» » The X Files Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man (1993– )

Short summary

While the Cigarette Smoking Man listens in on a conversation Scully and Mulder are having with Frohike, he recalls his own past and how he got to be where he is today. As a young army officer, working alongside Mulder's father, he was recruited by a general and an intelligence operative. His past was effectively erased and from that point working only in the shadow world. He was implicated in the assassination of presidents and civil rights leaders. He was also a frustrated mystery writer but his bizarre tales of assassinations and alien conspiracies are seen as too outlandish by the publishers he approached.

The story was inspired by a Superman comic book story called Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography.

In this episode it is revealed that Deep Throat's first name is Ronald.

When CSM is out on the street looking for the magazine that published his work, there is another white magazine that references Darin Morgan on the shelf.

In the episode the killing of Dallas police JD Tippit by Lee Harvey Oswald is shown. In the movie Jack Ruby - Im Netz der Mafia (1992), David Duchovny plays Officer Tippit.

In one of the magazines in the kiosk we can read "where the hell is Darin Morgan", in reference to the famous writer of the series, who had left the series.

James Wong earned the series' first ever directing Emmy nomination for this episode.

Chris Owens, who here plays a younger version of the Cigarette Smoking Man, would go on to play the recurring role of his son, Jeffrey Spender, in later seasons.

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were delighted to learn that they would not be needed for this episode, giving them a 10-day break.

William B. Davis, during a talk at Cornell University, considered these events apocryphal for CSM's background since the syndicate that employs him, 'would not just allow him to submit a resignation letter.'

In the Dec 24, 1991 flashback, CSM wants to make sure the Bills never win a Super Bowl. In the early 1990s the Bills had lost four straight Super Bowls (a record), and as of 2018 have never won a Super Bowl.

Curiously, neither young Bill Mulder nor young CSM are played by the same actors as they are in Akte X: Die unheimlichen Fälle des FBI: Apocrypha (1996). Even though the events in the two episodes are only a few years apart.

This is the first episode in the series in which David Duchovny does not appear at all. Gillian Anderson does briefly, but in archival footage edited from the pilot episode.

Costumes, including Jacqueline Kennedy's pink suit, were borrowed from the production team of JFK: Tatort Dallas (1991) to recreate the Dealey Plaza assassination.

Frohike is overheard on the surveillance saying he won't continue until the CSM-25 countermeasure filter is activated. CSM obviously to block the Cigarette Smoking Man. The CSM flips a switch which, of course, blows right through the static caused by the CSM-25 countermeasures.

James Wong's first credit as a director.

It is implied that CSM gave the Soviet Olympic Hockey team's goalie a surreptitious Novocaine injection, giving the Americans an advantage in the "Miracle on Ice" game of the 1980 Winter Olympics. In the actual game, Vladislav Tretiak, considered by many to be the world's best goalie, was pulled by Soviet coach Vasily Tikhonov after only one period (for reasons that remain unclear), and the Americans went on to win.

In the Kennedy assassination scene, Jacqueline Kennedy is shown grasping awkwardly towards the trunk of the car. This action can be seen in the famous Zapruder-Film (1963). Many people believe that, in a state of shock, she retrieved a piece of her husband's skull or brain tissue that had been thrown back there. In her testimony before the Warren Commission, Mrs. Kennedy claimed that she could not remember climbing out of the back of the car.

Although this episode is centered around his character, William B. Davis has no dialogue for the first half.

Frohike refers to CSM as, "the most dangerous man in America." Henry Kissinger referred to whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg that way and it later became the title of the documentary Der gefährlichste Mann in Amerika - Daniel Ellsberg und die Pentagon-Papiere (2009).

Just after Frohike quotes "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation", a quote from Thoreau's Walden, and refers it to CSM, CSM calls Pivotal Publications and asks to speak to "Walden" Roth.

This is the first episode with Chris Owens in which he stars in black and white. The other is Akte X: Die unheimlichen Fälle des FBI: The Post-Modern Prometheus (1997).

