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THE X-FILES 11x04: The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

This episode was soooo POCO.

THE X-FILES 11x04: The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

I knew from the moment I saw this episode title, it would be good. Not because I have a weird love of forehead sweat or anything, but because like "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," "Jose Chung's From Outer Space," and "Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster," is has all the lengthy and quirky tell-tale signs of a Darin Morgan episode title. And we love Darin Morgan episodes, yes we do.

Previously on The X-Files

Mulder and Scully head to small town Virginia, where a couple of telepathic twins play a deadly game of Hangman. Also: there was a lot of Mulder/Scully flirtation happening. Read the full recap/comment with your feels here.

This Week’s Case File

We start with a black-and-white flashback - or maybe it's an old movie? A sweaty man sitting at a 1940s bar, going on and on about "the martians," and within two seconds, the camp factor is already high enough that you know this episode is gonna be a goodie. The man thinks he sees a martian out the window, only for the bartender to tell him that's not a window…it's a mirror.

When you try to snap a pic but your front facing camera is on

Mulder's been out squatchin' in an attempt to escape today's crazy political climate when he sees an X on his window - the universal sign for secret rendezvous, so he meets a squirrely guy named Reggie in a parking garage. Reggie says They made Mulder forget him, and reminds him of an old Twilight Zone episode called "The Lost Martian" before disappearing. Suddenly, Mulder's digging through his old VHS tapes to find that episode because he KNOWS it exists. Next, Scully meets squirrely guy in the parking garage, and he hands her a box of off brand Jell-o from her childhood -cherry-flavored Goop-o ABC - asking her to help him before They erase him. For their third rendezvous, Scully and Mulder meet him together, and learn that Reggie thinks the government is at the bottom of this mass phenomenon of misremembering, something he calls the Mingle Effect but Mulder calls the Mandela Effect. Scully, meanwhile, thinks they're both crazy.

Reggie has spent years trying to figure out who is at the bottom of this, and his research led him to a weird ass YouTube video about a man named Thaddeus Q. They, a neuroscientist who figured out how to alter people's memories. This reminds Reggie that back when he was a med student during the invasion of Grenada, he stumbled upon a captured alien, telling a doctor that in 35 years, another alien would visit Earth to warn us about environmental catastrophe. But They come(s) and takes the alien away before he can finish. Obsessed with finding out the truth, Reggie quits med school, joins the FBI and eventually - Bum BUM BUMMMMM - starts the X-Files.

Exsqueeze me?

We're then blessed with a super cut of a bunch of old The X-Files episodes with Reggie edited into them and it is truly glorious. Reggie bought the I Want to Believe poster; Reggie is present to, um, greet Scully on her first day; he interrupts Clyde Bruckman talking about Grenada; he walks in on the Scully/Mulder almost kiss in "Small Potatoes." But just before he can tell them about their last case together, Dr. They's henchmen arrive to take him away, and he runs.

Mulder's trying to figure this shizz out when he gets a call from the one and only Dr. They and has yet another secret rendezvous. Turns out, Dr. They is the creator of Phony Fake News: real facts, presented in a way so preposterous, no one will believe them. He tells Mulder that his time at the X-Files is up: powerful people no longer need to go to great lengths to cover up their secrets. We live in a post-conspiracy age - the difference between real and fake doesn't matter anymore because people only believe what they choose to believe anyway. It's a reference, of course, to fake news and the 2016 election, and the spread of information and misinformation on the internet, which manages to be both topical and a way to pull this episode into the greater arc of the whole season - heck, the whole revival, even.

Back in the parking garage, Scully has dug up details on Reggie. Turns out, he got hit in the head with a shovel at Grenada, was sent to the hospital, and ended up doing a string of bureaucratic desk jobs, working his way up from the post office all the way to the NSA before having a nervous breakdown and being committed to a mental institution. Speaking of mental institutions, an old timey ambulance arrives right about then, wraps Reggie in a straight jacket, and is about to take him away when Mulder asks what happens on their last case together.

pretty good advice tbqh

In the final flashback, Mulder, Scully and Reggie meet an alien space ship 35 years after Grenada. The alien who is supposed to warn them about environmental catastrophe has come back, and after a laugh out loud sequence in which he slowly takes an escalator off the ship and greets them on a Segway, he tells the three members of the X-Files that Earthlings are no longer allowed to visit outer space, delivering a speech ripped directly from a Trump press conference about how they're building a wall because we're not sending our best people out there. He gives them a book called "All The Answers" with…well, all the answers about anything, and peaces out.



Okay now I kinda wish I could watch the entire series with Reggie as the hilarious sidekick?

While the big reveal of this episode was that Mulder and Scully had a partner at the X-Files all along, that turns out to not be quite so true. Or is it? Skinner shows up at the end asking where they're taking Reggie, so we're left to wonder what's the truth and what's fake news. The theme of this entire episode reminds me of one of my favorite hours of television: Bad Blood. I was honestly surprised it wasn't included in the montage of classic eps, since it was about Scully and Mulder remembering the same evening entirely differently.


Darin Morgan's genius - I now have to go back and rewatch all his X-Files episodes.


"Confuse The Twilight Zone with The Outer Limits??? DO YOU EVEN KNOW ME?" - Mulder

"You're having a Mingle Effect about the Mandela Effect."  - Reggie

"The ability to manipulate memory creates unlimited power - polical, economical, cultural. It runs the gamut from Holocaust denial to corporate product recognition." - Reggie, hitting a little too close to home

"That's science, Scully."
"Theoretical science at best, Mulder."

"Move along, Sugarboobs, this is the X-Files. No women allowed." - Reggie, on Scully's first day

"Wait, if she's their mother how can she be their…..oh boy." - Reggie, the moment they pull Karin Konoval out from under the bed in Home

"I'm Fox Mulder, you freaking punks! Fox freaking MULDER!"

"Ughhh that's so POCO." - Dr. They

"You're free to explore Uranus all you want." - Trump Alien

"We can't allow your kind to infiltrate the rest of the cosmos. You're not sending us your best people. You're bringing drugs, you're bringing crimes, your rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but we have no choice." -  Trump Alien

"Bing bing bong bong bing." - Trump Alien

“We’re not alone in the universe, but nobody likes us?” - Mulder


The official face of "Sure. Fine. Whatever."



- Trump Alien: clever or a little too heavy handed? Either way, uncomfortably spot-on.

- Dear god WHY do the aliens have Brad-Pitt-Existential-Crisis goatees?

- Did you guys catch any other Easter Eggs in this episode?

- Dare we say this is a top ten all time episode? Yay or nay? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

All gifs via giphy.com

Categories: Tubin' Tags: foxx files
Rosemary Hallmark's photo About the Author: Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her cute husband and even cuter dog. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. (She's still got a soft spot for the swoony, contemporary stuff.) A former magazine editor, she is now a freelance writer, graphic designer, art director and photo stylist. The rest of her time is spent drinking cocktails, renovating her house and laughing at her husband's ridiculous Pretty Little Liars theories.