season 1, episode 21, “tooms”
i’m not sure what the reason was that the writers decided to revisit a monster of the week from earlier in the season. it was only the third episode of the series that we were introduced to the liver eating mutant. was it viewer reaction? did they just love that monster so much? did it feel too open ended at the end of “squeeze?” it was a really good decision no matter the reasoning. they knew what they had on their hands with that third episode and their first MOTW. and they bring him back very thoughtfully. it could have been a disaster, like a bad sequel, but it wasn’t. if you were watching the show from the beginning, you are going to remember eugene victor tooms as soon as you see his name. if you are new to the show you would have been scared and intrigued at his appearance in the teaser. his face emerges out of utter darkness with yellow glowing eyes.
this episode is essential for many reasons. one is the debut of assistant director walter skinner. we learn he has an authority over the agents and that he has to answer to the cigarette smoking man (who speaks his first words in this episode). by all accounts, in this introduction, we are lead to believe that he is against our agents and against the x-files. mulder says he feels they are looking for any excuse to shut down the x-files and that a change is coming. we have no reason to believe that this skinner guy isn’t facilitating that change. he comes across as a strict hard ass, that has no time or patience for these shenanigans. scully sees it as being reeled in. they want her to make good on the debunking she was supposed to be doing. she’s too dedicated to mulder and the x-files now. in one of the best scenes between mulder and scully in the series she tells him “i wouldn’t put myself on the line for anyone but you.” he isn’t asking her to make sacrifices and decisions that would jeopardize her career. she makes the choice herself. she first calls him “fox” and he jokes that he even made his parents call him “mulder.” she doesn’t break her seriousness. she wants him to know how much she’s behind him and his work. he is grateful and shocked that someone with her integrity is willing to listen to him and fight alongside him. he responds, “if there’s iced tea in that bag, it could be love.” “must be fate, mulder. root beer.” when she relieves him on the stakeout, he jokes that she should listen to a particular radio show. she exits the car saying, “wouldn’t miss it for the world.” she’s not talking about the show, she’s talking about this adventure she’s committed to embarking on with him. she goes on to prove her commitment by lying to skinner about mulder’s whereabouts when tooms was supposedly assaulted. see? major things happening in this episode.
scully investigates using unconventional methods and off the record information. she’s seen x-files cases get solved that way, so she goes with it. she’s more interested in finding justice and reporting truthfully than giving into bureaucratic pressures. mulder, in the meantime, is putting pressure on tooms. he’s hell bent on not letting him get his fifth liver. with both of them dedicated they are able to catch the mutant in the end.
is tooms able to control his eyes changing color?
i liked the detail of the slightly dying plant in detective briggs’ apartment.
cue jogging extra with light up shoes…
that’s really gross that he was going up the toilet.
super creepy that he is just standing there, picking his face.
death by escalator. i can’t help but think about the movie, “mallrats.” “that kid is back on the escalator.” “i hope his pants get caught and a bloodbath ensues.” never thought escalators could be so deadly.
did you know? behind the scenes facts:
the line where mulder tells tooms he’s looking for his dog, “he’s a norwegian elkhound. his name is heinrich. i use him to hunt moose,” there is an adlibbed blooper where duchovny says, “i use him to hunt moose…for my hair.”
oy vay, the iced tea scene!
“wouldn’t miss it for the world.” scully is so on board with this guy.
m: “got that sandwich i asked for?” s: “yeah, liverwurst.”
s: “fox…” m: “i… i even made my parents call me ‘mulder.'” s: “i wouldn’t put myself on the line for anybody but you.” m: “if there’s iced tea in that bag, it could be love.” s: “must be fate, mulder. root beer.”
m: “you can get the next mutant.”