Thursday, September 24, 2015

The X-Files - S4:E11 "El Mundo Gira"

[ S4:E10 "Paper Hearts" <<< Season 4 >>> S4:E12 "Leonard Betts" ]

This is it! This is the episode that tackles the cryptid known as "el chupacabra" - the Mexican goatsucker! You know, I always thought of the chupacabra as some kind of wild beast, like a freakish Tazmanian devil or something, but I think it was The X-Files' that first introduced me to the idea that it could actually be an alien. Which makes perfect sense, when you think about the cattle mutilation connection.

A young woman turns up dead via strange circumstances in a migrant workers' camp in California, and the superstitious locals blame it on "el chupacabra". Naturally, Mulder shows up to investigate. Both of the agents' explanations in this episode are top notch - Scully's rational approach to what appears to be a highly lethal fungal pathogen, and Mulder's attempt to connect it to extraterrestrials via an unexplained astronomical event. (The combination of which kinda reminds me of a segment from Creepshow - The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill).

This is a pretty gross episode, with the weird, green, fungal stuff going on (shudders). But there's a bit of fun at the end, when we're treated to a couple of variations on the final showdown, depending on different witness' perspectives - a mechanism that recalls (in small part) the difficulty of parsing the truth in Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space', and that we'll see again in a memorable episode to come. (By the way, the actress credited as Simi, who plays Gabrielle, is one hell of a storyteller).

This is definitely one of the series' better "ethnic" episodes, perhaps because it focuses on the human story at its center (two brothers, one woman - trouble), instead of placing too much emphasis on the particulars of whichever superstitions this particular culture subscribes to. It's definitely an improvement over writer John Shiban's previous two episodes, from season 3 - The Walk, and Teso dos Bichos.

Memorable quotes:

Flakita: It was a terrible thing. You are not going to believe me, even when I tell you. Some say it is a story - a fairy tale. But I saw it. I saw it with my own eyes.

Scully: Mulder, you brought me out here under the pretense of investigating an unexplained death. Can you tell me why we're standing out here in the middle of a field looking at a dead goat?

Scully: Admit it, you fell for it. Your Fortean event turned out to be nothing more than the oldest story in the world: two men, one woman - trouble.

Scully: Mulder, I know you don't wanna hear this, but I think the aliens in this story are not the villains, they're the victims.

(Ooh, nice one, Scully. You can see the recognition dawning on Mulder's face as he works out the joke).

INS Agent Lozano: A man cannot live with vengeance in his heart.

Mulder: Scully, I've been thinking - I know that's dangerous, but just bear with me.

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