Today, we look at the first “monster of the week” X-Files episode, which grabbed the attention of the fandom and never let go.
This is “All the Best Things,” a spotlight on the best TV episodes, movies, albums, etc.
I have had a great struggle trying to figure out which episode of The X-Files to feature first, because you all know that I like to stick mostly chronological with these first entries, so that we can see the status quo before I spotlight examples that play AGAINST the status quo.
My issue is that some of the best X-Files episodes are ones that specifically play AGAINST the status quo. For instance, I was THISclose to featuring “Beyond the Sea” first, which is a very good episode, but it just doesn’t work as well if you don’t understand the importance of seeing Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) being the “believer” of the episode instead of Fox Mulder (David Duchovny).
Similarly, a lot of people love the Season 1 episode, “Ice,” and it IS a nice and creepy one, but it is a bottle episode, so not really a “status quo” setup, so with that in mind, I’m going to first spotlight the original “Monster of the week” episode of The X-Files, Season 1’s “Squeeze.”
You see, X-Files episodes are split into two general plot format, “Myth arc” episodes, which detail the serial conspiracy that FBI agents Mulder and Scully are slowly unravelling, and then there are “Monster of the week” episodes, which are one-off episodes where Mulder and Scully investigate some paranormal entry in “the X-Files.” This episode, “Squeeze,” introduces the first classic X-Files villain, Eugene Tooms (Doug Hutchinson), a freakish mutant who can elongate his body so that he can squeeze through pipes and ducts and stuff like that.
This episode was so freaky that it really drew in a large number of new fans for the new series (it is the third episode overall) following the opening two episodes, which were basically introductory stuff and opening of the myth arc. So this was very important to show that the series was more than just myth arc, and these one-off episodes really appealed to a broader audience. This was also the first episode written by the famed writing team of Glen Morgan & James Wong, who you will see pop up again this year in these entries.
Besides the creepy villain, who was handled really well (Doug Hutchinson pulls off creepy extremely well…don’t look into his private life to see if that has anything do with it), the episode was very important because Donal Logue plays an FBI buddy of Scully’s (Logue plays officious SO WELL) who needs her and Mulder’s help, and he promises to take her away from the X-Files if they pull it off.
In the end, though, Scully has to finally make a choice between the standard FBI guys and Mulder, and even this early in the series, she chooses Mulder.
It is still very early in the series, so there is still some notable stiffness in the acting (and there is this one INSANE scene where an old police detective who investigated Tooms in the past compared his crimes to the freaking HOLOCAUST that should have never been written and filmed), but it is still really well done overall, and it gave viewers a real sense of the spooky fun that this series could provide.
Okay, if I’m going to have 340 more of these, I could use suggestions, so feel free to email me at email@example.com!