The X-Files Review by John Keegan

The X-Files 11.04: The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

The X-Files 11.04: The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

Written By:
Darin Morgan
Directed By:
Darin Morgan

Right from the start, Darin Morgan was the go-to guy for writing X-Files episodes that made tons of self-aware meta-references and skewered the show’s sense of self-importance.  Most of Morgan’s scripts feel like a thinly-veiled campaign to deflate Chris Carter’s considerable ego.  But more than that, they are often a commentary on society at large at the time of writing and serve to explore the characters in unusual but insightful ways.



At the heart of the episode is the story of a man who has lost his mind, Reggie Something, who manages to nonetheless expose at least the surface of a government campaign to get the public to question its own memory and understanding of events via the Mandela Effect.  By the time Dr. They points out how this is precisely how the Trump Administration’s PR machine works, one is left to ponder if there is even such a thing as “the truth” to find out there, when it can simply come down to whose Big Lie is most persuasive.


What is confounding in terms of reviewing or dissecting such episodes is that they stand essentially for what they are; there’s not much that needs to be added to the equation of what hits the screen.  Also, the episodes have a particular brand of humor that is best experienced rather than explained point for point.  So much of the episode is basking in the body language, the interplay, and the clever use of footage from yesterday (and marveling at how young they look in those clips!).



One could take certain elements of the Dr. They concept and apply it to the mythology in various ways, since there is the open question of how much Mulder and Scully have uncovered or been told over the decades is remotely true.  We’re not even supposed to be sure if Cancer Man was telling the truth in the season premiere, and that’s a plot point!  It reminds the audience in several different ways that there is a futility in what Mulder and Scully have been attempting all this time, and perhaps it makes sense that their “mission” has culminated in the very personal matter of William and seeing, as best they can, to his future.


In the larger scheme, this episode does answer a question from the end of “Plus One”: Mulder and Scully are back to dating and being reliably co-dependent.  But rather than confusing or annoying, Morgan makes it feel comfortable and understandable.  This is the Mulder and Scully that we remember, more or less, and thus the episode ends with Morgan telling the audience that it’s perfectly fine if we remember them this way.  And perhaps, it’s Morgan acknowledging that it’s better to remember them with slightly rose-colored glasses than deal with some of the recent decisions Carter has made.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The comedy is pitch-perfect, from self-deprecation to commentary on current events
  • The fake montage alone is worth the time
The Bad:
  • The episode actually manages to highlight all the ways the new episodes are questionable

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

The X-Files by - 1/26/2018 11:45 AM582 views

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