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The 12 Best Scully And Mulder Moments On The X-Files Ranked

Depending on who you ask, Mulder and Scully from "The X-Files" just might be the greatest slow-burn, will-they-or-won't-they television couple of all time. There are so many factors that make them such an iconic duo. First, there's the obvious element — they don't actually have their first real kiss until seven seasons in, making their relationship the very definition of a slow burn. But, despite the fact their relationship is often undefined, there's never any doubt about how much they care for each other, even as far back as the first season. Sometimes, the truth is out there; sometimes, the truth is standing right in front of you. Why deny it?

The two agents' feisty dynamic has made them the blueprint for crime-fighting duos, and you can see the influence of Mulder and Scully on TV screens across the world. Scully represents the archetypal scientist character; she is logical, level-headed, and annoyed by the implication that there are truths that can exist outside the realm of scientific explanation. Mulder, on the other hand, is full of passion and works from the gut. For him, believing in the truth is enough. Together, they form a perfect mystery-solving team, and their undying devotion to one another has also thawed out our cold, cold hearts in the process. (The supposed behind-the-scenes drama between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny only strengthens their appeal.)

Of course, our hearts could still use a little thawing, couldn't they? It's time that we take a trip down memory lane and rediscover just how it was that these two crazy kids captured our hearts. Keep reading to discover our ranking of Mulder and Scully's best moments from "The X-Files."

12. Mulder and Scully exchange Christmas gifts (Season 6, Episode 6)

There's nothing like a Christmas episode of your favorite show, and "The X-Files" wonderfully delivers on this premise in Season 6. One of only two Christmas episodes over the course of the 11 seasons of "The X-Files," "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" stars Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner as a pair of ghosts who died in a lovers' pact over 80 years ago. Mulder convinces Scully to investigate the supposedly haunted house with him on Christmas Eve. The ghosts in question, Lyda and Maurice, try to get Mulder and Scully to share in their fate, but they eventually escape unscathed.

The sweetest moment of the episode comes near the end, after Mulder and Scully have survived yet another life-threatening ordeal together. Having both gone their separate ways, Scully returns to Mulder's house in the middle of the night, claiming that she couldn't sleep. After puzzling over what it is they mean to each other for a moment, Mulder reveals that he has a Christmas present for Scully despite the fact that they promised they weren't doing gifts this year. Scully acts chagrined before revealing that she too brought a Christmas gift for Mulder.

They both grin and rush to the couch to open them like giddy children. We never actually see what the gifts were, but their contents don't really matter. The real gift here is getting to see yet another example of how much these two care about each other, whether they're fighting ghosts or sharing a quiet moment at home.

11. Cuddling in the forest (Season 5, Episode 4)

The Season 5 episode "Detour" contains an amusing amalgamation of events — a monster in the forest, campfire cuddling, and most surprisingly, Scully singing. "Detour" follows Mulder and Scully as they find themselves trapped in the Florida wilderness while on their way to an FBI convection. While there, they encounter a deadly predator with glowing red eyes who stalks the forest.

"Detour" includes one of the many sweet Mulder and Scully moments that revolve around one of them being injured in some way. This time it's Mulder who gets hurt, and Scully decides the best course of action is that they snuggle up together to keep warm. Mulder — rather adorably, we might add — curls up in Scully's lap while she keeps watch. Mulder insists that Scully sing to stay awake, and she finds it impossible to say no to him. What follows is an unforgettable sight — Scully tunelessly singing "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night in the middle of the forest with Mulder sleeping in her lap.

10. Dancing in black and white (Season 5, Episode 5)

"The Post-Modern Prometheus" is generally considered one of the best episodes of "The X-Files" for good reason. In this episode, we follow Mulder and Scully as they travel to a small town in search of a supposed monster who has a strange fascination with Cher. In a modern re-telling of "Frankenstein," they learn that the creature was created by a mad scientist and that the monster is not so monstrous after all.

The entire episode is filmed in black and white, giving it a distinctly old-school horror feel. It's certainly a unique episode, and it concludes with a very sweet Mulder and Scully moment. Scully and Mulder bring the creature to a bar in town where a Cher impersonator (sadly, not the real Cher) is performing "Walking in Memphis." As the creature gets up to dance, so does Mulder, pulling Scully with him. According to creator Chris Carter, the moment was actually improvised by Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. 

It's an adorable gesture and a rare moment of cheeriness for the duo. There's also naturalness to their movements that reveals how comfortable they are with each other. (Perhaps, we might surmise, this is not the first time they've danced together.) There are plenty of physically affectionate moments like these peppered throughout the series before they even share their first kiss, and their easy intimacy is one of the things we love about them.

9. Mulder says 'I love you' for the first time (Season 6, Episode 3)

Mulder and Scully's relationship doesn't exactly follow a typical timeline, which is why it can be somewhat surprising when you map out various milestones over the course of the series. For example, it isn't until Season 6 that either of them say "I love you," and we only see these words exchanged between the pair one time.

