‘The X-Files’ Rekindles That Old Magic (TV REVIEW)

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 “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster”

When The X-Files revival was announced, there was only one thing I wanted to know. “Will Darin Morgan write an episode?” As far as fan favorite episodes and the larger canon that encompasses the show, Morgan is definitely one of the lead contributors and one of my favorite writers on the series. Episode three  was one of the best episodes of The X-Files period. It is filled with Morgan’s unique brand of serial horror campiness and more Easter eggs than you can shake a were-chicken at.

The episode begins with two folks huffing paint in the woods (these two will look familiar to fans of the series) they come upon, what appears to be a green scaled monster attacking an Animal Control Officer. The Animal Control Officer survives but it appears someone that was near the altercation had their throat ripped out. The scaled beast runs off into the woods.

Mulder is going through a bit of a midlife crisis, he explains to Scully that much of the world’s mysteries have already been explained and that sadly it can all be boiled down to “ice” in some way or another. Scully is openly sad to see Mulder believing logic instead of the fanciful. She tells him about the case involving the monster spotted in the woods and Mulder reluctantly agrees to go.

Sometimes what you want and what is ain't exactly the same thing.

Sometimes what you want and what is ain’t exactly the same thing.

When the two arrive, Mulder uses every opportunity to use logic over superstition. He blames the bodies with their throats ripped out on boring ole gray wolves. The Animal Control Officer explains what he had seen and the two agents begin searching the perimeter.

They discover a prostitute who spotted the creature in the vicinity of a truck stop. Mulder, who doesn’t quite understand how to use the camera on his smartphone begins flashing random photos, when he is suddenly attacked by the creature, who shoots blood out of its eyes at him and the Animal Control Officer. When Mulder gives chase the creature he is lead to a port-a-potty but when he opens the door he discovers a man inside using the toilet. When the agents walk off the mystery man reveals small scaled horns on the back of his head.

The two agents settle in at the motel for the night, where they discover that the motel owner has has managed to create a pervy tunnel that allows him to peak into rooms from stuffed animal heads on the walls. This is creepily demonstrated when the motel owner (who should look familiar from early episodes) peeps in on Mulder sleeping in a red speedo (which should definitely ring a bell from early episodes as well). When Mulder hears a scream and goes to investigate, the motel owner explains that he witnessed one of his guests transform into a green scaled beast before his eyes. The guy that the motel owner describes is the mystery man from the port-a-potty who is appropriately named “Guy Mann.”

Mulder finds a bottle of anti-psychotics in Guy’s room, that leads him to a doctor who is either completely insane or in tune with the truth, in a hilariously existential conversation between him and Mulder.

Scully discovers Guy working at a mobile phone store, but he escapes when she approaches to question him.

Mulder finally tracks Guy down to a cemetery and questions him about what has been going on. Guy explains a ludicrous story that proposes that he was bitten by the Animal Control Officer, and has since turned into a human and has been driven by human instincts, to get clothes, a job, an animal companion and all the rest of the mundane things that we do in our daily lives. He begs Mulder to kill him because he hates being human and even more-so he hates having to go to work.

During their conversation at the graveyard a nice tribute is paid to two of the powers behind early episodes of The X-Files. Both Kim Manners and Jack Hardy have their names prominently scrawled on the two tombstones that Mulder and Guy talk in front of.

rsz_manners_tombstone

Meanwhile, Scully has gone to the animal control shelter to follow up on a lead and is attacked by the Animal Control Officer. Mulder arrives to discover Scully has the Animal Control Officer in custody. It turns out that he was actually a serial killer who bit people’s throats out and that he had indeed bit Guy during the earlier altercation. This is one of the best and funniest scenes, because the Animal Control Officer wants to explain why he has become a serial killer but nobody cares to hear it.

Mulder finds Guy disrobing in the woods and in a rather sweet moment discovers that Guy was telling the truth and that he is a creature that hibernates for thousands of years and had revealed himself to Mulder in the short time he was awake. Mulder once again believes.

This episode was amazing, hilarious, and endearing. It easily fits into my list of top 10 monster of the week episodes and gave me high hopes that The X-Files will come back for another season with more Darin Morgan episodes.

Next week Darin’s brother Glenn takes the reigns of the show in an episode called “Home Again” which is an obvious callback to one of my favorite episodes, “Home.” I’m not sure if this will involve the same backwoods murderous mutants but a guy can hope right?

Easter eggs in episode 3:

  • The two paint-huffers at the beginning were from earlier episodes that include “Quagmire” and “War of the Coprophages.”
  • Mulder chases Guy to a porta potty, much like he did in “The Host” where he loses chase to The Flukeman, who was played by Darin Morgan.
  • Mulder’s speedo is an obvious and hilarious callback to “Duane Barry” which featured Mulder prominently in a red speedo.
  • The X-Files ringtone plays on Mulders phone in the graveyard.
  • A fitting tribute to both Kim Manners and Jack Hardy are displayed on tombstones in the scene between Guy and Mulder.
  • Scully steals Daggoo from a crime scene in the same way she stole Queequeg from a crime scene in an earlier episode. Poor Queequeg met his end at the mouth of a hungry gator in a later episode, let’s hope Daggoo remains safe.
  • Darin Morgan’s fascination with Moby Dick is made even more apparent with both Queequeg and Daggoo being names from the classic piece of literature.

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