The story was originally intended to end with CSM killing Melvin Frohike, but the show's executive staff vetoed the idea.

In Akte X: Die unheimlichen Fälle des FBI: E.B.E. (1994), Deep Throat mentions to Mulder that he's one of three men to have killed an alien. This episode features a flashback to such an instance when he has done so.

Bill Mulder tells CSM in one of the flashbacks that his son Fox has just said his first word, JFK. In the real life, David Duchovny studied with JFK's son, the late John Kennedy Jr.

In a link to the CSM's pen name, "Raul Bloodworth", the real life James Earl Ray (the man convicted in the assassination of Martin Luther King) claimed at trial that he was not responsible for the shooting. He stated to have been the result of a conspiracy led by an otherwise unidentified man named "Raul."

In Akte X: Die unheimlichen Fälle des FBI: E.B.E. (1994), one of the Lone Gunmen, says he "had breakfast with the guy who shot John F. Kennedy". Here it is revealed that the person that actually shot JFK was CSM.

Deep Throat references UN Resolution 1013 when he and CSM discuss killing the alien. Ten Thirteen is Chris Carter's production company. Carter's birthday is October 13th.

When Glen Morgan wrote this, it ended with CSM putting a bullet in the brain of Frohike, thus showing him to be a killer. However, a new ending was shot, with the CSM lining him up in his sights and saying, "I can kill you whenever I please, but not today." CSM even says at one point, "This isn't the ending that I wrote, it's all wrong!" Morgan would write only one more script for The X-Files.

This episode shows the clear inspiration of the character of CSM in a real persona, Howard Hunt, and old CIA agent too, who tried to be a writer and who just before he died, confessed his supposed implication in Kennedy's death. And when Lee Harvey Oswald is talking to CSM, he refers to him as "Mr. Hunt"

CSM is linked with four real-life assassinations. In addition to the assassinations of both JFK and MLK as shown, his recruiters mention the assassinations of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo and Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, both of whom were assassinated (with suspected CIA involvement) in 1961.

In the first flashback they speak about extraordinary men as the men who accept the control about their beliefs referring to CSM's father, executed because he was a communist. They say that they believe it runs in the family, something premonitory not only because of CSM, but because of Mulder, his secret son.

One can clearly see on CSM's manuscript under the name Raul Bloodsworth is (nom de plume) which translates to "pen name".

In the beginning flashback, a young CSM is reading The Manchurian Candidate. This story has many parallels to CSM. The Manchurian Candidate is about a soldier who was captured and brainwashed, then used as an assassin by the Communists to infiltrate the American government. CSM was a solider before the CIA approached him to be an assassin to control events. Also, CSM's father was a Communist.

