Season 3, Episode 12: “War of the Coprophages”
I really hate cockroaches.
They’re one of the few things on this planet that makes me run away squeaking like an idiot. I get the creeps, the shivers, the heebie-jeebies, the whatever you want to call it. So, when Netflix told me this episode was about “giant killer cockroaches,” I was like “No thanks!” and skipped to the next one. Only later did I realize this episode was written by Darin Morgan.
Let me tell you, that moment of realization was the closest I have ever come to bashing myself on the head with a hammer.
To be fair, though, of all the episodes in the Darin Morgan Quartet, this one is my least favorite and it has nothing to do with the bugs. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s still brilliant, funny, clever, original…it’s Darin Morgan, after all. But of all his episodes, I’d say this one is the most pointless, and please don’t take that the wrong way. I don’t mean “pointless” as in a waste of time or useless; I mean pointless in its most basic sense – literally not having a point. It still does have one, but it’s not nearly as important or well-integrated as Darin Morgan’s other episodes.
But this episode shines in other ways, most notably in Darin Morgan’s refreshing portrayal of Scully. It’s almost like he took a look at the previous episode, “Revelations,” and said to himself, “Scully needs to have more fun.” He’s right, of course. Scully does need to have more fun, and Darin Morgan is the perfect writer to give it to her.
In “War of the Coprophages” we get to see Scully reading books, taking care of her dog, lounging around, eating ice cream, all the while advising Mulder from afar on the phone…it’s priceless. It’s my favorite aspect of the episode by far. At some point in the show the writers realized that there was a lot of comedic potential that could be milked out of Scully, and Darin Morgan was one of the first to really do that. Scully is hilarious in this episode, and she’ll continue to be hilarious for much of the rest of Season 3.
(HAHAHAHA…sorry, I’ve been rewatching scenes from this episode in the midst of reviewing it, and I would like to reaffirm my statement above – Scully is the funniest thing in this episode. My favorite scene: when she pulls up next to Bambi the beautiful entomologist and, in her ever-so-slight jealously, flashes her fancy gun in Bambi’s face. HAHAHAHA.)
Mulder’s part in this episode actually isn’t all that different from what he usually does. This time, though, he’s working with a gorgeous scientist by the ridiculous name of Bambi, who was put in to make Mulder look ridiculous and the audience slightly uncomfortable, but it’s all in good fun. How does the beautiful entomologist named Bambi make Mulder look ridiculous? Well, one of the things I love most about Mulder is that he’s not your typical male FBI protagonist. He isn’t super macho or robust or manly, he’s dorky, quirky, and hates bugs while the beautiful (female) entomologist Bambi is fascinated by them. HAHAHAHA.
As for the robotic bug…thing and the scientist, all I can say is that The X-Files should have done more robots and here is the proof.
This episode is quirky and fun, and the underlying message – panic, fear, and delusion – is there, even if not as much as in the other Darin Morgan episodes. Honestly, analyzing Darin Morgan is like trying to talk about your favorite foods – you love the way they taste, but trying to explain why is rather pointless and you’d much rather eat it. If you don’t like cockroaches, this episode probably won’t be your favorite – it does have its fair share of gross scenes – but hey, what can I say. It’s Darin Morgan. It’s brilliant. HAHAHAHA.
Final score for “War of the Coprophages” is 8/10. It’s my least favorite Darin Morgan episode, but that’s like saying Magical Mystery Tour is my least favorite Beatles album (which it isn’t, but if I revealed what actually IS my least favorite Beatles album I’d probably be excommunicated).
- The opening scene is the most brilliant out of any Darin Morgan episode and yes that’s including “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space.'”
- I just can’t get over Scully in this episode.
- Maybe one of the reasons I don’t like this one quite as much is I’ve never found the guest stars quite as strong. They’re great, don’t get me wrong, but after Peter Boyle as Clyde Bruckman and the entire cast of “Humbug,” they don’t manage to be as memorable.
- We only have one more Darin Morgan episode left and it’s breaking my heart.