"Mulder, I just came up with a sick theory." "Ooh, I'm listening."
REVIEW: Our Town is another Red Museum, isn't it? Like that episode, it features a meat plant (chicken instead of beef) to make the audience squirm, and infected meat, though the poultry is blameless. It's the other white meat that's responsible. And it keeps jumping from culprit to culprit until mostly everyone is to blame. If it does a little better than Red Museum, it's because it at least has a central metaphor. A small, closed town turns on those who don't fit in (the character of Kearns who is eaten at the top of the show), a theme that's made even more obvious in the chickens being fed chicken protein at the factory. Too obvious?
The episode certainly wields gore and violence like blunt instruments, but that's not to say they aren't effective. The infected woman who falls in the meat grinder and Scully being bound in a contraption waiting for decapitation are both striking, as is the river of blood. But were the decapitated heads necessary? Rob Bowman's cinematography is something interesting (the bonfire is particularly nice), but the soundtrack is repetitive and lifeless. Not his best effort.
As a plot, it works well enough, although one should ask why the obstructive sheriff drags the river for real, knowing what would be found in there. Perhaps he thought Mulder and Scully would provide quiet snacks and that their disappearance wouldn't make the rest of the FBI come running. It's not the tightest of scripts, even if you accept the premise that eating human flesh a certain way will grant you a longer life span (as Colonel Sanders will attest, but ask Mulder and he'll tell you it's a Catholic thing too). I guess if I had immortality, I wouldn't want to spend it processing chicken meat. So I'd still rather watch the original Wicker Man, thanks.
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: At the beginning of the episode, Scully is frustrated the higher-ups are sending them on hokey assignments like this one, and that they're just trying to discredit them. As it turns out, something WAS happening in Dudley, Arkansas. Did the Conspiracy (Smoking Man side) gamble and lose? Or did the Conspiracy (X side) want Col. Sanders destroyed? Are we not seeing the aftermath in which X raids Chaco Chicken Mansion for the secret to immortality?
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Once you get past the shocking body horror, the plot holes start to appear.