This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk. 

That was a little bit silly, wasn’t it? This play on the monster-of-the-week trope was certainly a breath of fresh air after the horrific, Hitchcock-like second episode of the seasonMulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster is a fantastic title, bringing back the feel of the golden era of sci-fi: paperback and pulp fiction.

The episode sets its comedic tone from the moment we are greeted by the couple huffing paint in the forest – an opening that clearly reveals we are in for a ride. Of course we could not have expected any less from Darin Morgan, whose past work on the X-Files left an impression on its fan base. His last work was Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, the 20th episode Season 3. What makes Morgan’s episodes so good? Well, from this episode alone, Morgan brings the meta, conscious viewpoint the series needs. These episodes are proof that the series doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is an acknowledgement to the ridiculousness the mythos has dipped into within the last decade. It is satirical without insulting the show too much to the point that we detach from it, and brings enough self-awareness to its audience to prove that it is aware its own flaws. Furthermore, this episode does what X-Files does best: address the issues going on in our modern society by integrating it in the narrative of science fiction.

There are some pretty hilarious moments in this episode that’s truly worth noting. My favourite bit was watching Mulder try to capture a picture of the were-monster and only to end up  taking blurry video that suffered under the vertical video syndrome. There’s the playful jab at the notion that everyone has a camera nowadays, and so not having a photo of the were-monster just seemed impossible. And yet we have Mulder, who comically puts the blame on the new app he downloaded for his inability to capture an image of the monster, delivering the scifi trope of our ongoing dependence on technology and the conflict that occurs when technology fails.

On a similar note, can we talk about the ridiculousness of the were-monster’s costume? It is so painfully obvious it’s a costume, which adds to the campy feel of the episode, and goes well with the equally ridiculous human name he had chosen for himself – Guy Man. Not to mention the silly psychotherapist, whose idea of grounding and calming himself is to take a walk in the graveyard.

Werewolf by Night
Werewolf by Night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toilet humour was abound as well and we see this at our first introduction to the were-monster – presented in the form of an unassuming, proper British man caught unaware in a Porta Potty trying to do his business privately. The were-monster is of course, Guy Man, who, in a clever plot twist, was actually a monster who got bit by a human, and thus begins his journey into becoming one of us.

There was also the biblical bit where Guy Man first becomes aware of his own nakedness, a quality that is so unique to the human experience – very Adam and Eve / Garden of Eden like, in terms of character and setting, reminding us that this episode has something very important to say about our collective existence. The episode then takes on a deeper, more satirical approach to the daily issues of the human nature. Guy Man has to arduously go through the mediocrity of day to day societal living, finding a job, having no idea what he’s saying and instead bs’ing his way through everything, (which the were-monster says is better than camouflage) and in a final move, decides once and for all that the only way humans can find happiness is to spend their time with other non-humans – and so he adopts a dog, proposing the idea that the only way humans can be happy, is to have complete ownership and control over another living being.

No matter how hard Mulder tries to find logic in this case, Guy Man proclaims: There IS no logic! Throughout Man’s narration, Mulder keeps trying to spin and lead his story into violence- when did Man attack? When did he murder? Upon reaching the conclusion of the story, Mulder finds out that the real villain isn’t Guy Man, but Pasha – the animal control worker. Pasha tries to say a speech to justify his killings but Scully interrupts him, saying, “You’ve seen one serial killer, you’ve seen them all”.

This episode resonates with the premise of this season – in that we, ourselves, are the villain, the alien, and the monster. Just as Guy Man says, it is much easier to accept that monsters are real out there, instead of within us. The comedic approach this episode took is perhaps the only way to deliver this message without isolating its audience too much, because of the harshness of the message it is delivering. Personally, this is definitely going on my top list of favourite X-Files episodes, because it is one that truly unmasks the cruelty and reality of our day-to-day, by showing us what our lives are like, through the eyes of a monster.

 

This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk. 

In genetics,  a Founder Mutation is a mutation that occurs in the DNA of one or more individuals who then becomes the source, ie. founders, of a population that passes this mutation on generation after generation. This is the basis of the second episode of Season 10, an episode that, in my opinion, brings us back to the the core of what X-Files used to be: somewhat procedural, Scully and Mulder hovering around dead bodies and coming up with outrageous explanations for their deaths, and then the monsters arrive: except the monsters are children with genetic mutations, imprisoned by a mad scientist (Dr. Goldman) to continue his quest to create super-humans.

