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TV Waffle - THE X-FILES Episode 4: Home Again

A mysterious killer uses brute force to dispatch the enemies of a homeless community.



Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)




Monster of the week or myth-arc? Which type of X-Files episode format do you favour? For me, and I think for most viewers, it's the former. Back in the day, myth-arc episodes, usually two-parters, were something you had to endure at the beginning, middle and end of a season; they were the lettuce in your burger, the tomato slice in your full Irish breakfast. With this revival season, the lines between MOTW and myth-arc are blurred, thanks to its limited run of a mere six episodes. Last week's Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster is the only truly standalone episode we've had so far, and it's no coincidence that it's also the most well received. This week's episode - Home Again - starts out like a MOTW show, and a promising one at that, only to be interrupted by the reintroduction of the ongoing saga of Mulder and Scully's son.
The monster is pretty great, a giant balding hulk reminiscent of The Creeper, the villain deformed actor Rondo Hatton essayed in a series of B-movies back in the 1940s. We meet this beast, who will quickly come to be known as Band Aid Nose Man, in a pre-credits sequence in which we witness him literally tear apart a city official who attempted to evict a bunch of homeless people from their temporary street lodgings.
Investigating the crime scene, Mulder discovers a discarded Band-Aid. He makes this discovery by accidentally stepping on it, which doesn't say much for the FBI's methods of sweeping crime scenes. Mulder also notices another oddity upon checking the security footage - a Banksy style graffiti mural seems to have been spray painted on an adjacent building at some point in the immediate aftermath of the killing.
While investigating the crime scene, Scully receives an upsetting phone call - her mother is in a hospital, comatose following a collapse. This interrupts both Scully's investigation and the episode itself. While we witness Band Aid Nose Man carry out another couple of vicious killings, he's wasted as a monster, and the manner in which the episode resolves his menace is highly unsatisfying. Instead of a standalone 43 minute horror movie, we have a poorly developed MOTW peppered with morose conversations between Mulder and Scully regarding William, the son they let go. I don't know about you, but I really don't give two hoots about William. His conception was brought about when the show was struggling towards the end of its original run, and Scully's giving him up for adoption always felt like the writers simply didn't want to deal with the introduction of a kid into the show. Now that William is almost a teen, I'm worried plans are afoot to reintroduce him as a Wesley Crusher type annoyance.
Four episodes in, and only a quarter of them have been satisfying. The remaining two are both written and directed by showrunner Chris Carter, which doesn't bode well. Home Again came to us from writer-director Glen Morgan, and the episode's kills took us back to both his work on the show's original run and on the Final Destination movies. Left to his own devices, Morgan is capable of great stuff, as hinted at here, but forced to deal with loose ends like William, his hands are tied. It seems we'll have to wait for next season - presuming it gets a longer run, as is rumoured - for gratifying MOTW stories.



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