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Recap / The X-Files S07 E03 "Hungry"

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Season 7, Episode 03:

"I think we're looking for some kind of genetic freak - a carnivorous predator as yet unidentified. A monster, if you will."
Written by Vince Gilligan
Directed by Kim Manners

"I have compulsions to eat. I get hungry and I try to put it off for as long as I can but then, finally, I just... I get so hungry that I can't help myself, and..."
Robert "Rob" Roberts

Rob Roberts, a seemingly unassuming worker at a fast-food restaurant, has a dark secret, namely that he is mutant who has to eat human brains to survive. As he struggles to keep his nature hidden and his hunger in check, he soon finds himself hunted by two FBI agents.


  • Asshole Victim: Played With. Both Rob's first on-screen victim and his co-worker Deerwood are highly unpleasant Jerkasses, and Deerwood even gets killed from trying to blackmail Rob, so their deaths aren't really likely to make Rob less sympathetic. Later in the episode, however, Rob is overcome with his urges once again and kills his landlady; a woman who has only ever treated him nicely, and it becomes truly clear how horrifying Rob's condition really is and that he is starting to slip further into his nature as a monster despite his best efforts.
  • Bittersweet Ending: This or a Downer Ending. No matter how hard he tried, Rob is unable to resist his monstrous appetite, succumbing to it, and is Driven to Suicide so he doesn't murder another person.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Rob has these, which he hides with contacts.
  • Blackmail: Deerwood, one of Rob's coworkers, realizes that he is behind the murder that brought Mulder and Scully in, and tries to blackmail him after their investigaton digs up his own past as an ex-con, which lead to him being fired by Lucky Boy restaurant. With Rob being what he is, this quickly turns into Blackmail Backfire.
  • Burger Fool: The monster of the week works at the burger joint Lucky Boy.
  • Horror Hunger: Rob is struggling to keep his hunger for brains in check, which he tries to satiate with rotten meat from his workplace.
  • I Am What I Am: For once, not portrayed in a positive light. Rob feels a moral obligation to fight his Horror Hunger, but he keeps slipping. Eventually, he decides that he cannot fight his nature and must accept he cannot be something he is not, but this revelation also results in him choosing to commit Suicide by Cop to end his life rather commit more murders.
  • Internal Reveal: Near the end, Rob takes off his prosthetics in front of his therapist to reveal his true mutant form to her.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Downplayed at the start, where Scully hones in on an employee who makes an idle comment that correctly guesses the victim's gender. It's not really a strong indicator of guilt, but combined with the speaker already lacking the badge all employees were ordered to proffer (the culprit misplaced theirs on the night of the killing), it does mark him as the favoured suspect.
  • Monster of the Week: From the monster's point of view. Mulder and Scully are very much background characters in this episode.
  • Mook Horror Show: The episode is told from the perspective of a monster who doesn't understand what he is, can't help what he does, and is pursued relentlessly by FBI agents who seem frighteningly perceptive.
  • Mugging the Monster: Rob's unpleasant co-worker, Deerwood, tries to blackmail him. It results in him getting eaten by Rob.
  • Neat Freak: Rob has an immaculately clean apartment, which Mulder finds unusual for a twenty-something male living alone. He has to do so to keep from getting caught, cleaning up after eating victims.
  • Reluctant Monster: Rob despises what his hunger forces him to do and is determined to try and be a good person. Unfortunately, it doesn't go that way.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Of the Monster of the Week, who is just trying to get by and live with the trouble his power/affliction causes. He also strikes up a genuine friendship with his therapist, who sympathises with him even after the Internal Reveal.
  • Suicide by Cop: How Rob makes Mulder and Scully kill him at the end.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Rob becomes much more irritable and frustrated after crossing a line near the climax and deciding to embrace his Horror Hunger.
  • Tragic Villain: Rob, who struggles to keeps his hunger in control. After he is found out by Mulder and Scully, he charges at them to end his unnatural life.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: Rob goes to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, realizing afterwards he's nothing like them and that his hunger is instinctual and not psychological.
  • Villain Protagonist: The episode is seen almost entirely from Rob's perspective, and the plot focuses on his struggle with his Horror Hunger. Mulder and Scully are Out of Focus for this one.