Well, that was damn delightful. What a funny, clever, absorbing episode. Honestly, given how much “Mulder &Scully Meet the Were-Monster” twisted and played with tropes from the show’s old trademark monster-of-the-week episodes, it’s hard not to see it as – possibly – the duo’s final monster hunt. As in, it could be considered a genre capper/ender. But it doesn’t have to be, of course. The idea is that there will be more X-Files after these six episodes. Not sure when, but they’ve been a huge hit for FOX and everyone involved wants to do more.
But yeah, all the hilarity and whimsey sort of made it feel like it was designed to be a final hurrah for Mulder’s obsession with urban myths and rumored rampaging creatures. That being said, it’s not the first time the show’s given us outside-the-box silliness like this. In fact, writer Darin Morgan, who penned this chapter, is the creative force who gave us “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” and “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.” And the show was more than capable of carrying on after those particular blessed events.
I think one of the reasons that “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” was such a welcome entry, and struck such a tremendous chord with me, is because it followed a couple of episodes where the show’s stars didn’t seem all that interested in being back. Due mostly to the dourness and wonkiness of the return episodes themselves. The second better than the first, but both still underwhelming .
So even though this one gave us a dose of tonal whiplash, it was still just so great to see this two characters act all ridiculous and cheerful. With the only real push-and-pull drama here being Mulder’s creeping acceptance that there might just not be any real monsters in the world (or left in the world). And the retroactive regret of having wasted a ton of time chasing after elaborate pranks and oddities explained away by natural phenomenon.
This episode had some great guest spots. From the paint-huffing Tyler Labine and Nicole Parker (reprising their old “stoner” roles from a couple of old X-Files episodes) to Kumail Nanjiani’s “seen one, seen ’em all” serial killer. But – man – Rhys Darby was fantastic. Such a good role for him as the ancient “man-sized human lizard” accidentally infected by a bite and reverse-engineered into a humdrum middle-aged man with relatable, piddling concerns about employment, money, (lying about) sex, and burgers. What a fantastic take on the were-trope. And a lovely part of Darby who, honestly, was my favorite part of HBO’s Flight of the Conchords.
But everything about this one was solid. From the opening scene featuring Mulder chucking pencils at Scully’s poster to him trying to figure out how to photo and/or video the mystery creature for proof of its existence (we just get a shot of Mulder screaming hysterically as blood lands on his cheek) to the were-monster himself lying about Scully coming onto him in the cellphone shop, this installment was on its toes the entire time. The monster man got a dog and NAMED HIM DAGOO! C’MON!
And Scully hit the nail on the head with “I forgot how much fun these cases could be.” Yeah, she knew Mulder was being “batcrap crazy,” but it was the Mulder she preferred. The kind of Mulder who’d stand in front of her and rambunctiously act out her side of a hypothetical argument about lizard men.
Oh, and that was a nice nod to late X-Files producer/director Kim Manners there, with the headstone in the cemetery.