CSM tells Deep Throat that he has never killed anyone, despite being called "the killer" by Deep Throat; yet earlier in this same episode, CSM is seen killing people.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Shomeshet
    Before I start there are a few SPOILERS in the following comment. This outstanding episode is the antithesis to the sentimentality expressed in Forest Gump's view of Americans history, even down to the life is like a box of chocolates monologue. Through the similar use of flashbacks the episode chronicles the life of The Cigarette Smoking Man. Although bits and pieces of his past had been revealed before this, a complete history for the character is provided and in the process he is made more human. This is quite an accomplishment as we find out that this is the man who assassinated John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Two undertakings that would not endear him to most people yet by the end of the episode there is a certain sympathy for him. Alone since the day he was born and a solitary figure even in the army, his superiors find him to be the perfect candidate for clandestine operations even before consultation him with a view to assassinating John F. Kennedy. When he accepts this task he has to leave the army and all records of his existence are erased. He now joins the lonely ranks of "great men" who's job it is to shepherd gullible sheep that, according to his superiors, are too selfish to determine what America's interests should be. So far from being able to fit in to a society that has always rejected him he now guides their destiny from the shadows. The trade off appears to be a chance at a normal life and a struggle with his conscience, illustrated to great effect by his chain smoking. In a great touch this chain smoking begins with a packet of Morleys handed to him by fellow loner Lee Harvey Oswald. From here on he becomes The Cigarette Smoking Man who's targets are often his fellow Americans and a character who has to cling to his ideology and Morleys for he has very little else. As his power increases he is even able to talk down and overrule J Eagar Hoover and alone takes the decision for the fate of Martin Luther King. With power he becomes an object of fear and is never more isolated. Yet for a man who can decide the fate of nations we see him at the mercy of publishing hacks that either reject his novel out of hand or embrace it only to edit it to pieces. One brutally crushing scene is when a hack publisher informs him that he is willing to publish his book. The "Cigarette Smoking Man" persona is instantly dropped and a very broken human being is revealed, gushing with enthusiasm and being nearly brought to tears by the fact that his hitherto reviled book is to be published. What makes it all the more heart-rending is that the hero in his novel "Second Chance" appears to be based on himself. So by extension society is about to finally embrace him only to yet again reviled him. Alone with an old stolen picture of Fox Mulder and his Mother and sitting with a high power rifle pointing at Frohike he quotes the hero from his own book. This revealing scene maybe provides the best summation of who he is now, a fragmented personality who has nothing left but the persona of The Cigarette Smoking Man. It is a persona he cannot escape no matter how much he wants to. This is not the level of depth you would expect from many Hollywood movies never mind a television series. Through the quoting of other movies and characters throughout history, Hitler was also a frustrated artist; Glen Morgan and James Wong turned what was up until this episode the characteristic shadow man into a fully-fledged human being. William B. Davis proves himself a gifted actor and handled this character with incredible subtlety and refinement. American television at it's best.
  • comment
    • Author: Prince Persie
    "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" is one of my very favorite X-Files episodes. I find it a beautiful, exciting, funny, and even sad episode that stands in my opinion as one of the finest scripts put into production for the series, and just maybe my favorite effort from Glen Morgan.

    I think a lot of the criticism that does exist for this episode exists because fans are taking it too seriously. If you don't want to believe that he killed both JFK and Martin Luther King, don't. This episode isn't intended to be strict canon. If taken in from this perspective, I find that this episode is one of the most affecting of the entire series, and surely somewhere in my top 20 episodes.

  • comment
    • Author: Ffleg
    This episode does not attempt to truly fit into canonic form, abandoning staple X-Files enticements for want of something more. Its focus is entirely on creating the character of the mysterious "Cigarette Smoking Man" (CSM) who, until this point, had remained largely two- dimensional in the context of the show, appearing only as a menacing (though influential) background figure. So often characters such as these are given little or no development, and until this point there had been little exception in the case of CSM.

    As such, it's both a break from (brilliant but) routine storyline, and a break from TV show tradition, for the X-Files to create something of this nature.

    The mysterious past of CSM, including what made him the person he is today, is partially revealed through memories and flashbacks, which help us build up a personality of what previously had been a soulless individual. What we in fact discover is somewhat revolutionary. This is a man who does his work, but has not let it consume him so completely as we have been led to believe (and, indeed, is normally the case for similar supporting characters in other TV shows). He previously appears to have no remorse, emotion, or doubt; all a front, as is revealed here. It leaves you almost with a sense of pity, and even sympathy, with his plight - and for the series' chief antagonist, that's an amazing feat.

    CSM carries out several of his more infamous tasks of the 20th century in this episode, which include the assassinations of Martin Luther King and JFK. He displays his ruthlessness and power. These actions are then contrasted with scenes of him handing out Christmas presents to his co-conspirators, or "colleagues" in this context, before going to his own, sparsely decorated apartment, completely alone, and wishing it were all different. We see snippets of him writing novels on his most cherished possession, an antiquated typewriter, as he pursues a burning, life-long ambition: to become a writer. Nothing more.

    And finally, after years of constant rejection, and set close to the present day, we see CSM open a letter from yet another publisher to say they will be printing his work. His joy is without bound as he finally has hope once more. His transformation is so total that, on the morning of the publication, he types out his resignation from the Syndicate to which he belongs. Then on buying the magazine he finds that, once more, his talents and skills have been manipulated and abused by others. It may be a different context from his MiB duties, but the end result is the same. Demoralised and embittered, he tears up his letter of resignation.

