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Recap / The X-Files Miniseries E03 "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster"

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Season 10, Episode 3:

Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thexfilesmulderandscullymeettheweremonster.png
Who is the monster and who is the man? We'll leave it to you to guess.
Written and directed by Darin Morgan

"Perhaps I've read you wrong, Mr. Mulder, but I wonder: who is in more need of an antipsychotic, a man who believes himself to be a were-lizard or a man who believes that man?"
Dr. Rumanovitch
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As one can read from the title, this is where Mulder and Scully meet the were-monster.


Tropes:

  • All Myths Are True: Jackalopes are apparently real, according to Guy. One of them gored his friend George.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Guy's shrink Dr. Rumanovich ties lore on how to kill lizard people to ancient fears of impotence.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After all the buildup, the lizard man is actually just some benign lizard man turned human caught up in the antics of the serial killer Animal Control officer.
  • Breather Episode: It's basically a standard X-Files episode only entirely played for laughs. The lighthearted tone also makes the restoration of Mulder's failing sense of wonder and rejuvenation of his desire to believe in the mysterious and miraculous all the more poignant.
  • Brutal Honesty: The transsexual hooker Annabell straight-up admits to being on drugs when Mulder asks.
  • Call-Back:
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    • Scully's comeback to Mulder's complaint that she went after two dangerous suspects on her own (she jokingly reminds him she's immortal) references Clyde Bruckman's prediction that she doesn't die.
    • The couple huffing paint in the opening is the same one who were smoking weed in "War of the Coprophages" and licking toads in "Quagmire" 20 years earlier.
    • Scully adopted a dog she said reminded her of Queegueg; her dog who tragically died in the episode "Quagmire". (And by 'adopted', we mean 'stole'.)
    • Mulder apparently sleeps in his red Speedos from the episode "Duane Barry".
  • The Cameo: DJ Pierce (AKA Shangela Laquifa Wadley) as the transsexual hooker Annabell, and Kumail Nanjiani as Pasha the animal control officer, though the latter is more of an extended cameo.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nearly all of the eyewitnesses to the lizard monster pretty much tell the truth describing him, even though most of them are using drugs (including the psychiatrist)... Except for the Animal Control guy who's the real killer.
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  • Damsel out of Distress: Scully is attacked at the animal control office by Pasha (who turns out to be the Serial Killer) while on the phone with Mulder, who calls in reinforcements and rushes to rescue her, only to find that she's subdued her attacker and already has him in handcuffs.
  • Deconstruction: Of the standard Werewolf mythology. This time round, a normal and happy monster gets bitten by a human and undergoes the horrible transformation into... well, us.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The episode does this to the show as a whole. Mulder goes through the episode depressed, frustrated and feeling that his life's work has been a waste, and that the paranormal events he's been trying to prove are all just nonsense and drivel spouted by crazy addled Unreliable Narrators. The episode seems to confirm all of this... until the end, when Mulder finally comes face to face with the lizard-man, which restores his belief in the paranormal.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The story is adapted from unused script that Darin Morgan wrote for the remake of Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Mulder spends a rather longer time staring at a sleeping Scully than strictly required in order to verify that the purpose of the hidden corridor was indeed to peep on people. Also, the hotel manager clearly enjoys watching Mulder sleeping in his red Speedos.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: What were you expecting?
  • Fanservice: Guy's flashback lie about Scully seducing him and wild sex in the backroom has Gillian Anderson bringing on the sexy.
  • Fantastic Racism: Guy accuses Mulder of being racist for calling him a reptile.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: During their graveyard meeting, Guy tries to incite Mulder to kill him in "self defence" with a broken bottle to end his suffering as a human.
  • Hand Wave:
    • How the were-monster got a steady job and money, despite the logistical issues someone who just showed up out of nowhere would run into. They don't even bother explaining the New Zealand accent.
      Mulder: I'm just trying to look for some internal logic to it.
      Guy Mann: Why? There wasn't any external logic to it!
    • Also how Guy changes form to be human during the day and a monster at night... except when the plot requires otherwise.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: The one clear inaccuracy in Guy's account is his story about Scully seducing him, which he chalks up to a newfound human tendency to tell self-aggrandizing lies about his sex life.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Mulder has serious problems using his smartphone's camera app.
    • The Were-Monster himself naturally knows next to nothing about the phones he finds work selling.
  • Hugh Mann: The were-monster uses a fake alias of Guy Mann.
