The X-Files was one of the first procedural shows that even though it was billed as sci-fi it actually transcended that genre by dabbling in so many others. At times it was a drama, or a suspense conspiracy driven thriller, at others it was horror, there were even occasional comedic episodes but it always retained a sensibility that grounded it.
You could never pigeon-hole the show and say it fit a stereotype. Even in the course of the 3 episodes we’ve seen in this revival thus far, the show is dipping into various genres and themes. “Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster” is an episode that is too hard to summarise and possibly even review but it is most definitely in the comedic vein. Haters to the left please …
*** Beware of Were-Spoilers ***
To try and spill out a linear synopsis of what happens in this episode would not only ruin all the fun of it, but would probably dent the magic of this episode too. So instead I’ll cover some of the reasons why I feel this was an instant classic and why it really is an homage to the show itself.
Writer and executive producer Darin Morgan has crammed so many easter eggs and call backs to the show that for any old school X-Files fan this is borderline genius. For anybody who wants to, Vulture compiled a great list of all the easter eggs. I’ll admit that for new fans (and some older fans) the OTT nature and outright LOL style comedy seems a little out of place and may even put people off. But considering how dark last week’s episode “Founders Mutation” was, I felt it was a nice change to go with something fun and as Mulder puts it “silly”. Taking into context the show is about paranormal things, it’s hardly fair to expect the show to consistently keep it serious.
We get to see a shift in our protagonists, with Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) taking up the mantle of being the skeptic. Although Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) doesn’t fully swing to being a believer, she remains more open-minded than her counterpart. Their back and forth banter in the first act really goes to show you how truly comfortable not only these characters are together, but the actors who play them. Seeing that mindset shift was a nice change, and also reminds us that these two have grown older, wiser and not as easily fooled as they were in their younger days.
The casting of Rhys Darby as Guy Mann, the human version of the Weremonster is genius. An actor who Americans would be familiar with from his Flight Of The Conchord days, but somebody that can embody both the comedic and heartfelt aspects of a rather confused man. The existential crisis he describes to Mulder during the cemetery scene is far too relatable. Speaking of existential crisis, the correlation between what Guy is going through and what Mulder is experiencing has some similarities. When Mulder asks for some sort of internal logic explanation as to Guy’s transformation he replies with “There isn’t even an external logic” which is true. Neither of them seem to understand what is troubling them, they just both know it’s ridiculous.
For all its ridiculousness and silliness what this episode has unlike many others, is a chance for us to connect with the characters on a psychological and emotional level. Yes there are a lot of laugh out loud moments, but there’s plenty of heart in it too. We just need to have enough of an open mind to see past the absurdity and just enjoy the fun of it all.
Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Watch “Mulder & Scully Meet The Weremonster” on Tenplay via the Channel Ten website. The next episode will screen on Channel Ten this Sunday at 8.30pm.