THE X-FILES: S10E03

MULDER AND SCULLY MEET THE WERE-MONSTER – 7.5/10.

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Well that was weird, actually in a show that specialises in being weird that was flat out bizarre. During its nine year run The X-Files would often do quirky or comedic episodes such as ‘X-Cops’, ‘Jose Chung’s from Outer Space’, ‘Je Souhaite’ and ‘Bad Blood’. These episodes existed outside of the main story arc of the season and served as a knowing wink to the long-time viewer. ‘Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster’ most definitely sits within that category. So if you were hoping to delve further into the alien-hybrid conspiracy this week then prepare to be disappointed, but if you are in the mood for a spot of self-aware, genre parody then you are in for a treat.

The strange story begins when Mulder and Scully are sent to investigate a series of murders in a small town. Mulder has been suffering from a crisis of faith; with most of the mysteries he has dedicated his life to solving now appearing to have rational explanations. But when the main suspect in the case is identified as a giant lizard man in y fronts, Mulder must overcome his newfound scepticism and rediscover his desire to believe. The comedic tone is set early on when the creature is first witnessed by two paint-huffing stoners and a crack-smoking, transgender prostitute, clearly a commentary on the reliability of people who tend to be eye witnesses to abnormal events.

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Both Duchovny and Anderson are clearly having a lot of fun playing with their characters here, with Duchovny going all in. One highlight is Mulder’s determined attempts to photograph the creature despite not understanding how to use the camera app on his phone. Of course when he and the local Animal Control officer quite literally bump into the lizard his photos are inconclusive to say the least. A chance encounter with a peeping tom, motel manager leads to the revelation that the creature is in fact a were-lizard who goes by the frankly spectacular name of Guy Mann, played brilliantly in human form by Flight of the Conchords’ Rhys Darby.

When Mulder finally manages to confront the were-lizard he is surprised to discover that Guy is far from the blood thirsty monster he was expecting. Even more surprisingly, he isn’t a man that turns into a lizard but rather a lizard that turns into a man. Guy tells Mulder his tale; having been bitten by a psychotic human, he awoke to find himself transformed into a man. He instinctively got dressed, found a job in a phone shop, ate fast food and watched porn in his motel room until the full moon when he transformed back into his natural lizard form. Sadly, the transformation was only temporary and when morning came he was once again the manager of a phone shop. Guy’s story also includes a heated romp with Scully that Mulder quickly debunks.

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Tired of being human, Guy tries to convince Mulder to kill him. When Mulder refuses Guy runs away, leaving Mulder to get drunk on his own and pass out in a graveyard, you stay classy Fox. Meanwhile, having worked out that the murders were actually being committed by the Animal Control officer, Scully confronts and arrests him on her own. It at this point that Mulder realises that the killer must have also been the one who bit Guy, causing him to change into a human. Although this doesn’t really help Guy, who decides to hibernate for 10,000 years in the hope that he will sleep off his unwanted humanity. Mulder argues that none of this has made any sense with Guy reminding him that not everything has to.

This episode had the definite feel of an Evil Dead style comedy horror. In fact a lot of the shots, characters, locations and music felt like a loving homage to the genre. It was unrelentingly silly from start to finish and the hilarious dialogue was performed to perfection by the cast. Duchovny’s dry delivery made him the perfect straight man for the always entertaining Darby to bounce off. The X-Files has an established history of parodying itself whilst using humour to explore a larger commentary, in this case it was the ludicrous nature of the human condition. Guy is a perfect caricature of modern life, from his innate ability to talk gibberish about technology to his inherent need to lie about his sexual prowess. Maybe the only solution for us all is to buy a dog or go into hibernation.

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So how does this episode fit into the continuity of the season? The writers drop plenty of hints that this story exists outside of the canon, most notably by having Mulder’s phone play the X-Files theme tune. So it would seem as though this one was just for the fans to enjoy, like Guy says, it doesn’t have to make sense. Truthfully, I expected the episode to end with a reveal that this was either a dream, or a story being told by some drunken unreliable source. I assumed that with only 3 episodes left in the season there would be some vague link back to the main story arc before the end credits. So when that didn’t happen I was left feeling somewhat unsatisfied. The clock is ticking for this mini-series and as enjoyable as this episode was, and it was actually an awful lot of fun, we just don’t have the time to spare.

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POINTS OF INTEREST

  • There’s a certain irony to the fact that a comedic episode of The X-Files feels like a normal episode of Supernatural.
  • Kim Manners was a producer and director who worked on both the X-Files and Supernatural. His name appears on the grave that Mulder wakes up next to.
  • Absolutely loved Mulder having to explain sex reassignment surgery to Guy. “No, I’ll leave it. That’s a step too far isn’t it?”
  • Very much enjoyed the killer’s repeated attempts to monologue as he was being taken away despite no one being willing to listen.
  • At the risk of being accused of objectification I would like to point out that both Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny still look sexy as hell.
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