Despite loving this episode I only give it 9/10 because of the fact that right at the end they very briefly explain away fluke-man's existence with "radiation" from Chernobyl. Yeah, that's creative. Even "alien DNA" would have been better... Plus, to make things worse, they moralize about it. "Radiation. Abnormal cell fusion. The suppression of natural genetic processes. Mulder, nature didn't make this thing. We did." This whole theory comes out of nowhere and isn't integrated with anything. Furthermore, it actually contradicts what Scully says about the impossibility of sudden, complex mutations in a previous episode (yes, pointing this out makes me a nerd). It's as if right before they finished this episode someone said "Wait a second! We forgot about the explanation for fluke-man!" and then squeezed in this disappointingly unoriginal 15 seconds or so.
Chernobyl leaves a half man, half fluke
Because of waste from a radioactive nuke
It hides in the potty
This worm's very naughty
If it bites you, a new one you'll puke.
The Host is one of the most memorable Monster episodes that was ever done for the series. In fact, one of the only redeeming qualities of the season 4 episode "The Field Where I Died" is a reference to the giant flukeworm. The episode begins with a clog in the septic tank of a large Russian oceanliner out at sea. When the unfortunate peon of the crew is pulled underneath, the crew flushes the tanks and his body as well as his attacker are washed into the sewer system of Washington D.C. where the attacks continue on unsuspecting sanitation workers. I love this episode.
Mulder is called off his current surveillance assignment to investigate. I can't help but always feel bad for the poor guy that takes his place. I'm sure that dark room smells like rank Mulder farts by then. Mulder is upset with his new assignment, thinking it is another form of punishment from Skinner and those up top. We learn later on in the episode however that this really is a pivotal assignment. We learn that Mulder has a friend at the FBI who tells him that his success on this assignment is imperative and that reinstatement of the X-Files must be undeniable. I always feel kind of bad for Skinner in these earlier episodes because he always takes crap from Mulder and Scully like he was a bad guy although he is just trying to do an honest job and help Mulder and Scully. I guess it would take me a while to warm up to him as well though.
I also enjoy in this episode how Scully tries extra hard to be involved with Mulder on the case and even offers to do the autopsies. I also love the sanitation manager in this episode. First Mulder shows up asking about strange items showing up in the system and while he is there they catch the wormman. Then later when the incompetent U.S. Marshall ambulance lets him escape he is transported right back to the compound and the same manager is there again helping, even going down into the sewers with Mulder to catch the wormman. I'm sure he could have easily backed out and said "hey man thats not my job" and just given authorization for others to go down but no he took ownership of his job and went the extra mile. What a great guy.
I give this episode a 10 out of 10.
This script by Chris Carter was quite possibly his best up to this point. The idea itself is intriguing and well-executed, and this has to be just one of the most disgusting monsters on the show but also one of the most interesting and one of the best-developed. In addition to the quality of the monster and case, the episode is packed with witty banter, quirky guest characters, exceptionally well-done gross-out moments, stunning makeup work, a nasty end for the monster, and there's even interesting conversations between Skinner and Mulder and the introduction of Mr. X.
When it comes down to deciding which my favorite standalone episodes are I tend to go for the ones which are most inventive and different, as well as ones with exceptional writing for the characters and particularly notable dialogue. "The Host" actually manages to be all of those things with writing that extends beyond the case and characters into the overall mythology as well. Creepy, funny, intelligent, entertaining, and lots of fun, "The Host" is a real classic and one of the best episodes of not only season two but the whole series.
Mulder having been assigned to the case vents his frustration on A.D Skinner claiming it's nothing more than a jerk off assignment.A sort of punishment from his superiors for previous misdemeanors.However something more sinister is lurking beneath the surface! A sanitation worker is attacked in a sewer and manages to escape the unknown attacker.The doctors believe it's nothing more than a bite.A minor injury easily dismissed if you may.But when the worker gets home and is brushing his teeth viewers are treated to one of the most gruesome x-files moments!I won't go into any detail! The shadowy Mr X makes his first appearance via a telephone call to Mulder.He informs him the X-Files must be reinstated and for that to happen he must succeed in his current mission.
The flukeman(as the creature is known)is trying to make its way back to the sea and becomes trapped at the water plant leading to its recapture.though i still cant work out how it managed to kill the federal marshall and escape from the stretcher in the ambulance the first time it was captured! All in all this episode combines drama,action and sickness to great effect.
1. The premise was great: This should be a good thing... right? It is a good thing, but when you have a good premise and mess it up in every possible manner, then it makes the episode even worse. A movie like Robo-Monster never left anyone disappointed because it had nothing to live up to, but this episode had a good premise and it FAILED.
