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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hungry is a great season 7 episode. It does take an interesting unique approach to the episode in that the main character and focus is on the monster's point of view. We get this a little in some of the episodes in previous seasons but in none of those is the entire episode done this way and Mulder and Scully portrayed simply as the FBI people that are following him around. I like the fact that this poor guy tries so hard to not be what he is but in all reality just simply can't because he has to eat in order to live. Talk about an eating disorder. This is especially interesting from the point of view of anyone who has ever been addicted to something and gone to a support group. I personally haven't ever been to a meeting like this but know people who have and have done some research on different groups and one of the main ideas taught about addictions is that the person who is addicted needs to realize that they have lost the ability to choose whether or not they partake of the thing they are addicted to. You can work hard to abstain and you can actually do so for long periods of time but eventually you end up giving into temptation whether you know its wrong or not. I really do sympathize with the monster in this case because he treats his condition as something that he wishes he could control and just can't and he literally doesn't have anyone that he can turn to that would understand and not see him as a monster. Viewing this episode as a metaphor for anyone who worries about dark secret addictions they deal with I think the story works extremely well and portrays a good message that no matter how monstrous you may think your secret may appear to those around you should they find out, there really are good people out there who are waiting and wanting to help you. The monster in this case has the choice of giving in and working to get help or to give up and be released from his torment. Lamentably he chooses the latter.
In this x-file, a young man who works at a fast-food store, has
problems controlling his monstrous appetite for human brains. To make
this episode more interesting, we see the story unfold through the life
of the monster, which surprisingly makes you feel sorry for him.
Looking for help, he attends an eating-disorder clinic which doesn't
help much and just makes things even more frustrating. As Mulder and
Scully get closer to exposing the truth, you can't wait to find out
what will happen and you even hope the case remains unsolved for the
benefit of our misunderstood, brain-eating monster.
7/10 Best Monster-of-the-Week episode from Season 7
The best thing about the X-Files writers is that they can build a
history out of nothing or maybe just with a simple thing as maybe a
Dog, a novelist, an Erlenmeyer flask, etc. This time, Vince Gilligan
wrote about something that everybody has suffer, hunger.
The thing with hunger in this episode was: How to make it an X-file?, Mr. Gilligan mast have been very hungry to write this one because is one of the best of season seven. This episode is not as dark as The X-Files are used to, but even with almost all scenes filmed in daylight it just keeps getting better and better to the very end that is one of the best of the whole series.
Season seven, often seen by many devotees as straying from the series'
roots, ironically harks back to previous episodes with it's third
sequential and first stand-alone episode, "Hungry." Much in the same
way that Eugene Tooms ("Squeeze, Tooms") required human livers, Virgil
Incanto ("2Shy") fed on body fat, and the guy from "Teliko" needed
pituitary glands for subsistence, Rob Roberts gets his calories from
brain matter. While this could have made for a pedestrian re-tread of
themes from the aforementioned previous episodes, writer Vince Gilligan
(known for having penned classics like "Pusher" and "Folie a Deux")
changes things up a bit by telling the story from the monsters'
perspective. All Roberts wants is a normal life without the impulsions
of a monstrous appetite, pardon the pun. This makes for an episode with
greater psychological depth than the average MOTW, however, a few
things prevented me from fully enjoying it as a whole. First, the
psychiatrist character seemed awfully contrived, from her inexplicable
purpose in the plot (what fast-food joint would be so generous as to
hire a counselor for their minimum-wage employees?) to her corny lines
in the final scene. Second, Mulder's goading behavior seemed annoyingly
excessive and reminiscent of last season's "Terms of Endearment." If he
had been any secondary character he would not have survived to the end
of the episode.
When analyzing the stand-alone episodes it's essential to view them both within their own context and within the canvas of the series. When viewed in the former, "Hungry" would get a 6 from me. It's Gilligan's ability to take the premises of episodes past and re-work them into new and innovative formats that make this one more worthy of an 8. I'll go half way and give it a 7. No more drive-thrus for me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The incredibly popular series, "The X-Files" often dealt with some sort of monster which was killing innocent people, either through evil or blind instinct. The monster in the episode "Hungry" is the same in that innocent people are losing their lives. But where the story differs is that the monster, Rob Roberts (Chad Donella, in an absolutely amazing performance), is trying everything possible to resist his urge to kill. He knows that it is wrong, and he hates and despises himself for it. He hates even more that he cannot stop himself, no matter what he does. A kindly and caring psychologist, Dr. Rinehart, tries to help him, and ultimately confronts him with the truth that he has been trying to hide. Rob removes his physical disguise to show her his true and frightening appearance. But instead of being horrified or repulsed, she responds with pity and sorrow for his plight ("You poor man. What you must go through."). When Mulder and Scully arrive on the scene and order Roberts to surrender, Dr. Rinehart encourages him to "be that good person I know you mean to be." For Rob, her words seem to galvanize the reality that since he cannot control his murderous urges, he can never "be that good person." He rushes agents Mulder and Scully, forcing them to shoot in self-defense. As Rob lies on the floor, Dr. Rinehart tearfully asks "Why?" Rob's last words before he dies are "I can't be something I'm not."
For me, season seven does not start out strongly. The Sixth Extinction episodes are two of the weakest mythology episodes I've seen. Hungry immediately follows and does not deliver. Hungry is written by Vince Gilligan, my favorite X-Files writer. In this episode, he attempts something different; having the story told from the villain's point of view and not Mulder and Scully's. Now, I appreciate Vince trying to do something different, but it doesn't work for me. Turning Mulder and Scully into secondary characters is a mistake. Their bantering back and forth is such an integral part of the series, that when gone, is very noticeable. Once again, Mulder assumes the role of Columbo, as he did in "Terms of Endearment" from season six. It's tedious this time around. Mulder makes an extreme leap to what's really happening very early in the episode, even early for Mulder. And if Mulder is a secondary character, Scully is almost non-existent and just calmly goes along with Mulder's ideas. I felt that Vince Gilligan wanted us to feel sympathy for Rob Roberts with his "aw shucks" mannerisms. I felt none for him. He's still a killer. Who I did feel sympathy for was Derwood Spinks, excellently cast by the way. An ex-convict trying to integrate back into society again, ruined by a murder investigation in which he is innocent. Rob seeing brains in the hamburger patties and in the texture of the bald man's head were nice touches to show his hunger. With Mulder and Scully playing secondary characters and the show focusing on an unsympathetic character instead, this episode left me "Hungry" for a better episode.
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