The episode opens with a clip from a 1972 NASA conference, where one panelist says that it is probable that contact with aliens could happen within the lifetime of the attendees. Scully is called to identify a body at Mulder's apartment, and then meets with a group of FBI men. She says she believes Mulder has been the victim of a false hope and believed one whopper of a lie, and begins to tell the tale. The title screen reads "Believe The Lie."
A frozen alien body is discovered in the Yukon in Canada, and Mulder gets wind of it from a forensic anthropologist. He also recruits Scully to help authenticate the body. An ice sample taken from near the body is found to have a hybrid cell containing plant and animal characteristics. Someone shoots and kills the research team members in Canada, and the ice core samples are stolen by a man who scuffles with Scully.
In Canada, Mulder and the anthropologist discover the carnage, and also find one survivor who tells them he's buried the body. Mulder, the anthropologist, and the survivor bring the body to a warehouse outside of DC, thaw it out, and perform an autopsy. Scully determines that the man who stole the core samples is named Kritschgau and works as a researcher at the Pentagon. Scully detains him, and he tells her that if she arrests him he'll be killed by the same people who gave her cancer.
Though Mulder is convinced that the body is proof of alien life, Scully has been told a different story by Kritschgau. Mulder meets with them, as the assassin arrives to kill the anthropologist and survivor. Kritschgau says he's learned through his work at the Pentagon that everything about aliens is a hoax: UFOs are top secret military craft, alien biology is rare but naturally occurring, and the body was constructed using hybrid cells. He says Mulder was supposed to see the body so he could go public with the news and discredit himself.
Mulder at first refuses to believe Kritschgau, but seems affected when Scully says Kritschgau told her the men behind the hoax gave her cancer to make Mulder believe. Depressed, Mulder returns home to watch a tape of the NASA symposium and the eagerness of the scientists as they discuss alien life. Scully tells the FBI men that Mulder died the previous night, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Aside from archive footage of scientists Ashley Montagu and Carl Sagan, John Finn (who plays Michael Kritschgau in this and four other episodes) also plays John Stillman in Cold Case.
Episode Body Count
Six research team members: shot to death at the body site in Canada.
Dr. Arlinsky: a forensic anthropologist, shot and killed by the same assassin.
Babcock: another member of the research team, also killed by the assassin.
Agent Fox Mulder: wait, what? Holy crap! Scully says her erstwhile partner has shot himself after learning that the alien conspiracy is apparently a big hoax.
Given that the alien corpse is just a hodgepodge of material constructed to look like a body, I won't count it.
Season Body Count
Human deaths finally decrease from last season, along with creature deaths, while aliens go up a little.
Cumulative Body Count (97/202 episodes, 0/2 movies)
Humans: 1,208Creatures: 80
Grand Total: 1,343