Sunday, August 16, 2015

The X-Files - S2:E20 "Humbug"

[ S2:E19 "Død Kalm" <<< Season 2 >>> S2:E21 "The Calusari" ]

Mulder and Scully head to a town inhabited by sideshow performers to investigate a series of grisly murders. With a writing credit by Darin Morgan (brother of veteran show writer Glen Morgan) - the man who penned upcoming episode Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space' - this is the first truly tongue-in-cheek episode of The X-Files. It's also another "mutant" episode, of which The X-Files seems to be very fond, although the circus freak angle gives it a very unique atmosphere (and partly recalls the latest season of American Horror Story).

This is the sort of episode that seems to focus as much on being "fun" as being scary (although the killer in this episode is legitimately creepy). Personally, I think the unusually light atmosphere feels a bit out of place - like it's trying too hard to be funny at every turn when that's not what this show is about. Even the music echoes the whimsical mood of the episode. As such, it doesn't really feel like The X-Files. On the other hand, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson certainly seem to be having a ball with their lines. It's a much-loved episode, but I could take it or leave it.

Memorable quotes:

(This episode is filled with quips and one-liners - and not a few sight gags - most of which lose their potency when taken out of context. Some of them are just plain cheesy).

Sheriff: This is Hepcat Helm. He operates a carnival fun house.
Hepcat: Aw, man, how many times have I told you not to call it that? It's not some rinky-dink carny ride. People go through it, they don't have fun. They get the hell scared out of 'em. It's not a fun house. It's a tabernacle of terror.
Sheriff: It's a fun house.

Dr. Blockhead: [The Conundrum] doesn't answer questions, he merely poses them.

Mulder: You know, Scully, hypertrichosis does not connote lycanthropy.
Scully: What are you implying?
Mulder: We're being highly discriminatory here. Just because a man was once afflicted with excessive hairiness, we've no reason to suspect him of aberrant behavior.
Scully: It's like assuming guilt based solely on skin color, isn't it?

Dr. Blockhead: Nature abhors normality; you can't go very long without creating a mutant.

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