The X-Files “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” Review (2016 Mini-Series Episode 3)

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Those confused by what was supposed to be a reported “monster-of-the-week”-type episode of “The X-Files” last week turning out to actually be a sad tale of a mad scientist playing God by injecting innocent kids with alien DNA to see what happened- the answer: nothing good- must have been thrilled by the latest episode, the riotous “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” which will almost certainly go down as one of the best episodes ever of the show, period.

Turns out that Chris Carter and FOX did the whole airing-episodes-out-of-order thing, much as they did with “Firefly” during its original run. Feeling that following up a mythology-heavy episode with a standalone one would be jarring to viewers, Carter opted to make the fourth episode the second, as it tied in better with the previous one. That makes episode four now episode five, and episode two now episode four, with episode three- aka tonight’s episode- staying put, as will episode 6, the final episode. Got all that? (If not, read more about it here.)

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Whatever the case, after two relatively serious episodes in a row, this one was just what the doctor ordered. Written by show MVP Darin Morgan, this was one for the vaults, with great nods to the past and lots of in-jokes for hardcore fans, beginning with the third appearance of the stoner-type characters played by Tyler Labine and Nicole Parker, who previously cropped up in Morgan’s episodes “War of the Coprophages” and “Quagmire.”

Also cropping up as the pervy hotel manager was Alex Diakun, from Morgan’s episodes “Humbug,” “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’,” and “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” albeit playing different characters in each of those. Finally, there was a nod to producers Kim Manners (see pics) and Jack Hardy via the gravestones in the cemetery scene, and Mulder’s ringtone on his cellphone was “The X-Files” theme!

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Also, star Rhys Darby (“Flight of the Conchords”) was wearing an outfit very much like that sported by “Kolchak: The Night Stalker,” one of “The X-Files” biggest influences, which I can’t help but feel was intentional. Add to that a nod to the dearly departed Queequeg (which also happened in “Quagmire”)- and his replacement via the were-lizard’s dog Daggoo, which was another “Moby Dick” reference, and this was just in-joke nirvana for “X-Files” fans.

But it was David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson that owned this episode, between Mulder’s hilarious predictions of what Scully would say in retort to everything crazy he said- which read like a textbook list of things Scully actually did say over the course of the show’s history to some of Mulder’s wilder theories- to Scully’s improbable seduction of Darby’s character in a fantasy sequence, this was all win, reading like a meta-style commentary on the show itself. Also, Duchovny’s priceless delivery of the line “Daggoo?” is one for the time capsule, not to mention Anderson’s entire performance in the fantasy sequence.

Adding to the fun was the big reveal, in a straight-up “Scooby Doo”-style ending, that the real killer at large was animal control representative Pasha, played by stand-up comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani (“Portlandia,” “Silicon Valley”)- who just so happens to have a podcast dedicated to reviewing every episode of “The X-Files” itself! (It’s called “The X-Files Files” and is available on iTunes and is well-worth listening to.)

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This was just filled to the brim with hilarious dialogue, so much so that I’m going to go ahead and quote some of my favorites right now:

“What would you do if you were a werewolf?”-Stoner #1
“Get high all the time?”- Stoner #2

“What are you doing to my poster?”- Scully, after catching Mulder tossing pencils into her “I Want to Believe” poster, which as fans know, was famously once Mulder’s.

“Mulder, have you been taking your meds?”- Scully, after Mulder is being typically nutty.

“They think I’m on crack.”- A witness (D.J. Pierce), after the police scoffed at her description of the monster.
“Are you?”- Mulder
“Yeah.”- Witness

“Mulder, the internet is not good for you.”- Scully, stating the obvious.

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“I’m not going to report you. When one checks into an establishment such as this, one expects the manager to be a Peeping Tom.”- Mulder, to the pervy manager of the hotel he and Scully are staying in.

“Now, this is how I like my Mulder.”- Scully, after Mulder full-on rants about the monster possibilities
“So, you’re agreeing with me?”- Mulder
“No! You’re batcrap crazy!”- Scully

“Who is in more need of an anti-psychotic, a man who believes himself to be a were-lizard or a man who believes that man?”- a psychiatrist, after speaking with Mulder about his patient.

“I think maybe my phone isn’t working right, because guys don’t send me pictures of their junk on it. I think maybe I might want to take a picture of yours. Come on- I want to make you say cheese.”- “Fantasy” Scully to Guy Mann

“But I have a whole speech prepared!”- Pasha, after Scully arrests him, wanting to explain why he did it

“Whoa! I’m not a reptile! That’s racist!”- Guy Mann, after Mulder labels him as such

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As you probably surmised by now, I just loved this episode, and it’s hard to imagine any hardcore fan not loving it as well, despite how admittedly silly and over-the-top it was. Hell, I halfway expected for it to be a fever dream of Mulder’s in the end, especially after he woke up drunk and passed out at the cemetery. Hell, maybe it was, and the last scene with him talking to the “were-lizard” was just a figment of his imagination and meant to represent Mulder learning to “believe” again. Who knows with this show?

Either way, it was just a blast from start to finish with a host of memorable moments and a hilarious turn from Darby as the woebegone lizard creature trapped in a man’s body, rather than the other way around. Morgan even did a great job of injecting a bit of genuine pathos, in terms of the poor creature’s plight, as well as not being above poking fun at the human condition and its predilections for the not-so-finer things in life, like booze and porn.

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All in all, just a fantastic episode, and easily the most fun of the current run of episodes. It not only made me realize just how much I missed the whole “monster-of-the-week” thing, it truly made me appreciate this revival in earnest, after an admittedly shaky, if still entertaining start. I think as of now, there’s a temptation to get through it all as fast as possible, knowing that there’s only a mere six episodes in all. But I believe that, once the mini-series is done, I’ll go back and find even more to appreciate- especially if I watch them in the right order!

Regardless, I am so grateful to have this show back, and can only hope this will lead to more, because I genuinely don’t want it to end. Honestly, the only thing I could possibly look more forward to than more episodes of this show is the impending “Twin Peaks” revival, which can’t get here fast enough. Honestly, if you’d have told be two of my all-time favorite shows would be coming back within spitting distance of one another even a year or so ago, I’d have told you that you were crazy, and yet, here they are.

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Everyone else in Hollywood can have their remakes, sequels and rehashes- I’m just fine with these two TV shows I love picking up where they left off. In the case of “The X-Files,” at least, it’s barely without missing a step. Who says miracles don’t happen? Bring on episode four (or five, or whatever it really is, lol) – Mondays can’t get here fast enough, as far as I’m concerned!

What did you think of the latest episode of “The X-Files”? Did this one hit the sweet spot for you, too? How about that monster makeup? Pretty cool, right? (Loved the “Wolfman”-style reverse dissolve monster-to-man FX, too.) What did you think about the guest stars? Did you catch all the in-jokes? Did I miss any, for that matter? Was the whole were-lizard thing actually in Mulder’s head, or did it really happen? How foxy is Scully still? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week!