The Host 2×2: You mean it’s trying to reproduce?


Nope. No baby bump out here.

Now we get back into the swing of things and the season begins for real. Forget about little green men for a while, it’s back to the paranormal or, more accurately in this case, the pseudo-scientific.

Mulder’s faith in his mission has been reaffirmed but his affection for the FBI at this point is non-existent. It doesn’t help that his boss acts like he’s about ready to make Agent Mulder run laps. Stolid and serious, Assistant Director Skinner is picking up as a recurring character where Deep Throat left off, which is a very, very good thing.

But where does Skinner stand? His mysterious loyalties are what make his character interesting. And however secretly sympathetic he may be, he keeps his personal feelings about Mulder separate from his role as Mulder’s superior. He’s like a no nonsense father. You know, the type that came home a veteran from a brutal war, only to end up a distanced disciplinarian to his children. Even so, there’s no one that would go to bat for his kids faster. That’s how Skinner is with Mulder. He’s on his side, but he’s not about to pat him on the head and hand him a lollipop either. That’s why I like him. Let Scully be the one to worry about Mulder’s fragile ego.

Mulder and Scully stand exactly where they did with each other in the last episode. They’re in “gentle” mode. There’s a meekness and a nostalgia that hangs in the air whenever they meet now, as if they’d like nothing more than to break out a picture book and have a glass of wine over old times. Don’t get me wrong, I fully enjoy it. But it feels like more of a departure from the tone of Season 1 than it did in “Little Green Men” (2×1). Gone is any hint of frustration or antagonism between these characters. Season 2 is shaping up to be the start of Mulder and Scully’s relationship honeymoon.

So onto our “villain.” Unsurprisingly, Russia is the root of all evil. Flukeman would come out of Chernobyl. Unlike Tooms, Flukeman’s origins have a scientific explanation. And very unlike Tooms, everyone actually believes Mulder this time. Which leads me to an issue: why isn’t there more freaking out in this episode?? Flukeman is a giant, humanoid worm using people as living incubators. Shouldn’t there have been more of an uproar? Scully looks through the glass at Flukeman with only mild surprise. Skinner claims to have already had his reaction “this morning,” but my reaction would have gone on for a week, and it would have been loud. Did anyone even bother to call the President?

Drumroll Please:

This is the first true “gross out” episode since “Ice” (1×7). These types of episodes are a niche all their own. In all honesty, I wouldn’t say that the plot is particularly powerful or the script truly frightening, but that “Ewww!” factor sure counts for a lot. This isn’t a story about the paranormal, but then again, neither was “Ice.” It is, though, Sci-fi in its truest form. And after all, The X-Files is a show about the unexplained, not just the undead.

Besides all that, there are great seeds being planted here between Mulder and Skinner and Mulder and Deep Throat’s mysterious replacement. This isn’t an adventure meant to satiate us, it’s meant to keep us hungry and tuning in. Will Mulder be driven out of the FBI? When this mysterious voice comes out of the shadows, will we like him? What new ways will they come up with to cover Gillian Anderson’s baby bump next week?

As always, I made my way through this episode cringing and squinting. If the fate of the entire population of New Jersey depended upon me going in the sewer after that thing, people would just have to die.

B+

Bepuzzlements:

Why did Skinner give Mulder this case? He’s not truly out to get Mulder, so did the order come from higher up? Or in the case of CSM, further back in the shadows? I suppose it’s possible that Skinner had a clue that this was an X-File but I don’t see how. The local police hadn’t even moved before Mulder got there so it’s not clear what evidence they had already found. In fact, why did they call in the FBI again?

Random Thoughts:

Darin Morgan must have been horribly, horribly uncomfortable in that Flukeman suit.

It took me about two watches to figure out that the guy emptying the port-a-potties was the police officer from “Chinga” (5×10). I knew that mustache rang a bell.

Best Quotes:

Detective Norman: Watch yourself.
Mulder: Yeah, wouldn’t want to step into anything.
Detective Norman: They say it cuts the smell if you don’t breathe through your mouth.
Mulder: They lied.

——————

Scully: Is this seat taken?
Mulder: No, but I should warn you, I’m experiencing violent impulses.
Scully: Well, I’m armed, so I’ll take my chances.

——————-

Scully: It’s called Tubalaria, or it’s commonly known as a fluke or flat worm.
Mulder: This was living inside the body?
Scully: Apparently it had attached itself to the bile duct and was feeding off the liver.
Mulder: Lovely.
Scully: Believe it or not something like 40 million people are infected worldwide.
Mulder: This isn’t where you tell me some terrible story about sushi, is it?
Scully: Well maybe you’d rather hear what you could catch from a nice rare steak?
Mulder: So, what? The murder weapon was a top sirloin?

——————-

Scully: They are not creatures that go around attacking people.
Mulder: Well, that’s good. I didn’t want to have to tell Skinner that his murder suspect was a giant bloodsucking worm.
Scully: No.

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22 responses to “The Host 2×2: You mean it’s trying to reproduce?

  1. (I hope you don’t mind my commenting on every episode; we’re watching these more or less in parallel.)