    CSM has been transformed in this episode. Perhaps it's unnecessary. There will always be those die-hard fans of Mulder/Scully who'll say, "but where were they in this episode?", and quite probably, they'll dismiss it with the same callous disregard as displayed by those people whom CSM works for, be it the Syndicate, or the publishers. We didn't NEED this episode. But with its inclusion, we are given something that only advances the series' artistic nature, its originality, and its willingness to create real, believable characters in all quarters.

    In short, it's little short of amazing, and one can only hope future TV shows produced from this point will show as much respect and devotion to its characters, and their histories, as this one has.
  • comment
    • Author: Honeirsil
    While I must honestly say I did not follow the series through to the end (I stopped watching after David left), the episodes focusing on the Cigarette Smoking Man were always my favorites. Early on in the series he is something of an enigma; a mysterious shadow of a man, made out to be evil, and yet possibly not. This episode finally lets you into his personal life, and not only that, but his history as well. There are several interesting tie-ins that were both astounding and quite unexpected. His dry cynical prose is reason alone for this episode to be considered one of the "must see" ones of the series. In the end we see just how powerful, yet sad, this great character is. One of the best!
  • comment
    • Author: Whitemaster
    There are few villains nastier than the Cigarette Smoking Man, he's merciless, cruel, and extremely dangerous, to the point where liking him could be rather difficult. But after watching Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, I actually felt a good deal of sympathy for this character.

    Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man begins with the Lone Gunmen telling Mulder and Scully that they may have found the identity of the Cigarette Smoking Man, while the Smoking Man prepares a rifle ready to fire on the Gunmen. As he hears the story the Lone Gunmen have found, he begins to think back on his own life.

    Here we learn that Cigarette Smoking Man was recruited from the Army and given the assignment to assassinate President Kennedy and frame Lee Harvey Oswald. Five years later, he assassinates Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I love how this is done, I love how the plot plays off the death of two of the most famous assassinations in human history. This was done by Glen Morgan to show that the Cigarette Smoking Man is "the most dangerous human being alive", and this was done brilliantly.

    We also learn during the flashbacks that the Smoking Man is an aspiring writer who desperately wants to get one of his science fiction novels published. The scene where he gets a call from a publisher to say that his story will be published in a magazine, we see a side to the Smoking Man I never thought we'd ever see.

    He shows a lot of excitement at this news even typing up a letter of resignation from the Syndicate. The next day when he buys a copy of the magazine, he finds that the ending to his story has been changed, and the shopkeeper tells him that the magazine is rubbish, we see this great look of sadness in his face, this is where I first felt sympathy for him. I especially liked his play on the "Life is like a Box of Chocolates" phrase!

    But what I liked most about the Smoking Man in this episode, is how it is hinted that he doesn't like his the evil life he leads. He not evil because he thinks he's right or because he likes it, but because he believes that his life allows him nothing else.

    This is the Cigarette Smoking Man I want the character to be, a stone-cold nasty man on the outside, but on the inside he's a desperate, lonely man longing for a second chance in life.

    The only thing I found disappointing was where Frohike tells Mulder and Scully that everything he found out may not be completely true, and many fans may like this to leave a little mystery in the character, but this for me is the perfect villain, forced to do evil things, but really wants a second chance in life.

    I love at the very end of the episode where the Smoking Man aims his rifle at Frohike but decides not to, yet. Depending on what in the episode you believe to be true this can be interpreted in many different ways. Did he do this because having power over his enemies is enough. Well I prefer to interpret this as he could kill him, but doesn't really want to, because he doesn't want to be evil, and the world isn't forcing him to be evil that night.

