Season 5, Episode 3: “Unusual Suspects”
How is everyone feeling after the cancer arc? Like your insides have become a decimated wasteland? Good. Because apparently, the writers felt that way too. This episode, we’re turning our attention from Mulder and Scully to focus on everyone’s favorite Nerd Trio, the Lone Gunmen.
If you want my opinion, it’s high time the Gunmen got an episode of their own. For one thing, they’re immensely enjoyable and entertaining characters, and they’re probably more like you and I than we’d like to admit. For another, we don’t know much about them. Where did they come from? How did they get into the business of government conspiracies? How does Mulder know them?
The result is…well, it’s kind of what you’d expect from a Lone Gunmen-centered episode. It’s funny. It’s charming. It’s awkward. Like the Lone Gunmen themselves.
It’s also a tad bit clumsy, especially with the jokes. They’re funny, but a lot of them are clearly thrown in for fan service and are repeated a few too many times (such as the Kung Fu joke). There’s a bit of did she/didn’t she with the character Susanne Modeski, but for some reason she acts just insane enough that I can’t take her paranoia seriously like I do with someone like Mulder. In a way, I guess that makes Susanne a perfect romantic match for one of the Gunmen.
All of these are minor complaints, though. I love this episode’s storylike quality. We hear Byers recount it instead of seeing it happen in real time. Byers as the innocent dragged into the mess works perfectly, especially since Byers is already the human personification of a huggable teddy bear. The banter between Langly and Frohike is great. I love seeing Mr. X.
Another thing I love? Innocent 1989 Mulder. Oh, give me more of that awful early 90’s hairdo.
“Unusual Suspects” is way campier than a normal X-Files episode is. But it’s the Lone Gunmen, what did you expect? In a way, this is the perfect respite after the cancer arc. It gives Mulder and Scully a much needed break and the fans will be rewarded for their patience with the next episode, “Detour.”
Final score for “Unusual Suspects” is 8/10. It’s not perfect, and honestly in the grand scheme of things you’ll probably forget about it half a season from now, but it’s the Lone Gunmen. You gotta love it, and you gotta love them.
Notable Nuggets (and Nitpicks)
- So…how do the Lone Gunmen make their income? Do that many people read their magazine?
- Mulder ripping his shirt off in a crazed, drug-induced frenzy is something I could stand to watch again.
- Why weren’t the Lone Gunmen killed by Mr. X? They saw everything. Was he secretly amused by them?
- The “I heard it was a lone gunmen” moment is gold. GOLD. So perfect.