    For sure this one goes in the “gross” bin. Later on the writers refine this framework into the so-gross-it’s-absurd episodes that prove to be the source of some of the lighter moments (the one with the guy who has a vestigial tail is the only one coming to mind, but you know what I mean).

    I also want to second your reaction to everyone else’s lack of a reaction to Flukeman. This actually really undercut how believable (within the obvious limits of such a criterion when applied to the X-Files) the episode was. The characters didn’t seem in the least bit curious about the creature, whether it could think or reason or understand…

    Maybe they were all too grossed out to be bothered with it…?

    • I love comments! I started this in hopes of getting a dialogue going. That’s the fun part, right?

      That episode you’re thinking of is Small Potatoes. A classic.

      You just said it best. The fact that everyone calmly accepts Flukeman’s existence without much question strains credulity. What’s more, you think that his discovery would be a milestone for Mulder and Scully for seasons to come. Instead, he gets one brief mention in the 4th season during The Field Where I Died. So much for revolutionary!

  2. This was the first X-Files episode I ever saw. I clearly remember being equally enthralled and grossed out.
    I never missed an episode after that!

    • Don’t you just love those memories?? My episode like that was Gender Bender. This show had that special something that made people scratch their heads but tune in anyway. We were scratching and watching.

  3. Salome, It’s Eugene Victor Tooms from X-Files Universe .. ! I LOVE all your reviews of episodes !

  4. Salome and Tom, I had to giggle because of the fact that Darrin Morgan who wore the fluke suit in this episode is also who played Eddie(the guy with the tail) in Small Potatoes! Funny coincidence that episode was mentioned in the comments of this one.

    • Darin Morgan wrote two of my all time favorite X-Files. The man is brilliant. I only wish he’d been involved in more episodes!

  5. I think the quote is in an X-FILES book I don’t have anymore but when David D was asked about this episode he stated that he had not seen the Flukeman costume when the scene where Mulder first sees it was first shot. He didn’t want to over-act so he played it a little low-key. And then when he saw the actual Flukeman he was like, “Oh my god! It’s a six-foot intestinal worm!!!” That might explain some of the weird underreaction.

  6. I remember having flashbacks from the bathroom scene for days after watching this ep, pearticularly when cleaning my teeth with toothpaste…and the bit in the shower- “yuk” just doesn’t nail it adequately.

    I’ve always felt that poor Mulder got this particular case because someone on high (CSM?) was trying to humiliate him by giving him a sewer inspection job. Not content with taking away the X Files, they wanted to drop him a pile of sewage and squash him down in it as well. The fact that it turned out to be an X File after all was rather unexpected, I guess!

    • This makes me want to go back and watch it again, but that’s against the mental rules of my rewatch – no going backward.

      It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it now, but I remember feeling as though Skinner was secretly trying to slide him an X-File, as if he knew there was more to this case than met the eye. Skinner’s conflict of loyalty was one of the best parts of Season 2. Looking back, it’s hard to believe someone like Skinner would have ever allowed himself to be under the thumb of CSM. He must’ve had something on him. Anywho, the nuances of that episode are fuzzy to me now. Maybe it’s like Mulder thought and Skinner/CSM really wanted to rub the closing of the X-Files in his face.

      • Me too! My memory of S.2 is a bit fuzzy round the edges – just commenting from memory. You are right, thinking about it- Skinner was no doubt trying to give him a case (any case!) to relieve the boredom of his usual job!

  7. Agent Venkman

    I rag a lot on Chris Carter for what he did to the mythology in the latter seasons of the show, and also for most of his MOTW during those years… and the second movie. Yet, I have to say his work in the early years is, for the most part, awesome. The flukeman is a little silly if you stop to think about it, but at the same time, he is so creepy/cool you don’t really want to think much about him.

    The pacing in this episode was excellent, and Mark Snow’s score, perfect.

    This might be the first X-Files episode I ever watched… and at age 14, or so, I thought it was cheesy (I think I preferred Batwatch at that age, smh). I didn’t became an X-phile until years later with Tunguska.

  8. Minor correction: it’s not the guy who emptied the porta-pottie but the one who was driving the ambulans with the fluke that also played in “Chinga”.

  9. Pingback: Squeeze 1×2: It probably has to do with your reputation. | Musings of an X-Phile

  10. I can’t get passed how everyone was so blase about the Flukeman, From the sanitation guys all the way up to near the top of the FBI it was business as usual.

    And sending no guards and only a solitary driver to deliver this one of a kind freak of nature? Well that’s just plain unbelievable.

  11. The second victim is a really messy teeth brusher even before the blood and the worm. Just watching him brush his teeth is gross.
    Also, I really enjoy this episode and I had forgotten that Chris Carter wrote. I like his MOTW episodes a lot more than the mythology for the most part.

    • It’s campy sci-fi fun and that’s why everyone remembers it. Come to think of it, CC’s early work, especially his MOTW episodes, was much more consistent. The mythology was more of a team effort, anyway.

  12. This is honestly one of my favorite MOTWs, even a contender for my favorite. It’s delightfully disgusting, creative, and it’s pretty fun to see Skinner have to acknowledge that there’s a giant humanoid parasite in confinement.

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