Friday, December 10, 2010

X-Files--"The Host"

“The Host” introduces us to two of the most iconic characters in the series. The first is, of course, Flukeman. The creature is almost as a recognizable part of the X-Files as the grey aliens. The second is Mr. X, who will replace Deep Throat as Mulder’s secretive ally. Mr. X appears only in the shadows here, but establishes his goal is to get the X-Files reinstated.

A goal which cannot come fast enough for Mulder. He is still on mind numbingly boring wiretap duty and contemplating leaving the FBI to do independent paranormal work when he is reassigned to a murder case in New Jersey. He feels insulted by the assignment. He winds up digging through the sewers to find a corpse. It looks like a standard drug land killing.

But it is much more than that. Scully arranges to perform the autopsy herself as a way of still serving as Mulder’s partner. She discovers a fluke worm living within the corpse at the same time Mulder meets with a sanitation worker who was attacked in the same sewer the corpse was found. He has a wound on his back that can best be identified as the bite of a giant fluke worm.

Flukeman gets trapped in the local sewage processing plant. Eventually, he is held in a converted water tank . The Fbi treats Flukeman as a regular murder suspect, planning a psychiatric evaluation and such. Mulder is angry, not only because the thing is a monster that cannot be medically treated or even put on trial., but that the case should have been an X-File. Skinner agrees, but he is taking orders from higher up.

Flukeman escapes during his transport to a psychiatric facility. He eventually makes his way back to the sewers in a attempt to head out to sea in search of a new host. He has a confrontation with Mulder and the plant foreman in which Mulder shuts a drain plug on him, thereby chopping Flukeman in half. Fluke worms can regenerate, so all that does is eventually create another one for the closing “cliffhanger.”

Mr. X has been helping Scully along during the investigation by offering her evidence Flukeman was a human mutated by lingering radiation from the Chernobyl accident in the Soviet union in 1986. The initial Murderr victim was from a Russian freighter carrying nuclear waste from Chernobyl. The agents’ reaction to the revelation is far less preachy about the dangers of nuclear energy than one might expect. Kudos for that.

Fluke man ranks right up there with Eugene Tooms as a favorite monster of the week. The creature was played by Darin Morgan, brother of writer Glen Morgan. Darin will go on to write for some iconic future episodes of the series within his own right.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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