Follow TV Tropes


Recap / The X-Files S03 E12 "War of the Coprophages"

Go To

Index | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Season 3, Episode 12:

War of the Coprophages
"Greetings from planet Earth."
Written by Darin Morgan
Directed by Kim Manners

"I just hope you're not implying you've come across an infestation of killer cockroaches."
Dana Scully

Strange incidents surround a cockroach infestation in a small town.


  • Apocalypse Anarchy: Locally. People think that they are all going to be killed by cockroaches which got there either due to government conspiracy and their experiments, or that they are alien robotic invaders. Chaos ensues. It's most apparent in one scene in a convenience store where everybody is trying to grab whatever supplies they can and two ladies fight over the last can of insecticide.
  • Breather Episode: This episode (and Syzygy, which follows it) is much Lighter and Softer than the mythology-heavy Nisei/731 and the dramatic Revelations, which preceded it. (In spite of the deaths.)
  • Camera Abuse: A cockroach crawls across the screen.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Scully is quite unconcerned with the mystery, until Mulder meets a scientist named Bambi. She instantly goes into this mode (the "snide comments" variation), drops everything and races to the scene.
  • Creepy Cockroach: Cockroaches are the Monster of the Week, and at one point one scurries across the TV screen (as if it's IN YOUR HOUSE!).
  • Eccentric Exterminator: A cockroach exterminator opens the episode with a heartfelt ode to roaches before finishing it with "But to them, we humans are gods and should act accordingly" and stomping a particularly unlucky specimen on the floor. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Dr Bambi Berenbaum the entomologist. Mulder, or should we say Fox, even allows first name basis. Scully is not amused.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The roach is on your screen! In your house!
  • Genius Cripple: Doctor Ivanov. He's on the wheelchair and he uses a computer voice synthesizer to speak.
  • Geeky Turn-On: After Scully talks at length about the likelihood of intelligent alien life evolving, and the implications this may hold for Darwinian theory, Mulder jokingly asks her what she's wearing. (See also Nerds Are Sexy below.)
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Mulder and Dr Ivanov drink scotch after Dr Ivanov was shown the alien robot cockroach. Dr Ivanov particularly looks like he really needs it.
  • Jump Scare: If you're watching this episode for the first time, nothing is going to prepare you for when that cockroach shows up on your screen.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Mulder to Scully, when he's flirting with Bambi. Note that he does this when she calls him, after he had called her several times when she was trying to get chores done.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: The robot cockroaches. It's implied that rather than spy gadgets, they're actually space probes sent to explore the Earth by a far-off alien civilization.
  • Mechanical Insects: The inhabitants of a small town are seemingly being attacked and killed by cockroaches. The deaths all turn out to have mundane explanations, but they do discover something more bizarre: some of the cockroaches in town prove to be robots with metal exoskeletons, which an expert in the field declares to be far more advanced than anything he's ever seen. It's never confirmed where they come from, but Mulder suspects they may be alien surveillance drones.
  • Mundanger: Zig-zagged. The X-Files usually created scary atmosphere by something paranormal and straight use of Mundanger would suggest troubles caused by something ordinary, for example creepy cockroaches. There really is a mass hysteria created by cockroach infestation which is Primal Fear in itself. Also, there are several deaths. However, at least one of the cockroaches was made of metal and its technology was way too advanced to come from our planet. Some of the cockroaches really are robotic aliens. However, it's unclear if there are actually more of these. The others may very well be just the common kind. In addition, it turns out that the cockroaches - either alien robotic ones or common earth ones - were not the direct cause of the deaths that appeared in the episode.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Scully on the budding romance of the doctors: "Smart is sexy."
  • Outrun the Fireball: The explosion, yes. The poop, on the other hand...
  • Pair the Smart Ones: Drs. Berenbaum and Ivanov appear to be getting together at the end.
  • Primal Fear: Cockroaches.
  • Shirtless Scene: Mulder in the motel hallway, running, with his gun.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Scully leaves her Washington DC home at night and arrives in Miller's Grove, Massachusetts on the same night. She might be able to pull this off if she left at the beginning of the night, drove at top speed, and encountered zero traffic.
  • Visual Pun: When Mulder and Bambi are hitting it off in her lab, the cockroach in her apparatus sparks.

"If these beings ever visited us, would we recognize what we were seeing?"