With all our favorite shows taking their usual break in the summer months, this opens up an opportunity to watch some of our old favorites. That’s where the Multiversity Summer Binge comes in. Last year, I took a look at the entire first season of my favorite show ever, The X-Files and this summer, I’m back with a vengeance covering season two. The first season of this show was more of a prelude. It teased all the things that were to come and spent a lot of time doing the ground work. In the second season, the show really kicks into gear. Truth be told, of the 11 seasons, this is easily top three for me. I’m really excited to be writing about these episodes, particularly the middle of the season. This week I’m looking at “Our Town,” a stand alone episode that’s incredibly creepy and weird.
1. The Premise
“Our Town” starts like a classic horror movie montage. A couple goes in their car into the woods and gets sliced up by a man in a mask. The couple, as we’ll soon be told are George Kearns and Paula Grey. George is seemingly killed and we find out that he is a federal inspector and was having issues in this town with the local chicken plant to the point where he wanted it shut down. Paula Grey was a worker in this plant but she’s killed very soon after Mulder and Scully arrive. Mulder and Scully end up with the case but Scully has some worries about it because it seems like this is just a distraction from what’s going on. Remember how last week ended? That’s why she’s concerned. Once they arrive to this town, Mulder and Scully quickly realize that something more sinister is going on but even they don’t catch on to how sinister things are until closer to the end of the episode. We’re talking cannibalism bad here. Get ready folks.
2. Murder Mystery
One of the really good things about “Our Town” is that it is set up like a murder mystery so it has a formula to follow. With episodes like these I think that helps the show in a way that doesn’t always work out with other episodes. This is at its most basic sense, a show about F.B.I. agents solving crimes and with some one off episodes, the plot can be so weird and messy. This is not one of those. The plot is very easy to follow even with its very wild premise. Mulder and Scully get to use their skills and intelligence in very simple ways but it works. This is a really good example of how to blend a simple concept with something more sinister and scary.
3. Not For The Squeamish
I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan but an episode like this is the kind that would push someone to that point. There’s a lot of shots of dead chickens already chopped up for us. There’s cannibalism from humans and there is chicken cannibalism where the leftovers from the chickens are fed to the chickens. It’s all so dark and gross and very much not for those who are squeamish. We get scenes of a runoff full of chicken guts and even get to see Scully knee deep in humans bones, which is funny given that Gillian Anderson would later be on Hannibal.
4. Turns Out, It Was Cannibals
At the core of this story is this very close town, Mr. Chaco, the town’s sort of leader and owner of the chicken plant and Sheriff Arens. All these parties are intertwined and as it turns out, they are all cannibals and the disappearances around town have all been because the people here have been eating them. But wait! There’s more! As Mulder and Scully continue their investigation, they start to realize that people in this town are not the age they appear. The townspeople have taken part in cannibalism in order to retain youth and live longer, so you see, there’s a reason, and that honestly makes the whole thing far darker than it initially is. When you start rationalizing something like this, you’ve really gone to the dark side.
5. You Are What You Eat
Which is true because most of the cannibals in this town, as we’re told in the end, died from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease because they ate Kearns. They were their own undoing. Mr. Chaco ends up dead and it’s heavily implied that he was ground up and fed to the chickens, which is super gross in and of itself. This episode ends with us learning that Chaco was in his 90’s and during World War II, his plane was shot down and he spent time with a tribe in New Guinea that was known for being cannibals. Like the others in town, the cannibalism kept him looking younger than what he was but ultimately he was defeated by what he brought to the town. It’s very dark and actually pretty perfect for Halloween week. Happy Halloween, readers! Don’t eat anyone.