3×22: Quagmire

“You know, on the old mariners’ maps, the cartographers would designate unchartered territories by writing, ‘Here be monsters.’” — Dana Scully
“I got a map of New York City just like that.” — Fox Mulder

Our agents tackle their own Nessie when they wind up investigating a series of deaths at a lake in Georgia that Mulder believes were caused by a sea (lake?) monster known as “Big Blue.”

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: “Quagmire,” while not exactly a Darin Morgan episode — though he did apparently help a bit with its formation — is an example of what has happened to The X-Files in a post-Darin Morgan world. The show is not afraid to be silly anymore. But what’s kind of fun about this particular monster-of-the-week episode is the fact that while it has plenty of silly fun moments in it, it doesn’t just rely on making you laugh or making the characters a little too exaggerated.

In this episode, Mulder and Scully — with her dog Queequeg in tow, thanks to short notice — take a trip to Georgia where a Boy Scout troop leader has disappeared by a lake. Mulder naturally believes that a sea monster of sorts, affectionately referred to as “Big Blue” by the local population, is responsible. Deaths and other mishaps occur, before the agents eventually uncover an alligator as the apparent perpetrator of the attacks. Though the agents (including a very disappointed Mulder) leave without looking for Big Blue further, we the viewers get to see Big Blue out for a little swim, unnoticed and undisturbed.

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3×12: War of the Coprophages

“Did you know that the ancient Egyptians worshipped the scarab beetle and possibly erected the pyramids to honor them, which may be just giant symbolic dung heaps?” — Fox Mulder
“Did you know the inventor of the flush toilet was named Thomas Crapper?” — Dana Scully

Mulder finds himself investigating a series of deaths in a small town, where the bodies are generally found covered in cockroaches. Scully offers her ever-so-helpful scientific theories… while working from home.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Any episode that begins with the line, “Behold the mighty cockroach,” is the sort of episode that should make me run screaming in the opposite direction. I do not care for bugs, at all, and having encountered the occasional terrifying cockroach thanks to living in a big city, I prefer to avoid them at all costs.

But when I was younger, I did watch this episode a couple of times due to my completist Phile-dom. And because this rewatch is all about re-completism, I had no other choice. Did I suddenly find something to do in another room while there were too many roaches on the screen? Yes. Did I watch a few scenes only out of one half-closed eye? Of course.

Do I still enjoy the hell out of this episode? Absolutely! Continue reading

3×04: Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose

“No, something told me, Scully, something is telling me this guy’s for real.” — Fox Mulder
“Oh, so now you’re psychic?” — Dana Scully

Mulder and Scully investigate a series of murders that claim psychics and fortunetellers as victims, with a little psychic assistance in the form of Clyde Bruckman, a man who can predict how people are going to die.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: I am going to start with the disclaimer that states how there is no way I can possibly replicate the brilliance of this episode. I am also going to refuse to apologize for the amount of gushing I am about to do, because this episode — one of my favorites of all time — remains startlingly brilliant from start to finish nearly two decades after it first aired.

The storyline itself is a simple one: Clyde Bruckman, a man with psychic ability portrayed by the venerable Peter Boyle — who can predict the circumstances of one’s death — finds himself tangled up with Mulder and Scully as they try to track down the culprit behind the murders of numerous fortunetellers. The killer is eventually found (turns out to be a hotel bellhop) and Bruckman, our intrepid agents’ guide during this journey, commits suicide by tying a plastic bag around his head.

It sounds terribly dark, and it is. But what is also brilliant about this episode is the fact that it is one of the funniest, warmest and most philosophical episodes of The X-Files ever made, springing from the mind of none other than Darin Morgan, a writer who would go on to write even more classic episodes before quietly ducking away. Continue reading

My First Time: A Moment of Silence for Queequeg

Welcome to “My First Time,” a recurring section on the blog where we query fellow X-Philes about how they came to the show, and then later on how their fandom developed and evolved over the years.

Case File: CL121013
Subject: Claire

We continue talking to fans about their entry into Philedom by chatting with Claire from Australia. I’ve known Claire since our days posting on the official FOX messageboards back in the day, and we’ve maintained some level of online correspondence since. This is her story.

Claire's "The Truth Is Out There" pin. (Photo courtesy of Claire)

Claire’s “The Truth Is Out There” pin. (Photo courtesy of Claire)

Radhika: So, I’m going to start with the main question: What was your first episode?

Claire: That’s very difficult to answer! I have a feeling that it was “Quagmire.” The episode with Big Blue, and poor little Queequeg gets eaten… Queequeg.

Radhika: Yes, a moment of silence for Queequeg.

Claire: Haha.

Radhika: All right. So what was about it about The X-Files that struck you when you first started watching?

Claire: I was actually already familiar with The X-Files through the really basic novelizations… I was pretty young when it first came out (I think it started when I was in Grade 4 in Australia). I liked reading weird sci-fi/mystery books and I got hooked on those. They were the next step up from RL Stine! So a firm love of aliens, sci-fi, and mystery from a young age enticed me, and I’d finish the books in less than a day so of course I had to watch the TV show! Our TV reception was pretty horrible (too many trees!) so my grandmother would fill up a videotape with episodes and then pass it on to me. Continue reading