REVIEW: The X-Files S11 Ep4 – The Lost Art Of Forehead Sweat

Okay, this was amazing. Like, I thought I’d loved moments in the previous two episodes – and I thought I’d loved Darin Morgan’s previous episode (season 10’s zany “Mulder And Scully Meet The Were-Monster“), but they hardly compare to this one.

Darin Morgan has obviously always had a unique perspective on this show. But nowhere is it more obvious to me, at least, that he might just see himself as a dedicated fan of the show first before he sees himself as a writer (or brother of one of the executive producers). This episode was a loving, detailed, silly, and yet deep exploration of The X-Files and what makes it great.

The real team that started the X-Files?

Reggie Something was terrific. I am so impressed that Morgan went back and made use of the “Reggie” who was, in fact, mentioned but never seen onscreen in the early years of the show. And guest star Brian Huskey brought just the right mixture of pathos and hysterical conspiracy nut to the role.

Also, though there were a number of monologues involved in this episode, Morgan knows how to move on just before they become insufferable… unlike a certain someone. And though those monologues included some not-so-veiled criticism of contemporary culture and politics, I preferred his more subtler critiques. For instance, in Reggie’s fake memories of how he, Mulder, and Scully started the X-Files, I had to appreciate Reggie telling Scully to move along, because “This is the X-Files! No women allowed!” Ouch. Morgan is clearly not afraid to criticize his own show’s problems with women (both onscreen and behind the scenes).

“Nobody knows for sure,” indeed.

The whole theme of the Mandela effect definitely needed to be an X-Files episode. I mean, the Berenstain Bears thing blew my mind, too, so I feel kind of validated by seeing Reggie’s struggles to come to terms with his memories of “Dr. Wuzzle.” And I cackled out loud at Mulder’s righteous indignation at the very idea that he could have mistaken an episode of The Twilight Zone for something from The Outer Limits. Hee!

Anyway. The episode was definitely absurd and bizarre, but I so appreciate how Morgan can leave things open-ended and unexplained without it feeling like he just forgot to close some plot-holes. It didn’t really bother me much that most of the action was all in Reggie’s head, while Mulder and Scully mostly stood around inside a parking garage. It was just a satisfying and enjoyable experience of TV. Maybe Dr. They has been at work making me comfortable with ambiguity, but I’ll never know, either way! It’s an episode that I think will help me to make the choice that Scully makes at the end: “I want to remember how it was,” she says. “I want to remember how it all was.”