For much of this week’s episode of The X-Files, “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” I was of two minds: This is vintage, 90’s monster-of-the-week The X-Files, a fantastic Darin Morgan story with all the Darin Morgan callbacks he could stuff into 42 minutes, including Morgan regulars Alex Diakun and Tyler Labine (making his third X-Files appearance as a “Stoner.”) There were also some nice X-Files shout-outs to Kolchak and Kim Manners, the late director who had helmed over 50 episodes of the series.
The other part of me — the part that NEEDS ANSWERS — was a little annoyed with a monster-of-the-week episode in the midst of an already short, six-episode revival, because it means that the series mythology — or whatever remains of its tatters — will not advance. In 22-episode seasons, monster-of-the-week filler episodes never bothered me because there was always plenty of time to get to the answers (and yet …) and the stand-alone episodes were often so good that they successfully distracted us from the more pressing matters.
We also already know that the episodes are being aired out of order, and that last week’s episode was actually the 5th episode, which means that there’s probably not going to be much progress until a finale that will probably feel as rushed and overstuffed as the premiere, which means that no matter how good this episode is or last week’s episode was or next week’s episode will be, the six-episode revival will undoubtedly leave us wanting.
What’s more is that the monster-of-the-week episode — as enjoyable as it was — also veered way off course with a Werelizard played brilliantly by Rhys Darby, until it became clear that the Werelizard was neither real or a dream: It was just Mulder working through some stuff, dealing and coping with the revelation that his life’s work may have been meaningless. How much of Mulder’s exchanges with Guy was the meditation process of a drunken Mulder in a graveyard (or the rambling thoughts of Labine’s stoner character) is unclear, but there was certainly an unspoken dreamlike Sixth Sense quality to the episode. “I see Lizard People.”
In the end, the Werelizard was no more real than the Amarillo Armadillo Man or the Hairy Whatzit of Walla Walla, but the real twist here is how Guy brought Mulder out of his funk and reinvigorated his desire to believe in spite of the lack of evidence. It also made us believe again in the spirit of the X-Files, even knowing that the revival will likely end the same way the series ended: In a disappointing thud of unanswered questions.
Also, Scully should be involved in a lot more late-night Cinemax dream sequences.