The Movie Waffler TV Waffle - THE X-FILES Episode 3: Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster | The Movie Waffler

TV Waffle - THE X-FILES Episode 3: Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster

Mulder and Scully investigate a mysterious lizard-man.

Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

'Believe Again!' So reads the tagline for Fox's revival of their most iconic of shows. Yet after two mediocre episodes back to back in its opening week, most of us were veering towards Scully-esque skepticism as to the potential of this belated return. Seeing Mulder using his old 'I want to believe' poster as a makeshift dartboard at the opening of this third episode will likely have many viewers sympathising with the FBI man's crisis of faith. Well crisis over, as Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster is a comedic return to form.
Writer-director Darin Morgan presents us with such a simple yet clever premise, it's baffling that we haven't seen it explored before. We all know what happens when a mythical creature - be it werewolf, zombie, vampire - bites a human; said victim transforms into the same monster. But what about when man bites monster? That's what happens to the titular unfortunate lizard-man here, who finds himself attacked and chewed on by one of our own. This causes him to transform into human form, in the shape of Kiwi comic Rhys Darby. Pretty soon our were-monster discovers the drawbacks of humanity - namely having to work in exchange for goods and services - and seeks a way to return to his original form.
Viewers of the original series, along with devotees of the cult '90s sitcom The Larry Sanders Show, will be well aware of David Duchovny's comedic skills, and it's great to see him given a chance to flex his jocular muscles once more. A large chunk of the show simply lets Duchovny and Darby riff on each other as they share their existential angst in a scenario that wouldn't feel out of place in one of Woody Allen's old short stories. Quite a few of the 'humorous' episodes of the show's first run fell flat, but Morgan gets the tone just right here, cleverly putting Mulder and Scully in comedic situations that they can easily shake off without making their presumed return to more serious business next time out feel awkward and jarring.
The episode is jam-packed with in-jokes and self-referential gags - Mulder's ring-tone is the show's iconic theme tune; tribute is paid to the late Kim Manners, director of 40 X-Files episodes, by having his name appear on a cemetery headstone; and poor old Queequeg, the doomed doggy eaten by an alligator in a 1996 episode, gets a mention from his temporary owner, Scully. There's also an explicit nod to Kolchak: The Night Stalker, the '70s show that inspired showrunner Chris Carter, as Darby's outfit is an exact replica of that worn by Darren McGavin's Carl Kolchak.
So now we've been sucked back in, let's see what another of the original run's key figures, writer-director Glen Morgan, can deliver in next week's episode, the (hopefully) appropriately titled Home Again.

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