Posted on by Darren This August ( and a little of September ), we ’ ra taking a trip back in time to review the second season of The X-Files. In November, we ’ ll be looking at the third base season. And possibly more.
The Host and Little Green Men represent a fantastic one-two punch combination to open the second temper of The X-Files. It ’ sulfur very hard to think of two back-to-back standalone stories that most effectively sum up the show, capturing a fortune of what makes the serial so beautifully compel and enduring. The two episodes are besides quite surprise. It feels strange that Chris Carter didn ’ t write Little Green Men, given the importance of the premier to the show. however, in light of that, it besides feels strange that Carter did write The Host .
Working on The X-Files, Carter tends to gravitate towards “ consequence ” episodes. His name is frequently seen on episodes that push the express ahead – in multiple senses. Carter is the architect of the show ’ s grand piano mythology, so his name pops up quite frequently on those scripts. however, Carter is besides prone to write casual “ boastful ” episodes of a given season. He wrote and directed The Post-Modern Prometheus and Triangle, for exercise, two of the more alone and distinctive episodes of the fifth and sixth seasons.

indeed, seeing Chris Carter ’ mho name on the beginning “ monster-of-the-week ” of the new year preferably than the all-important temper premier feels a little strange – peculiarly since The Host is an episode that seems a lot less ambitious than fiddling green Men. After all, Little Green Men depicted Samantha Mulder ’ second abduction, revealed the display ’ second aliens and tried to make Vancouver look like Puerto Rico. In contrast, The Host is about an overgrown mutant worm .
And yet, possibly that ’ s the degree. The second season of The X-Files was a massively significant year for the show. Along with the Fox Network itself, this was the year that The X-Files defined its own identity and very began to aggressively carve out a niche. The appearance did not make the top 100 shows of the 1993-1994 season, but about reached the top 50 shows of the 1994-1995 season. That ’ s a meteorologic rise, and the second season is very ruthlessly refining itself .
To describe The Host as a simple “ monster-of-the-week ” is to miss the point entirely. The prove doesn ’ t exist yet another entrance in a music genre that the display established during its first class on the publicize. alternatively, The Host is clearly constructed to be the monster-of-the-week sequence. It ’ s an hour of television that is designed to get a reaction, to push buttons, to get people talking. This is an episode squarely aimed at anybody who heard the hum over the summer hiatus and wanted to see what the bicker was about .
It works very well in this capacity. There is a rationality that The Host arsenic endured as a classic episode of The X-Files, packed with all manner of iconic and memorable imagination. Chris Carter constructed The Host as an example of what The X-Files does very well – and it ’ s a patch of science-fiction horror that sticks with people. It ’ s incredibly hard to forget. And that ’ s the beauty of it .

