Did You Know Gillian Anderson Wrote & Directed This X-Files Episode?

Did You Know Gillian Anderson Wrote & Directed This X-Files Episode?
Image credit: Legion-Media

It was a defining story too.


  • During her time as a regular on The X-Files, Gillian Anderson once changed her role and sat in the writer/director's chair.
  • The episode turned out to be very personal and one of those that let Dana Scully be a character in her own right.
  • It also marked the turning point in the Scully/Mulder relationship.

Over the course of its original 202 episodes, The X-Files has had many writers and directors, each of which joined the creator Chris Carter to pour a piece of their soul into the legendary sci-fi series. However, there's one creator and one episode that stands out from the rest.

Did you know that Gillian Anderson not only starred throughout the series, but also wrote and directed S7E17, titled ‘all things’?

Did You Know Gillian Anderson Wrote & Directed This X-Files Episode? - image 1

Female Perspective

The episode, which aired on Fox on April 9, 2000, provided plenty of food for thought and showcased Anderson's talent as a creator, though she never wrote another script and only returned to the director's chair for a short 2014 film, The Departure.

The plot focuses heavily on Anderson's character Dana Scully and her journey in the show. In fact, it's probably the first time we've seen Scully as a human being with a past love life and a story of her own that doesn't involve her becoming collateral damage for the sake of Fox Mulder's emotional journey.

The X-Files was a product of its time, and while she was one of the best and most inspiring female leads on television, Scully was still largely relegated to a supporting role. Well, not in ‘all things.’


The episode shows Scully running into her former love interest, professor Daniel Waterston (Nicolas Surovy) who is in the hospital with a severe heart condition. This encounter causes her to question her choices in life, the abandonment of a possible relationship with this man and as a result the medicine.

Her doubts lead her to a Buddhist temple where she has a vision and accepts that the universe has led her to the X-Files and Mulder. In the end, the Daniel recovers with Scully's help and offers her his heart and her old life back. But she refuses and goes to see Mulder instead. This becomes the pivotal moment in Scully's arc and her relationship with her partner.

The very first scene of the episode (Scully getting dressed while Mulder sleeps in a bed behind her) strongly suggests (but does not fully confirm) that the two agents have finally crossed the platonic line. But in fact, it is the whole story that clearly shows that Scully has no more doubts and is ready to be at Mulder's side whatever happens next.

Audience Reception

The episode divided the X-Files fandom. Some viewers thought it strayed too far from the canon. The way Scully, who had always been a devout Christian, suddenly turned to Buddhism, the confusing supernatural part with alternative medicine, the unanswered 'did they' question, all became the basis for criticism.

But other fans praised the episode for being clearly very personal to Gillian Anderson (the actress-director is spiritual but not religious) and for showing a human side to the beloved agents.

And even though there wasn't originally a scene with Mulder in bed (the producers suggested adding it), the episode was excellent at treating Mulder and Scully's romance as an ambiguous X-File. It set the tone for the rest of the unique romantic storytelling: the Mulder/Scully romance is never allowed to be anything other than conspiratorial and barely glimpsed, like a UFO or an alien.

Were you one of those who loved 'all things'?