Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I Just Watched All 9 Seasons Of The X-Files Backwards, So You Don’t Have To

To answer your first question: I had never seen the last season, and I had basically checked out after Season 6, having never forgiven the series for abandoning Vancouver, BC.  There’s something in that grey misty air up north, an X-factor, if you will, that was very conducive to the original mood and tone of the show.  All of that was lost when they moved south.  And in preparation for the miniseries airing later this month I thought I’d revisit what had once been one of my favorite shows.  And after I’d finished the Season 9 I thought why not continue this runaway train and watch Season 8, and then I got the brilliant idea of watching the episodes in reverse because, you know, I’m easily entertained.
The show ended in 2002 and the world was a strange and alien place back then.  The phones and the TVs were fatter, the clothes were looser, and there were landlines and cigarettes all over the place.  I always preferred the monster of the week stories as opposed to the alien conspiracy arc.  I never felt it was properly explained to my satisfaction, and I didn’t buy the theme that some things couldn’t be understood, that seemed like a cop out by the writers.  If you’re presenting a mystery to entertain people it’s your responsibility to explain it, that’s the emotional payoff and what magicians & Christopher Nolan call the prestige. 
But I could never get enough of human-tapeworm hybrids living in porta-potties, vampires, werewolves and other miscellaneous killer mutants.  I was willing to endure the endless UFO conspiracies in order to see my favorite FBI agents chase some monsters.
So here’s a selection of some of my favorite monster of the week episodes for you to enjoy that I also recommend watching in reverse chronological order.  We all want to turn back the clock at some point in our lives, and Gillian Anderson & David Duchovny are like old friends.  It’s fun to watch them age backwards.
4-D:   A parallel universe serial killer.  Most of the season had been utilized to tie up loose ends with the Alien Conspiracy & dealing with Mulder’s disappearance and subsequent return.  But I thought Agent Monica Reyes needed to be represented in this list.  An FBI agent from the New Orleans office who specialized in ritual murders, I always thought that was a great premise for a show.  Like CSI, X-Files: New Orleans…
Badlaa:  Deep Roy from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory burrows into an unlucky tourist’s lower intestine to sneak into the US.  Trying to recapture the glory of the Flukeman from Season 2 which they could never do because, in spite of my strongly worded protests (in my mind) they left Vancouver.
Roadrunners:  It’s an old story, small town, nutty religious cult worships an alien worm, Scully’s car breaks down, so why not implant it in her back?  John Dogget, aka the T-1000 saves her, which would never happen in a modern show.  Today, Scully would absolutely save herself.
Je Souhaite:  My favorite post-Vancouver episode, where Mulder finds a jinniyah, or a female jinn and Scully, as always, refuses to believe, at least at first.  Also starring the always excellent Will Sasso, as a disabled trailer park yahoo who contemplates wishing for a golden wheelchair…
X-Cops:  A mash-up of the X-Files & Cops where Mulder & Scully chase a fear monster, like something out of an old Star Trek episode.  The producers used actual Cops cameramen to create the verisimilitude & it really shows; it truly feels as if you're watching an episode of Cops.  It’s also fun to see how annoyed and awkward Scully is in front of the cameras.
The Goldberg Variation:  A Twilight Zone-y episode about a man cursed with good luck.
Hungry:  Sympathetic mutant cannibal joins an overeaters anonymous group, and relapses.
Terms of Endearment:  Starring Bruce HAIL TO THE KING BABY Campbell as a demonic insurance salesman who just wants to get married & have some kids.
Drive:  A seminal episode where Vince Gilligan met Bryan Cranston.  Bryan Cranston plays a trailer park racist who crajacks Mulder.  (“Mulder- sounds Jewish…”)  Gilligan also cast Aaron Paul three years later in Lord of the Flies.
Detour:  Mulder & Scully, lost in the woods, encounter some unfriendly forest creatures.
Leonard Betts:  A very creepy episode about an EMT who eats cancer.  Yeah.   But he can also regrow his own head, so, bonus...
Home:  Agent Handsome & Agent Redhead investigate three inbred backwoods mutant brothers that keep their quadruple amputee mother under the bed. 
Hell Money:  Another favorite episode for me because it was filmed in Vancouver’s Chinatown and features veteran Asian actor James Hong aka Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China(“This pisses me off to no extreme!”) and Hannibal Chew in Blade Runner.  (“You Nexus-6!  I design your eyes!”)
Also watch out for a very young Lucy Liu & BD Wong.
Pusher:  Evil mind control villain like Kilgrave in Jessica Jones but 19 years earlier.
I really should write a post on Jessica Jones…
2Shy: A lonely hearts killer trolling the chatrooms & stalking overweight ladies because he needs their adipose to survive.  Be careful when you swipe right, guys.
Humbug:  My absolute favorite episode where Mulder & Scully investigate the Fiji Mermaid in a town full of carnies.  Featuring cameos from Jim Rose & the Enigma, and starring the late great Vincent Schiavelli, who you know from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Buckaroo Banzai, Star Trek TNG, Batman Returns & so much more.
The Host:  Everyone’s favorite X-Files monster, including me.  If you watch one episode, watch this one.  They coulda spent the next nine seasons chasing this guy and i would have been perfectly content.
Gender Bender: Alien gender fluid Mennonites from 1994.  They should have just traveled 22 years into the future and they would have been fine.
Ice:  Another personal favorite, featuring Jeff "You smell like strawberries"  Kober as Bear, the surly bush pilot.  You know Jeff Kober from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead.
Squeeze:  Episode 3 of the First Season, can you believe they waited that long before introducing a creepy mutant serial killer with elastic bones who needs to eat three human livers before he can hibernate for another thirty years?  Also starring Doug Hutchison, who went onto later fame and/or infamy by marrying “16 year-old” Courtney Stodden.
Always remember folks; the truth is out there, trust no one and I still want to believe…