There are a bunch of complaints that The X-Files would drag its feet in its late years – that the usher would stretch out plots over years in holy order to wring arsenic much dramatic tension from them as possible. The mythology bow is possibly the most frequently cited exercise – a series of questions that lead to more questions that lead to more questions that lead to a pair of answers and more questions. What is therefore interest about the possibility of the second season – and the second base season in general – is the way that it pushes the testify .
Both Little Green Men and The Host crusade the read several steps forward, forcing the series to move onwards. Looking at the foremost season – peculiarly episodes like E.B.E. – there ’ s a sense that The X-Files could have spent years teasing the uncover of an alien organism. On can imagine the show playing respective years of “ Mulder about sees an foreigner but just misses it ”, finally allowing the audience a glimpse at sweeps or as the ratings hang. rather, Carter throws aliens into the first episode of the second season .
The Host is, to quote one of Carter ’ s on-line chats, the show ’ second “ first gear real number monster floor. ” Obviously episodes of the first season fit the description of a “ monster-of-the-week ” fib, but the show had been reluctant to engage with the traditional “ actor in a illy arctic suit ” school of television receiver science-fiction and horror. evening Shapes, the first gear season ’ s much-maligned werewolf history, seemed to have been produced at the behest of a studio ( rather than a production staff ) that wanted a monster history .
And The Host doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate do it by half-measures. Unlike the werewolf in Shapes, the freak at the heart of The Host is showcased quite frequently and quite heavily. Although it lurks in dark, we see enough of it to know that it is not some apparition or magic trick. The sequence doesn ’ metric ton barely let the audience get up close and personal to the creature. even Mulder and Scully are so close to it that it becomes impossible to deny. They even get to take half of it home with them .
It ’ s an adorably straight-up freak fib, one that hits quite a few of the familiar freak movie floor beats – transcending all sorts of horror subgenres. The creature itself is imbued with a foreign innocence, despite its ferociousness and its character in quite a few deaths. It recalls very old-school horror monsters, the sympathetic Universal horror characters like Frankenstein or The Creature for the Black Lagoon, albeit with more mod makeup .
The Host plays this slant very well, as if inviting the audience to pity the beast. The conversation between Mulder and Skinner about what to do with the creature touches on these sorts of ideas. “ This is not a man, ” Mulder insists, like the protagonist of a black-and-white creature feature. “ It ’ s a freak. You can ’ thymine put it in an institution. ” Skinner responds, “ then what do you do with it, Agent Mulder ? Put it in a menagerie ? ” It ’ s not besides hard to imagine the lapp switch over in a pulpy b-movie about some freak or other .
Carter ’ s script doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate pin to this traditional monster movie mood. The Host, as the name implies, besides delves into the sort of body horror that became associated with horror in the late seventies and into the eighties. The Host features several of the most memorable sequences in the history of the show, and some of them seem to push the boundaries of what The X-Files could get away with on a national network .
In particular, the creature is very clearly tapping into the kind of antic generative horror associated with Alien. And that means that The Host comes with a wealth of subtext that makes the episode even freakier than anything that appears on film. Most obviously, there ’ s the fact that the creature is using the human body for generative purposes. “ This… creature, or whatever it is… is transmitting it ’ second eggs or larva through it ’ s sting, ” Scully explains .
It ’ south deserving noting that the victims of the creature are all male. indeed, The Host is celebrated as one of the relatively rare episodes of The X-Files that never places any female character in any veridical hazard at any point. rather, the animal forcibly impregnates a crowd of male characters. This seems like a conscious attempt to evoke the sexual subtext that made Alien therefore brilliantly unsettling – the estimate that the male characters are being sexually assaulted, which catches the consultation off precaution .
The animal ’ randomness life-cycle is about an anastrophe of that of the eponymous animal from Alien. It attacks the host viciously, breaking the skin ; then it emerges from the mouth. While not a overt as the face-hugger, the script draws attention to the oral component of the attack. “ I ’ d be felicitous if you ’ d precisely give me something to get this taste out of my mouthpiece, ” the second victim complains after his assail. ( The first victim is grabbed by the face and pulled head-first into the water. )
As such, The Host looks and feels like a miniature monster movie. One of the lineage observations about The X-Files is that it felt like “ watching a movie every week ” and The Host reinforces this estimate. It is very much a giant movie produced for television, serving as a demonstration of what The X-Files can be. Positioning it as the irregular sequence of the season is a stroke of ace, peculiarly for a young show trying to catch an hearing .
The fact that Carter opted to write The Host over Little green Men is quite telling. angstrom much as The X-Files would come to be defined by its over-arching mythology, that sense of long-form storytelling was distillery alone embryonic at this point in the read ’ south life hertz. The first season ’ sulfur foreigner episodes don ’ metric ton string together as a individual adventure told in multiple installments – there ’ mho close continuity between Squeeze and Tooms that Fallen Angel and The Erlenmeyer Flask .
little Green Men might give William B. Davis more little more dialogue than he has had before and have gloomy beret death squads, but it was primarily about defining Mulder ’ s character and quest rather than peeling back the layers on an ominious conspiracy. The government conspiracy doesn ’ metric ton have a boldness – or any key players – at this point. It seems quite likely that Carter decided to write The Host because the stand-alone monster-of-the-week history was deemed more necessity to the read – and possibly more indicative mood of what it wanted to be – than the premier .
And The Host endures as one of the most distinctive and memorable X-Files episodes ever produced. The creature featured in the episode, “ Fluke man ”, is quite possible the most iconic monster to only appear in a single episode of the show. much like the usher ’ s other memorable monster to date, Victor Eugene Tooms, the animal is instantaneously memorable and distinctive. ( It ’ s worth noting how early Tooms and “ Fluke world ” appeared in their respective seasons, as if part of a conscious mood-setting. )
indeed, The Host was included as the only monster-focused “ monster-of-the-week ” fib on the X-Files : essential DVD. Justifying its survival for the set, producer Frank Spotnitz pointed to its impact :

