You can't expect too much from an episode with a simple premise, and, obviously, Fire isn't exactly a hugely original or convoluted hour, but more one of those monster-of-the-week shows that are, simply put, pretty awesome.
Amanda Pays' character Phoebe Green appears to have been written into the episode purely to annoy, as she floats around being intimate with Mulder, inappropriately when Scully is standing right next to them. I guess her appearance allowed for some exploration into Mulder's past, in particular his education and, obviously, his relationships, but Phoebe should have at least been a little more tolerable. Gillian Anderson was pretty great, though, during her scenes with Phoebe, signposting her frustration with hilarious moments of eye-rolling goodness.
Great direction from Larry Shaw and the work of the FX crew ensured for some pretty awesome fire scenes, especially the moment where Cecil spread the flames through the hallway. You could almost feel the heat. The writing isn't spectacular (all the British-ness is ridiculously overdone), but the story at least unfolds at a steady pace.
Sure, it's melodramatic and frequently silly, but this episode remains one of my favorite campy X-Files hours. Mark Sheppard is particularly memorable here, showcasing his penchant for creepy psychopaths, a skill further honed in practically every other show he's appeared on since. Rating C+
Guest stars Amanda Pays (Phoebe Green); Mark Sheppard (Cecil L'Ively); Dan Lett (Sir Malcolm Marsden); Laurie Paton (Mrs. Marsden)
Writer Chris Carter Director Larry Shaw