  • Humans Are Special: Guy does genuinely admire the human talent to spout off surprisingly effective malarkey (or "BS your way out of any situation!").
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: From Guy Mann's perspective, since Mulder automatically defaults to blaming him, a supposed monster, for the murders.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Invoked by Guy, who offers Mulder a bottle before telling him his story, telling him he will probably need it. After listening to Guy's story Mulder decides to follow Guy's advice.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Scully lampshades the humor of the episode.
      Scully: I forgot how much fun these cases could be.
    • The tombstones that Mulder lays some flowers for are those of Kim Manners and Jack Hardy, who were involved in production of the show and had died before the miniseries.
  • Motive Rant: Amusingly averted. The real killer had prepared one in the event he was caught, but he's upset no one cares and he gets hauled away before he can get into it.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Guy isn't malicious in human or monster form.
  • No Medication for Me: Scully asks Mulder if this is the case during his OOC moment.
  • Not So Different: Mulder says it best to Guy Mann, during their conversation over the latter's transformation story.
    Mulder: It's my life, too. You and me, we're the same, Guy. We both want to believe in things that aren't real - or even possible.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Scully's fight with Pasha is completely offscreen, and evidently was quite epic if all of the carnage is any indication.
    • Guy's Freak Out in front of Scully as described by Scully looks like is was pretty impressive, going by how messed up the phone store is.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Guy's recounting of the events of the previous few days completely alter what appeared to be happening earlier in the episode.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Mulder during his Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis, when he realizes how many X-Files in the past were just nonsense. He becomes the skeptic of the duo... at least until he actually encounters the were-monster.
  • Peeping Tom: The motel manager. He peeps in on Mulder, who apparently sleeps in those red Speedos.
  • Perspective Flip: In a normal were-whatever story, no one questions how a human transformed into something else automatically acquires all the skills to function in that form, even those that (in real animals such as wolves) are learned, not instinctual, and all the drives and motivations of the creature. Having a creature become human and suddenly acquiring the skills to have a job, think about things like retirement savings, lie about sex and quote Hamlet shows how ridiculous those assumptions should be.
  • Rule of Funny: The were-lizard being dressed like 1970s Kolchak was a carry-over from when the script was for The Night-Stalker. It's actually even funnier as part of an X-Files script, which is probably why Darin Morgan kept it in.
  • Running Gag: Various characters, including eventually Guy himself, commenting on the stoners' description of Guy in his lizard form, which according to them had three eyes.
    • Also, everyone Mulder and Scully talk to being on drugs but basically giving accurate accounts of what happened.
  • Scenery Censor: When Guy first turns into a (naked) human, greenery covers the middle of his body.
  • Shout-Out: When not in his natural form, Guy wears a close facsimile of the Iconic Outfit Darren Mcgavin wore on Kolchak: The Night Stalker, a series cited many times as a major inspiration for The X-Files.
    • The script was originally written for the 2005 Kolchak revival series. It was titled "The M Word," and a copy of the script can be found here.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the iconic Something Completely Different episode, "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'"... written by the same person, no less.
    • Thematically to "Quagmire".
  • Suicide by Cop: Attempted by Guy Mann, but Mulder stops him and asks for his life story.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Mulder knows exactly what Scully is going to say when he identifies the were-monster.
  • Take That!: Basically, an entire shot on the Werewolf Mythology via how the lizard man finds humanity to be the most brutal, hideous, horrifying and monstrous thing imaginable. In part because by the standards of Guy's species, ennui is nightmarish and unendurable.
    Guy Man: Because life's hopeless. A few fleeting moments of happiness, surrounded by crushing loss and grief.
    • Also, referring to a psychiatrist as a "witch doctor."
  • Technology Marches On: In-universe, Mulder points out that thanks to smartphones with cameras, there should be a lot more evidence out there of the paranormal.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Mulder's ringtone.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Played with. The witnesses are, in order: a couple huffing spray paint, a crack-smoking hooker, and a motel owner who's casually drinking rubbing alcohol. All of these people give mostly accurate accounts. On the other hand, the Animal Control officer claims to have seen nothing because he's actually guilty, and Mulder has trouble believing Guy's hilarious misadventures even though they're true (except for boning Scully, obviously).
  • Viral Transformation: For reasons that are infinitely funnier when they have no explanation, getting bitten by a human causes a lizard-man to transform into one periodically.

Guy Mann: Look, what I'm trying to say is... I'm glad to have met you.
Mulder: Like... likewise.
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