April 1, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

The X-Files “Squeeze”

Mulder and Scully assist on a serial killer case where the victims' livers are removed.

Alright, here we go:  the first “monster of the week” episode, and arguably where The X-Files did their finest work.  It’s also the first episode not to be written by series creator Chris Carter, the first to be written by the rather dynamic team of Glen Morgan and James Wong, and has a small role going to a young, clean-shaved Donal Logue.

Oh, and the villain for this episode actually came back later for a second.

The Case:  Eugene Victor Motherfuckin’ Tooms!

The Rest:  So, here it is, the first Monster of the Week, and all things being equal, it’s a rather tame one.  Eugene Tooms isn’t particularly monstrous in his general appearance.  Yes, he can stretch and contort himself through even the tiniest of openings and can apparently remove a human liver with his bare hands, but what makes him what he is is more that actor Doug Hutchinson is just a creepy-looking guy who doesn’t say much.  Eugene Tooms does have the ability to speak.  He just often doesn’t.

Factor in as well that Tooms is more of an apex predator than anything else.  He pops up every thirty years, kills five people and eats their livers, and then goes into another thirty year hibernation.  Mulder has an X-File on the guy since he left behind these elongated fingerprints, but oddly enough, Tooms and the X-Files were not really what brought Mulder onto the case.

Instead, it came when Scully’s old colleague Tom Colton (Logue), an ambitious agent looking to move up the ladder, asks Scully to tag along on his serial killer case, and she brings along Mulder.  It’s the sort of thing that shows where Scully came from and how other, regular agents deal with the likes of Fox Mulder.

In short, not well.  Mulder doesn’t seem to care, but his methods, despite the fact the episode makes it clear to the audience and to Scully that Mulder is actually right, don’t help his situation since he’s messing with the others, but he likewise says there’s a difference between how Scully treats him and these other agents do:  as much as Scully is highly skeptical about whatever theories Mulder tosses out, she at least treats Mulder with respect.

I can go along with that.

What I can’t quite wrap my head around is why everyone is talking about Scully like she’s been working the X-Files with Mulder for a while.  This is only the third episode, and since the action is set in Baltimore, it presumably means the characters can go home and sleep in their own beds.  But unless there are a lot of cases going on between episodes, why everyone treats Scully like she’s been doing this for weeks, months, or even years when really, this is her third outing, just strikes 2023 me as weird.

Though speaking of 2023, when Mulder starts to try to calculate how long it will be before Tooms wakes up again, Scully says it would be in 2023.

But for all that Colton and the other agents treat Mulder like a joke and Scully as someone who could become a joke if she doesn’t straighten herself and her career out, the highlight is really Eugene Victor Tooms, a guy who appears in vents, swipes necklaces off Scully without her noticing, and just hangs around in small spaces.  Even the end of the episode, when he starts to make a new nest out of bits of licked newspaper, is just creepy and weird.  Yeah, Mulder had to save Scully from a monster in a way that makes her look more like a damsel in distress than she should, but like many of the best X-Files episodes, it ends with a sense that even if Mulder and Scully managed to gets something like an answer, there’s that final moment that suggests that the threat is still out there and could return at any time.

It just so happens that for Eugene Victor Tooms…that was very much the case, but that’s for later.

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