‘The X-Files’ review: ‘Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster’

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“We’ve been given another case, Mulder. It has a monster in it.”

It’s an evocative title, telling you all you need to know and probably putting the viewer in a very specific mind-set before the episode has even started.

So we know we’re getting a monster and given that this is a script from Darin Morgan – with his weird, whacky and comedic previous episodes including ‘Humbug’, ‘Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose’ and ‘Jose Chung’s From Outer Space’ – this might not be a standard case of the week for our intrepid and slightly wearier FBI agents.

The cold open, with paint huffers who might be familiar to long-time fans of the show, is very much what we’ve seen numerous times on The X-Files. A violent monster attack occurs but all is not what it seems.

What follows is possibly the most bizarre episode to date.

The X-Files 10 3 Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

Some people will love it. Some people will hate it. I sit somewhere in the middle. The weird and funny episodes have always had a place within the show – they work well because of the great deadpan humour both lead actors are capable of delivering and the writing here wouldn’t seem out of place in a traditional comedy.

Lots of callbacks to earlier episodes include Mulder throwing pencils as he previously did in ‘Chinga’ way back in Season 5 and this demonstrates that he seems bored and unhappy with his life and the new/old status quo. This is very much a Mulder episode, with our lead feeling somewhat lost in his own life, questioning everything he (wants to) believe in.

However, the star of this episode is the titular Were-Monster, played wonderfully by New Zealand born comedian Rhys Darby best known for Flight of the Conchords. We learn through his amusing conversations with Mulder that he was in fact born a monster and it was a bite from a human that turned him into a man. There’s no doubt that Darby is hilarious here; his attempts at adapting to humanity after life as a monster are very amusing and witty.

The X-Files 10 3 Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

The actual serial killer reveal is fairly obvious but the episode simply isn’t about that; the case itself is background noise to some of the show’s all-time funniest moments and ‘Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster’ is ultimately a tale of finding your place in the world, whether it be a monster living as a man or Mulder learning how to exist in a world he no longer understands.

“Well, tell that to the horned lizard. Which shoots blood out its eyeball, Scully, yes. It’s a defence mechanism. Scientific fact!”

“Mulder, the Internet is not good for you.”

Aired at 9pm on Monday 22 February 2016 on Channel 5.

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