Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The X-Files: Quagmire (3.22)

The best Darin Morgan episode not written by Darin Morgan, Quagmire is just a hell of a lot of fun. From the cool fishing-community locale to the townspeople dropping like flies, it's entertaining in its simplicity, while at the same time rewarding to long-time viewers with some wonderful interaction between our two leads, stuck in the middle of nowhere with time to kill. And that adorable fluff ball Queequeg gets eaten alive by a sea monster. How can you not fall in love with this episode?

It's "that conversation" that probably pushes Quagmire into "classic episode" territory. Mulder has his inappropriate small-talk about cannibalism; his banter about wanting a peg-leg, Scully tells of her childhood, there's the brief flirtation ("Are you coming on to me?") But, at its heart, the dialogue is about Mulder's drive and ambition, something Scully, three years into their relationship, still can't understand.

While a lot of the episode is driven by our two protagonists, there's also that sense of fun and complete reckless abandon which makes the whole thing look and feel like one of those old B-movies. All the guest characters are stereotypes, and a lot of the plot is hackneyed and predictable, but the show makes it work. It's by far the most successful Darin Morgan-inspired episode written so far, utilizing his same sense of humor and his interpretation of the characters and then importing both into a silly horror flick. There's not a whole lot to say about Quagmire, but it does succeed in being a perfect standalone monster episode. Rating A

Guest stars Chris Ellis (Sheriff Lance Hindt); Timothy Webber (Dr. Paul Farraday)
Writer Kim Newton Director Kim Manners

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