'Ultimately maybe it's other people's reactions to us that make us who we are.'
Title: Small Potatoes
Season: Four (1997)
Written by: Vince Gilligan
Directed by: Cliff Bole
Mulder and Scully visit West Virginia to investigate a shape-changer who is using his powers to impregnate women, believing him to be their husbands. It's something of an odd and unsettling premise for one of the most overt comedy episodes of the series: a man who is an opportunistic rapist, played for laughs. David Duchovny in particular gets to show some comic chops when playing the shape changer in Mulder's form, complete with some slapstick and a Taxi Driver homage. Despite its suspect motives, Small Potatoes is a breezy episode with a pace that never drags and aptly the shape changer is brought to life by the man who wrote the first comedy script for The X-Files, Darin Morgan.
However, while ostensibly a light-hearted episode with questionable subject matter, there's a lot more to the story than it might first appear. We get some nice musings on the nature of identity, taking advantage of what rewards life has given you and the perception of those around us. Lastly, there's the first real sign of a romantic intent between Mulder and Scully, on Scully's part at least. Keeping viewers hooked on a 'will-they-won't-they?' set up is a difficult thing to achieve, as the makers of Moonlighting famously found out when their leads consummated their relationship and viewing figures dropped. Indeed, this wasn't even going to be the case for The X-Files as Scully initially had a boyfriend before his scenes were deleted from the pilot.
Yet despite signs of chemistry and tension between the two Agents and a near-miss in the first movie, it was prolonged until the end of season eight before it finally happened. In Small Potatoes for the very first time we get a clear indication that at least one of the agents is interested: when the shapechanger, disguised as Mulder, leans forward for a kiss, Scully is about to respond before being interrupted...