The X-Files and the Monsters of That Week: Tesos Dos Bichos
As I stated in my Pusher review, season three of The X-Files is where the show really hit its form, without a sustained dip in quality until season seven. This means that, contrary to last week, when picking the best monster of the week was a huge task bound to piss a lot of fans off, the pick for the worst episode of the season is remarkably easy.
It’s a toss up between the Chinese organ lottery or Hell Money, or Tesos Dos Bichos. Hell Money, despite seeming more ignorantly racist as the years go by, at least has some freaky images, and Benedict Wong gives his all in a great guest performance. So, we are left with The X-Files version of “When small cats attack!”.
This episode is lousy. It’s by far the worst episode of the show so far, and lacks that sense of at least being fun to work of that helps buoy many of even the worse episodes of the shows. The plot is a basic Mummy curse: silly scientists looking for evidence of lost or foreign civilisations only to be cursed by the object when they find it and move it to America. Much like season two’s 3, and their many attempts at ghost stories, The X-Files falls apart when trying to do a classic monster in a traditional fashion. I say traditional – it might have been better if it was a Mummy, but the episode’s writer, John Shiban, decided to go with a Jaguar spirit instead.
What we are left with is a bunch of cheesy, Friday the 13th POV shots of “something” killing off the scientists. The climax is one of the most infamous decisions of the show’s original run. Mulder and Scully are attack by… ordinary cats. It seems this Jaguar spirit makes the moggies go homicidal against their human servants (which is all of us, let’s be real). The scene itself is ridiculous; at least both versions of Pet Sematary made Church the cat look scary, but here, instead, they just resemble my own cat trying to scam food off me, only to realise that I could be food too if she tries hard enough.
You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned Mulder and Scully yet. That’s because they may as well not be in this episode. They still do the theorizing, the quippy back-and-forth that can usually save a rotten episode, but Duchovny has the bored expression on his face that, if you’re doing a full re-watch of the show, you’ll be seeing a lot more in later seasons. Not even Gillian Anderson can save this crap, and that’s one of her main strengths: she’s the only reason why Revelations isn’t my main pick for this article, but even her phenomenal talent can’t make this painfully silly shit stick.
What else is there to say: everyone hates Tesos Dos Bichos, and John Shiban was lucky to keep his job after this debacle. There is nothing to recommend here, so I urge you to skip it: it’s terrible. Even cats watching it think that the demonic cats are trying too hard. And that’s saying something.
By Kevin Boyle
(header image via Comic Vine)