    This is the Smoking Man I want to see in the X Files, and Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man does a great job of giving this mysterious character some backstory, while allowing the viewer to decide what is true, and what is not...
  • comment
    • Author: Framokay
    Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man is a fun, interesting episode. For not having Mulder or Scully in it, the episode is pulled off surprisingly well. I like how his cigarette lighter says 'Trust No one'. Each of the segments opens with a quote, the first a Shakespearean quote. Nice touch. I think it's interesting that just one of the two "past" sequences was in black & white. Why? When CSM is on the assignment to assassinate President Kennedy, he tells Oswald he likes movies, although he told Mulder earlier that he hates movies. So the lying begins. I also like how instead of music, real Martin Luther King Jr. speeches were played in the background. It gave the episode a cool feel. I like how the book CSM is writing is called 'Second Chance', paralleling CSM's desire for a second chance in life to not be so evil. It's cool to see CSM in a different light, aspiring to be a writer, trying to quit smoking through the use of a nicotine patch. Even though he is still evil, you garner a little bit of sympathy for him. Although we know that Frohike was fed misinformation, I think it would've been better not to have the army part at the beginning. I think they still could've introduced CSM but kept it with what we knew from Piper Maru and Apocrypha. Another problem I have with the PE is when CSM is with Ronald "Deep Throat". They talk a little bit about Bill Mulder and then Deep Throat kills the alien because that's what the international agreement was. If they automatically have to kill the recovered alien, why was the alien on life support in the first place? Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man is a fun episode that should be taken with a grain of salt and not as gospel truth of CSM's real life.
  • comment
    • Author: Siramath
    Mainly because it tells us the background story of the cancer man and his story.

    It tells us all of what he did in the past and where he came from and even some of his emotions surface in this episode.

    We see that he wants out of the agency and wants to stop smoking but can't somehow.

    And it even had a reference to my favorite writer! Tom Clancy! Apparently me and the cancer man share love for the same books!

    The part about the Kennedy assassination was perfect and done very well by the director!

    Great episode! It's worth it for the Forest Gump reference alone!
  • comment
    • Author: Cobandis
    In a nine-season long series, containing about 200 episodes, most episodes will be about the same quality. Some of the episodes however, will be merely crap - and very few, no matter how good the series is - or how good the rest of the episodes are, will be extremely good.

    This singular episode S04E07, Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man is one of the best, if the not the best episode in the X-files universe. It creates a base both for the mythology - and the episodes seen before, and the episodes that are still to come in the rest of the episodes.

    So, who is the Cancer Man / The Cigarette Smoking Man? That question is, at this point in the series not answered, but there are given some clues in this episode, that may not be the final answer. I will, however, not go deeper into that matter here - because I find it preposterous to leave any spoilers, for those of you who hasn't seen the series yet.

    And if you haven't seen this episode yet, look forward to it with glee. It really is great.
  • comment
    • Author: CONVERSE
    Here it is... another of my favorite episodes of the series. Once again a great Morgan and Wong script and once again as I have mentioned they use an actor that they would later use in Space Above and Beyond, Morgan Weissman. He plays a somewhat insignificant character but there he is. Anyway, I really like this episode because of the depth that it gives to CSMs character. I honestly find myself feeling sorry for him by the end of the episode. This is a great reflection on William Davis' acting talent but also on Morgan and Wong's ability to write when they really want to. Unfortunately they don't always impress this way. I didn't quite understand the part with Lee Harvey Oswald being framed for the assassination attempt however but I probably just need to watch a little closer. I really like how he doesn't want to kill Martin Luther King but has to because of the job and how affected he is emotionally and joins the country in mourning. Finally I love how he is constantly trying to be a writer and gets all kinds of rejection letters and finally his box of chocolates monologue after his final rejection at getting published in a low quality magazine. 10/10.
  • comment
    • Author: Yainai
    Watching this episode really makes me realize how far this show has come since Season 1, and how ultimately perfect it can be at times.

    This episode is kind of like a little movie, about a tragic man who became a shadow of himself. Forced to life a life he doesn't want to lead, but does so because he believes that what he does is right.

    The flashbacks were all fantastic, I loved how they use archive footage and sound from actual historical events. The Kennedy assassination, the Luther King assassination. What I most liked about these scenes is that Cancer Man respected both men, but thought that he was doing the right thing.

