'So I'm happy tonight, I'm not worried about anything. I don't fear any man.'

Title: Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man
Season: Four (1996)
Duration: 43m
Written by: Glen Morgan
Directed by: James Wong
Rating: ****

An odd mix here, as flashbacks show us the CSM assassinating JFK and Martin Luther King in questionable taste, and then end the episode paraphrasing Forrest Gump. It also shows the series reaching a point whereby casual viewers were no longer the primary focus: the backstory of the series itself would begin to take over and get more convoluted.

Season six was probably the end of the CSM character's usefulness: a shady government agent who had become involved in plots so twisted it was becoming impossible to keep up; and who had become so painted as a pitch black villain that he would try to murder his own son in cold blood. Characters like the Cigarette Smoking Man and Nicholas Lea's Alex Krycek were excellent ones, but the need of the series to constantly advance meant that they became forced through narrative hoops in order for the series to have a continual oxygen supply. An argument that The X-Files should have ended on a high around the time of the fifth season could be made by the fact that such characters were allowed to extend towards parody.

By the time of season seven the character of the Cigarette Smoking Man was largely phased out altogether, relegated to cameos, save for the actor's own charming episode En Ami. For the series' final two years he was absent altogether, except for archive footage and an appearance in the finale.

However, the lasting impression of the CSM is of a highly memorable character who was strikingly brought to life at the hands of William B Davis. The way cigarettes were used as a signifier of villainy made the show sometimes look a little heavy-handed and preachy (particularly in a non-CSM episode from season seven, Brand X) and in an age where Humphrey Bogart was no longer the coolest man on the planet then the epithet 'Cancer Man' was a little distasteful. But beyond all this, Davis's performance shone through, and, despite yourself, deep down you kind of always wished he'd come out on top.

Select A Track
1 Rocks Off: Never Again

2 Rip This Joint: Redrum

3 Shake Your Hips:
The Post-Modern Prometheus

4 Casino Boogie:
The Goldberg Variation

5 Tumbling Dice: Improbable

6 Sweet Virginia: Small Potatoes

7 Torn and Frayed: Home

8 Sweet Black Angel: One Breath

9 Loving Cup: E.B.E.

10 Happy:
Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man

11 Turd On The Run: Tooms

12 Ventilator Blues: Anasazi

13 I Just Want To See His Face:
Clyde Bruckman's Finale Repose

14 Let It Loose: Humbug

15 All Down The Line: X-Cops

16 Stop Breaking Down:
Jose Chung's From Outer Space

17 Shine A Light: The Pilot

18 Soul Survivor: Beyond The Sea

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