Yeah, that's how I like my Mulder.
Me, too, Scully!! Me, too!
As Mulder's crisis of faith in the paranormal continued on The X-Files Season 10 Episode 3, Scully gave him a gift by way of a monster of the week case, and it was terrific. Not only did it restore Mulder's excitement in the unknown, but it delivered a unique twist on an age-old story and fun look at the human condition.
What could have been played just for giggles offered a lot more, making this the standout of the three installments we've seen of the revival so far.
There is just so much to love about "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-monster."
Mulder began the hour by throwing pencils into Scully's I Want to Believe poster, bemoaning the fact that so many of their unexplained X-Files had been explained, and the mysteries were downright embarrassing in most cases.
The real fun, however, began almost immediately upon their arrival in the forest. Well, for us it was when the couple was huffing gold spray paint. Mulder and Scully had to wait a little longer, and then the lines were coming fast and furious.
Scully: The third victim wasn't wearing any clothes.
Mulder: Maybe he was a nudist. Took a midnight hike in the nude, got attacked by a wolf or a lion or a bear, maybe all at the same time. That's how I'd like to go out.
Mulder was trying to be a skeptic, but as soon as they got to the parking lot and started tracking the would-be beast, the little boy inside of him just took over. His surprise that the huffing couple didn't get a photo of the monster, considering everyone has one nowadays, was quickly overshadowed by his malfunctioning camera app.
So much has changed since the initial run of The X-Files and addressing it like this was a lot more entertaining than if it had just gone smoothly. I especially loved when he was trying to show Scully all the photos he had taken while she was doing the autopsy.
Mulder: That's its ear. Or maybe it's its foot.
Mulder: And this one? If ya squint...it looks like somethin'...and then this! It's in focus!
Scully: Well what is it?
Mulder: It's a close-up! Of the creature. Notice I didn't say monster. And it wasn't a Sasquatch, but it was definitely an animal. Man-sized and hairless.
Scully: Maybe it was a mangy Sasquatch.
Things really spun into overdrive when Mulder found the passageway at the motel. There were so many horror movie tropes woven into the hour that worked perfectly, including the hollow-eyed animal heads which ultimately gave as a look at Mulder in red speedo-style skivvies. Ahem.
If you thought Guy Mann looked familiar, it could be because he was dressed exactly like the lead from Kolchak: Night Stalker. The fellow who wrote and directed this hour of The X-Files, Darin Morgan, worked on the reboot of that classic series (the lead of which did not dress like the original from the 70s). Confusing, but true!
Mulder's deep rant, in which he carried on a conversation for both himself and Scully, doing all the talking while she just watched, amused proved to Scully that her Mulder was back. That's when she realized how much fun she was having and let him take the lead on hanging out with Guy.
It's not very often Mulder got to be up close and personal with his monsters, but this time was different. Since the monster was its natural form, and humanity its monster, the two had a chance to really talk. How else was Mulder really going to believe again?
While it was hard even for Mulder to swallow some of the points Guy was trying to make, listening to a monster chat about turning into a drone of a man with primordial urges to cover up his nudity and get a job was hilarious. He just had to go on a hunt, right away! For a job! Tragically, he found one.
You can just imagine the writers' room and everyone tossing in their two cents on what an everyday, average human couldn't stand about being normal. Yes! That goes into the script. More, more!
Rhys Darby was a perfect choice for Guy and the scenes with Mulder wholly gratifying. He summed up his feeling of humanity as a few moments of happiness surrounded by crushing grief. That may be a more stunning revelation than the realization that aliens are nothing more than man utilizing alien technology!
By having the conversation in a cemetery (How Mulder knew to drive his FORD to that location? No idea), the series was able to pay tribute to those they lost since the original run. Long time series producer and director Kim Manners and first assistant director of The X-Files: I Want to Believe, Jack Hardy, both passed away and were acknowledged with great honor in those scenes.
This is one to watch again and again and find more to enjoy. "I wanna make you say cheese," I believe, is Scully's line before entering the back room of the cell phone shop. I missed that on my first watch.
See what else you can find when you watch The X-Files online and hit the comments with thoughts on this and the other outings so far. Mulder thought things had changed so much and for the worse, looking at them through wiser eyes. I'll have to disagree. This felt like old times, and it was incredible.
Will The X-Files Season 10 Episode 4 be just as great? It will be a bit darker, as Scully will deal with a personal tragedy, bringing up feelings of William and the past. We'll be here. Will you?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.