“I forgot how much fun these cases can be.”
Last night’s episode of The X-Files, “Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster” was nothing short of fantastic. Don’t read ahead if you live in London or something and won’t get to watch it for a few weeks, ’cause I’m going to spoil stuff, I fear.
So, let’s start with the quote. Scully told Mulder that midway through their investigation into a mysterious shape-shifting Were-Monster that was seemingly biting people to death and then accosting Lot Lizards wearing nothing but tighty-whiteys.
I was with Scully. I’d forgotten how much fun these cases can be. In my desire to see the creepy mystery with the conspiracy connections, ambiguous ending, and more questions than answers, I’d forgotten how fun and funny some of the best episode of The X-Files are.
Which is odd because the most recent episode I’d watched prior to this mini-series was when I showed my wife “Bad Blood” around Halloween, an episode made great by the humor of it.
But I laughed throughout “Were-Monster” and not only at everything that Rhys Darby (Murray from Flight of the Concords) said. Mulder’s inability to use his new photo app on his phone was hilarious and brought so much of what is great about this show front and center, namely, Mulder’s ability to solve or not solve a case while Scully gets exasperated by him.
The charm of this episode, however, wasn’t just in the funny. There were so many nods to former X-Files for the fans, like Mulder in his red bikini briefs made famous on the FBI ID he took with him to Springfield, or Scully’s mention of missing Queequeg, or the return of Tyler Labine in the role of “Stoner 1,” a reprisal of the same role from the incredibly creepy “War of the Coprophages.”
What really sold me on this episode, aside from how much fun I had watching it and how happy I was when I went to bed last night, was how central it was to the two overarching themes of this season so far.
Christ Carter and company haven’t exactly been subtle in these themes, but they didn’t really sink in as more than a kind of ham handed fan service until last night.
And the themes are these:
It feels kind of strange to be running around hunting aliens and monsters in 2016. There’s no mystery in those things anymore, largely thanks to the internet, “Oh, Mulder…” Scully says with pity in her voice at one point, “the internet isn’t good for you.” And besides, and this is the real theme. Human beings are sooooooo much worse than any of these monsters or aliens we’ve been hunting all this time.
It’s the central point of all the farmhouse exposition from the first episode. The alien conspiracy we’ve all been fearing and fighting is mostly just human’s using this fear to further their owns ends. And it’s what Guy Mann explained to Mulder in hilarious detail in the grave yard. Humans are awful. Who’d want to be one of them?
This season is all about Mulder’s deep, deep desire to believe again. He’s said, “I want to believe” in every episode to date. At first as a contradiction to Joel McHale, and then as a plea to Guy Mann.
When we first saw Mulder’s old office in the first episode we started with the ceiling full of pencils, a nod to many a Mulder think session, but this episode he wasn’t firing the pencils into the ceiling. He was hurling them in Scully’s I Want to Believe poster, which she purchased to replace the one that Mulder kicked his way through upon his return to his old office.
Mulder is on a quest right now. A much shorter one than when he was searching for the truth about Samantha, but one just as personal. He’s middle aged now, and what is he doing with his life? Especially, if he no longer believes.
Guy Mann gave him reason to believe again last night. Mulder thanked him for it.
The X-Files gave me reason to believe in it again last night.
And I say thank you.