Monday night on Fox, the third episode of The X-Files revival written/directed by Darin Morgan will air nationally, and the episode is stellar because it’s the most balanced one to date.
For those who aren’t familiar with Morgan’s work on the original run of the series, he’s delivered such goofy paranormal gems such as “Humbug,” “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” “War of the Coprophages,” and “Jose Chung’s from Outer Space.” This episode has the suspense of “Founder’s Mutation” but with an added bit comedic wit that was a trademark at times during The X-Files initial series run. Most importantly this is the first time in the three episodes where Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) appear comfortable on screen and having fun as well.
The third episode takes place in Oregon where a dead body in the woods leads to Mulder and Scully being called in to investigate whether it was an animal attack, a serial killer or just maybe a strange creature described by the eyewitness. Meanwhile, Mulder confronts some of his demons about feeling disillusioned with his life’s work. The quality of the episode is boosted as well by the tremendous comedic performances by Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley”) and Rhys Darby (“Flight of the Concords”)
In “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” the energy is up, the jokes are flying fast, and the audiences witness how fun The X-Files can be when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. One of the many highlights in Sunday’s episode has to be Mulder’s inability to use a cell phone. During the events of “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”, Mulder gets this idea that he’s going to use the new app on his phone to capture any supernatural activity as they hunt for the “were-monster.” As the episode unfolds we begin to realize that Mulder’s savviness with his phone is akin to a “Factory Of Sadness.”
What makes this episode so balanced is that it possess an equal amount of comedic moments as well the supernatural elements that draw everyone to The X-Files. At the heart of this episode is a mystery involving unexplained deaths caused by a person who has human-like features but looks nothing like any human we’ve encountered. Morgan strikes a critical balance in this episode managing to keep us in suspense just long enough to keep us guessing at the origin of the “Were-Monster.”
The most surprising observation was just how much more at ease Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were in this episode. Morgan’s writing allowed Anderson and Duchovny to slip into that acting zone they were in at the height of The X-Files popularity. If anyone were just to watch the third episode, it would be easy to assume that the it was part of a long-running show not part of a mini-series. It seems that Morgan’s writing style and structure rekindled magic the audience hasn’t witnessed in fourteen years.
As we are now halfway through The X-Files Revival, it’s safe to say that the episodes are improving each week. If this trend continues, don’t be surprised if they announce an eleventh full season.