Thursday, November 19, 2015

The X-Files - S7:E3 "Hungry"

[ S7:E2 "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati" <<< Season 7 >>> S7:E4 "Millennium" ]

A single episode isn't enough to determine a trend, but after the pervasive romcom atmosphere of last season, the fact that this season opens (post mythology premiere) with what looks to be a traditional freak-of-the-week episode is very comforting. I don't think we've had a classic genetic mutant since season 4 (e.g., Teliko, Leonard Betts). It's not an entirely traditional episode, however - Vince Gilligan has written it from the point of view of the monster (which makes you wonder why it took seven years for someone on the show to come up with that idea). Chad Donella guest stars as the freak in question - a fast food worker in Orange County, California; a sort of shark-man that feeds on brain matter. But this is no inhuman monster; as the protagonist of the episode, he tries very hard (if ultimately in vain) to control his cravings, and blend in with humanity. The episode is actually very clever in making Mulder and Scully out to be the villains, since Mulder's insistence that what they're hunting is a monster directly contradicts the freak's attempts to suppress his carnivorous hunger by convincing himself that he's in control, and not a monster. The subtext about having illicit urges is very haunting (so it's an effective episode, in terms of making the freak sympathetic), and it mounts to an inevitably grim ending. Having the audience sympathize with the freak is a long way from season 1's Squeeze, so the episode is still a product of its era. But it's very effective nonetheless, and a welcome open to the season.

Memorable quotes:

Mulder: Is that, uh...oh my god, is that brain, is that brain matter, there?
Scully: No, I'd say that's ground beef.

Mindy Rinehart: I don't believe in monsters. But I do believe in people, and sometimes they do terrible things - out of weakness, or sickness, or fear. But I do truly believe that deep down inside, even the worst of us wants to be good.

Mulder: I think we're looking for some kind of genetic freak - a carnivorous predator as yet unidentified. A monster, if you will.

Rob (laughing): I'm sorry, but this is like good cop, insane cop.

Rob: So they're a bunch of fat people. So what? Maybe they've got what you would call a biological eat too much. Did you ever think of that? Did you? Maybe I've got a biological imperative, too. So why is that such a bad thing?! Like, the world's gonna end?! That is...biology. You can't fight biology. You can't.

Mindy Rinehart: Why?
Rob: I can't be something I'm not.

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