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Recap / The X-Files S01 E05 "The Jersey Devil"

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Season 1, Episode 05:

The Jersey Devil

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thexfilesthejerseydevil.png
"I saw it, it's exactly the way the ranger described it, the way it moved, the way it sniffed the air."
Written by Chris Carter
Directed by Joe Napolitano

Mulder: Ever hear of something called the Jersey Devil?
Scully: Yeah, it's a beast that's supposed to come out of the woods and attack cars, right. Kind of like an East Coast Bigfoot.
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Mulder and Scully head out to Atlantic City to investigate some murders that look (at least to Mulder) suspiciously like reports in the X Files of the Jersey Devil in the 1940s. Also: Scully goes on a date with a divorced dad who seems unable to go two sentences without bringing up his kids.


Tropes:

  • Artistic License – Geography: The Pine Barrens in Real Life are actually significantly to the north and west of Atlantic City, which is largely bordered by swampland and inland bays. They certainly aren't close enough that a bunch of large animals, cryptids or not, could regularly slip in and out of the city at night undetected.
  • Distant Prologue: The teaser depicts a Jersey Devil attack in 1947.
  • Distressed Dude: Mulder is tackled down and wounded by the female Jersey Devil.
  • Female Monster Surprise: Low-key example, given that we're dealing with what is essentially a human.
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  • Godiva Hair: The female Jersey Devil. It isn't clear how much Mulder saw, though, because he becomes very impressed by her during the brief time that she spends looming over him.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Jersey Devils, though it's implied to be out of necessity rather than preference.
  • In Name Only: The Jersey Devil is barely anything like the cryptid that's actually reported. It's essentially a feral person with minor Bigfoot elements, and doesn't show any of the actual urban myth's notable aspects other than the name and living in the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, and none of the Devil's monstrous appearance.
  • The Jersey Devil: Unintentionally averted. The Jersey Devil legend is about a horribly mutated creature that stalks the Pine Barrens for food and looks like a mix between a horse and dog with bat wings. However, limitations in their first season budget probably account for their complete reworking of the legend. Also Early Installment Weirdness — in the first season Mulder seldom found clear evidence of supernatural or ET phenomena.
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  • Jurisdiction Friction: The Atlantic City cops really don't want the feds coming into their territory. Mulder figures their main interest is keeping the devil's existence quiet so the tourists keep gambling.
  • Mars Needs Women: Possibly; there's a definite sexual element in the way the female Jersey Devil is crouching over Mulder, who points out afterward that she could have killed him, but didn't.
  • Nubile Savage: Mulder's first remark after being rescued from being eaten by the female Jersey Devil is: "She was beautiful!". Plus, her legs are rather smooth for someone living in the woods of Jersey.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Mulder pretends to believe that the Jersey Devil is a myth to get the park ranger to talk about some encounters he's had in the woods.
  • Porn Stash: This is the first time Mulder is shown looking at inappropriate material. Perhaps unintentionally, the rest of the case involves him poring over several images of the female Jersey Devil note , and he ends up storing away two photographs of her dead body. Let's just hope that they aren't additions to his collection.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The female Jersey Devil has already given birth to the next generation.
  • Tranquil Fury: Mulder's reaction to the Jersey Devil being shot to death.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Mulder thinks the female Jersey Devil, who doesn't understand the human concept of bathing, is beautiful.

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