EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'X-Files' Fridays: A friend at the FBI

Season 2 | Episode 2 | “The Host” | Aired Sep 23, 1994

It’s been over two decades since The X-Files made its debut, but the series is as relevant as ever, and with a revival on the horizon, there’s no better time to revisit it—or to discover it for the first time. Community Assistant Editors Andrea Towers, who watched in its original run, and Kelly Connolly, who was introduced to the show last summer, will be here each week to talk it out.

Next up, Scully is armed, so she’ll take her chances.

KELLY: Andrea! As you know, Chris Carter picked “The Host” as one of his 10 essential X-Files episodes, and as you know, I don’t know how I feel about that. Don’t get me wrong—I love this episode, and I think it’s got a lot of strong character moments, but I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it one of THE 10 essential episodes. Is it essential, or is Flukeman just a classic monster? What are your thoughts?

ANDREA: You know, Kelly, I try to curb my feelings on Chris Carter, because despite how I felt when the series ended, he did give me the best television show of all time, and the show that defined my teenage life, and two of the best characters and actors. So when I look at things like this, I try to remember that. I guess I can see why he thinks it might warrant a spot on that top-10 list—I mean, ask anyone what the most terrifying-LOOKING monster is, and you’d get Flukeman. (I think I’ve grossed out friends with that one picture more than anything else.) But over such classics as “Small Potatoes” and “Detour”? I mean, I get leaving the mythology episodes out of it, but still.

Then again, there’s Mulder killing the Flukeman by slamming that sewer grate on it, which I do enjoy.

KELLY:  I think it’s just that I don’t define the essence of this show by its monsters. Give me “Triangle” any day. (The monster is A BUNCH OF OLD NAZIS and maybe TIME.) But if you’re going to represent the breadth of this show’s appeal, then including an iconic monster does make sense, and you can’t get more iconic than Flukeman—the show itself will go on to reference him a handful of times. And you’re right; he’s creepy as all get out.

I like that you bring up the sewer grate, too. It’s such a satisfying end—until it’s undercut by the revelation that Flukeman survived, because this show is really obsessed with worms’ abilities to reproduce, and also because Mulder can’t win. Come to think of it, those two are related. Evil (of the “collaboration of men” variety) is an omnipresent force; it’s a worm growing new heads no matter what Mulder throws at it. But he jumps in with both feet anyway, with complete disregard for his own safety, and he keeps doing what he can for the people who need him. Which is one of this episode’s main points, really: People need the X-Files. As much as it felt like they were running against a wall, the work that Mulder and Scully were doing was actually helping.

xfiles host scully autopsy

ANDREA: It is pretty classic, so I can see the appeal. As an overall episode, I don’t think it’s one I’d come back to for other reasons if I weren’t doing a full rewatch, but it’s a good hour of television. We do have that wonderful, really sweet moment where Mulder actually tells Scully that he’s thinking of leaving the FBI. And we know he won’t, but look at him still trying to protect her when he shoots down her transfer suggestion.

Also, let us never forget WHO was inside that Flukeman suit: good ol’ Darin Morgan. I think that may be my favorite story, aside from Jeffrey Spender being behind the monster in “The Post-Modern Prometheus.”

KELLY: And, of course, there’s the fact that David Duchovny wound up sitting next to Darin on a flight a couple of months later, and he didn’t know that he was sitting next to Flukeman until Darin asked him to sign a book “To my nemesis.”

But as always, the real nemesis here is the Bureau. Scully is looking for every possible way to keep Mulder around, isn’t she? She isn’t even trying to hide it. (“I hope you know that I’d consider it more than a professional loss if you decided to leave.”) Even Mulder, who’s given up on ever partnering with Scully again—in part to protect her, but also because I think he’s just tired of fighting this system—admits that working with her is the only thing that could keep him around. The FBI thought they could solve their problems by splitting up these troublemakers in the basement, but all they did was force Mulder and Scully to acknowledge how much they mean to each other. They were thrown together as partners, but now they know that they would also choose each other, which is only going to make them more of a threat in the long run.

ANDREA: That is sincerely one of my favorite stories ever. But back to your point, because the point should always be about Mulder and Scully, I just love how even when they try to keep them apart, they still manage to find ways to work with each other. Scully still does autopsies for him; Mulder still calls her with information. That’s not just because they trust each other—that’s a special and intimate form of partnership. And I think by this point, Skinner and even the rest of the FBI know that.