    Another flashback I enjoyed was the one with Deep Throat where they destroyed the alien creature. I specifically loved Deep Throat's line 'I'm the liar, you're the killer'. It really made me miss him.

    My favorite part of the story was obviously Cancer Man's article being published. A man that was so passionate about his story, willing to even stop smoking. But then torn in little pieces by the way his story was treated.

    A great Forrest Gump reference at the end, 'Life is like a box of chocolates...' some great piece of writing.

    FIVE stars. One of the BEST episodes.
  • comment
    • Author: Arihelm
    I enjoyed this episode - a nice view of the hollow nature of CSM's life - which was also shown in a previous show when Mulder tracks down CSM's apartment. "Look at me. No family, no life, a little power." he says then, and looked pathetic saying it.

    My issue with this is that it contradicts a previous ep. (forget which, sorry) when we see a flashback to Roswell, 1947. CSM and Papa Mulder are already FBI agents then. It's clear from this ep. that CSM was still very young in the early 60s - so these two narratives are at odds.

    Nitpicky, I know - but writers should try to keep the story internally consistent if possible.
  • comment
    • Author: Bajinn
    Coming near the mid-point of season four The X-Files delivers a blockbuster stand-alone episode, definitely one of the finest, in "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man".

    For X-Files viewers there isn't anything endearing about the shadowy figure simply known as "The Cigarette Smoking Man". He's the enigma of a dark power working behind, seemingly, even the government itself. Simply put, CSM is the personification of evil conspiracy. Finally, we see much more of that evil, but we begin to understand there is a human with emotional frailty that deserves, albeit a small bit, of our sympathy.

    This episode of The X-Files is brilliantly conceived, written, and realized. The back-story of CSM is seamlessly blended with, perhaps, the two most pivotal assassinations of the twentieth century. Along with the plausible conspiracies surrounding these events a powerful expose' on the CSM is dropped upon the faithful. It works...Brilliantly as previously mentioned. We get a person who is trapped by his beliefs that have become too heavy a burden since escape is, in the end, only a fictional piece of pulp.

    One wouldn't imagine an episode without almost no Scully or Mulder as even possible until this, but yet this is one of the finest in the entire series. It is a testimony to how quality writing with complex characters is always the most potent part of any story. Though the conspiracies can't be believed in the context presented, they are, overall, very plausible and are woven expertly into the bigger picture that is The X-Files. This is absolutely a must see.
  • comment
    • Author: Hadadel
    Probably my favourite episode of the series!

    This episode is a milestone in the the evolution of the "Cigarette Smoking Man" (CSM), whose name is later revealed to be C.G.B. Spender (possibly an alias). CSM is first portrayed in the series as a mysterious, sinister man shrouded in secrecy and lurking in every dark corner. As the show progressed, we began to see that this "evil" man believes what he is doing is for the greater good of mankind. A welcome, but expected, character development. 'Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man' continues to elaborate on CSM's moral perspective but also tokes deeper into the heart of the character; it exposes his insecurity. He is lonely and longs not just for the touch of a loving woman or the warmth of family and friends, but for society's acceptance. We discover that he's been alone since the moment he entered this world and that his only connections to a "normal life" are his estranged friendship with Bill Mulder and his auto-biographical work of fiction which has been rejected from every publisher he has submitted it to. CSM struggles with the choice to be a "great man" or to sit back and enjoy life's simple pleasures. His motivation to become a shadowy figure is not only based on his ideology and patriotism but on his desire to integrate with society in some way and to give his solitary life purpose. At one point CSM types up a letter of resignation upon being told that his story is finally being published (a trashy, pornographic rag called "Roman A'Clef"). However, we see him throw away his last shred of hope for a normal life when he discovers that his story has been disrespectfully mutilated by the publication. His broken submission is expressed wonderfully as he sits on a street bench next to a homeless man picking at leftover chocolates in the trash.

    "Life is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable, because all you get back is another box of chocolates. So you're stuck with this undefinable whipped mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there's nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while there's a peanut butter cup or an English toffee but they're gone too fast and taste is fleeting. So you end up with nothing but broken bits of hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts. If you're desperate enough to eat those, all you got left is an empty box filled with useless brown paper wrappers."

