Last night’s episode of The X-Files featured the return of writer and occasional Flukeman Darin Morgan. Morgan wrote all the best episodes of the original run, so it was exciting that they got him to return for this series. On to the references and inspirations for this episode.
The title, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” instantly recalls Abbot and Costello’s monster crossovers, letting us know this episode will be a comedy.
Mulder talks about the mystery of the moving stones of Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa. You can read about how the mystery was definitively solved here, though the mechanism had been theorized and generally accepted by most serious researchers years before it was directly observed.
Mulder name checks monsters he claims to have believed in, including the “Amarillo Armadillo Man” and the “Hairy Whatsit of Walla-Walla.” These are not real reported monsters, but similarly named real reptilian monsters include the Loveland Frog, the Thetis Lake Monster, and the Lizard Man of Scrape Ore Swamp. The monster in this episode was probably based on those.
Mulder talks about Charles Fort, who he says spent his whole life “researching natural and scientific anomalies.” That’s probably overstating Fort’s activities, he was more of a collector of reports than any kind of researcher. He did, by his own admittance, no follow up on most stories. His intention was more some sort of vague attempt to prove that scientists didn’t know everything, which suggests to me he didn’t really understand how science works. He also had a real grudge against astronomers, and he spends large parts of two of his books complaining that astronomers make too many predictions. I’m not sure if he really expressed regrets about his life’s work.
Guy Mann (played by Rhys Darby) is repeatedly dressed up like Carl Kochak from the TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. While an explanation is given for where he got the clothes, I didn’t get any reason why the previous owner was dressed like that. Hipster? On his way to a convention?
When Scully suggests Mulder’s picture of the creature that attacked him may be of a “mangy Sasquatch,” she’s referring to the mangy coyotes that have been offered up as the legendary chupacabra in Texas.
The story Mulder tells about the origin of the taxidermy jackalope is generally true, though the idea of a rabbit with horns existed in bestiaries and traveller’s tales centuries before the first taxidermy version was created.
The gravestones in the cemetery memorialize two members of the crew of The X-Files who passed away between seasons nine and ten. Jim Hardy was a first assistant director, and Kim Manners was a producer and director. Manners’ gravestone could equally be interpreted as that of the same-named cop based on the real Manners who appeared in the episode “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.”
And finally, when Guy Mann gets his dog he names it Daggoo, which is the name of a harpooner from the novel Moby Dick. Back in seasons two and three of The X-Files Scully had a dog named Queequeg, after another harpooner from Moby Dick. The fact that Mann named the dog the same name that Scully will probably name it after she adopts it is probably to illustrate the theme of the episode, that The X-Files takes place in a fictional world where bizarre coincidences occur and logic doesn’t always apply, and therefore the search for monsters is not as futile as it is in the real world.