Season 2, Episode 10: “Red Museum”
Welcome to The X-Files, where two FBI agents named Mulder and Scully face aliens, liver-eating mutants, giant Flukemen, and…vegetarians.
There’s something you should know about me. I have been a vegetarian my entire life. I’m not kidding. My whole life. So this episode was, on some level, a little amusing to me. People in real life usually have the wrong idea about vegetarians, so of course the media is going to be even worse.
Oh, where to even begin? First of all, I doubt Odin and his followers would have actually been vegetarians. Only vegans are crazy enough to start a church like that. Second, it’s really, really difficult to insult a vegetarian. Why? Because to insult them you have to insult their vegetarianism, which does nothing because if that made them uncomfortable they probably wouldn’t be vegetarian anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever been called any names for being vegetarian, but imagining the experience right now, I can’t see it really having any more effect than someone insulting my left elbow. It’s just a thing some people are which they might choose to do for humane reasons, but usually doesn’t do much to their psyche. Except for vegans, of course.
Don’t believe me? Check out some of the insults the teenage bullies use on Odin’s followers in this episode. They range from “veggieburger” to “tofu-eating towelhead” to “diaperhead.” None of those are particularly damaging to anyone. In fact, they’re more like something a middle school kid would say, not high school kids. Of all the teenagers on the show, this group is among the dumbest, trust me.
But how is the episode?
This episode is crazy. You wouldn’t know it from the beginning, or even remember it after you’ve seen it (I sure as hell didn’t), but “Red Museum” is technically a mythology episode. It’s a lot like “Gender Bender” in that the connections to the mythology come at the end, and it also involves a crazy religion, but this one is much more mythology-heavy. And while I don’t think this episode is as bad as “Gender Bender,” technically there’s no reason it shouldn’t be, as it commits the same crimes – WAY too many things shoved into one plot, a lack of focus, and a pretty ridiculous set-up with the Church of the Red Museum and all. This is essentially the reaction I had watching this episode:
I mean, it’s crazy. Here’s a list of things this episode deals with.
- A bunch of crazy vegetarians who call themselves the Church of the Red Museum
- Teenagers going missing in the woods with the words “HE/SHE IS ONE” written on their backs
- Cows being injected with hormones
- A doctor injecting kids with Purity Control
- Mulder and Scully find the man who killed Deep Throat
- They also find a pervert’s hideout with a bunch of really awful adult videos who apparently had a hand in kidnapping the kids
- Then one of the kids dies…
Do you see what I mean? Several of those things could have been full-length episodes on their own. I’m not sure why they wanted to cram all these things in an hour of television. Where are we supposed to put our attention? The Red Museum? That is the title of the episode, but take the crazy vegetarians out of the equation and nothing about the episode really changes except for a few minor details. I just have no idea why they decided to do it this way. It really is Season 2’s version of “Gender Bender”.
And yet…for some reason, I don’t find myself completely annoyed or disappointed by it, at least, not as much as I was with “Gender Bender.” Maybe it’s the fact that Mulder and Scully have a stronger bond in this episode, maybe it’s because of the very Shipper-friendly scene in the restaurant, maybe it’s because I’m vegetarian, but as confusing and convoluted as this episode is, I can’t bring myself to hate it too much. Whatever the reason, there’s something about “Red Museum” that, while it’s too confusing to really be good, doesn’t leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. Like meat, for instance. 🙂
Final score for “Red Museum” is 4/10. I’m not sure why this episode has so much in it, but it doesn’t really work. As a vegetarian, however, there’s a soft spot in my heart for it.
- Notice how Mulder doesn’t bother to correct Rick the idiot teenager when he calls Scully Mulder’s “little wife.”
- This isn’t really a Notable Nugget, just an observation. Scully mentions at the end that the Church of the Red Museum was being used as a control group for the experiment, but that doesn’t really make any sense. Wouldn’t the rest of the world technically be the control group? All the other people in other places that aren’t undergoing this secret experiment? Why did they need the Red Museum people? For that matter, why did this episode need the Red Museum people?