So, here we have the "silly episode" of the season, though I am led to understand that episode 5 is also quite silly... Next week's looks alternatively creepy/angsty though, so I am not complaining.
Probably should have bullet-pointed this but I can't be bothered to reformat the HTML now.
The first thing that became obvious is that the show's "comedy writer", for want of a better phrase, is sorely missed, namely Darin Morgan. As much as this episode was amusing, it was missing a certain something which set apart the early comedy episodes (e.g. "Small Potatoes"), and I suspect that's mostly because Chris Carter does not get to flex his comedy muscle very often and his strengths lie more in the mythology stuff. It definitely had its moments, though, and some occasionally weak writing was (as ever) saved by the comic timing of the leads - particularly, it has to be said, Gillian Anderson, who has always been very good at that sort of thing.
I find myself wondering if at some point there will be a new tagline after the credits so that this mini-series contains every possible episode variation. ;)
Rhys Darby was excellent as the monster; there is something naturally comedic about his Kiwi accent (and his general delivery), particularly when cast alongside Americans.
I quite liked the inversion of the werewolf trope, too: that a massive humanoid lizard-thing would get bitten by a deranged human and become possessed by unnatural urges to wear clothes and get a job, as opposed to a human getting bitten by a wolf and being overcome by animalistic urges instead. I also quite liked that said human urges had led Guy Mann (LOL) to the logical point of no longer wanting to exist, which says a lot, I think, about the human condition and our relatively pointless adult existences. :P He basically went from zero to mid-life-crisis in the space of a day.
I love that the Yellow Pencils have become a symbol of Mulder's tedium (and that he's progressed from throwing them at the ceiling to launching them, dart-like, at what turns out to be Scully's "I Want To Believe" poster. (Which I thought was very cute, that she went to the effort to get him a new one. :D) That entire scene where Mulder was reeling off the logical explanations for former X-Files was awesome, actually, and I'm torn between "Have you been taking your meds?" and "It has a monster in it" as my favourite line, at least from that scene.
Though it has to be said that both of those pale in comparison to, "The internet is not good for you, Mulder". We could have told you that!
Actual LOL at Mulder failing to work his camera app (the smartphones feel so out of place after years of brick-like mobiles!) - I was fully expecting him to have captured multiple up-the-nose / over-exposed selfies rather than what he was actually trying to take a picture of, which was proven half-right with the video of him screaming, and Scully calmly pointing out that he'd pointed the lens the wrong way, in the manner of coaching an elderly relative through sending an email. ;)
Also loved that scene in the motel where Mulder was answering for Scully and her little moment of, "This is how I like my Mulder," (so many layers of meaning in that!) and his surprise that she might believe him, followed by "No, you're batcrap crazy!" She was clearly loving every minute of their "monster" case (I mean, she admitted as much during the autopsy) despite her later frustration at Mulder's typical brush-offs.
The two occasions where Mulder walked in to find Scully surrounded by carnage were brilliantly timed, more so the first one at the phoneshop than the second one at the animal shelter. Mulder's quiet frustration at Scully entering a potentially dangerous situation without backup was quite sweet, as was her reassurance that she was "immortal", which was a nice little throwback. (It was first hinted at in season 3, "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", and has been a recurring theme since then.)
A couple of other nice touches: the headstone for Kim Manners in the cemetery; the entire conversation between Mulder and the psychiatrist and the parallels between actual and internal monsters (and indeed the psychiatrist's belief that Mulder was delusional - he's probably not the first...); the mention of Queequeg and Scully blatantly stealing the puppy from the shelter with that slightly guilty expression over her shoulder. Perfect.
I am not touching Guy's fake account of the events with Scully in the phoneshop with a barge-pole, however; I think Mulder's "NOPE" face said it all.
Oddly enough, this very silly episode has actually inspired a very angsty fic idea in my brain, for the most part based around that throwaway comment at the start about Mulder taking his meds. I just have this little idea brewing around why Scully walked away, which for the most part is only mental images at present. (She says, then rambles a stream-of-consciousness outline of a full story. :P)
I have a vague concept of it taking place a few months after his official "diagnosis" (by Scully or otherwise), where he's stubbornly refusing to accept it or take his meds, where he hasn't slept in days but is obviously exhausted and has found some new pointless thing to obsess over (on the internet, most likely), and where her frustration and concern has bubbled over into slipping him a tranquiliser just to get him to sleep. Then there's the opposite problem where he just sleeps and sleeps and sleeps, except for some occasional moments of groggy awareness where the only sensible things that come out of his mouth are about how Scully is his rock in a stormy sea, and she tries to drill home to him how he needs to Take His Meds Already but isn't sure if it filters through the fog of his addled consciousness.
Then a moment of quiet realisation in the midnight darkness of their "little house", where it all piles on top of her and she just... gives up, steals away one night and can't even face him to explain so just leaves a note deliberately under the pill bottle, hating herself every second but absolutely unable to carry on any more in such an untenable situation. Then, a few days later he calls her up, contrite - "I'm taking the meds, Scully" - but the time away has given her some much-needed clarity and she takes this rare moment of Mulder-compliance as an opportunity to finally break free.
And... yeah. Apparently that one hit me fully-formed. Now I just need to tidy it up and make it pretty. :P
Edit, 24 hours later: I did actually attempt to start it, and it's not as angsty as I would like yet as it's mostly full of Scully!snark. But I'll get there. :P
I can't believe this season is half over already. :( Six episodes? NOT ENOUGH.