If you have grown up, have memories and have ever questioned some of your favorite things in life, you loved "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat."
I don't know how to review The X-Files Season 11 Episode 4, per se, but I can talk about it like there's no tomorrow. Or no yesterday. Or at least that I won't remember the yesterday that was tomorrow.
Overall, this was one of the silliest hours of The X-Files in a while, but it was also one of the most enjoyable and still had a rather profound message to share.
Although there was, eventually, a message delivered that I found helpful in this crazy world in which we live, it didn't seem to be the focal point.
Then again, maybe it was. This was a Darin Morgan episode. He's so talented and crafty that he may have been pointedly saying something by way of making me think he was trying to say nothing at all.
His work is so high on the scale of entertainment value to make it seem effortless, but the way everything ties together it's highly unlikely it comes together while he's out Squatchin' for the evening.
Of course Mulder lets loose with a night of Squatchin'. Why do I capitalize it? Because the way Mulder and Scully say it makes it sound like a revered cultural act. There is always something new to learn about Mulder and Scully.
I don't know I realized he had a special place to meet his contacts or that it was as ridiculously easy to find as a nondescript floor in a parking garage.
That's how we met the guy who became Reggie, someone who may or may not have been as important to The X-Files as Mulder and Scully themselves.
What was so artfully done were the seeds of doubt planted about Reggie, his story, and the so-called "truth" Scully finally learned to close out Reggie's time with his "former partners."
If you recall the many Easter Eggs that Mulder and Scully flipped through on Skinner's computer during The X-Files Season 11 Episode 3, I noted there was an FBI badge that looked a lot like Robert Huskey, the guest star playing Reggie.
The seeds of doubt have been sown! Scully found no reference to Reggie ever being in The X-Files (let alone starting the department), but why does he have a badge if all of his memories come from a stint in the nuthouse?
That's when I dropped out of med school, joined the FBI and created the X-Files. That's right! We used to be partners!!!Reggie
Incorporating Reggie into the most significant scenes from The X-Files' past was laugh-out-loud funny.
Not only are we to believe he put up the "The Truth is Out There" poster for his partner, Foxy," but he was disgusted at the thought of what mama under the bed on "Home" was up to creating her family, he thought Eugene Tooms was "Creeeepy," and he walked in on Mulder kissing Sculls.
Move along, sugar boobs, this is The X-Files, no women allowed.Reggie
I loved Reggie calling Scully "Sculls" without a single word of admonition from Scully. Whether it was the physician in her who was afraid to push him off kilter or she was too aghast to call him out on it, it would be cute to see Mulder hold onto the name for future use.
There was so much doubt cast by so many points delivered that by the time Reggie got whisked away, I was more of a mind to want to believe Reggie was once a part of the team. After all, we couldn't have seen every X-file Sculls and Foxy worked on at the beginning, right?
Where the hell they takin' Reggie?!Skinner
Skinner's reaction to seeing Reggie carted off was another great moment, and even though Skinner hadn't been a part of the antics, Mitch Pileggi delivered his line with such pizzazz that it was one of the best moments of the hour.
It's hard to beat the general discussion of the Mandela Effect, though. It's so prevalent in our society and now, with the internet, you can waste an entire day trying to prove yourself right against the masses if you find a misconstrued thought from the past.
I can't be the only person who has ever looked like Mulder in the middle of a meltdown, surrounded by a bunch of crap in search of something, anything to prove a childhood memory true.
It's not about the episode, Scully. It's about my memory of seeing my first Twilight Zone. It changed me. You don't forget that.Mulder
Our minds are such complex organs, and I can only imagine that even a dream would be enough to change your perception of reality. One day, you're cocksure Darth Vader said, "Luke, I am your father." The next, you're hanging your head in shame.
Admittedly, if I'm going to go for any far-fetched theories, I'm jumping on board Mulder's alternate universe train. I so badly want there to be alternate universes and to find a portal before I die so I can find out where the hell I went wrong (or right). Even if the only difference is Jif v Jiffy peanut butter, it's better than nothing!
Scully was finally revealed to be the younger of the group when she was so perplexed at the thought of Jarts.
Reggie: When I went back, they had silenced him. They had impaled him with a lawn dart.
Scully: I'm sorry, but what's a lawn dart?
Reggie. Oh! It's this kids' game where you would try to throw these mini metallic javelins into the air into these rings that you put on a lawn.
Scully: And they sold these to kids?
Mulder: We were made of sterner stuff back then, Scully.
Scully: Well, it just sounds like an accidental death to me.
Reggie: NO!!! No! That's what they want you to believe!
There is a box of Jarts in the basement of the house where I currently reside, and there is a box at my ex's house that I fought for like hell when they first banned them on eBay. I had to sit on the site and wait for them to go up, catch the person's email address (eBay was different then) and email them when the auction was banned.
Oh, I got my Jarts. Playing that game with my grandfather in the backyard with all of his firemen buddies is one of the best memories I have of my childhood. It was one of the best games EVER. Kids now are a bunch of pansies, I tell ya. Wilting little flowers protected by their parents.
See how deeply memories can affect us? How DARE Sculls consider my special game a death knell.
Like Mulder's The Lost Martian episode of whatever show he was watching and Scully's Jell-O 123 knockoff, it's not the actual product, but the feeling you had when you were engaged in the memory.
That's why it was perfect when given the chance, Scully chose not to eat her Goop-O ABC.
I want to remember how it was. I want to remember how it all was.Scully
So what was this "rather profound" message I thought Morgan might be sending our way? It goes back to the Trump Alien and Dr. They. There is a "they" out there. Isn't that awesome?
Mulder not only didn't want to believe there was a Dr. They, but he didn't want to think the guy could have anything relevant to offer to their conversation.
Dr. They, though, was a pretty cool guy. He was ashamed that Mulder, a man who spent the better part of his life seeking the truth failed to discover Dr. They without Reggie's help (another clue to Reggie's involvement in The X-Files), and told Mulder he's worthless in today's world.
And he's right. So much of what happened on the original X-Files just doesn't fly in 2018.
It's like watching old movies or old TV shows when people were on the run and could get lost so easily in a populated world. With technology tracking almost every move, those films wouldn't be as easy to make any more.
Dr. They: You know, our current president once said something truly profound. He said, "Nobody knows for sure."
Mulder: What was he referring to?
Dr. They: What does it matter?
"The truth is out there." That's been the premise of The X-Files. It's been what Mulder has been seeking his entire life.
Is it? Would we believe the truth if we saw it, heard it? Or would we believe what we wanted the truth to be through truncated, edited audio clips and videos, Photoshopped photographs and edited text? Does the truth come from a particular group we want to tell the truth? It seems like it, these days.
Which is worse, a world where our truths are modified by people trying to change our opinions through propaganda or our memories taking on a life of their own? Is there a place where we can still find the truth? And if there was, how easy would it be to dissuade us from believing it was the whole truth and nothing but?
If you watch The X-Files online you know the truth means everything in this world. "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat" turns it on its sweaty head. Hell, do we even see sweaty heads anymore? They're all edited out.
It might go down as one of my all-time favorite X-Files episodes. Pondering memories, truth, and Americana with a mystery right at the core of The X-Files in its most engaging form is hard to beat.
What did you think of this one? Are you heading to the Internet to find out what else falls under the Mengele Effect? Do ahead, guys. Start your search for everything you saw flash before your eyes. It's enlightening!!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic 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.