The X-Files episode
File:Ice 1x07.jpg
The arctic worms
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 8
Written by Glen Morgan
James Wong
Directed by David Nutter
Guest stars * Xander Berkeley as Dr. Hodge
  • Felicity Huffman as Dr. Nancy Da Silva
  • Steve Hytner as Dr. Denny Murphy
  • Jeff Kober as Bear
  • Ken Kirzinger as Mr. Richter
  • Sonny Surowiec as Mr. Campbell
Production no. 1X07
Original airdate November 5, 1993
Episode chronology
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"Ghost in the Machine" "Space"
List of season 1 episodes
List of The X-Files episodes

"Ice" is the eighth episode of the first season of The X-Files which was originally broadcast on November 5, 1993. It dealt with extraterrestrial parasitic organisms. It was written by Glen Morgan and James Wong and directed by David Nutter. Guest stars included Xander Berkeley and Felicity Huffman.


A team of scientists working for the Arctic Ice Core Project in Alaska inexplicably and violently kill each other and themselves. After reviewing disturbing tapes of their final transmissions, Agents Mulder and Scully head to the outpost during a three day window between Arctic storms. Accompanying them are Dr. Hodge, a medical doctor; Dr. DaSilva, a toxicologist; Dr. Murphy, a professor of geology; and Bear, the only pilot willing to fly them up there.

Upon entering the outpost, the group find the bodies of the scientists, as well as with a dog that attacks Mulder and Bear. Upon tranquilizing the dog, Scully notices black nodules, a symptom of the bubonic plague. The group also notice something moving underneath the dog's skin. When cleaning his wound from the dog attack, Bear starts feeling ill and notices the black nodules on him as well.

Autopsies reveal that the scientists all killed each other by strangulation, except for the last two, who shot themselves. None of the corpses display the black nodules. Murphy finds an ice core sample in the scientists' lab, and believes it to originate from a meteor crater. When ammonium hydroxide is detected in one of the corpses, Murphy theorizes that the core sample might be 250,000 years old.

Bear wants to leave, but the others are worried about infecting the outside world with whatever the scientists' bodies and the dog have. Bear still insists on leaving. When the others ask for a stool sample from him, Bear smashes a glass jar over Mulder's head and tries to flee. The others find something moving underneath his skin and remove a small worm, but Bear ends up dying as a result. Mulder calls in a transmission to pick them up, but is told help won't be available because of the weather.

The worm removed from Bear is placed in a jar of ammonia, and another one is recovered from one of the corpses. Mulder believes the worm to be from an alien world and wants them kept alive, while Scully feels that they should be destroyed to risk from infecting others. The agents and doctors check each other for black nodules, but don't find any and go to sleep. That night, Mulder hears some noise and finds Murphy's body stored in a freezer. After being caught outside his room, the others—including Scully—believe Mulder became infected and killed Murphy. Mulder is locked up in another room.

While investigating the worm, DaSilva accidentally mixes two drops of infected blood. Scully and DaSilva discover that two worms together will kill each other. They place one of the worms into the infected dog, which results in the dog's recovery. Hodge and DaSilva decide to put the other worm in Mulder. However, Scully is cautious, thinking he may not be infected after all. Hodge and DaSilva lock up Scully and forcibly restrain Mulder, trying to put the worm into him. However, Hodge notices a worm moving under DaSilva's skin and realizes she's infected. He and Mulder restrain DaSilva and put the last worm inside of her.

Upon returning to civilization, DaSilva is quarantined; Hodge, Mulder and Scully are released. Mulder wants to return to the site, but Hodge tells him that it was destroyed by the Centers for Disease Control after their departure.[1][2]


Co-writer Glen Morgan was originally inspired to write this episode after reading an article in Science News about men in Greenland who dug up something 250,000 years old out of the ice.[3] The overall setting of a remote icy research base overcome by an extraterrestrial creature is somewhat similar to that of the Who Goes There? novelette by John W. Campbell, as well as its two feature film incarnations, The Thing From Another World (1951) directed by Howard Hawks, and The Thing (1982) directed by John Carpenter.[3] Just as in the novelette and movies, people don't trust each other because they are unsure if they are what they seem to be.[3] The similarity was also a result of the fact that the complex in which the episode took place was created by production designer Graeme Murray, who had worked on John Carpenter's version of The Thing.[4] One of the team members in the episode is named Campbell, an homage to the novelette author. This episode was originally intended as a 'bottle-show', one which would save money by being shot in a single location, but still ended up going over budget.[5]


This episode was highly praised as one of the best episodes of the first season by its creators. Chris Carter said of the job of writers Glen Morgan and James Wong: "They just outdid themselves on this show, as did Director David Nutter, who really works so hard for us. I think they wrote a great script and he did a great job directing it, and we had a great supporting cast."[6] Director David Nutter had to say "The real great thing about 'Ice' is that we were able to convey a strong sense of paranoia. It was also a great ensemble piece. We're dealing with the most basic emotions of each character, ranging from their anger to their ignorance and fear. It established the emotional ties these two characters have with each other, which is very important. Scaring the hell of out of the audience was definitely the key to the episode."[6] Actress Gillian Anderson stated "It was very intense. There was a lot of fear and paranoia going on. We had some great actors to work with."[6]

This episode earned a Nielsen household rating of 6.6 with an 11 share.[7] A total of 6.2 million households watched this episode during its original airing.[7]


  1. Lowry,Brian (1995). The Truth is Out There: The Official Guide to the X-Files. Harper Prism. pp. 117–118. 
  2. Lovece, Frank (1996). The X-Files Declassified. Citadel Press. pp. 63–65. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lowry,Brian (1995). The Truth is Out There: The Official Guide to the X-Files. Harper Prism. pp. 118–119. 
  4. Edwards, Ted (1996). X-Files Confidential. Little, Brown and Company. p. 50. 
  5. Edwards, Ted (1996). X-Files Confidential. Little, Brown and Company. p. 45. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Edwards, Ted (1996). X-Files Confidential. Little, Brown and Company. pp. 48–49. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lowry,Brian (1995). The Truth is Out There: The Official Guide to the X-Files. Harper Prism. p. 248. 

External links[]

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