The Host, I have to say to this day is one of the most talk about episodes we ever did. It good hit on something, a aboriginal fear that people have of something entering your consistency. And it ’ s a bang-up urban myth, the snake coming out of the toilet bowl kind of thing. There ’ s the scene in the port-a-potty that people equitable can ’ t get out of their heed. That ’ south when we felt we had done our job well, when people had a hard time turning off the lights that night after the show. That was early season two, and we were calm on Friday nights by that point. It was one of the defining moments in the history of the series, one of the ones that helped cement our consultation. It creeped people out so badly .

indeed, “ Fluke man ” has become thus democratic that he has adorned t-shirts and even launched action figures. The character has had one heck of an impact .
carter himself has occasionally seemed a little disbelieving of The Host. Writing the introduction to John Kenneth Muir ’ s Horror Film FAQ, he observed :

The Host, though a popular sequence, is not perfectly spokesperson of what The X-Files did best. The monster ( played by Darin Morgan, who would go on to more glorious fame as a writer on the show ) was terrifying enough, but there he was, in the very light of day, or preferably the light of the sewers, for all to see. A brassy exhilarate .

Whether the thrill was bum or not, it worked. It helped make the second season of The X-Files one of the most talked-about shows on television .
What ’ second interesting about the second temper of The X-Files is how hard it works to establish and expand the world of The X-Files, and how much of that is driven as much by production necessities as by anything else. Gillian Anderson ’ s pregnancy was something of a output problem for the show, limiting the actress ’ handiness and character ’ randomness options. While a trenchcoat does so much to hide a bump, Scully could not truly shoulder one half of the read in its second base season .
The first season had treated Scully as the character most accessible to the spectator. The show begins with Mulder already locked away in the basement of the FBI, and closely familiar with UFO lore and extrasensory matters, but the audience follows Scully as she ventures into the populace of The X-Files. Sure, Mulder gets a lot of character development and history, but we don ’ thyroxine delve besides far into his background .
While Beyond the Sea focuses on Scully ’ s kin midway through the show ’ randomness first gear year, we don ’ t make to meet Mulder ’ s class until towards the end of the second season. Although Conduit gives us some back story for Mulder, we don ’ metric ton get to meet Samantha until Little Green Men. While Conduit deals with Mulder ’ s past trauma allegorically, the first season episode that engages most immediately with Mulder ’ randomness history is Fire, which introduces an ex-girlfriend we never meet ( or hear about ) again .
With Gillian Anderson largely unavailable, it ’ s the second base season that actually embraces Mulder as the point of view character – to the point where the merely episode that in truth engages with Scully ’ randomness abduction from Scully ’ s position is irresistible. Glen Morgan and James Wong have described little fleeceable Men as an undertake to do Beyond the Sea for Mulder, which tacitly suggests that Scully ’ s quality development in the foremost season had edged ahead a bit of that of Mulder .
While Scully is relegated to a supporting role by real-world production issues, the first block of the second season focuses about entirely on Mulder. Scully has adapted quite well to her reassignment at Quantico. She is a supporter and a voice of rationality to Mulder, an adept who may be consulted, but there ’ s no real discharge for Scully in these episodes. It is Mulder who is driving the case, and Mulder ’ s dissatisfaction and discomfort that anchors these stories .
This is arguably the biggest problem with The Host. Quite merely, Mulder doesn ’ metric ton work a well on his own as he does with Scully. To be average, some of the subsequent episodes touch on this, particularly Blood. even The Host alludes to the mind that Mulder needs Scully to balance himself, as Mulder proves completely incapable of navigating his relationship to Skinner single-handed .
however, there ’ s a sense that Carter is possibly a little excessively sympathetic to Mulder ’ mho martyrdom complex to very push the idea that. After the giant has been taken into detention, Skinner and Mulder discuss the position. Discovering that there has been a second victim, Mulder protests, “ You know, you had a pair of agents that could have handled a character like this. Agent Scully and I might have been able to save that serviceman ’ sulfur liveliness, but you shut us down. ”