    Not wanting to face the worthless wrappers in his empty box, CSM stands up and walks away, alone, as the homeless man picks up the left over bits of hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts titled "Roman A'Clef".

    The great thing about this episode--apart from the character development--is that the flashbacks are a combination of Frohike's claims of CSM's past and CSM's memories of those events. Though factual gaps or inconsistencies may exist, the heart of the story hits home both for the viewer and the Cigarette Smoking Man. So much so that he decides to spare Frohike's life while quoting a line from his own book: "I can kill you any time I please... but not today." We as fans are free to believe whatever "facts" we wish from the story and to discard the rest, while still having discovered something true about the man.

    Note: It's also interesting to note that the actor who plays young CSM is the same actor who plays CSM's son Agent Jeffrey Spender, even though Agent Spender is not introduced until the next season.
  • comment
    • Author: Raelin
    This episode not only provides an insight into the mind of the character known as the "Cigarette Smoking Man" but it also allows us to better understand the Shadow government and their purpose. While the character has become popular for his secretive ways and the fact that he keeps the x files both sinister and interesting, this episode brings back his human aspects and at times suggests that he should be the subject of pity (particularly the sequence involving the assassination of Martin Luther King and the following scene at Christmas). I found this episode to be both depressing and uplifting at times, ultimately leaving me very satisfied with the eventual outcome of the episode.
  • comment
    • Author: Fato
    In this stand-alone Mytharc episode we are treated to probably one of the greatest X Files episodes, of not just Season 4 but of the whole series. This episode is all about the Cigarette Smoking man and enough has already been said about the fine technical aspects of this episode, so I will concentrate my review on the character played magnificently by William B. Davis. Hitherto, the viewer has virtually no knowledge of CSM, however in this episode some answers are laid bare, while other questions are merely touched upon. But most importantly we are shown what lies beneath the mysterious facade of a man seemingly without any human qualities, who we can only guess does the sinister things he does because he works for a secretive organisation and he has no qualms of conscience when it comes to his work. But as we delve in and out of his past memories, we discover that CSM is actually a complex character who from an early age has felt alienated by all of his peers, instead of trying to fit in with his peers , he steadily gains power after assassinating JFK and seeks to control people instead, not only this but we see that he doesn't think of himself as a bad man, he tries to rationalise his job by insisting that he is doing good. Some may say that the inability to fit in with society in a normal way as well as his cold and distant relationships with other human beings is a well-known characteristic of a sociopath. But as we watch his prolonged alienation and eventual realisation of his dream being shattered in front of his eyes, we realise that he is human like everybody else, only a little more flawed. Also the fictional character for his own novel clearly mirrors himself as it offers us another glimpse into CSM's mindset and tribulations (interestingly, the magazine that publishes his novel is named 'Roman A'Clef', a term that is used for when actual persons are disguised as fictional characters). In the end we see as CSM's original novel is brutally edited and distorted by the magazine his novel is published in, and it's hard not to feel at least a little sympathy for him because for a brief moment he felt the acceptance that the publication of his novel brought him, going as far as trying to shed the cold veneer of the Cigarette Smoking man. But before he has the chance to resign from the syndicate he comes back down to reality with a bang and so he lights up another Marlboro.

    In summary, the 'Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man' is a very enjoyable episode that has a bit of everything - a good plot, some action, interesting cinematography and most importantly of course, great acting. While on top of that there is plenty of depth for repeated viewings. So for that I give this episode 10 out of 10 stars.
  • comment
    • Author: spark
    'Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man' is one of the most interesting episodes, as it opens up the packground of one of the most sinister and enigmatic (recurring) characters of the series. The episoode is fun and sad at the same time. as we learn how lonely is the man in that sort of profession. This episode also gives the viewers another takes on some conspiracy theories (assasinations of JFK and Martin Luther King), and humorous take about how Academy Awards are rigged. We get to see how CSM got his start, and how he evolved to become such seemingly cold and calculating man who has much more real power than one can expect from such grey mouse looking official. We also learn the more human side of CSM when it is revealed that he had aspirations to become a science fiction author, and how cruel the publishing world is to new writers. By the end of the episode I even felt sorry for the guy.

