'The X-Files' Recap: Darin Morgan Indulges In Nostalgia (and Fake News)
There is a reason why Darin Morgan is a fan-favorite. He played Flukeman in “The Host,” as well as Eddie Van Blundht in “Small Potatoes” (my personal favorite). He wrote the best X-Files episodes (“Humbug”, “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”, “War of the Coprophages,” and “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”). And he also wrote the only good episode of last season, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”. His episodes are well-written, contain great dialogue, are hilarious, and nearly burst at the seams with throw-backs. Where Chris Carter and Co. often struggle to evolve Mulder and Scully beyond the characters they were written as in 1994, Darin Morgan understands not only Mulder and Scully but David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. And while Mulder and Scully might not often let their hair down, Duchovny and Anderson do, and Darin has always been able to knit the characters and actors’ personalities into a perfect balance.
Once again, Darin Morgan proves why he should have been writing all the episodes. The mythology might be the backbone of the show, but without Darin’s lighter episodes, the show would have long ago caved in on itself. Particularly now, in 2018, in a post-fact, post-truth, post-conspiracy theory (PoCo?) world, the standard Aliens/Syndicate/Doom mythology story is un-engaging. We’re all exhausted from the everyday reality, and seeing more of the same on our televisions isn’t as appealing as it was in the mid ’90s. Darin understands this, and he gives us these meta episodes that criticize our current state of affairs, but in a way that is so absurd, it feels like you can take a breath and laugh before you dive back into the news cycle.
Brian Huskey plays Reggie Something (nee Murgatroid), a crazed man lurking in Mulder’s parking garage, convinced that a Dr. They uses Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind technology to alter memory. Reggie swears that he was a third partner working X-Files cases, with a wonderfully funny montage of him included in old, altered X-Files clips. The three argue over Mandela Effect (or the Mengele Effect) and parallel universes. Mulder sets out to meet with Dr. They, where they discuss “phony fake-news,” the decline of objective reality, and sowing the seeds of misinformation online. The conversation (and episode) was quite political, taking multiple shots at Trump and society as a whole, but I can’t help to complain again that this will age the episode quickly. Naturally, as Mulder was off conspiracy-theorizing, Scully was doing the groundwork to uncover Reggie’s past. Unsurprisingly, in the end, we learn that Reggie is an unwell man, having suffered a brain injury in Grenada, then working for nearly the entire alphabet of the Federal government: USPS, IRS, SEC, WITSEC, CIA, and finally, the DOJ (here again we are treated to a darkly humorous montage that includes cubicle waterboarding and a wedding drone bombing). Reggie is then hauled away to the mental institution from which he escaped.
The season premiere of this season was atrocious, however the episodes have gotten better and better, but if this is where you check-out in this series, I don’t blame you. I can’t imagine the rest of the episodes will be as enjoyable or engaging.
One thing I really admired in this episode is how true to herself Scully was. All of us swim in an ocean of nostalgia that feels inescapable. But when faced with her own chance to partake in a bit of nostalgic activity, Scully declined. “I want to remember how it was. I want to remember how it all was.” You and me both, Dana.
Ursula would like to use Dr. They’s memory-erase technology. You can chat with her here.