Monday, August 9, 2010

The X-Files: War of the Coprophages (3.12)

Darin Morgan's third episode lacks the warmth of Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose, but damn if it isn't a comedic tour-de-force. Combining some of the grossest, most repulsive bug moments that I've ever seen on television with some ridiculously fun insights into the Mulder/Scully relationship, War of the Coprophages surprised me in its genius. Especially since it's usually considered the black sheep of the Morgan episodes.

I loved the constant bait-and-switch of the first half of the episode. The same scenes are practically replayed over and over (horrific death, Mulder calls Scully, Scully stomps all over anything remotely science-fiction-y), but with enough comedic differences to make it phenomenally entertaining. Scully's night-time routine was great, from the casual cleaning of her gun to the washing of her dog to the reading of Breakfast at Tiffany's, at the same time as reading off tons of random factoids and information about everything under the sun with a relaxed nonchalance.

Only when Bambi Berenbaum appears does she exhibit any kind of interest in the case. Gillian Anderson is flawless here, nailing Scully's latent sarcasm and her almost monotonous insights into bugs and dung. Equally awesome is David Duchovny, especially in his scenes with Bambi, a roach expert in hot-pants straight out of a soft-porno movie. I loved the moment where he pretended to be a roach in its attack mode, almost grabbing towards Bambi's chest and briefly looking down at her ample breasts for all of a mili-second. And that "not now" over the phone is hysterical.

Away from the absurd comedy, there was something surprisingly believable about the ordinary-ness of all the deaths. It was merely an elaborate hypothesis that the roaches were a part of some alien conspiracy, and it was great that Scully was for once proved right in her skepticism.

Like Darin Morgan's previous episodes, Coprophages features an array of outlandish, almost cartoon supporting characters, along with a ridiculous amount of funny one-liners. He knows Mulder and Scully better than anybody else on the writing staff at this point, breaking down their personas and making them as amusing as possible. This episode is plain awesome, and any X-Files hour that ends with both its lead characters covered in shit is pretty much an instant classic. Rating A+

Guest stars Bobbie Phillips (Dr. Bambi Berenbaum); Raye Birk (Dr. Jeff Eckerle); Dion Anderson (Sheriff Frass); Bill Dow (Dr. Rick Newton)
Writer Darin Morgan Director Kim Manners

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