After the unforgettable Beyond The Sea we get an episode I wish I could forget. Gender Bender is the sort of episode that would not get made in these more enlightened times. The attitudes to gender and sexuality here are almost prehistoric. The episode feels judgey and a little preachy at times. And basically downright offensive.
By today’s standards this episode is pretty crude but it’s not all bad. This episode sees the debut of two people who become major players in The X Files. Director Rob Bowman makes his debut with this episode and he goes on to be a major influence on the rest of the series. In front of the camera we also get the first appearance of Nicholas Lea playing a huge douche nozzle. From next season he’ll intentionally be playing a total shit in the form of Alex Krycek.
Overall a gender swapping Amish stand in is not really that compelling a story and the ending feels a bit like a cop out. The absolute cheek of the crop circle ending might be good enough reason to give this episode a watch. Not many episodes have the gall to end with such a cheap and out of nowhere reveal. This is not an essential episode and if you’re not a completist I’d recommend skipping it completely. It’s not Space bad, but it’s pretty bad.