The X-Files: Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

Case: Scully and Mulder catch a case where it seems a monster is terrorizing a small town.

Destination: Shawan, Oregon

Mulder: "I'm just looking for some kind of internal logic."
Guy Mann: "Why? There isn't an external logic to any of it."

That line could only come from the writer whose own creation, Clyde Bruckman, shrugged off famously, "Why does anyone do the things they do?" It's time for another existential crisis for Mulder, you guys!

There is so much good here, I'm not going to do this episode justice in just the few watches I've had. One thing that makes Darin Morgan episodes so exceptional are the layers of depth they reveal after many many watchings. And lots of thought. And more watchings. And more thought. Morgan will comment on something then comment on that comment, sometimes in the same scene. It's sui generis. Seriously, no XF writer loves this show in the same way he does. Duchovny used to joke that Morgan was trying to destroy the concept of the show in the episodes he wrote previously, but it's not that at all. He understands the show's flaws and highlights them in just such a way that we can adore The X-Files even more. This is best shown in 'Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Man' in Scully's casual virtuosity at solving the case and apprehending the suspect by herself. I know this is going to sound like hyperbole, but Darin Morgan really is too good for this world.


The idea that everyone is doing the same thing all of the time is just horrifyingly beautiful. There is the subtlest groundhog day quality to this episode that I'm not even going to pretend I'm smart enough to analyze. But it's there! I think any opportunity to dramatize that our tape loop is always present, despite our most earnest efforts to reprogram it, is why Morgan gets out of bed in the morning. But not because he's tortured by this thought, but rather because he's compelled to see it with mercy. In 'Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster', Morgan reflects back the pathological nature of humanness through poor beleaguered (but articulate!) Guy Mann. (Whom, honestly, Rhys Darby elevates well-above what was already elevated material.) Mann embodies the conceit that humanness is not full of choices (that we all agonize over) but is as programmed in us as any animal instinct.


For me, the genius of this hour was in the third act when we basically see the entire episode played out through Mann's perspective and it looks hilariously logical, even understandable. Every single beat. He has this heartbreakingly endearing way of describing what we already know he's going to say because it's so utterly human. I mean one thing after the next. It's a cliche in every way! There were so many piercing lines of dialogue, effective for either their quality of irony, humor or sadness. (To say nothing of the three bottles of whiskey that materialized before the scene was over.) Above and beyond the way Mann made the ordinary extraordinary, he had the audacity to make the extraordinary (read: that which happens in the XF universe) ordinary.



And who better to listen to this than the guy who has memorized all of Charles Fort's books on all things abnormal. Yet Mulder walks away from the conversation not believing a word. That is 100% brilliant. I think that's what makes the last scene so lovely, that Mulder's existential crisis is having an existential crisis. Luckily the two cancel each other out long enough for Mulder and Guy Mann to shake hands on the acknowledgment that they each got each other through this round. As for Morgan, it's pretty fucking perfect that the guy that professes that life is a few fleeting moments of happiness, surrounded by crushing loss and grief is the one that provided this wry, sweet and uplifting fleeting moment of happiness.

Other Thoughts

*Guy Mann.

*'Smart Phones Is Us'.

*"By the end of the day I was the manager."

*"You and me, we're the same, Guy."

*It feels like Morgan nailed whatever that oblique equation is with aging v. technology advancements in a very clever way.


*Hi, handsome.


*Yes, Scully. You need this dog.


Quotes

Mulder: "Took a midnight hike in the nude, got attacked by a wolf or a lion or a bear. Maybe all at the same time. That's how I'd like to go out."

Scully: "If this thing looks like those drawings, I'm emptying my clip into it."

Scully: "Mulder, the Internet is not good for you."

Mulder: "Maybe this is some GMO experiment run amok by some military-agro-big-pharma corporation."

Mulder: "Not everything can be reduced to psychology."
Psychiatrist: "That's what you think."

Guy Mann: "You see, now I possess the one Darwinian advantage that humans have over other animals -- the ability to BS my way through anything."