2. The Containment: In most movies, it is obnoxious but okay for "authorities" to get axed off because they don't know the full situation. You can have the excuse "That cop wouldn't expect a monster to jump out." However, in this episode, everyone is FULLY aware of what the creature is and what its capabilities are. Once it is captured, they know that it was strong enough to beat people in a fight, they know it is slippery, they know it is flexible, and yet they practically hold it in a paper bag with no guards. In all seriousness, why would you have only ONE person drive a creature to a high-containment facility when this creature could mean the death of everyone in the city. Why? The driver didn't even have a guard. This is highly obnoxious because it doesn't fit the scenario. Nobody would put something so deadly with no guards. LITERALLY NO GUARDS! Just one driver. It doesn't make sense.
3. The Incompetence of the Cast: In this episode, virtually everyone shows no signs of basic intelligence. I already explained how the episode dropped any form of competence in example two, but what is worse is that even the main cast stops thinking. Skinners, for example, says that they are going to press charges and send the monster to an institution. This doesn't make any sense. Imagine sending the Creature From the Black Lagoon to a court and expecting him to respond. Not only is that stupid, but it doesn't make any sense. It's embarrassingly. Also stupid is the fact that nobody decided to recover the body of the creature after killing it. Again, THEY KNEW the creature was related to a flatworm and it isn't a secret fact that flatworms regenerate. That is the only reason why they are famous in the first place. So not only do they think they killed it, but they decided to risk the lives of everyone by just saying "Eh, I'm sure its dead. Lets not pick up its body and make sure that it didn't regenerate or didn't have any eggs on it." This now makes the main characters look like complete idiots.
4. Everyone: A constant theme throughout this episode is people not waiting for back-up or even having back-up in general. Two people in a sewage system are attacked and the one guy is pulled out of the water... and then the other guy just abandons him... right on the waters edge. Might want to... I don't know, bring him to safety? Pull him out so that his feet aren't on the edge of the water? This same scenario happens with Mulder where he decides to fight the monster with one other person. Mulder consistently doesn't keep his eyes on his partner when his partner is going near the water and even when his partner falls in he doesn't try to get him out immediately. He just sits there. In this same scene he even holds his gun underwater when it could be held above water. Did he become completely stupid all of a sudden?
All in all, the premise is great, but its execution was terrible. Nobody does anything intelligent except for ONE side-character who actually decides to alert everyone of the creature and waits for back-up BEFORE he investigates it. Easily the most intelligent person.
Episode 2, 'The Host', original air date September 23rd, 1994. Written by Chris Carter, directed by Daniel Sackheim. Monster of the week episode count, 19. 'The Host' was the second episode, aside from the pilot, that featured on The X-Files: Essentials DVD collection. Following on from 'Beyond the Sea', which was more of a dramatic entry, 'The Host' is a straight up horror affair featuring one of the most gruesome and disgusting monsters conceived for the show. Unsurprisingly, the episode is often cited as a favourite among both fans and critics of the show and it's not difficult to see why. Carter's writing seems to be improving with each stroke of the pen, delivering his best standalone episode so far, and Sackheim's direction has shown a marked improvement since his early season 1 episodes. Overall we can see a step up in the visual flair of the show when compared to season 1, while it's not as dramatic a shift as will come in later seasons, it's clear that the X-Files team have really begun to find their feet and sharpen the edges to work towards more polished production values. An interesting side note to this episode is that the monster is played by Darin Morgan, co-executive producer/writer Glen Morgan's brother, who will migrate to a series writer later in the season and pen some of the series most popular comedic episodes.
Mulder is relieved from a routine surveillance assignment in order to follow up on a case involving an unidentified mutilated corpse, found washed up in New Jersey. He considers the case a waste of his time and considerable skill, assuming that Skinner is punishing him by assigning him mundane cases and he voices his displeasure quite forcefully. Scully remains more hopeful and optimistic that the agents will be able to work together again, while Mulder despairs, and even considers handing in his resignation due to his sheer frustration at his superiors. However as the case develops it begins to unravel a more bizarre nature than what first appeared. Mulder, reluctantly at first, pursues the case, spurred on by Scully's encouragement and support and, working together, the agents realise they're searching for some type of mutated fluke-worm, born out of radiation from nuclear experiments. The agents are uncharacteristically in sync for the most part on their opinions in this episode, which helps to incite their passion for re-starting The X-Files unit. Throughout the episode both Scully and Mulder are contacted by an anonymous person working at the F.B.I, who appears to be aiding them in their investigation and shares a common goal in reinstating them to their former positions. Though he remains unseen at this point, this character will come to be known as 'X', played by Steven Williams, who will replace Deep Throat as Mulder's F.B.I informant. In a rare occurrence, Mulder turns in a completed case report which seems to please Skinner. Though he is frustrated by the fact that this was the perfect case for the X-Files unit to investigate, had they not been shut down. Skinner then surprisingly agrees, stating off hand, "We all get our orders from someone, agent Mulder." This episode features a turning point in the character of Skinner. Though we have seen very little of him so far, he was thought to be working against the agents. As we can see from this episode however, when he reprimands Mulder it is in front of a group of F.B.I higher ups, as was the case in previous episodes like, 'Tooms'. In all the situations where Skinner has appeared to be in opposition to Mulder, there has always been someone else in the room, watching over his shoulder. Last season we saw the Smoking Man lurking behind his desk and we can surmise from Skinner's comment in this episode that someone like CSM is pulling the strings in this relationship. Skinner in fact appears to value Mulder's unique perspective and although it appeared at first to be a punishment, assigning him to this case Skinner was actually hoping to circumvent the system and allow Mulder the chance to work on an X-File.
