Still Believing: The X-Files “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” Episode Review

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After a somewhat rocky start to the revival of “The X-Files” last week, the show is back on track with this week’s episode “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster.” The episode is written and directed by “X-Files” favorite Darin Morgan, who was responsible for some of the greatest original series episodes such as “Humbug,” “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’” and “War of the Coprophages.”

In the past, Darin’s episodes always re-contextualized how we looked at “The X-Files.” “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’” more than the others poked fun at the rather ridiculous elements to the show, including how outsiders view Mulder and Scully and how the audience views them. Although a lot of “The X-Files” is shrouded in mystery and intrigue, it was Darin’s episodes that always got me thinking more in depth about the thematic elements not just in his episodes, but the rest of the show as well.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” keeps with Darin’s pattern of having an episode flip everything we thought we knew on its head. Mulder, so disillusioned with his work with X-File cases, throws pencils like darts into his “I Want To Believe” poster out of boredom. Scully walks into the office to give us this week’s case, allowing Mulder to go into a long rant about being tricked into believing in Big Foot and other conspiracy theories that were actually the result of bored frat boys dressed in costumes and a landscaping company looking to revitalize their marketing strategy.

The case this week involves the murder of at least four people, whose bodies are found in the forest by two extremely high campers and a terrified animal control officer. That animal control office is none other than stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjiani, an “X-Files” super fan whose podcast “The X-Files Files” got him a small role on the show. The reports point to a horned lizard man attacking people, first in the forest and then on the streets. Scully points out that Mulder can’t afford to write off the deaths of four people because he doesn’t believe a horned lizard man murdered them — the point is something is killing them, and it’s their jobs as FBI agents to solve the case.

Another trait consistent with Darin Morgan episodes is his ability to catch the audience off guard as he turns any reflection of the episodes onto the audience themselves. During the episode, Mulder eventually comes face-to-face with the horned lizard man. The horned lizard man, now looking like a human named Guy Mann, launches into his story about the previous two nights. It turns out that the horned lizard man was bit by a human, thus turning him into a human for the first time ever. Sort of like a reverse were-wolf transformation.

During his account to Mulder, Guy explains after turning into a human for the first time, he subconsciously started doing things he felt humans were supposed to do — put on some clothes that he stole from one of the dead bodies in the forest, order a burger and fries from a drive through which he stood in, got a job as a sales representative at a smart phone store, got a dog when he was feeling lonely, named it Dagoo and cried when someone stole it, got bored at his job but was too afraid to quit because all of a sudden he feared losing his benefits and the promise of job security, threatened to quit but didn’t quit, and then, finally, lied about his sex life to Mulder, something he knows all humans are prone to doing. Guy Mann is the nicest monster out there, and he seems to have a wonderful grasp of the universal unknowns all humans have — our purpose, our happiness, our morals, our need for revenge. It’s an incredibly insightful sentiment coming from a horned lizard man.

“Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” also is a great Mulder episode. It was established during last week’s episodes that during the past 15 years or so “The X-Files” wasn’t airing, Mulder suffered from depression. His disillusionment at the beginning of the episode makes sense then, and his immediate theorizing to Scully once he pretty much confirms that the horned lizard man all the witnesses keep referring to actually exists says a lot about his state of mind during these new episodes. Mulder even tells Guy, who thinks Mulder doesn’t quite believe Guy’s story because it’s “too fantastic and ridiculous,” that he wants to believe, emulating his infamous “I want to believe” poster hanging in his office. However, it’s obvious Mulder’s been tired of questioning the truth for a while. But I think Guy, who transforms back into the horned lizard man while shaking hands with Mulder, gave Mulder a little of his faith back.

Some extra thoughts and quotables:

  • Mulder not knowing how to work a smart phone will forever be one of my favorite Mulder quirks. I couldn’t stop laughing at him and Nanjiani debating how to work Mulder’s new camera app while a then-unidentified monster appears to attack them.
  • This quote — “They think I’m on crack.” “Are you?” “Yeah!”
  • And this one by Scully — “Mulder, the Internet is not good for you.”
  • Mulder going on a long rant about the horned lizard man existing and ending every one of his theories with “To which I know you’re going to say, but Mulder…” and Scully says something about how it’s good to have the old Mulder back, the one who says crazy theories and expects Scully to go right along with them.
  • During the scene when Guy tells Mulder his story, the two are standing in a graveyard. One of the headstones they are standing in front of says the name Kim Manners, a tribute to the late Mr. Manners, frequent writer and director of “The X-Files,” who died during 2009.
  • Mulder’s ring tone being the “The X-Files” theme song.
  • And finally, after Mulder chastises Scully for going face-to-face with two hostile beings without backup, Scully tells him (jokingly) that she’s immortal. It’s been a long-running theory for a long time in “The X-Files” and probably acted more as fan service than anything else, but a welcome one at that.

That’s it for this week. Check back next week for a review of episode four, “Home Again.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]