In my reviews of the first two episodes of the miniseries I expressed my desire for installments that were centered around monsters rather than extraterrestrials. On Monday I got my wish. I could not be more happy.
Episode three’s backward take on the were-monster myth was wonderfully inventive. On this skeleton was hung some clever humor, biting criticism of human society and behavior and interesting existentialist musings.
The show also had some odd moments. Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) asking Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) if she is “enjoying herself” while she was conducting of the autopsy of a man who had been violently murdered struck me as strange. Her response explaining that she was, meaning that she was enjoying again working with Mulder on X-Files cases, was a weird thing for a person to say while she was in the middle of a multiple murder investigation. It could be that the scene was really the program’s way of asking the audience if they were entertained by Mulder and Scully being reunited and back on television. I most certainly am but think the exchange between the two would have been a better fit in any number of different scenes.
Also surprising was the context in which the gender identification and transgender issues society is struggling with today came up. We heard a discussion of the monster’s wrestling with whether he was a man or a creature of some other type. Once the subject of transvestites and men having their genitals surgically removed entered the conversation it was clear the particular scene of the episode was offering a commentary on the surreal notion of people claiming to identify with the opposite gender and getting hormone treatments and having plastic surgery to appear like a person of that gender. Guy Mann the Were-Monster (Rhys Darby) has a very hard time getting his mind around what he is being told just as many of us do today. Of course there is no such thing as gender identity in the animal kingdom. People are also animals. Ironically, those who would agree the most strongly with this proposition are also those who would argue most vehemently in support of gender identification and transgender issues.
Bringing up the themes of gender identification and transgender issues are just one example of how all three installments of the show have done a thought provoking job of pointing out how much society has changed since The X-Files was last broadcast on TV in 2002. The constant presence of cell phones and their cameras in our lives today was more than just a theme of the program. Touches like this have prevented the series from feeling at all dated and carried The X-Files into 2016. Having the entire plot turn on a photograph taken by Mulder on his phone was something we could not have witnessed in the 2002 version of the show.
Gillian Anderson is Still as Sexy as Ever
I could not conclude this review without mentioning Scully’s steamy performance in the were-monster’s imagined amorous encounter with her. Though now a middle-aged woman, Gillian Anderson is still as sexy as ever.
Episode three was not just the best of the season so far. It was classic The X-Files at its best. With three installments left I am routing for three more monsters.
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