X-Files episodes tend to fall into one of two categories: mythology or monster. And when producer Darin Morgan is writing and/or directing the episode, you can bet it's going to be a Monster. Darin Morgan's X-Files Season 11 episode will be the perfect throwback for fans, complete with all the heart and humor fans have come to expect from a Morgan episode, as Mitch Pileggi (aka Walter Skinner), David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) and creator Chris Carter told Bustle and other press during roundtable interviews at New York City Comic-Con (NYCC).
Fans hoping to see The X-Files return to its original science-fiction charm are in luck. Morgan, a writer on the show since 1994 and credited with penning some of the most iconic and memorable X-Files (film editor: Eleanor Infante, 3 episodes) episodes including "Humbug" and "War of the Coprophages," is back once more with a brand new episode titled "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat," scheduled to air on Jan. 24. And, according to Pileggi, it's the perfect throwback for fans. "I was reading [a script] going, this is, you know, this is how the show became what it is. ...There's some real good nuggets. Especially in Darin's episode," the actor told reporters at NYCC. Pileggi, who is somewhat of a fan himself, didn't reveal much about Morgan's episode, but he did say that many episodes of this new season harkened back to the tone of the original. "I was talking to David [Duchovny] about this. We were talking about one of the scripts and I was like, 'This is vintage Mulder and Scully. This is like classic, this is a throwback, this is what made fans fall in love with the show," he said.
"The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat" will be the fourth episode in Season 11, and will explore The Mandela Effect according to the official description on IMDB. The entire description (note the absence of a monster) reads,
"Exploring the idea of The Mandela Effect, in which large groups of people remember an alternate history, Mulder and Scully find how the X-Files themselves may really have originated."
The episode, which also credits Morgan as director, promises the same kind of humor as his Season 10 episode, the Monster of the Week "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster." It's the dark, dry humor fans have come to love about Morgan and The X-Files. "[Fans] wait for those comedies now. It's different," admitted creator and showrunner Carter at NYCC. It's a stark difference from when Morgan wrote "Humbug," his first episode in Season 3. Carter remembers having to screen the episode for test audiences. Of course, "Humbug" made it to air, and, just like that, transformed the range of the show for years to come. "It worked and it laid the foundation for lots of tonal shifts in the show," Carter said. "The show isn't just any one thing. It's not just a scary science fiction show. It can be many things, and I think we owe a lot to Darin Morgan for that."
Another way Morgan shifted the tone: Mulder, at least according to Duchovny. "I kind of love his episodes just because he really hates my character more than anything," Duchovny told the roundtable at NYCC. "And he makes my character an ass and it's interesting to try to play Mulder... to keep the character believable within the crap that Darin Morgan likes to sling at him." The actor added that he loves the challenge, and made sure to clarify that he meant everything with the utmost respect. "I think Darin's truly one of the best writers I've ever had the pleasure of working with," he said.
After the controversial X-Files Season 11 season premiere, fans will probably be looking forward to hating on Mulder in Morgan's "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat" — at least just a little bit.
Additional reporting by Sage Young.