I’ll admit right off the bat; I wasn’t expecting this latest episode to be so damn good. What started off as a by–the-book procedural, spiraled into what will be one of the best and wonderfully written X-Files ever produced.
Regrets, I had a few…
The episode begins with Mulder surprisingly pissed being back in his basement office with the X-files. Contemplating that he may have wasted his whole career chasing ghosts and lies. Mulder bluntly tell us Scully (and us the audience) that he just doesn’t believe anymore. After countless of false reports and debunked mysteries, Mulder is at a crossroads in his life. It’s been so long for fans too, with the main plot of government conspiracies looming, its easy to to see why Mulder would think everything is just bullshit over and over again. Their isn’t any alien, or monster under the bed, it just turns out it was man the whole time. (Mulder was a real Debbie Downer this intro) but we can agree with him.
“We got a case, it has a monster in it”
That’s all we’ve wanted to hear since hearing the X-files was renewed. The monster of the week cases are some of the most fun romps for this show and take us away from the heavy government plots. Boy, were we in a real treat with this episode. We’re introduced very quickly to a lizard like monster terrorizing and attacking people in a campground under a big bright full moon. (Shout out to the graphics department for that giant beautiful moon nightscape used!)
As soon as we see the monster, right away you kinda get the feeling there is something funny or odd about his cartoonish behavior. When our agents track down this monster, we’re all shocked to see the beast is none other than Rhys Darby from the “Flight of the Concords”. Eerily dressed like Kolchak the night stalker, Darby is purely magic on screen and a large part of what makes this episode special.
Combining Darby’s comedic everyman persona and the monster’s quirky child like demeanor, leaves us with one of the shows easily most lovable creatures from the X-files mythos. (Seeing the “monster” chewing on straw enjoying the night sky to his exit off screen prancing and clicking his heels, perfect.)
We were expecting a vicious killing beast and what we were given is a misunderstood, scared and humanized creature that is more human than most of the people Mulder and Scully interact with.
“I want to believe”
Somewhere halfway through the episode, I looked up and just blurted how much I loved it. It was only then that everyone’s favorite sour lemon, Jeff, chimed in to tell me Darin Morgan wrote the episode. I’ll admit I didn’t recognize the name right away, until Jeff informed me he’d written some of the best X-files episodes to date (Jose Chung’s From Outer Space & Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose) and even played the Flukeman!
Comparing to his previous episodes, I totally see the similarities in his writing style and dialogue. Having Darby’s character “Guy Mann” (god that’s brilliant) explain to Mulder the great atrocity he’s been through, being bit by a human, turning into a human during the day and experiencing god-awful Human emotions, an irresistible urge to get a job and then hate said job.
All these little things we do as average people, told via a creature whose going through this for the first time as a “curse” was brilliant. I wasn’t expecting the twist of the were-wolf lore we’re used to. Watching Darby’s character struggling with his new found human body, coping with the mundane or finding pure joy with getting a pet dog “Daggoo” (Clever naming here. Daggoo, Scully’s dog Queequeg, and Starbuck, the nickname Scully’s father used with her were all characters in Moby Dick) was such a juxtaposition from the killer monster were used to.
But where the writing really shined occurred during the interaction between Mulder and Darby’s “Guy Mann”. Both characters going through their own personal “changes” in life, Guy wanting someone to believe his fantastic story and Mulder wanting to believe again in the fantastic. Letting Mulder meet Guy gives him the freedom to believe again. Vice versa, Guy gets solace knowing that someone would believe his absurd story and show him compassion. The two were destined to find each other and help each other find their way back “home” literally and figuratively.
These comedic monster of the week type episodes are a fun escape from the serious mytharc. Several X-Philes, Jeff included, were a bit worried that four of the six new episodes would be MOTW-style. The quest for the truth is something so important to the fans and Mulder alike, desperately needing more investigation. But episodes like these make the whole thing worth it.
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