The X-Files Season 1, Episode 3: Squeeze

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“Squeeze” is the first more classically scary episode, as well as the first “Monster of the Week” episode, of the series. Chris Carter smartly knew that the show needed to branch into other areas of the paranormal to maintain its momentum rather than just sticking to the mythology-centered episodes, and some of the “Monster of the Week” episodes are favorites of mine, this one included.

Eugene Victor Tooms (played by Doug Hutchison) is particularly brilliant. He’s an anomaly, a sort of freak of nature, with the coolness of a calculated serial killer. Hutchison said he was inspired by the “stillness” of Anthony Hopkins’s performance in The Silence of the Lambs for this role, and it shows. His dead, emotionless stare is creepy, to say the least, and his ability to squeeze himself into impossibly small spaces makes him a killer, a monster, that you can’t even protect yourself from. His glowing eyes from the sewer in the opening scene, flipping himself upside down to climb down the chimney, the sick smile barely flickering across his face as he eyeballs the food slot in the psychiatric hospital… yikes.

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The music is brilliant throughout, with lots of plucking strings and discordance — it really takes it to another level.

I loved not only that this episode forced Scully to almost publicly take a side — choosing between the safe side, more focused on politics and the careerism of “climbing the ladder”, and the more fantastic, sticking with “Spooky Mulder” — but that she chose her side so quickly and with such confidence.

“Okay, if he wants to come and do you a favour, great. But make sure he knows this is my case. Dana, if I can break a case like this one, I’ll be getting my bump up the ladder. And you, maybe you won’t have to be Mrs. Spooky any more.”

But Mulder fucking with Agent Tom Colton is just too perfect. Colton’s cockiness, his smugness, his complete lack of shame that he would straight up go to Scully to get Mulder’s help cracking the case and then ridicule him the whole time… he deserved any bad things coming his way.

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What followed was one of the most telling interactions between Mulder and Scully thus far. Scully very matter-of-factly tells Mulder that he seemed very territorial in their dealing with Colton, and he seemingly instinctually grabs, lightly, at her necklace before he says “Of course I was. In our investigations, you may not always agree with me but at least you respect the journey. And if you wanna continue working with them, I won’t hold it against you”, and she teases back and says no, that he must have more evidence and she wants to see what it is. I mean, the subtlety, but the perfection, of such a brief scene… too good.

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Ultimately, an amazing introduction to the “Monster of the Week” episodes, and one of the best monsters to ever be on screen.

Rating: 8/10 | Director: Harry Longstreet | Writer: Chris Carter, Glen Morgan, James Wong | Music: Mark Snow | Cinematography: John S. Bartley | Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Doug Hutchison, Donal Logue, Henry Beckman, Kevin McNulty

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