may be responsible—and may not be human.

The episode was inspired by producer Glen Morgan's desire for "an episode with more of a sexy edge"; the writers found it difficult to write a story that showed sex as scary and introduced an Amish-like community as well. "Gender Bender" was seen by approximately 6.8 million households in its initial broadcast. The episode has subsequently been met with mixed critical responses, facing criticism for its abrupt deus ex machina ending. Academic analysis of the episode has placed it within a science-fiction tradition that attributes a powerful, supernatural element to physical contact with aliens. It has also been seen as reflecting anxieties about emerging gender roles in the 1990s.

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