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The X-Files: Season 10 - Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster (Review)

The X-Files: Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE third episode of The X-Files revival [aka Season 10] was unquestionably the most fun.

Penned by series luminary Darin Morgan, of Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose fame, this took the monster of the week format and gave it a gloriously silly, often surreal spin. It also proved indicative of where this long-running and – yes – iconic series strengths still lie.

During its initial run, it was often easy to overlook the monster of the week moments as a detour into the obscure that could leave fans thirsting for more of the conspiracy-based episodes, in the hope of finding the truth (or at least some answers). But upon reflection, it’s the one-off episodes that boast the more lasting resonance, such as Clyde Buckman or the dementedly gory Home.

And here lies another classic. Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster is both a clever spin on the well-worn monster of the week format as well as a glorious deconstruction of The X-Files in both its past and present forms.

It starts off with a demented opening sequence in which a stoned couple happen upon the Were-Monster in the woods and then have the misfortune to discover its latest victim. Cut to Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) furiously tearing his way through past X-Files and lamenting his own slavish dedication to uncovering the ‘truth’ behind several well-known scams. This is a discontented Mulder who is only pulled from his funk by a somewhat more hopeful Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson).

It is Scully that announces the latest case, complete with monster, and who drags her sceptical partner into their latest adventure. And what an episode this turns out to be: by turns funny, thought-provoking and provocative – but all in a silly way.

Rhys Darby plays the Were-Monster of the title, who in civilian form goes by the name of Guy Mann. And in his own inimitable way, he is the mirror-image of the man tracking him. Where Mulder has apparently grown tired of the paranormal and its mysteries and quirks, so Guy is tiring of humanity and all of its vices…. because the spin here is that Guy is the mutation. He has always been a Were-Monster but only recently started changing into human form.

It’s a mid-episode plot twist that delights by virtue of its audacity. And it underlines Morgan’s way with words and storytelling. Hence, by the time the episode reaches its demented conclusion with a conversation between Mulder and Guy in a graveyard, this has encapsulated all of the classic X-Files elements and thrown in a few new twists of its own.

Mulder has his faith restored (allowing him to re-utter the telling line “I want to believe”), while Scully has rediscovered her own investigative mojo and got back the version of Mulder that she loves. And in doing so, they also solved the real mystery behind the case… the identity of the killer, or serial killer, who served as only a mere distraction to the main event: getting to know the Were-Monster and understanding his unique take on life.

En route, there were so many highlights: from Mulder’s early pursuit of the Were-Monster complete with overly zealous mobile phone camera snapping to a zany interlude inside a backwoods motel (complete with its labyrinth of peep-holes), and then a flight of fancy involving Scully and a somewhat unorthodox [but highly sexy] interview technique.

If there have been questions about the legitimacy of The X-Files revival to this point, then Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster firmly answered them. It’s great to have the show back. Even Scully observes at one point, “I’d forgotten how much fun these cases could be”. We hadn’t… but it’s terrific to have had the opportunity to enjoy an all-new one.