Guy Mann: "And as a result, I... I did something insane."
Mulder: "You attacked and killed someone?"
Guy Mann: "No, I got a puppy! I named him Daggoo."

"It's a monster, Scully. Plain and simple."

12 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I loved this one so, so much. The paint-sniffing couple. The animal peep-holes. The Speedos. Mulder doing both sides of his usual argument with Scully. "Yeah, this is how I like my Mulder." The plot was so X-Files satirizing X-Files. Perfect.

And doing a scene in front of gravestones for Kim Manners and Jack Hardy was so touching.

Heather said...

Billie,
I really loved it, too. Thanks for mentioning the all of those touches, which, I agree, were really great! I meant to include a link the Vulture article which listed them.
If anyone wants to check it out, here's the link: http://www.vulture.com/2016/02/x-files-easter-eggs-weremonster.html#

Josie Kafka said...

I loved this episode, too. I hadn't realized that A) Darin Morgan doesn't do much TV writing, or B) that he had written most of my favorite X-Files episodes. But this was wonderful, for all of the reasons you mentioned.

Four out of four Daggoos!

Heather said...

Josie,
Thanks for rating the episode with Daggoos. :)

Josie Kafka said...

I will daggoo you any time, Heather.

Mallena said...

Heather, you are an amazing writer! When I read your review instead of just thinking about the episode, I kept thinking, wow, what a lovely way to phrase that thought. The first time I watched this my initial reaction was...what? What was that??? But I'm watching it again keeping in mind "Jose Chung", which I didn't get the first time through, either. Darin Morgan is a genius. I loved Mulder and his phone. I had my kindle for years before I even realized it had a camera. When I found out, I rushed into my college-aged daughter's bedroom yelling..."my kindle has a camera!!". She was like, well duh. Loved Scully keeping the dog. I wish the first two episodes had this much energy and spirit.

Mallena said...

Sorry Heather, one quibble in the spirit of Jose Chung, instead of the not so lovely F word, you should say "bleeping". At my house we say "frelling". Write lots more reviews, please.

Heather said...

Mallena,
It's so great to have you along TXF ride. I have been enjoying your comments on the retro reviews, too! I agree, there are a lot of moments here reminiscent of Jose Chung, including the way the story is laid out in non-linear fashion. I have very strong feelings of love that for episode. I laughed out loud about your Kindle comment. My son is bemused by my technology issues, too.
You're so right that I should have used 'bleeping'! Duly noted. :)

Kathy said...

I loved this one! My favorite episode of The X-Files has always been "Bad Blood," so I adore the funny episodes. And this one had me laughing until I cried (and then I teared up for real at Mulder putting flowers at Kim Manners' grave) and then I laughed until I cried again.

But my favorite little touch was Mulder's ring is the X-Files theme.

So much good in this episode!

Kat

ChrisB said...

What a wonderful episode of television. All the callbacks and Easter eggs were as much fun as the story itself. But, the scene in the hotel with Mulder's monologue will go down as one of the classics in this entire run of this series. I howled, not only at the dialogue, but at Scully's reaction to it all as well.

What a lovely touch with Kim Manners' and Jack Hardy's graves. I teared up.

Docnaz said...

I knew from the first few minutes it was the X files writer who wrote my favorite episodes Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose and also Jose Chung's "From Outer Space". Although funny on the surface and full of Easter eggs, the episode has deep meaning. The angst of suddenly being aware of mortality and the futility of life when viewed by another species/alien was portrayed affected me.

The funny moments...too many to count, but the peep hole animal heads and the rubbing alcohol swilling hotel manager were funny beyond words. Mulder's nonchalanct reaction to the whole weird hotel scene was great. Loved how he told the manager his being a peeping tom was expected in such an establishment.

I just watched the episode a fourth time with my son and laughed at every silly moment all over again. I am so glad this show is back. I hope they renew it.

Mark Greig said...

I am so happy to see that Darin Morgan is still incapable of writing an X-Files episode I won't adore completely. Definitely four out of four Daggoos.