While it ’ s a valid indicate, it ’ south worth noting that a considerable parcel of The Host is devoted to Mulder dragging his feet on the case. He mopes about it being “ a bare drugland body dump ” and storms into Skinner ’ mho agency to complain. He has the beginning body shipped to Skinner as a petit larceny protest, refusing to engage with the case enthusiastically until it is demonstrated to be something matter to to him. Had Mulder been more engaged with the case alternatively of indulging his holier-than-thou victim complex, there would have been a better gamble of solving the case quick .
Carter ’ s script never implies that Mulder ’ s half-assed handle of the initial body convalescence may have been responsible for delays that led to the death of the second victim. Skinner, who is typically healthy and detached, responds to Mulder ’ s accusations in an apologetic manner. “ I know, ” he concedes restfully. There ’ randomness a common sense that The Host might have been a stronger sequence had it been will to leave some more ambiguity around Mulder ’ second effectiveness and efficiency as a solo investigator .
hush, Gillian Anderson ’ sulfur limited handiness shapes and defines the start of the second season in a number of ways that ultimately work out quite well for the show. Most obviously, her absence forces an component of serialization on the show. It ’ second easy to imagine that – had Gillian Anderson been completely available at the start of the class – the show would have reverted back to the condition quo at the end of the second seaosn premiere .
After all “ Mulder and Scully investigate brainsick stuff ” is the format of the appearance, so one imagines the second base season would have wanted to get rear to that vitamin a early as possible, peculiarly given the room the season is structured as an presentation to the picture for new viewers attracted by re-runs or buzz. however, Scully ’ s absence forbid that mind, and forced the producers to delay the reset to that premise until after Gillian Anderson had given birth .
As a result, the second season opens with an drawn-out bow that is based around a status quo radically different from the basic precede of the indicate. This necessitates long-form plat and serialization a bit more aggressive than anything seen in the inaugural season. It demonstrates that The X-Files is a show that can balance these kinds of stories and can shake up its status quo a bite. The close of The X-Files international relations and security network ’ thymine a cliffhanger resolved immediately at the startle of the second season ; it ’ s a raw status quo .
And it isn ’ t something that the show assures viewers will be “ fixed. ” While threads play out across these episodes, the driving narrative violence in the open six episodes is not the reopen of The X-Files and the restitution of the previous status quo. Episodes like The Host, Blood and Sleepless aren ’ thyroxine materially about trying to get Mulder back on the X-files, alternatively they are adventures that exist in a populace where certain rules of the usher have been suspended. It cements the mind that narrative elements need not be resolved immediately .
Anderson ’ sulfur absence is besides creditworthy for broadening the prove ’ s cast a moment. With Anderson unavailable, The X-Files casts Mulder as the lead quality. however, it works unvoiced to build a supporting cast around him. The first season had struggled with the idea of recurring characters beyond the Smoking Man, with the Lone Gunmen and Assistant Director Skinner only appearing in one episode each .
With more focus on Mulder, the moment season develops and expands these characters. Skinner features heavily in both Little Green Men and The Host, and both episodes advance the characterization of Skinner beyond a mere administrative obstacle for Mulder to brush up against. In Little Green Men, Skinner kicks the Smoking Man out of his office, and The Host plays with Mulder ’ s sense of righteous entitlement by drawing attention to the fact that Skinner isn ’ triiodothyronine brushing Mulder off because he has nothing better to do .
It helps that actor Mitch Pileggi is fantastic in the character, absolutely capturing Skinner ’ s inner conflict. Skinner very much appears as a valet following the orders and directives given by those above him, but one who isn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate willfully clogging. Skinner seems like a fictional character who is an obstacle because he is trying to do the right thing, rather than because he wants to screw over Mulder. This makes him more matter to than person like Section Chief Blevins, who seems to exist because Mulder needs a fictional character against whom to butt heads .
While Carter ’ randomness option to write this particular episode may seem reasonably unusual, The Host does feel like a Chris Carter script. The report touches on Carter ’ s environmentalism and the episode ’ mho coda even involves something of a austere warn for the viewers at home. Revealing that the creature originated in Chernobyl, Scully explains, “ Mulder, nature didn ’ triiodothyronine make this thing. We did. ” Carter international relations and security network ’ t a writer who does subtlety, and the final picture – with all its exhibition about the origins of the giant – feels like an attempt to force a message into the episode .
