While the alien-mythology arc is the backbone of The X-Files, some of the best episodes of the series were the stand-alones, basically, a monster-of-the-week episode in which Mulder and Scully would investigate some sort of case. Whether or not they would solve the case or not? Meh. That was more up in the air, and really, to me, that wasn’t the point of the episodes. I think they were to push forward the idea of otherworldly things being out there, which made you think, hey, maybe this alien thing that Mulder is on about isn’t so far-fetched.
That seemed to be the point of the third episode of The X-Files revival, “Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster”, which was directed and written by Darin Morgan. Morgan did the teleplay for “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”, which won a writing Emmy in 1996; the fourth episode of Season 3. He also wrote “Humbug” from Season 2, which I actually did watch a couple of months ago randomly with the girlfriend and it was one of the more humorous episodes of The X-Files, and this episode was essentially the same thing. It was weird, and dark, but overall, funny, and that’s something that you don’t think of when you think of this show.
-Shoutout to the paint-huffers who witnessed the first attack, and apparently, they’re from previous episodes. There were a ton of little easter eggs in this episode, and that’s cool, I just have a terrible memory for most things. But when you read about them, you’ll be like, oh riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Vulture has a good piece putting them all together here. Anyway, they first see the monster, which looks more like a lizard, but I guess if the lizard is human size, it’s a monster? But of course, they’re paint huffers, so it’s hard to take them seriously.
-Scully walks in on Mulder, throwing pencils at that same damn “I Want To Believe” poster from the old days, and Mulder is disillusioned, to say the least. He says that the unexplained is explainable now, and whether or not he wants to do it anymore, and Scully asks him if he’s off the meds, which is far. But he has shaved, so he doesn’t look like a slob anymore. He doesn’t wanna look for monsters, but Scully is like, yo, we gotta look for these monsters, bruh. Dogg, you JUST got back to work and you’re mad already? Jeez.
-We also get an appearance from Kumail Nanjiani, who is a comedian and on Silicon Valley (which I don’t watch, but I’ve heard it’s very good). But I know him from The X-Files Files, his podcast on, well, The X-Files. He’s a huge nerd of the show and has had many people involved with The X-Files on there, which I assume is how he got this gig. Anyway, he’s a scaredy-cat animal-control worker, but he saw the monster, or something similar to the monster and was like NOOOOOOOOAAAAAAPPPP and peaced out. That left Mulder to run around a field taking pictures with his phone, which he has no idea how to use. Mulder also runs into the lizard, which manages to spray blood in his mouth, which is just about as gross as it sounds. Mulder did get a nice picture of it tho.
-Mulder gets woken up by a disturbance in his motel and hears someone yelling “monster”, but the manager is like, nah, we good….although I’m drinking what looks like rubbing alcohol, which seems kinda poisonous, doesn’t it? Anyway, he tells Mulder to go to bed, which he obviously doesn’t do, because Mulder, but he finds a peeping-tom room in which the manager would poke the eyes out of animal heads hanging in each room, then look through the eyes. As he is recanting his story to Mulder, who tells him he is a cop and can fuck his life up, we see that he watched a man transform into the lizard, which startled him, he made a noise, the lizard catches him, but doesn’t kill him. We also see him looking at Mulder in a speedo; another easter egg. Mulder now believes it and in a 180 from his earlier rant to Scully about everything being explained, he wakes her up to give her another spiel about stuff that is explainable, we just don’t know how yet, and he even says everything she is going to say to him. When she finally gets to say anything, it is, “that’s how I like my Mulder”. They still got it, man. They’re made for these roles.
-Scully finds out this man works at a nearby cell-phone store, but freaked out when she wanted to ask some questions, and trashes the place. Mulder tracks the man down at a graveyard, where the man tells Mulder that……he’s not a man, he is ACTUALLY a lizard. So he tells him the story of how he got to be a man who transformed from a lizard, and I won’t regale you with the details because honestly, it was fuckin’ long. That was probably my biggest problem with the episode; how long this scene was. I also didn’t recognize that it was Rhys Darby, who was in Flight Of The Concords, another show I’ve never seen, but I heard it’s very good. But while the scene was long, the gist of it was that Darby, whose name was Guy Mann, knew all of the human instincts that we have, but he found them to be ridiculous. He figured out that he needed a job to pay for a mortgage, but he really didn’t know why. It’s just what we do. And he said that life was hopeless; “A few fleeting moments of happiness surrounded by crushing loss and grief”. I mean, it’s a terrible way to look at things, but is he really all the way wrong? The only happiness he found was in his companion, Dagoo, a dog, and if you ask anyone with a dog, they’ll tell you that dogs are pretty much better than humans. Again…..not all the way wrong.
-Mulder did catch him when, in his story, it had him being seduced by Scully in the backroom of his store, and Mulder was like, NAH HOMIE. There was some jealousy there. But Gillian Anderson looked like she had a ball with that scene. She’s so wonderful.
-Anyway, he wants Mulder to kill him so he would stop going back and forth between a lizard and a human, but Mulder won’t do it. The moon was the culprit, as his transformations were based on its cycles. I’ve never been into the science behind The X-Files, so I’m probably getting some details wrong, but you can figure it out if you saw it. I’m more interested in Mulder being so empathetic to a man, er, a lizard, that was turned into a man because he was bit by a human.
-What human, you ask? The animal-control guy, who Scully went to visit and he attacked her with his little net, but in the next scene, Mulder shows up with the cops and Scully has already taken him down. So, the prior scene was Mulder, who had drank himself to sleep, wakes up to Scully’s phone call, and we learn that his ringtone is The X-Files theme song….which may or may not have been one of my first ringtones when phones started to advance. Then he showed up at the spot, within minutes, I would assume, appearing not to be drunk, and not looking disheveled. I don’t know, a show about aliens and all the shit we see in this episode about a lizard man….and that is my biggest bone to pick. I’m weird.
-Also, I don’t think we even learned why the animal-rescue guy was biting people, or how his bite turned Guy into a human. Maybe they did. By the time they got to this scene, I had no idea what was going on. I think dude even tried to explain, and Mulder and Scully were like, save it for the judge, bruh.
-Final scene is the lizard man returning to the woods for a 10,000-year hibernation, but Mulder, of course, tracks him down and the two say their goodbyes. But if anything, the lizard man made Mulder believe that, yes, there is some shit out there that still needs to be explained. Shit like hibernating lizard men. So Mulder gotta keep on keepin’ on.
And that was the point of the episode to me. Mulder needed something to make him see that his job wasn’t finished. I think that if you were new to The X-Files, and you watched this episode, you probably would never watch it again in your life. Hell, even I thought it was strange after I watched it. But after sitting on it for a couple days, I figured it out….to me, anyway. This brought back the essence of The X-Files to me, because we needed these episodes every once in a while. You can’t chase around aliens and be gloomy all the damn time. But I’m sure they’ll get back to the norm this week.
Finally, shoutout to the scene that had Mulder leaning up a tombstone with the name, “Kim Manners”. Manners was one of the driving forces behind The X-Files, and his 52 episodes directed were the most of anyone who worked on the show. Vince Gilligan also dedicated an episode, maybe two, to Manners on Breaking Bad and you should know that Gilligan’s big break came from his work on The X-Files. The other name was Jack Hardy, who worked on the second X-Files movie, I Want To Believe, as well as Millennium and The Lone Gunmen, both projects helmed by X-Files creator Chris Carter. That was a nice touch.