Kill Switch (The X-Files)
List of Season 5 episodes
List of The X-Files episodes
"Kill Switch" is the eleventh episode of the fifth season of the science fiction television series The X-Files. It premiered in the United States on the Fox network on February 15, 1998, 1998. It was written by William Gibson and Tom Maddox and directed by Rob Bowman. The episode is a "Monster-of-the-Week" story, unconnected to the series' wider mythology. "Kill Switch" earned a Nielsen household rating of 11.1, being watched by 18.04 million people in its initial broadcast. The episode received mostly positive reviews from television critics, with several complimenting Mulder's virtual experience.
The show centers on FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files. Mulder is a believer in the paranormal, while the skeptical Scully has been assigned to debunk his work. In this episode, Mulder and Scully become targets of a rogue AI capable of the worst kind of torture while investigating the strange circumstances of the death of a reclusive computer genius rumored to have been researching artificial intelligence.
"Kill Switch" was co-written by cyberpunk pioneers William Gibson and Tom Maddox. The two eventually wrote another episode the show: season seven's "First Person Shooter". "Kill Switch" was written after Gibson and Maddox approached the series, offering to write an episode. Reminiscent of the "dark visions" of filmmaker David Cronenberg, the episode contained "many obvious pokes and prods at high-end academic cyberculture." In addition, "Kill Switch" contained several scenes featuring elaborate explosives and digital effects, including one wherein a computer-animated Scully fights nurses in a virtual hospital. "Kill Switch" deals with various "Gibsonian" themes, including: alienation, paranoia, artificial intelligence, and transferring one's consciousness into cyberspace, among others.
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