KELLY: It’s not lost on Skinner that Scully and Mulder make a good team (if a difficult one). They don’t go by the book, but we’re starting to see Skinner question that book, as Scully did last year. But he’s still avoiding responsibility—“We all take our orders from someone, Agent Mulder”—by placing himself in a system that he doesn’t believe can be changed. Skinner takes his orders. Which is not how Scully and Mulder tend to operate, but it’s exactly that defeatist mindset that we’re seeing from Mulder here. He’s so convinced that the system is hostile that he’s ready to move his work outside the system entirely. It takes Scully to pull him back and remind him that there’s always something to be done: “There’s a dead body, isn’t there?” Mr. X might claim to be Mulder’s friend in the FBI, but we all know Scully is the real friend here. Speaking of X, though: What do you think of his first “appearance”?

ANDREA: I think it’s interesting that he makes his appearance now—I totally, 100 percent forgot that it was that early. His introduction is brief, and in some ways, it’s a little random. We don’t even think of it much at this point; sure, it’s strange that he’s being called out of nowhere by this person who claims Mulder is not alone, but we don’t get many details. I feel like out of all the informants Mulder has had, X is the shadiest. I could never tell what his true intentions were, and it really drives the point home that even though there are other people looking out for him—X, Skinner—the real constant and person he can trust above all else is Scully.

KELLY: I agree that X is hard to pin down—especially because the first thing he does is introduce himself as a friend. We’ve already seen too much to trust that kind of superficial niceness. Deep Throat just showed up in the bathroom of a bar and ordered Mulder to drop a case. He was secretive, but he was straightforward about the fact that he was secretive, which is the closest thing to honesty that Mulder and Scully have to work with.

They’re surrounded by people who clean up their messes in the dark and don’t tell anyone about it, and as it turns out, people like that literally bred a monster. Flukeman came from the Chernobyl disaster. The implication is that all kinds of other monstrosities could have been born out of that radiation, and no one wants to talk about it or find solutions that work. Mulder and Scully are left working cases on their own time, using tabloids as legitimate sources of information because they have nothing else. Everything is inside out.

xfiles host scully mulder

ANDREA: “He was straightforward about the fact that he was secretive, which is the closest thing to honesty that Mulder and Scully have to work with.” Exactly. It’s not just enough to tell someone that you’re there for them, or that you’re a friend. You have to be honest and be willing to put yourself on the line. It takes a while for Skinner to get there, but he does, and that’s part of why they eventually trust him. So I don’t judge Mulder if this first random meeting isn’t exactly selling him on his new informant.

And Flukeman coming back at the end illustrates all of your points about leaving Mulder and Scully to clean up messes. No one even cares that Flukeman comes back to life! (Side note: I would love a chart one day of all the monsters/random people they’ve put away or killed who have still lived.) But it acts as a greater form of denial, in that Scully and Mulder have proven they can do everything from chase aliens to expose shady people in the Bureau to wrestle with giant slugs and monsters … and it’s still not enough for the FBI to turn their heads the right direction. They still want to shut them down, and they still think the world is better off without them. No one keeps Mulder and Scully down, though.

KELLY: I think everyone at the FBI is looking in the other direction because of the monsters. The truth usually looks bad, and Scully and Mulder are the only ones not embarrassed by it. Mulder might joke about not wanting to tell Skinner that their suspect is a giant bloodsucking worm, but at the end of the day, he’s less upset when the suspect is a worm than he is when he thinks he’s being handed a case that doesn’t matter. He just wants to do good work. He’s actually upset when he thinks Scully tried to boost his reputation within the FBI, because his reputation matters so much less than the confidence he shares with her—which she would never betray, obviously. Scully is the one who tells Mulder to close the door so she can share some secretive news with him. That’s usually Mulder’s line. She’s got his back. (But it’s great that the only kind of betrayal he can imagine from Scully would be for the purpose of building him up.)

ANDREA: If I think about Mulder worrying about Scully’s betrayal, my shipper mind gets way too emotional. I think Mulder’s whole life has been rooted in just wanting to do good work. Even when Scully was assigned to him, he didn’t care. He just wanted to keep searching for the truth—searching for those X-Files, those monsters, those things the FBI didn’t care about. His whole ethic has been rooted in working hard and saving the world.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like