Carter's script of course features some touching moments between the two agents and he develops their kindling romance well, through subtle nuance. The relationship between Mulder and Scully has never been stronger, they obviously care for each other now beyond the realms of a professional relationship as Scully remarks that she would consider it a personal loss were he to resign. And of course it wouldn't be a Carter script without some form of broader moralising about the effects of radiation on living creatures and humans carelessness at allowing these aberrations of nature to exist. This is presented more as an afterthought towards the episode's conclusion and it neither adds nor detracts from the episodes enjoyability to be honest. As a horror episode it triumphs, as mentioned Sackheim's direction is leagues beyond what he delivered in 'Conduit', opting to take the 'Jaws' approach with the fluke-man and choosing to show less early on in order to create a sense of mystery. Certainly when watching it for the first time this aids in the scare factor, playing on many people's natural fear of the water and the unseen creatures that dwell within. The visual effects are a step up from the previous season, while the fluke-man is slightly less agile than he could have been, the monster make-up is top notch, delivering a very iconic and recognisable monster of the week creature that is still etched in to the minds of many fans, years after viewing it for the first time.
The creepyness and the yuckyness made it different from previous ones. none had taken it so far yet (not even Tooms, which is the better episode). The scene in the shower was quite yucky as were all the sewer scenes.
What I most liked were the scenes between Mulder and Scully. They were different from season 1's. Somehow... cuter, funnier and also a bit sad. because they're not partners anymore. They really kept the creepyness and yuckyness balanced with some great Sculder moments.
I'm giving this episode FOUR stars.
The Good: Mr. X. (H)
The fluke worm man.
I love the 'What could happen now?" episodes. x]
The Bad: When he vomits out that pink thing. Ew?
Conclusion: Good overall, episode. 8/10
Well even with the X-Files team disbanded, we get plenty of hints that Scully and Mulder will be back as a unit with this story. There's a mysterious new presence at the Agency that tells Mulder "You have a friend at the FBI", and Assistant Director Skinner reacts to the Flukeman investigation stating "This should have been an X-File".
As for the feature creature itself, boy, that sure was a disgusting make-up job on the Flukeman. Quite creative actually, not having seen anything quite like it in any prior movie or TV treatment. The closest it comes I think, is to the Creature From the Black Lagoon if you have to describe it to someone. I also liked the way Scully described it after doing some research on the creature, a sort of quasi-vertebrate human with reproductive and physiological cross traiting.
For those with a weak stomach beware, there are some gut churning scenes involving fluke worms inhabiting the human body, and the guy brushing his teeth who couldn't jam enough toothpaste to get rid of the taste in his mouth makes for a squirmy follow up. As for me, I keep coming back to Mulder jumping into the crapper and wondering what would have justified that little bit of insanity.
The Host is the second episode of the second season written by Chris Carter, directed by Daniel Sackheim. It's unconnected to the series' wider mythology and is a standalone episode (a 'Monster-of- the- Week' story) that said, it does develop Mulder and Scully's relationships and characters effectively.
David Duchovny gives a physical performance as bizarre creepy fluke-like man goes on a rampage in the sewers of New Jersey. The atmosphere is pretty grim. The bite make up is well executed. There's plenty of blood and gross moments notably where a man eats a tube of toothpaste, a worm-like creature appears from the body at an autopsy (performed by Scully) and where a man spews out the slimy fluke creature.
With long dark tunnels, moment of men being attacked and dragged under the sewerage water, if horror is your thing this is one of the stand out episodes.
This really gives the second season the feel that made the first so good, so I give it a 10/10.
The whole X-File point is that we don't just suspect, we know that something is out there that we can't fathom, of course the series executed several half-baked attempts to muddle the waters with whether or not it is all a big hoax, but the fact remains; we know there's stuff out there that shouldn't be.
So the question raised here, is what does it say about the show that this can be bogged down to a slimy, worm-like monster? It's a creative disaster as far as I'm concerned.