Season 2, Episode 22: “F. Emasculata”
That basically summarizes this episode pretty well.
I have a pretty good tolerance for X-Files horror and grossness. There are very, very few episodes that actually make me look away when the gross stuff is happening. “F. Emasculata” is one of them.
But that’s not a bad thing. At all.
Sometimes, gross things are so gross that they’re enormously effective. Nobody forgets this episode after they’ve seen it. How could you? It’s basically forty-five minutes of watching giant pustules explode in people’s faces. Not only is that unbelievably disgusting, it’s also memorable as hell.
“F. Emasculata” is a great watch. We’ve got the grossness, of course, but we’ve also got Mulder and Scully taking on a slightly different X-File than they have in the past. They become involved in some sort of government conspiracy, but not the one the rest of the show will focus on. This one is all about disease and pharmaceutical companies. The government has let a contagion loose, and they’re hiding it from the public. Mulder and Scully aren’t chasing a monster or a paranormal creature in this episode. They’re chasing a disease. And in some ways, that’s even scarier than a monster because as a viewer, you know that something like this could actually happen to you. Maybe not this disease exactly, but something very much like it.
This episode also addresses a question The X-Files hasn’t really gone into much yet. Once Mulder and Scully learn what the government’s been hiding from the people, should they let the public know, or should they keep their mouths shut in order to prevent things from getting worse?
Mulder, of course, wants to blab everything to the newspapers as soon as he can. But Scully warns that by spreading news about a contagion, he’s probably going to send the public into a mass panic and make the situation even more unmanageable than it was before. Occasionally, Mulder will go on a crusade for the public, and Scully talks him out of it nearly every time. It’s not that Scully doesn’t want the public to know – she just wants to do everything in her power to either solve the problem or obtain solid evidence before releasing any information to the public.
All in all, “F. Emasculata” is a really great watch. It’s more like a suspense thriller than anything else, and that’s a nice change of scenery. Okay, well, maybe not scenery, but you know what I mean. It’s disgusting. And I mean that in the best way possible.
Final score for “F. Emasculata” is 8/10. It’s so good, it’ll make you sick.
Notable Nuggets (or Nitpicks)
- Okay. Why did Scully not put on a hazmat suit? I can’t tell you how much that bothered me. Surely they had extras.
- CSM makes an appearance in this episode, which gives it a much more epic feel. It puts it on a more grand scale than a regular MOTW.
- The only part in this episode I don’t really buy is Elizabeth’s responses to Mulder’s questions when he’s interrogating her. “Why should I tell the truth if you won’t?” Really, lady? Are you just an idiot, or are you yanking Mulder’s chain? In any case, it’s not a smart move on her part.