In "Triangle," Mulder finds himself trapped aboard a WWII ship that is stuck in 1939. He winds up surrounded by a disbelieving crew and attacking SS forces at the very start of the war. He also meets an alternate version of Scully, who he tries to convince to help him. Mulder also kisses alt-Scully — "In case we never meet again," in his words — and she responds by punching him in the face. (Technically this is their first kiss, but it's not considered canon because it's not the "real" Scully.)

Later, Mulder wakes up in a hospital surrounded by Scully, Skinner, and The Lone Gunmen. None of them believe his story, of course, and Scully tells him to close his eyes and think, "There's no place like home." Scully leaves him to rest, but Mulder stops her. They look into each other's eyes for several long seconds, as sentimental music plays. He tells her he loves her and she responds by rolling her eyes and saying, "Oh, brother." It's a perfectly absurd love confession for a couple that's anything but normal, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

8. Reverse forehead kiss (Season 7, Episode 2)

Mulder and Scully are the king and queen of intimate touches, and no form of intimacy is more central to their relationship than the forehead kiss. Because of their height difference, Mulder is most often the one doing the forehead kissing, but there are a few significant reversals to this arrangement.

In "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati," Mulder spends much of the episode living in an alternate reality where he is reunited with his sister and able to settle down and have a family. In reality, the Cigarette Smoking Man is preparing to harvest a portion of his brain. Scully convinces him to wake up from his dream, and then rescues him from where he is being held captive.

A week later, Scully shows up at Mulder's apartment and is shocked to find that he is getting ready to go to work. Scully confesses to Mulder that she doesn't know who to trust anymore, and tearfully informs him that his ex-girlfriend, Diana Fowley (Mimi Rogers) — to whom he was married in his dream world — has been murdered. Mulder tells Scully that even when he didn't know what was real, "You were my constant, my touchstone." "And you are mine," Scully responds, kissing Mulder on his bandaged forehead. It's a touching moment where they're both able to comfort each other, and it also reveals the depth of the trust they have in one another.

7. Mulder meets William (Season 8, Episode 21)

Scully and Mulder are far from a typical couple, and their journey into parenthood is similarly anomalous. Scully becomes pregnant, and everyone naturally assumes Mulder is the father. As we learn in Season 11, the Cigarette Smoking Man is actually the biological father, but we don't need to consider those pesky details right now. For all intents and purposes, Mulder is the father of Scully's child — Scully names him after Mulder's father, after all.

As happens with every new development in their relationship, Mulder and Scully's foray into parenthood is very natural — seamless even. Nothing really changes about their relationship because, when you really think about it, they've always been in love.

Our favorite moment in this new chapter is when Mulder meets Scully's baby, William, for the first time. They discuss what a miracle William is, but also their fears — about what he is, and why he exists. But Mulder suggests that what they both really fear was "The truth we both know." It's a typically ambiguous comment, and when Scully asks Mulder what truth he's talking about, he kisses her in response. Though it's technically their second kiss in the series (third if you include "Triangle"), some consider it their first "real" kiss, as it's obviously laden with so much meaning. It's one of the most domestic moments the pair have on the series and, considering what they've both through, quietly settling down is something they both deserve.

6. The hair brush (Season 7, Episode 17)

The Season 7 episode "All Things" is an important "X-Files" episode for several reasons, and one of them is that it was written and directed by Gillian Anderson. It's also important to fans because it's heavily implied that Mulder and Scully sleep together in this episode.

"All Things" is a Scully-centric episode that follows Scully on her quest to save a doctor she dated in medical school. It's a very spiritual, reflective episode, and much of it focuses on Scully's past. But it also contains a classic Scully and Mulder moment that is utterly perfect in its simplicity. Scully returns from her solo mission and she and Mulder have an existential conversation on the couch, discussing how every choice they've ever made has led them to where they are right now. Mulder would certainly be content to have this discussion all night, but then Scully falls asleep mid-sentence. In response, Mulder carefully brushes her hair out of her face and covers her with a blanket.

It's a quiet moment, but it's often the quietest moments between Mulder and Scully that are the most meaningful.

5. You're my one in five billion (Season 5, Episode 19)

Mulder and Scully have exchanged some beautiful words over the course of their 11 seasons and two movies together, but there's one exchange between them that takes the cake. "Folie A Deux" is one of the best and most disturbing episodes of "The X-Files," and it contains one of the all-time best Mulder and Scully moments. In this episode, the pair are sent to investigate a man who claims his boss is a giant bug monster. Surprisingly, Mulder doesn't believe him at first, but then he begins to share in the man's delusion.

As usual, at first, Scully struggles to believe Mulder's account at first. Laying in the hospital bed, Mulder implores Scully to check for evidence proving his claims. "Scully, you have to believe me. Nobody else on this planet ever does or ever will. You're my one in five billion," he tells her.

