Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster

"I forgot how much fun these cases could be." So said Scully during this week's new episode of The X-Files, perfectly summing up the complete turnaround from the two forgettable episodes thus far.

X-Files veteran Darin Morgan wrote this week's "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster," tapping back into the comic zaniness of his original series masterpieces "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" and "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose." But it wasn't just that he seemed to have a great time with this script; this felt like the first episode of this revival where David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson seemed to genuinely enjoy being back (for more than a paycheck).

So much about this episode just plain worked. (From here on, there be SPOILERS!) There was the casting of Flight of the Conchords' Rhys Darby as the hilariously named Guy Mann (and humorously leveraging his role as a werewolf in What We Do in the Shadows). There was the wonderful reversal of format early on, with Mulder having a "losing the faith" crisis of skepticism as Scully tried to encourage him to be the zany Mulder she (and we) loved. There was the acknowledgement of how the very idea of The X-Files plays in this age of smartphones -- and a series of great resulting sight gags. And of course, the very idea of reversing the were-creature myth.

Almost any given scene in this episode would alone make the whole revival venture worthwhile -- Mann's ridiculous flashback of Scully coming on to him, Mulder's close encounter with a creepy motel owner, the visit with the self-medicating psychiatrist... I could go on and on, basically just recapping the entire episode.

I may have a soft spot for this tonal shift, as some of the comedic episodes of classic X-Files were my favorites, but this episode really did it for me. I give it an A. It would be too much of a good thing, I'm sure, for there to be another wacky installment like this among this tiny batch of six episodes, but I'm very glad we got this one.

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