As of late, my girlfriend, Catherine, has been on an X-Files kick. She's determined to watch every episode: all 11 seasons and 218 episodes (plus two movies). Although I must admit I haven't watched the show too intently, I can't get into it. It moves slow for me, feels a bit too much like a soap opera in its aesthetics, and aside from some cool music, leaves me cold.

However, there is one cool thing I'll say about The X-Files: a couple episodes are set in the state of Iowa. Considering the vastness of the world in which the show takes place, it's impressive that Mulder (played by David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) decided to venture to the Hawkeye State, not to mention so early into the show (season 1, episode 4).

Faithful readers know I love tracking Iowa name-drops on shows (most recently, recalling when South Park used Des Moines as a punchline in one of their early episodes). The fourth episode of the show X-Files, aired in October 1993, is actually set in Iowa.

The episode, titled "Conduit," opens at Lake Okoboji (which, for some reason, is renamed "Lake Okobogee" in the episode) in Sioux City, IA, where a flash of light seemingly abducts a teenaged girl name Ruby. Enter Mulder and Scully, who head to Iowa to investigate the possible alien abduction.

Early into their findings, they discover that Ruby's younger brother might be capable of receiving satellite transmissions. On top of that, Ruby's mother also encountered a UFO over twenty years earlier. Throughout the episode, Mulder becomes emotionally invested in this case because Ruby's story mirrors his own childhood experiences as his younger sister was abducted, hence why he pursued the life he did.

Howard Gordon, co-writer of the episode, also expressed the pride he had in "Conduit" after it was released:

I think [co-writer Alex Gansa and I are] most proud of the ending: Mulder's quest is re-established (and Daniel Sackheim directed it beautifully) with Mulder sitting alone in a church with only his faith. The story, again, was fueled by Mulder's belief and emotional connection with this case. Another girl taken from her family. And, in a way, the little boy who is the conduit, who is also perhaps touched by the aliens, is essentially Mulder. These little touches the fans seem to respond to. It was difficult for us, but in the end satisfying. It came out of frustration on our parts, and creative uncertainty. - Howard Gordon

"Conduit," however, was not shot in the state of Iowa. The episode was actually filmed in British Columbia. Buntzen Lake was used as "Lake Okobogee."

You can see a full episode breakdown of "Conduit" on Iowa Starting Line's website. As of this writing, the entire X-Files series is streaming on Hulu, including the episode that shows Iowa a little love!

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