She eventually finds evidence that corroborates what he saw, but whether or not the FBI knows the truth is irrelevant. The fact that Scully was willing to believe him is all that matters to Mulder, and this trust between them is the foundation of their relationship. Mulder has proven — both with his words and his actions — that he cares about Scully more than anything else in the world, and it's this unshakable bond between them makes it absolutely clear that they belong together.

4. New Year's Eve kiss (Season 7, Episode 4)

Mulder and Scully shippers are a patient bunch. They have to be, as it took a full seven seasons for Scully and Mulder to have their first kiss. For a show full of outlandish twists and turns, it might come as a surprise that Mulder and Scully's first kiss is so ordinary. But that's also the beauty of their relationship — for all the ridiculousness and life-or-death situations they find themselves in, the fact that they love each other has never been a part of the problem. That's the easy part.

Season 7, Episode 4 takes place on New Year's Eve, and is aptly titled "Millennium." The episode ends with Scully and Mulder watching the ball drop on TV. The clock strikes midnight, and Scully and Mulder look at one another as if the decision about what to do next is the most obvious thing in the world. As the music swells, they lean in for a kiss that lasts a full 10 seconds. Neither of them seems at all shocked by this development (perhaps it wasn't their first kiss, after all), and nothing really changes between them either.

As they pull apart and smile at one another, Mulder quips, "The world didn't end." He's probably referring to the fact that some people thought the millennium spelled the end of humanity, but we kind of like the idea that he's talking about their kiss. Kissing or no kissing, nothing can pull them apart.

3. The hospital hug (Season 4, Episode 14)

Scully experiences a huge number of hardships over the course of the series, and one of the most trying events in her life was her battle with cancer in Season 4. In "Memento Mori," Scully discovers that she has inoperable cancer and also that all the other women with symptoms similar to hers have died. Near the end of the episode, Mulder finds Scully in the hallway of the hospital, having gone looking for her when he didn't find her in her room.

Though she is terrified of what's to come, Scully tells Mulder, "I decided tonight that I'm not gonna let this thing beat me." They hug in the hallway, and Mulder gives Scully a kiss on the forehead. "The truth will save you, Scully. I think it will save both of us," he tells her.

The physical intimacy of this moment is touching, but so is Mulder's unshakable confidence in Scully. He's also terrified of what might happen to her, but he never stops believing in her ability to find the answers they're both looking for. Scully has saved Mulder countless times, and this time she must save herself ... with Mulder by her side, of course.

2. The almost kiss (The X Files: Fight the Future)

While most of the memorable Scully and Mulder moments occur within the series itself, there is one scene worth mentioning from the 1998 movie "The X Files: Fight the Future." (The 2008 film, however, does not deserve a mention on this list.) Mulder and Scully get into a fight in the hallway and Scully expresses how guilty she feels about what's happened to Mulder. Her partner is quick to dissuade her from that line of thinking, emphasizing how many times she has saved him. "I owe you everything Scully, and you owe me nothing," he tells her.

Scully cries, they hug, and then Scully gives Mulder another one of their patented forehead kisses. Then comes a moment we thought we'd never see: Scully and Mulder lean in for a kiss, but they are rudely interrupted by a bee that stings Scully's neck. It's almost rude the way fans were teased by the almost-kiss, but we also kind of love how drawn-out their relationship is and how so many of their most intimate moments (presumably) happen just off-screen.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson actually filmed a version of the scene that ended in a very heated kiss, but it didn't make the final cut. Executive producer Frank Spotnitz told Huffington Post he was in the theater when fans reacted to the almost-kiss, and hearing those screaming fans remains the highlight of his time working on the show. Sure, it's a little evil, but sometimes, torture can be fun.

1. Playing baseball (Season 6, Episode 19)

Some of the most touching moments between Mulder and Scully occur when one of them is injured or otherwise incapacitated, but we have a soft spot for the times when they just get to relax and have fun together. Season 6, Episode 19, is a pretty lighthearted episode overall. The episode tells the story of an alien who crash-landed in Roswell in the 1940s and wanted nothing more than to play baseball, so he joined a team there.

Considering that the episode is all about baseball (an odd topic for a show about aliens), it's only right that it ends with a sporty moment. Scully meets Mulder at the baseball field, responding to the urgent message he left for her. Scully derisively describes baseball as "slap[ing] a piece of horsehide with a stick," which Mulder takes offense to. In the end, he convinces her to come play, positioning the bat in her hands and reaching from behind her to show her how to swing it. Scully quickly gets over her aversion to the sport, laughing and following Mulder's humorous instructions. "Shut up, Mulder, I'm playing baseball," she tells him.

It's one of the most joyful moments in the entire "X-Files" timeline, and you can almost imagine that Scully and Mulder are just a typical couple in love, with no existential worries on the horizon. We almost wish that were the case, but then they wouldn't be Scully and Mulder, would they?