The X-Files Reopened! - Near Classic or Waste?
Before I get on to the "Odds and Ends" of "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster" I'd like to address the polarizing effect this episode has had on the TV watching world.
I'm shocked people were so upset!
There has been a lot of crtical blow back for "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were Monster." Most of which consist of remarks such as, "I can't believe Duchovny and Anderson agreed to film such an episode" or "We only have six episodes, why waste time with this?" and the popular, "It just didn't do it for me, it seemed silly."
To answer such criticism I can only say, this is not the first time The X-Files has gone in such a fanciful direction. (See Jose Chung's, From Outer Space. Not a favorite of mine but there you go.) Additionally, if six episodes is too short a time to spend on such flights of fancy then don't the same rules apply in trying to establish a new conspiracy theory to chase? How much time can be spent chasing aliens or operatives for a top secret cabal and then wrap it up such a short expanse of time. Wouldn't people cry foul for that too?
I fall on the side that this episode was a near classic. But I don't agree with the sentiment, "If you don't like it, don't watch." At the very least, X-Files fans are passionate and the hue and cry can't go unnoticed by Fox TV. If people want more then we'll get more.
Odds and Ends
This particular vignette worked on so many different levels. First and foremost it answers the criticism, "Why would Duchovny and Anderson agree to film such an episode?"
To have fun with themselves!
What actor doesn't jump at the chance to lampoon a character they've been playing for so long? If you're Gillian Anderson it gives her a chance to break the mold and experiment in a fun way. A little self parody is good for the soul. Besides, don't you think an actor of Anderson's stature has the professional heft to say no if she didn't want to do a scene such as this? If she said no then no means no.
Rhys Darby is fantastic here also. He plays the everyday working schlub who has a once in a lifetime (10,000 years?) encounter with a hot lady. It's the answer to his dreams. Wait, is it a dream or rather a daydream. The poor dude can't help but lie about his sex life now that he is a human.
"That did not happen" intoned Mulder. Which was pretty funny in itself because Mulder's delivery was so deadpan. It spoke of his certainty such a scenario was well nigh impossible.
He knows her too well.
Scully kept calling out, "You're an animal!" during the, um, encounter and I think that speaks to Guy Mann's true nature as some sort of animal. A "Were-Monster" reptilian amphibian crossover type of thing. (Not to be racist!) It also speaks to the inclusion of animals in the episode and seeing things from their perspective and how close we really are to them despite our so called lofty status atop the food chain. (I wrote on that in my last entry here.)
That's not to say Dana Scully can't have a little fun!
She was often amused with Mulder in this episode. She took the time to set him straight and reminded who he was and how she like him.
She always seemed to be one step ahead of Mulder investigating the crime and caught the perpetrator way ahead of Fox and subdued the bad guy without much fuss.
She also reminded us she is immortal! (From "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose.)
Mulder did have a problem with her bravery and going it alone. He reminded her of "going in" without backup. I wonder if they are setting us up for something. I think that's worthy to keep in mind.
A Matter of Perspective
I loved Morgan's use of perspective in this episode. In the above shot we see Mulder and Scully in a wide angle shot with our heroes right of center. The depth of the forest plays center stage here and shows us how the two are out of their element and in the wild. (Scully was already a step ahead of Mulder here in the investigation.)
Another classic X-Files angle used by Morgan. This time the two are deep in the scene, left of center and partially in shadow. Scale is used here to show us the enormity of the task before Mulder and Scully and how small they seem before it. The flashlight speaks to their never ending search despite the "darkness."
Headlights are good for that too. Here, Mulder is framed and back lit by the headlights. It adds a little menace and mystery to the scene. He's alone and vulnerable but taking a chance. (Hmm, and he scolded Scully for doing the same.)
The perspective changes to both "men" bathed in half light as if shedding partial validity to a truth that only the two of them can share. A really nice thematic touch by Morgan here.
In closing, many were disappointed with the humor of this episode but I thought it lightened the mood. If you are any fan of spoilers you'll know the last three episode will be pretty dark. We may look back at this episode and say, "Where did their sense of humor go?"
Here's a sneak peek.