Well, this is a momentous episode. That’s right: there’s a guest role played by “That Guy!” actor Garret Dillahunt!
And it has no Scully! Boo!
But there’s this other guest star that’s a bit more noteworthy.
The Case: A Really Old Case!
The Rest: So, this is the episode that brought in actor Darren McGavin as Arthur Dales, a retired agent that saw a few things in the old days. Most of the episode is set in a flashback, and so he doesn’t appear that much. But why would McGavin be so noteworthy? Simple: he was Carl Kolchak.
Yes, Carl Kolchak, lead character from the one-season wonder Kolchak: The Night Stalker, a reporter who found stories about the supernatural and the weird but no one ever believed him. Even if I didn’t know for a fact that that series was an inspiration for The X-Files, I could easily guess that it was an inspiration of The X-Files. Heck, this wasn’t the first time the show tried to get McGavin, even thinking he would make a good choice to play Mulder’s father. McGavin was either busy or declined to appear until now.
Basically, this episode has a pre-X-Files Mulder seeking out retired agent Arthur Dales because some weird old man died saying his name. Said old man had a dried out corpse in his bathtub. Was this man calling for Mulder or his father? Fox says he doesn’t speak to his dad all that much, so his only real choice is to talk to Dales, and the retired agent eventually relents and tells his story.
Also worth noting David Duchovny thought it would be cool to wear his wedding ring for this episode, and that just causes some fans to speculate when it can be seen. I mean, I spotted it once, but I didn’t think much of it. Maybe because I have a life. Oh, who am I kidding? I clearly don’t have a life.
Basically, when Dales was a younger man, he and his partner were tasked to bring in Dillahunt’s Edward Skur. He was supposedly a communist, but Dales’s partner planted that evidence. In fact, his partner is obviously a bad dude who does everything possible that a bad dude in the 50s could do ranging from rough stuff to planting evidence to cheering on Joe McCarthy.
But see, Skur is the last of three men who had an alien implanted in him, one that comes out of Skur’s mouth to slurp up all but the outer skin and some basic tissues of the victim. Skur is actually a patriot who didn’t ask for this, and he gets hungry and sometimes eats people. Bill Mulder is working with Dales to try to sort things out while Dales has to deal with the likes of Roy Cohn and J. Edgar Hoover telling him to go bust some commies. In the end, Dales does capture Skur, but Bill Mulder lets him go. And in 1990, Fox Mulder is a bit intrigued by the whole “X-Files” thing.
I know Dales returns in a later episode, but I don’t think it was as good as this one as I recall. I’ll explain why when the time comes.
Up next, a blind woman is seeing some really bad things.