I kind of wish people hadn’t waxed so poetic about how great this episode was, because I think my expectations were too high, and I ended up lukewarm on it. Sorry! I’m sure this will cause many people to be enraged with me — but it will please the commenter who popped by after the premiere to call me…what was it? “A cranky, bitter old bitch,” I think. (Sir, you have no idea.)
Please note: I don’t think this episode was BAD (although Mark Snow went bonkers with the music cues. Dude, turn down the bongos!). I think it had (mostly) the right attitude and it was coming from a place of great love for this series, which I actually really responded to. It felt like an episode that was trying very hard to be this season’s “Small Potatoes,” and that’s a terribly high bar to set for yourself. But there were things about it that felt very static to me. There’s a whole scene where the Potential Monster of the Week just…tells us a story for like TWENTY MINUTES. Rhys Darby, playing said Potential Monster (the twist here is that he was born a reptile, but transforms into a HUMAN after a bite from a person, to his horror, which is a clever idea) acquits himself quite well but…like…why are we watching a dude just TALK TO US FOR LIKE TWENTY MINUTES? That’s not how TV works! Additionally, there was some really ham-handed stuff about transgender people that…just didn’t land for me, although I like RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Shangela (who is not trans), whom the show cast as…ugh, a crack-using prostitute. That part wasn’t great either. Also, this episode rustles up a way for the Monster of the Week to bang Agent Scully in a closet? Yeah, it’s a fantasy sequence, but…come on. I do not watch The X-Files to see Dana Scully, medical doctor, FBI agent, and possible immortal bad-ass writhing in her leopard bra against a closed door unless it’s at her own personal discretion. It felt gratuitous. Additionally, Mulder and Scully are not together for huge swathes of the plot for no real reason, and basically there is no exposition about the actual perpetrator. Alan Sepinwall, who loved this episode, noted that, “this was actually a modified version of ‘The M Word,’ n unproduced episode Morgan wrote for Frank Spotnitz’s short-lived Night Stalker remake,” which to me explains why it felt kind of pasted together.
As for the end, I can only quote Fug National Chelsea on Twitter:
@fuggirls It’s cool that she took out that guy by herself but wouldn’t it have been nice to see it rather than Mulder’s dumb emo problems?
— Chelsea Geiger (@chelseasproblem) February 3, 2016
INDEED. We did, however, learn that Mulder is really REALLY bad at parking cars, but that he can provide emotional support to a misunderstood were-lizard, that the theme song to The X-Files is his ringtone (which…is not a thing that makes sense so don’t think about it too hard; I personally would have made it “Shaft”) and there was a sincerely lovely nod to former X-Files director/producer Kim Manners, as well as a variety of Easter Eggs for X-Philes, which I always think are a truly salute to the fans. Including Mulder sleeping in the nightie-version of that red speedo he once modeled for us so long ago, and Scully referencing both her poor dead dog Queequeg and the aforementioned fact that she’s immortal. Well, at the least, her quizzical expressions are. I’ve rounded them up herein!
A Cranky, Bitter Old Bitch