This episode was chock full of inside X-Files jokes and references and it just made me extremely happy. Even the cold open featured two stoner characters from early episodes “War of the Coprophages” and “Quagmire.” Good to know those two are still finding new and fun ways to get high and discover crazy things. Like some lizard creature in the woods that appears to have attacked the animal control guy (Kumail Nanjiani!!!!!) and ripped open the throat of another person. Oh no!
Back at the FBI, Mulder is sitting behind his desk, looking rather defeated. He’s going through old, supposedly unsolved X-Files and discovering that each has a logical explanation. For each one, he throws a pencil at the iconic I Want to Believe poster. Scully walks in and complains, “Hey, that’s my poster!” I firmly believe she bought that to make their office look exactly the same and also secretly to re-inspire Mulder. Lucky for him, they have a new monster case.
Three more victims are discovered at the scene, one missing clothes. But the stoners identified the killer as some sort of lizard beast with three eyes (or one eye, depending on the stoner). Mulder keeps rationalizing it as wolves or other normal animals, but Scully is taking Mulder’s usual stance of assuming monster. Or at least removing the animal element entirely. She is no stranger to the evil in the average man. “Uniqueness of the wounds implies a human element, Mulder.” He groans and says, “I gave up profiling long before I gave up monsters. You’ve seen one serial killer, you’ve seen them all.”
Soon, a transgender woman is attacked by the creature, hitting it so hard that its “horn” put a hole through her purse. She does, however, confirm that it only had two eyes. They find Kumail, the animal catcher, looking spooked as he searches for a missing dog, but soon discovers the lizard man! The lizard-man attacks him and Mulder, who is trying to figure out his smartphone’s camera. He may as well have called it “newfangled.” All Mulder succeeds in capturing is a selfie-style video of blood being shot onto his face (which he claims the lizard-man shot from his eyeballs) and a photo of a man sitting on the toilet in a porta potty. But wait–didn’t the lizard guy just go in there? Hmmm.
But this definitely brings up my previous points about how smartphones would affect the X-Files. Turns out, not much of a difference since Mulder can’t seem to get a clear picture. He did get a clear shot of some lizardy looking skin with a bite mark. But I wonder if, given the chance, he’d ever be able to get a picture of an alien…
Mulder, the Internet is not good for you.”
Back at the hotel, Mulder discovers a peeping Tom secret by the hotel owner, who has a mask in every hotel room so he can look in on his guests. Totally innocent. (Who just so happened to be looking out a wolf mask at Mulder in his red speedo. Heehee. And looking out of a fox mask at Scully, heh.) But after a disturbance, Mulder investigates a room that had been thrashed. He pockets some prescription pills and interrogates the owner. The hotel owner claims he saw a man transform into a lizardm and Mulder reports his findings to Scully in an amusing, cray-cray rant. She attempts to jump in multiple times but is continuously interrupted. He also reports that the man in the porta potty was wearing the clothes of the dead man in the woods.
I know what you’re gonna say, you’re gonna say, ‘But, Mulder, it defies every law of science and nature.’ Exactly, Scully! Every known law. What if this creature that we’ve stumbled upon here is here to create a new paradigm for the understanding of life itself? Or maybe science was used to create this unnatural being. Maybe this is some GMO experiment run amok by some big agro-farm corporation. Maybe this guy is the chief geneticist who recklessly experimented upon himself and now transforms into a fiend who needs to feast on flesh. To which I know you’re gonna say, ‘But, Mulder, it sounds like the paranoid ravings of some lunatic madman.’ I don’t know what this thing is, Scully, and I don’t know exactly how it came to be. All I’m saying is it’s a monster!”
“Yeah, this is how I like my Mulder.”
“So, you’re agreeing with me?”
“No! You’re bat-crap crazy.”
Arguably one of the greatest X-Files exchanges ever.
Anyway, Scully tracks the lizard dude down, who goes by Guy Mann, to his job at the smartphone store. He declares that he quits and flees the place after one question. Mulder tracks down his therapist, who says his advice for Guy was to wander around the cemetery to remind yourself that life ends at some point. So, naturally, Mulder finds him wandering the cemetery.
You’ll notice the shout out to Kim Manners on one of the gravestones, who directed a zillion episodes of the X-Files (40% of them to be precise). He passed away in 2009 after a battle with lung cancer. The other tombstone is for Jack Hardy, who was Chris Carter’s assistant director for X-Files and The Lone Gunman. Nice little homage to them.
Mulder confronts Guy, who tries to get him to kill him because he just cannot go on living as a human! Wait, what?
Let me take a moment to note that Rhys Darby is one of my favorite humans. I discovered him on @midnight and found him to be so insanely ridiculous, delightful, and adorable. I had no idea he was in this episode, so that was an extremely pleasant surprise. And considering the character? Just perfect.
Then, begins the most epic tale of a happy lizard creature who lives in the woods but was viciously attacked by an evil human. After being bitten on the neck, he awoke the next day to find out he’s human! He goes through the trials and tribulations of the average human: realizing he needs clothes, getting a boring job that makes you want to immediately quit, lying about sex (that scene with Scully at the store -oh em gee!), and finding companionship in a furry friend. But Guy is just not satisfied, except when he turns back into his old lizard self when the moon is out. How cute was it when Dagoo the pup was licking the lizard guy’s nose? Eeee! (Dagoo is another character in Moby Dick, just like Scully’s former pup Queequeg.) And then he lost his puppy.
Once he lost his puppy and was out searching for it, he came across the evil human eating another person! As it turns out, it’s Kumail! He ran from Kumail, got hit in the head with the purse, but the rest of the day was pretty foggy. The next day, he returned to work and then supposedly boinked Scully in the backroom. “I think maybe my phone isn’t working right because guys aren’t sending me pictures of their junk on it. I think maybe I’d like to take a picture of yours.” Mulder is not amused: “Stop. That. Did. Not. Happen.”
All right, you got me. Ever since I became a human, I can’t help but lie about my sex life.”
But he claims that’s the only untruthful thing he said and begs for Mulder to kill him. Mulder can’t deal with the story and is having a hard time believing the silly story. Guy is offended that Mulder didn’t want to just listen to his story and only wanted to interrogate him about the murders.
Mulder feels bad and drinks himself into a bit of stupid. Scully calls him — and his ringtone is the X-Files theme song. These showrunners are such dorks, I love it. She’s at the animal shelter playing with Dagoo. “This little guy just tried to take a bite out of me. He’s a cute little guy. Kind of reminds me of Queequeg.” But while she’s supposedly distracted, Kumail is getting ready to take her down with his animal control net. Mulder realizes that Guy was telling the truth about the bite mark and rushes over to help Scully. But she had it handled because she had his DNA from the blood analysis and compared it to the bent net from the night before, which had all the other victims’ DNA on it. She tried to tell Mulder earlier but figured he wanted quality time with his lizard dude.
It all started when I was a child. This uncontrollable urge to torture small animals. As I got older, the compulsion–”
“Okay, okay, leave it for the trial. Right, Mulder? You’ve seen one serial killer, you’ve seen them all.”
“But I have a whole speech prepared!”
I enjoyed that twist, Kumail. Scully ends up adopting Dagoo, yay! Or, well, just taking him because no one is around to stop her. And when Mulder realizes that Guy really was telling the truth, he heads back to the woods to find him. Guy strips down to prepare for his 10,000-year hibernation. And then he transforms before Mulder’s eyes. Finally.
I want to believe.”