The X-Files Finds Its Footing With “Mulder And Scully Meet The Were-Monster”
The new X-Files finally hit it out of the solar system last night with a classic monster episode riddled with jokes aimed at both insiders and series latecomers. For those in the know there were cameos by former X-Files stoners Tyler Labine and Nicole Parker, who’ve lately discovered the joys of huffing gold spray paint. Fans may have found a familiar face in the episode’s pervy motel manager (Alex Diakun) too. The show’s longtime director/producer Kim Manners, who died in 2009, was honoured as well with a his own headstone prop, featured prominently in the episode’s best scene.
For those on the outside, the two guest stars were the treat: Flight of The Conchords’ Rhys Darby was unfailingly hilarious as the sometimes scaly Guy Mann and Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani was just as funny in a smaller role as an out of control animal control guy.
As promised in the lead up to the new season, this was a monster story that harkened back to both old X-Files episodes and classic creature flicks from the 1950s. At its centre: a lizard man, a spate of lizard man sightings, and a pile of bodies, naturally. But the way the plot unfolded was less straightforward than that. Wanting to believe again (and badly), a disillusioned Mulder at first seems disinterested in reports of a lizard man/Werelizard that’s left a breadcrumb trail of bodies that appears to end at a seedy truckstop motel. And by seedy, we mean the kind where the manager has a peep hole looking into every room (nice undies, Mulder). But his peeping backfires when he peers through the eyes of a taxidermied jackalope and sees this:
His screeching alerts Mulder who discovers both his creepy hobby (“That’s a security feature. I had it put in after 9/11,” swears the manager) and the Werelizard’s trashed motel room. A prescription bottle leads him to the Werelizards shrink (yep!) and that visit tips him off to where a Werelizard might like to spend his time: in a cemetery.
It’s there that the he meets a human-looking Guy Mann who has a perfectly reasonable explanation for the recent killing spree that he is not behind. According to Guy, he’s been an innocent bystander to it all—a victim in fact. Because it’s the bite of the true killer that’s causing him to vacillate between human and lizard man form, a seriously distressing experience that’s turned the once carefree reptile into a complete nihilist. It’s in this scene, as his character explains how he’s been framed, that Darby gets to do his best comedic work. And it’s gold—just like the spray paint.
While Mulder is taking in this tale of woe, Scully is at the animal shelter stealing herself a new dog/laying a trap for the real culprit: Nanjiani’s animal control guy, aka the real biter.
Vindicated, Guy Mann prepares for his customary millennia-long hibernation period, still in man form. His hope is that he’ll sleep it off. But before he can head into the forest, Mulder appears to make amends, having offended the Werelizard with his accusations back at the cemetery. “I want to believe,” Mulder tells him, still not certain that Guy Mann is telling the truth.
And then they shake hands…
Best Line of the Whole Episode
“J’accuse, Monsieur Mulder!” — Guy Mann to Fox, who thought that the way he extracted his story from him was rude and underhanded. Read: typically human.
“Mulder And Scully Meet The Were-Monster” by the Numbers
3: Werewolf mentions
0: Actual werewolves in the show
5: Bite-related deaths
22: Monster mentions
7: Pencils thrown at Scully’s “I Want To Believe” poster
5: Call-back cameos from days of X-Files past
10,000: years lizard-men spend in hibernation
3: References to creatures capable of shooting blood out of their eyeballs