What I would consider a great departure from the old seasons is how particularly gruesome this episode was. From the way Dr. Sanjay infused the letter opener to his ear, to the bloody autopsy scene with Scully, finishing the episode up with an eye-ball popping incident with Dr. Goldman, this episode felt a lot like watching The Walking Dead in terms of gore and visuals. There was also a major jump from Episode 1 to Episode 2 in terms of narrative cohesion, and by that I mean there was virtually no explanation as to how Mulder and Scully started working for the FBI again, after the exhaustive treatment they have received from the agency in the past. The gist we get from Episode 1 is that it’s been over a decade since they worked for the FBI, with Scully spending her time as a doctor for Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital (which proves to be a convenient plot-driver in Episode 2) and Mulder had spent his time in, what essentially is, hermitage. However, this decision paved the way for an episode that threw you into the nitty-gritty of the world, complete with mutant hybrids, the search for the missing sister, and an awkward sexual encounter in the men’s washroom with Gupta.

THE X FILES 2016 NEW SERIES  FOX ... This photo provided by FOX shows, David Duchovny, left, as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in the "Founder's Mutation" season premiere, part two, episode of "The X-Files," airing Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT on FOX. (Ed Araquel/FOX via AP)
THE X FILES
2016 NEW SERIES
FOX … This photo provided by FOX shows, David Duchovny, left, as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in the “Founder’s Mutation” season premiere, part two, episode of “The X-Files,” airing Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT on FOX. (Ed Araquel/FOX via AP)

Despite the sameness that we feel from this episode, due largely to the fact that James Wong, a veteran writer for the X-Files series, wrote this episode, we are still treated to some current references just in case we forget it’s Season 10, such as, jokes about Obamacare, Edward Snowden and Scully saying that she came from a generation of “pre-googlers”.

Although highly busy in terms of plot points, the central focus of this episode, I believe, is Mulder and Scully’s grief over the loss of their son, William. Each imagines a world where they raised him, instead of giving him up for adoption, and both fantasies end with their deepest fears. Scully’s dream sequence involved Gillian Anderson in a mother role, walking William to get to school, waiting for him to get home, only to find, in her horror, her son slowly change into an alien, a fear she harbours due to her discovery that she has alien DNA. Contrast that to Mulder, who spends time with William watching movies, notably 2001 Space Odyssey, having an interesting conversation with his son about the significance of the monolith to the human race. (For those don’t know, the monolith, both in the book and the film, signifies the presence of aliens in the human world. The book and the film focuses primarily on the premise that aliens were essential to the evolution of human beings, a theme that resounds prominently within this episode). Mulder’s dream sequence, however, ends with William’s abduction, a scene reminiscent of Mulder’s sister’s abduction and a nod to long-term fans of the series.

To highlight this theme, during the scene where Scully talks to Dr. Goldman’s wife, she says, “A mother never forgets”. Similarly, the last thing we see in this episode, is Mulder, hunched over the same photo of William, sharing the grief with Scully, in silence.

Written by: Ellise Ramos

The Evil Dead series is one I’m always coming back to, I find that the original 1981 movie is one of those rare titles that actually gets better each time I watch it. Needless to say for anyone who follows the series, with the exception of the Evil Dead video games, it has been entirely too long since Bruce Campbell portrayed the character of Ash Williams. When Sam Rami cancelled Evil Dead 4 to work on Spider-Man, I had given up all hope of seeing Bruce pick up the role again. I figured the Evil Dead game, Regeneration, would be the closest thing to Evil Dead 4 we’d ever get.

Almost as soon as this new show starts, however, it feels like no time has passed at all. Ash is back, albeit quite a bit older. His character seems to have developed a bit since his portrayal in Army of Darkness, but obviously, still retaining his smug, smart-mouth attitude we all love.

When I first heard about this show I was concerned that Bruce Campbell may not have the energy to effectively play Ash anymore and I didn’t want the quality to suffer. The show’s trailers made me more optimistic, but almost as soon as he was on the screen I was sure that Bruce still has the talent for the role. Ash’s character now strongly resembles the role Bruce did playing as himself in the movie ‘My Name is Bruce’.

 

The show begins in an urban setting and shows us how the forces of the Necronomicon would operate there. There are a few over-the-top moments that would only ever work in an Evil Dead story, some of which left me really surprised. The soundtrack has a lot of classic rock and pieces that seems like they’re taken straight from Army of Darkness. The production quality is top-notch and the practical special effects are stunning. The CGI effects are used well and seems mostly reserved for things that can’t be done otherwise. Surprisingly, the CGI effects serves to occasionally capture some of the zaniness this series is know for, but not perfectly.

Ash currently has two co-stars that accompany him, named Pablo and Kelly. Another character with a lot of screen-time is Amanda, who has a terrifying encounter with the dark forces. These supporting roles aren’t very developed yet, but I’m sure the series will deliver that in the weeks to come.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for this show. It has an excellent atmosphere, special effects and fits in perfectly with Evil Dead 1, 2 and Army of Darkness. What more can I say? The king is back and this show is… groovy.