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TV Review: The X-Files - S10 Ep 3 "Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-monster"

02.01.2016

Episode 3: "Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-monster"

Synopsis: When a dead body is found in the woods, Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate whether it was an animal attack, a serial killer or just maybe a strange creature as described by eyewitnesses. Meanwhile, Mulder is able to confront some of his own demons about feeling disillusioned with his life’s work.

REVIEW: There has been a tradition of humorous episodes of The X-Files. While some were laugh out loud stories ("Bad Blood", "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'"), many were darkly comic exercises in storytelling that managed to examine the relationship between Mulder, Scully, and the paranormal in a manner that just couldn't be accomplished by a dead serious tale. Great stories like "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" rank among the best stories of the entire series and you may find the man responsible for writing these tales was none other than Darin Morgan. It should come as no surprise that since Morgan wrote tonight's hour which, like last week's episode, returns to the quality and tone of the best episodes of The X-Files.

"Mulder & Scully and the Were-monster" opens up with a pair of stoners huffing spray paint when they stumble across a lizard man seemingly attacking some men in the woods. When Mulder and Scully are called into investigate, Mulder is in the midst of a depression at believing in all of the bizarre and debunked X-Files that used to be his lifelong passion. Mulder is in a funk and doesn't seem to be the same true believer that he was two decades ago. So much has changed since the series left the air and that comes to light beautifully in scenes that involve Mulder struggling with the camera on his smartphone to the insane possibility of what this "monster" really could be. But, among all of the crazy antics of this hour, Scully says it best when she smiles at how much this case reminds her of the good times solving mysteries with Mulder.

But, in what starts out as a light-hearted tale quickly descends into a very meta-comedy centered on the titular were-monster played by Rhys Darby (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, Flight of the Conchords). Darby plays Guy Mann, a cell phone salesman who keeps turning up at the same places Mulder and Scully are searching for the killer creature. It doesn't take long before Mulder realizes that Guy is not just some guy, but the twist here is what the true nature of Guy's identity is. This funny approach to the story not only offers Darin Morgan the opportunity to poke fun at Mulder's life work but it also serves as a showcase for Darby's comedic stylings. Fans of the New Zealand native will love that Darby gets a lot of screen time in this episode while some may wonder why there is more attention played to laughs than to the actual mystery being investigated.

David Duchovny has always been adept at joking at Mulder's expense and this story gives him ample opportunities to do that. Gillian Anderson gets to have fun a well, kicking ass and holding her own while getting to play up her sex appeal which pleased my teenage self. Anderson is just as hot now as she was in the show's heydey but until now, she and Duchovny seemed a bit too old to still be playing these roles. This episode completely alleviates any concerns people may have and shows that Mulder and Scully are truly back. If anything, this episode wastes the guest appearance by Kumail Nanjiani (Portlandia, Silicon Valley) who is pretty hilarious in his own right but is only given a couple of scenes in this story.

The entire hour is full of call backs and references to The X-Files original run. From the cemetery scene featuring gravestones for deceased collaborators like assistant director Jack Hardy and frequent episode director Kim Manners to the guest appearance by Alex Diakun who previously guest-starred three times on the show, this episode is nostalgiac for all the right reasons. Even Guy Mann's clothes are a replica of the same outfit worn by Darren McGavin on Kolchak: The Night Stalker, the series that Chris Carter names as the main inspiration for The X-Files. There are references to Scully's dog, Queequeg, whom she adopted in the Darin Morgan-penned Clyde Bruckman episode.

All in all, this episode is light and devoid of anything mythology based, but I am suprisingly okay with that. This limited six episode run has been billed as an event series and should be a microcosm of everything that made The X-Files great. That means there had to be at least one standout monster of the week episode and at least one funny episode. This hour combines both and shows that The X-Files still has what it takes to be as good as it ever was. And, like Mulder at the end of this story, you too will feel your belief reinvigorated and ready for what the next three episodes have in store. Even if after this season we never get another run, this is shaping up to be an even better send-off for the show than the final season was.

Next on The X-Files: "Home Again" airs February 1st - Mulder and Scully are sent to investigate the murder of a city official, which it seems no human could have committed. Meanwhile, Scully deals with a personal tragedy, which brings up many old feelings about the child she gave away for adoption.
Source: JoBlo.com

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