Mulder and Scully return to Oregon to investigate claims of a murderous lizard man in the forest. The case brings Mulder to confront some of his doubts about their return to the X-Files and his willingness to believe in the paranormal.
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Back in the basement office, Scully discovers Mulder going over some old cases that turned out to be hoaxes. He’s feeling down about their work and his age, and isn’t sure he wants to put himself back in the field again. This continues after they arrive at the scene of the crime, but Scully is determined to figure out what exactly is going on and do their job. While talking with a couple witnesses, the creature makes an appearance and they stumble across another victim whose throat had been ripped open.
Mulder springs back to his old self and he goes off to figure out the origin of the lizard man. And just like her old self, Scully does the more traditional investigative work as well as spending quality time in the morgue. Instead of uncovering a bloodthirsty reptilian monster, Mulder finds a fairly mild-mannered reptilian creature (Rhys Darby) who transforms into a human during the day thanks to a bite from a human. The bite also compels him to eat fast food, watch porn, get a job, and adopt a puppy.
There have been a few people comparing this episode to “Bad Blood” because of how over-the-top everyone is acting. To me, it felt a lot more like “Quagmire,” and not just because the two stoners (Nicole Parker and Tyler Labine) made an appearance in the cold open. The comedy in “Bad Blood” is more in their narration styles and how they interpret the other in them, as opposed to the plot and other characters being silly (or in this case, very silly). I had to watch the episode more than once to figure out what exactly had happened, because it is hilarious but I came out of it initially with a feeling of “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?”. This is more of a Monster of the Week episode than “Founder’s Mutation,” albeit one that is essentially a parody of the show. It definitely feels like a Darin Morgan episode.
A number of Easter eggs appear in the episode, including Scully calling herself immortal (probably my favorite of the bunch). The most touching of the bunch has to be the headstone bearing late director, Kim Manners’ name. You can find the entire list at Vulture. Veteran fans will recognize the aforementioned stoners who appeared in “War of the Coprophages” and “Quagmire” and the sleazy motel manager (Alex Diakun).
Overall, a pretty fun episode with a bit of a shaky plot and some questionable jokes. I liked that Morgan allowed them to poke fun at themselves while delving into Mulder’s disillusionment with his work. More importantly, Gillian got to be funny! Scully is famously straight-laced and serious in the show, so when they allow Gillian to be her natural, goofy self as the character, it’s such a delight. Even in the otherwise uninteresting “Three of a Kind,” we got to see Scully be very un-Scully and, basically, just be Gillian for most of it. I also enjoyed the whole switcheroo with the monster not actually being a human-turned-monster, but a creature-turned-human. Not sure how well the episode itself worked for new viewers who perhaps only have a basic knowledge of the show, but there’s plenty for lifers like myself.
Oh, and Scully stole a dog.
What did you all think of the episode?
Images courtesy of Fox and The X Files Source.