3×20: Jose Chung’s From Outer Space

“That was Detective Manners. He said they just found your bleeping UFO.” — Dana Scully

Novelist Jose Chung talks to Mulder, Scully and a multitude of witnesses about an alien abduction involving two teenagers. Hilarity and absurdity ensues.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: There is something almost daunting about writing about this episode of The X-Files, long heralded as one of the show’s best episodes of all time. The final Darin Morgan script of the series, “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” is one of the most convoluted, ridiculous and outright enjoyable stories, full of in-jokes and the occasional kooky guest star. There’s no way I can be more hilarious than Darin Morgan, but I’m going to talk your ear off about it anyway.

For all the delightful nonsense in the episode, the heart of it is quite simple: A teenage couple is abducted by a couple of aliens, who are then abducted by another alien himself. (Whaaat?) And so, Mulder and Scully are drawn into the case, and we see them — well, mostly Scully — being interviewed by novelist Jose Chung, who plans on writing about … what else? Alien abduction. The rest of the episode is really like an absurdist game of Telephone, with different characters — major and minor — recounting their version of events (a method that would later turn up in season five’s “Bad Blood”), lampooning every cliché about alien abductions, authority figures, teenage romance, and… nerds like you and me. Continue reading