    The episode gave much more human dimension to CSM so it is much easier to understand (and feel) the character and what drives him. Great episode and great character study.
  • comment
    • Author: Mananara
    Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man is about delving into the life, of the shadowy figure that is the Cancer Man.

    It's crazy to think that you can just exclude the main characters and have an entire episode based around a supporting character of the show and have such success. Not to mention that Chris Owens, who later plays Agent Spender, who isn't a memorable character, absolutely shines in this role as the young Cancer Man. The historical look back and scenes involving young CSM, which include the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King are without a doubt the highlight of the episode. The cinematography is superb, as well as the writing.

    General Francis: There are extraordinary men... those who must identify... comprehend, and ultimately shoulder the responsibility for not only their own existence, but their country's, and the world's as well. Your father, Captain... believed his country should look to another form of government, and he took control of that belief. So, in that respect, we view him as an extraordinary man. And we believe... we know, Captain... that it runs in the family.
  • comment
    • Author: Black_Hawk_Down
    I was really fascinated by this episode when I first saw it. The writing cleverly placed the Cigarette Smoking Man at the scene of significant turning points in the nation's history, with him literally pulling the trigger in the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. However it's done in such a way as to leave it to the viewer's own interpretation as to whether he actually did those things, or whether he was wistfully recalling those events and putting himself at the center of them in a way to effect the march of history. His conversation with Deep Throat (Jerry Hardin), who he calls 'Ronald' in the story, seems to suggest that he was really there (see my summary line), but of course, the Cancer man was not above lying to pursue his agenda.

    As to his own identity, CSM appeared to go by the name of Hunt when he was in the Army with Bill Mulder and before he was recruited for a deep cover assignment while still a Captain. His rise in the hierarchy of the FBI is alluded to during a conference with J. Edgar Hoover while discussing the 'problem' of Martin Luther King, and I got a kick out of the scene years later in which he put off a call from Saddam Hussein. Not only did CSM have a hand in major political events of the day, but it was humorous to learn how he affected the outcome of Super Bowl XXVI (the Buffalo Bills will never win one during my lifetime). It was also instructive to see that he did have enough of a patriotic streak to have the American hockey team win it's 'Miracle on Ice' during the 1980 Olympics against the Russians.

    With all that though, and even if we don't know his real relationship to Fox Mulder yet, when conversation with the global cadre began to focus on the FBI agent, it was CSM who declared that regarding the Spooky kid, "He's mine to keep an eye on". Most revealing however was when he got a manuscript published using his alias, Raul Bloodworth, only to become dejected by the way the publisher butchered the ending of his story. It was the only time he ever showed any emotion, uncharacteristically revealing that he was human after all.
  • Episode complete credited cast:
    David Duchovny David Duchovny - Fox Mulder (voice)
    Gillian Anderson Gillian Anderson - Dana Scully (voice)
    William B. Davis William B. Davis - Cigarette Smoking Man
    Morgan Weisser Morgan Weisser - Lee Harvey Oswald
    Chris Owens Chris Owens - Young Cigarette Smoking Man
    Donnelly Rhodes Donnelly Rhodes - General Francis
    Tom Braidwood Tom Braidwood - Melvin Frohike
    Bruce Harwood Bruce Harwood - John Fitzgerald Byers (voice)
    Jerry Hardin Jerry Hardin - Deep Throat
    Dan Zukovic Dan Zukovic - Agent
    Peter Hanlon Peter Hanlon - Aide
    Dean Aylesworth Dean Aylesworth - Young Bill Mulder
    Paul Jarrett Paul Jarrett - James Earl Ray
    David Fredericks David Fredericks - Director
    Laurie Murdoch Laurie Murdoch - Lydon
    All rights reserved © 2017-2019