The X Files: 10.03 Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster
We've had the alien conspiracy thriller and the mad scientist / genetic experimentee episode; now it was time for the comedy episode. And in the show's original run, no one did it better than Darin Morgan. Surprisingly, he only wrote four comedy episodes; season two's Humbug and three hilarious season three episodes, ending with my personal favourite Jose Chung's "From Outer Space". And so of all the episodes in the show's new six-episode run, this was the one I was looking forward to most.
And it certainly didn't disappoint. It made me laugh from beginning to end and in the same ways as Morgan's classic episodes it had great fun at the show's expense - but it a heartfelt way. If anything, it was one of The X Files's most silliest episodes ever (and this was a man who created Lord Kinbote) but three episode's into the good but not amazing season 10, this was the first one that I really felt absolutely justified bringing the show back. And not just in the way it reintroduced the great comedic episode either but in a way that it felt like a natural progression of Mulder and Scully years later.
"We've been given another case, Mulder. It has a monster in it."
In a moment of comedic timing, Scully cuts off Mulder's rant that all those monsters he was chasing for years turned out to be hoaxes; admittedly he'd forgotten about Eugene Victor Tooms and the Flukeman but he was absolutely right about the stone monster he was chasing turned out to be a publicity stunt for a garden centre!
This is Mulder all grown up - he doesn't believe in monsters anymore and it's actually Scully that appears to be having great nostalgic fun as he pointedly notes half way through the episode. Having Mulder as the skeptic adds for a fresh, fun dynamic to the show and builds up to the nice reveal at the end that has the agent experience a monster transformation before his very eyes. He might be back to being the wide-eyed believer at the end, but that's how we like our Mulder anyway isn't it?
There is so much going on in the episode that it would be easy just to quote the entire script (electric as always thanks to Morgan). Mulder desperately trying to use his phone app to capture an image of the monster shows just how out of touch with the modern era he really has become. The whole scene with the Kumail Nanjiani's ranger, the transgender prostitute Anabelle and the flashing camera as they hunt down the giant lizard monster was one of the funniest things I had watched in years. And the creepy motel owner with his peeping tom eyes holes in the animal heads was suitably creepy - hilarious as it was to see that Mulder slept in red satin underpants!
The therapist Dr. Rumanovitch would have been ridiculous in any other episode - even a comedy episode of The X Files - but in Darin Morgan's world he was well suited. Scully called Mulder bat-crap crazy at one point in the episode but really that's a phrase that could have been applied to the whole episode.
And then there was the twist - Rhys Darby's Guy Mann wasn't a man bitten by a weremonster, he was a lizard bitten by a crazed man who was on a murderous spree as some wannabe vampire. It was a brilliant play on convention and Darby was wonderful sympathetic as the lizard trying to adapt to humanity, find a job and get a pet dog. The scene where Mulder confronts him in the graveyard was another piece of scripting perfection, with Duchovny's weary Mulder coming across as more dour than Darby's suicidal Mann.
Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster wasn't an episode that was afraid to have fun with the show's premise. Both the main actors were having a blast - kudos to Gillian Anderson for agreeing to the 'sex scene' with Darby's Guy Mann, even if it was all made up. Mulder's ringtone being the theme of the show was brilliant and there was a lovely tribute to the original show's Kim Manners in the graveyard. We can't have episodes like this every week - the silliness would quickly become tired - but as a revisit of all the classic's show's best elements it was well suited. If The X Files returns for an eleventh season, another comedy episode would be most welcome!