This episode is a "he said, she said" story. It was inspired by an episode of the "Dick Van Dyke Show", titled "The Night the Roof Fell In", in which Rob and Laura Petrie have a fight and then each tell their neighbor their version of what led up to it.
In this X-Files episode, we follow both Mulder's and Scully's point of view as they describe their version of the same set of events. They have traveled to Texas to investigate the serial exsanguinations of several local cows, and one dead human. Mulder believes that there are vampires in the area... so much so that he stakes one. Ronnie Strickland's family then threatens to sue the FBI for 446 million dollars. Mulder and Scully try to get their stories straight before talking to AD Skinner about the situation.
They set up the episode with this exchange:
Scully: Skinner wants our report in one hour. What are you going to tell him?
Mulder: What do you mean what am I going to tell him? I'm going to tell him exactly what I saw. What are you going to tell him?
Scully: I'll tell him exactly what I saw.
Mulder: Now, how is that different? (Scully gives him an exasperated look) Look, Scully, I'm the one who may wind up going to prison, here. I've got to know if you're going to back me up or what.
Scully: (indignantly) First of all, if the family of Ronnie Strickland does indeed decide to sue the FBI for - I think the figure is $446 million - then you and I both will most certainly be co-defendants, and second of all ... (pause) I don't even have a second of all, Mulder. $446 million. I'm in this as deep as you are and I'm not even the one that overreacted! I didn't do the ... (she makes a stabbing motion) with the thing!
This is the best episode because even though they are basically telling the same story twice, it's seen in completely different ways. You get to see who Scully thinks she is, and how Mulder perceives her, and the same is true for Mulder.
Mulder thinks Scully is unapologetic and skeptical. Scully thinks Mulder is too enthusiastic and impulsive. They both think the other talks too much and doesn't listen to them when they speak.
They have different ideas about what they think are attractive qualities.
And this is quite possibly the most quotable episode in X-Files history.
Reasons to love it:
-The best opening to the episode, ever.
-Luke Wilson guest stars.
-The autopsy scenes are hilarious. (Even if they don't know what a large intestine should look like.)
-Mulder sings the theme song from "Shaft" while under the influence of chloral hydrate.
-Scully's quote (in clip below), "You're not going to tell me it's that Mexican goat sucker thing," is a call back to a season 4 episode about El Chupacabra. The episode is titled "El Mundo Gira".
The following two clips are told from Scully's perspective:
And although this is videotaped from a television and the sound and picture quality are pretty horrible, this is one of my favorite scenes in the episode:
Even the actors loved this episode. Gillian Anderson often says that it's her favorite. Here's a short behind the scenes clip.
The writing was superb. The interaction between Mulder and Scully was at the perfect point in their relationship. The banter was incredible. The story was entertaining and the bits of comedy were perfection. I always thought that the series was at its best when the episodes could make me laugh.
On top of that, this was a stand alone monster-of-the-week type of episode. It works better if you know the characters and their relationship, but you don't need to know about it to enjoy. I wore out my copy of this episode on VHS. I don't often like to rewatch things that I've already seen, but this one is well worth it.
I shall leave you with some of my favorite quotes (promise I'll be brief):
Scully: Begin autopsy on white male, age sixty, who is arguably having a worse time in Texas than I am, although, not by much.
Mulder: DANA?! He never even knew your first name!
Scully: Yesterday morning when I arrived at work you were, uh... characteristically exuberant.
(In his verison of events, Mulder says: "Yesterday morning began like any other morning. You arrived at the office, characteristically less than exuberant.")
Scully: [voiceover] Having completed the autopsy, I checked into the Davey Crockett Motor Court. [Name appears at bottom of screen]
Mulder: It was actually the Sam Houston Motor Lodge. [Type corrects itself]
See what everyone else thinks:
Dany (to be published)
Beth (to be published)