The X-Files #211: Hungry

"I'm sorry, but this is just good cop, insane cop."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A brain-sucking mutant desperately tries to curb his cravings.

REVIEW: I give Hungry credit for presenting an entire episode from the monster of the week's point of view. However, it's very badly scheduled. The leads have just bounced back from the season opener, and instead of showing us their new dynamic, they're hardly in the episode. To Rob Roberts, the episode's actual protagonist, Scully is just a stone-faced FBI agent, and Mulder is a slightly loony Columbo, neither appearing all that much. It's an amusing notion, but now is not the time for it. Though Mulder is on his case very early on, he keeps missing vital clues like leaking bags of blood. Lots of people have to die because of he's so leisurely in this.

And it would work better, I think, if Rob were a stronger character. I mean, he's vaguely sympathetic, at least TRYING to stop himself from eating brains. He's treated as an addict (there's even a meeting), hallucinating brains when he craves too hard. But he's a little too pathetic. His stutter doesn't feel natural. He makes plenty of mistakes (again, goes to Mulder's incompetence). And I don't really care about his world, his neighbors, his co-workers. As a monster, he's something we've seen before, a cannibal mutant who has a taste for a particular organ (is there a mutant type for each one?). It's fine, it connects to the world easily, and in an episode where the leads don't work things out on camera, we probably need that shorthand. But it's a little ordinary, and by the last act, I felt like taking a nap.

The most irritating element, however, is the over-empathic therapist. Here we have a woman who works for a fast food chain, offering mandatory counseling to meet HR's insurance requirements, and she's making house calls? And it turns out she'd figured out Rob was the cannibal killer, and just wanted to help him find the goodness in himself? This person, who's docket is likely filled with restaurant employees whose day was disrupted by two FBI agents asking about a murder, goes out of her way to go talk to the person she suspects killed a man, alone and without backup. The character is not believable, more than a little cheesy, and entirely stupid. And when Rob shows his monstrous face, she's, what, aroused?! Well, the arch acting certainly doesn't sell it, even if it could be sold.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Guys like Rob or the liver-eating Tooms are vaguely Greyish in appearance, but while I've surmised, in the past, that their blood lines might have been engineered by aliens, I've never really thought of them as having alien DNA per se. But with the movie's revelation that Greys have a "devourer" development stage, that certainly comes to mind now.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - An interesting conceit wasted. Just goes to show even Vince Gilligan can have an off day.

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