The good oil on the 'black oil' used in The X-Files

19 March 2023
The 'Purity' Black Oil, also known as the Black Cancer, was a significant element in the X-Files show's overarching story arc. This alien virus-like substance was used by different groups with various agendas, making it a central part of the show's intrigue and mystery. 

black oil purity xfiles

Here's some context of the Purity Black Oil's significance in the X-Files series.

What was the Black Oil? 

The Purity Black Oil was a highly infectious alien virus-like substance that could take over a host's body and control their actions. It was first discovered in Russia during the Cold War and was later used by a secret organization called the Syndicate to aid in their agenda of preparing the Earth for colonization by extraterrestrial beings.

Who Used the Black Oil? 

The Syndicate was the primary group that used the Black Oil in the X-Files series. They were a group of powerful government officials and businessmen who were collaborating with aliens to colonize the planet. However, other groups, such as the Consortium and the Faceless Rebels, also had access to the Black Oil, each with their own agendas.

Episodes Featuring the Black Oil 

The Black Oil was featured in multiple episodes throughout the X-Files series, with some of the most notable ones being "Piper Maru," "Apocrypha," "Tunguska," and "Terma." In these episodes, we see the Syndicate and other groups using the Black Oil for different purposes, including trying to develop a vaccine against it.

Developing a Vaccine 

Mulder and Scully's investigation into the Black Oil led them to discover that it could be used to create a vaccine against the virus. However, their efforts to develop a vaccine were continually sabotaged by those who wanted to use the virus for their own purposes. Eventually, the two agents were successful in creating a vaccine that could counteract the effects of the Black Oil.

Resolving the Use of the Black Oil in the Series 

The use of the Black Oil in the X-Files series was resolved in the season 9 episode "William," where it was revealed that the Black Oil was, in fact, a test to determine which humans were strong enough to be used as alien hosts. Mulder and Scully's son, William, was identified as a potential alien host, and the two agents decided to give him up for adoption to protect him from the Syndicate and their plans.


The use of the Black Oil in the X-Files show highlights several themes that are common in science fiction and conspiracy theory narratives. One of the most prominent themes is the fear of alien invasion and colonization. The Black Oil is presented as a tool that alien beings use to take over human bodies and control their actions, making it a powerful symbol of the fear of losing control to an outside force.

Another theme explored in the use of the Black Oil is the role of government and secret organizations in hiding the truth from the public. The Syndicate, the Consortium, and other groups involved in the Black Oil's use are all portrayed as corrupt, secretive organizations that prioritize their own interests over the welfare of the general public.

Finally, the X-Files show's exploration of the Black Oil also touches on the idea of human strength and resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Mulder and Scully's efforts to develop a vaccine against the Black Oil show their determination to find a solution to the problem, even when it seems impossible.

Alien Prometheus also introduced its own version of the black ooze that created life.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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