The X-Files: The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

Case: A mysterious man believes that people's memories are being changed.

Destination: Washington, D.C. (aka Vancouver)

Mulder: “So that’s the truth. We’re not alone in the universe but nobody likes us?”

This was a fun episode. You can tell that the writers had a blast with it and then Duchovny and Anderson just ran with the material they created. And in true X-Files style they managed to get some pithy political messages across while also going all 'meta' and commenting on the show itself.

Reggie Murgatroid (of course) has left the secret X code so that Mulder will meet him in the underground garage. Reggie says that he knows Mulder and that Mulder knows him. He believes that Dr. They (with the government's knowledge) has manipulated people's memories so that they have forgotten the past or they have had memories implanted. It appears that Dr. They is interested in big memories – when cars blow up on their own to small memories, what was the first episode of The Twilight Zone that Mulder watched. The episode is spent wondering if what Reggie says is true or if he is living in a fantasy world. Both Scully and Mulder are skeptical especially when Reggie talks about being their partner. We start to believe Reggie when the infamous Dr. They shows up. It isn't until Scully finds his 'real' records that we know the truth. But even then, do we really?

In the midst of the comedy are some more serious discussions. Dr. They's diatribe about the truth speaks to the current issues in the U.S.A. with fake news and attacks on both science and reputable journalism. Objective truth is no longer relevant if people only believe what they want to believe. I loved his phony fake news. You tell the truth but in such a way that nobody believes it. No wonder he says that we live in a post-conspiracy, post-cover-up age. This is critical for the X-Files. You can no longer seek the truth if there is no truth (or if you already have the answers to everything). And if there is objective truth and nobody cares you have the same result. I saw this whole piece as not only a comment on America but also why this is the last season for The X-Files (We are now po-co).

The other political commentary was about the wall. This was less nuanced with direct references to some of the more racist presidential comments. There were also little bits throughout the episode. The evil Dr. They wearing a "make America great again" hat at the 'well-attended' inauguration. There are pokes at carcinogens in our food (saccharin anyone?) and cars that catch fire being covered up. They even poke fun at the stereotypes around mental health as Reggie insists that his handlers put him in a straitjacket and carry a net.

The best parts of the episode for me were those related to the show. Mulder's obsession with The Twilight Zone was an obvious call out to X-Files fans who have the box sets, the episode guides and all the video tapes. I especially loved the fact that Mulder couldn't go to dinner until he found the episode he was looking for. And it is obvious that The Twilight Zone has been an inspiration for The X-Files (I've been obsessed with both over the years). We even got some character development as Mulder starts to tell Scully about his bigfoot impression and it's obvious that she's heard it so many times that she hangs up to avoid hearing it again. In many ways Scully puts up with a lot from Mulder including being stood up on a regular basis. These two are obviously comfortable with each other and have found their own way to continue to be partners despite their differences. The flashbacks with Reggie inserted were wonderful. The change in music, the Reggie Something FBI identification card, his ridiculous quips – just so much fun. When we do find out that Reggie is a fake (well probably) we can kind of understand, he has done what many a fan would like to do, insert himself into The X-Files team.

Other Thoughts

The cheesy 60‘s aliens were fabulous and fun. The alien at the end was hilarious. Not only did he float down the stairs, he took the time to go get a hoverboard and also did his own sound effects “Bing, bing, bong, bong, bing.”

The mini-Mulder in the flashback was silly and very funny.

Reggie called Scully, Skulls and Fox, Foxy. This poked holes in his story immediately. I can't imagine them putting up with those nicknames.

Goop-O ABC looked carcinogenic but how many of us have fond memories of other horrible 70's and 80's food?

The Mandela vs. the Mengele effect argument, not to mention Ozzie's razor were amusing. And the Mandela effect is often linked to ideas of parallel universes. "Wait, no!" (Also here is a bit on the mandela effect that our esteemed Josie did http://www.douxreviews.com/2017/01/this-week-in-bears-january-1-2017.html)

The statues in the scene with Dr. They are in English Bay in Vancouver, Canada. They were amazing.

Quotes:

Mulder: “It would be a hell of a twist if it were Rod Serling. Submitted for your approval.”

Mulder: “Confuse The Twilight Zone with The Outer Limits, do you even know me?!”

Mulder: “Let me get this straight, when it cools it forms into three different layers with three different textures all from the same mix? How has this never been an X-File?”

Scully: “I have such wonderful memories associated with it. I remember my mom making it. I remember family vacations over the summer holidays and Fourth of July, fireworks. America. God. Love.”
Mulder: “That's some Jell-O.”
Scully: “I mean just the cherry flavour. The lemon-lime tasted like leprechaun taint.”

Scully: “But that’s your secret rendezvous signal, I don’t want to intrude.”

Shop Owner: “If you’re going to break something use the Evil Knievel doll, make it more authentic.”

Reggie: “We’re not gonna do this parallel universe, sci-fi goobledygook nerd boy, okay?”

Young FBI Agent: “You start out a rebel but then you get fat. And the next thing you know you’re Deep State. Sad.”

Mulder: “It’s true Scully, I’ve lost the plot. I can’t find the hidden connections between things anymore. The world has become too crazy for even for my conspiratorial powers.”

Mulder: “Perhaps it goes to show how good you are at hiding in the shadows.”
Dr. They: “Who’s hiding? I’m in the phone book.”

Alien: “You’re free to explore Uranus all you want.” (12 year old boys rejoice)

Skinner: “Where the hell they taking Reggie?”

Scully: “I want to remember how it was. I want to remember how it all was.”

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Really fun episode. I particularly enjoyed the sasquatch jell-o mold and all of the recreations of original series scenes with Reggie in the background.

Josie did a post awhile back about the Mandela Effect, if anyone is interested in reading more about it. It absolutely creeps me out.

http://www.douxreviews.com/2017/01/this-week-in-bears-january-1-2017.html

joannis said...

Sorry, thought it wrecked the flow of the earlier 3 episodes and maintained the denial narrative of what IS worth paying attention to: there IS a metaphysical reality and now there's been a disclosure of sorts, its a serious subject NO LONGER appropriately made the butt of jokes anymore. Whether the disclosure we're evidencing reveals the extra-terrestrial or the inter-dimensional hypothesis, BOTH paths demand we not perpetuate the old "Oh UFOs, bring out all the crazies ha ha ha!"

Mallena said...

I enjoyed this one, even if it didn't make a lot of sense. It just was amusing.

When I was growing up in the 70/80's, the only thing that my mom would use to make a sauce was cream of mushroom soup. It drowned everything from noodles and rice, to meat. I didn't even know that one could make a sauce out of cream, butter, and cheese until I moved out.