( The Host is unblock from some of Carter ’ s more excessive philosophical monologues, but the final view between Mulder and Scully still offers Mulder a here and now of pseudo-profundity. “ You know, they say three species disappear off the planet every day, ” he observes. “ You wonder how many fresh ones are being created. ” It ’ south one of those sentiments that sounds quite nice… but tries a little to hard to give existential entail to a man in a rubber freak lawsuit. )
The habit of Chernobyl as the beginning of the monster is an interest option. On the one hand, it seems rather crass. radioactive mutants are something of a brassy pop acculturation stable, with nuclear energy serving as the catalyst for all sorts of awful creations. Gojira is about a awful freak awakened by nuclear weapons. The Hills Have Eyes is based around mutants created by atomic testing on american dirty. however, using Chernobyl as the point of origin for a radioactive monster in an american repugnance show feels about crass .
Chernobyl is, after all, a real catastrophe that dramatically affected countless lives in Eastern Europe. It was a calamity that was silent current when The Host was released, and its effects are even felt today. Charities and volunteers are even working hard to provide help and corroborate for people whose lives were destroyed by those events. To use Chernobyl as the reference of a radioactive mutant in an american english television testify feels a little exploitative .
then again, possibly that ’ s the indicate. The Host is consciously designed to evoke fifties science-fiction b-movies, with its rubber giant costume, arrested development on mutation and questionable grip of biology. Those rubbishy repugnance films frequently came with a none-too-subtle Cold War subtext, frequently expressing a fear of Communist percolation or nuclear apocalypse. As such, Chernobyl seems like a desirable point of origin for the creature .
The Host is an episode that seems to have been written to give likely fans of The X-Files precisely what they want. Carter calibrates the respective ingredients carefully, and even manages to devote considerable distance to teasing the Mulder and Scully kinship. As Mulder rants and raves about his miss of options, he admits, “ They don ’ metric ton want us working in concert, Scully… and right now, that ’ s the only rationality I can think of to stay. ”
It ’ sulfur surely a credit line that hints at a romantic dimension to their dynamic – Mulder may want to be spinal column working on the X-Files, but partnering with Scully would be adequate to satisfy him. He isn ’ thymine disinterested in Scully ’ s proposal that he return to Behavioural Sciences, a motion would reunite him with Scully ; he rejects it as an impossibility. The Host seems to suggest that Mulder ’ s anguish is rooted as much in his interval from Scully as it is in his removal from the X-Files .
In a way, it ’ s the quality work on The X-Files that holds up best. Mulder and Scully would become a cardinal part of the read ’ second success, to the period where the usher seemed unable to limp along with out them. many of the indicate ’ randomness best moments had nothing to do with aliens or monsters or conspiracies, but in the far-out moral force that exists between two dysfunctional individuals. Mulder and Scully work together fabulously well, whether one likes the idea of a romantic relationship between them or not, and The Host sees Carter acting that card very skillfully .
Of course, there ’ s a sense that Carter was being just a little bit brash here. While writing scenes that are distinctly designed to tease the theme of a quixotic chemical bond between Mulder and Scully, he was besides vigourously denying the possibility of a Mulder and Scully romance in contemporary interviews, like a 1994 interview with Starlog :

“ One of the most interesting things about the picture is that the characters are not romantically linked ; rather, there is a great softwood of [ common ] admiration and respect, ” Carter explains. “ When you put a smart valet and a smart womanhood in a room, I think have contiguous intimate latent hostility. But if the indicate lasts five or six years, knock on wood, I think anything could happen. ”

Of course, the show would inescapably involve Mulder and Scully in a romanticist relationship. Conversations like this suggest that Carter constantly knew the development was inevitable, he was equitable playfully stoking fan anticipation by denying it. As such, it ’ randomness another example of how beautifully The Host sets the temper .
The Host remains one of the most iconic and authoritative episodes of The X-Files always produced. Along with Little Green Men, it ruthlessly and efficiently brings new viewers up to speed – offering an idea of what the read is capable of doing within the confines of contemporary television. It ’ s a authoritative episode for a reason, skillfully constructed to demonstrate the testify ’ s strengths. It was surely no fluke .
You might be concerned in our early reviews of the moment season of The X-Files :

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Filed under : The X-Files | Tagged : carter, Chernobyl, chris carter, fluke, fluke valet, flukeman, gillian anderson, mulder, scully, Skinner, the host, the x-files, x-files |

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