Friday, December 9, 2016

The X-Files Recap: "Squeeze" (01x03)

Caution: the following contains spoilers for The X-Files 01x03 and slight spoilers for 01x21

In season one, episode three, we meet our first Monster Of The Week (MOTW). MOTW episodes feature supernatural or paranormal creatures, or even just abnormal humans, and rarely have anything to do with the actual storyline of the show. Most of the characters only appear for one episode, however, a couple of them do come back. In this post and my next post, I’m going to talk about one of the most popular monsters: Eugene Victor Tooms. He appears in "Squeeze" (01x03) and "Tooms" (01x21).

"Squeeze," the very first official MOTW, is also known as one of the most frightening episodes, and I have to agree. The way it was filmed and the accompanying soundtrack make it scary even in daylight--trust me, I’ve watched it at night and during the day. Tooms is a particularly gross and creepy monster anyway. I think it stems from the fact that he looks just like a “normal” human. It’s the ones that hide in plain sight that are always the worst.

Doggo knows what I'm talking about. via GIPHY

The episode opens with a businessman, George Usher, heading to his office one evening. He is unaware that a pair of yellow eyes are watching him from a nearby storm drain. He calls his wife to let her know he’ll be home late, gets a cup of coffee, goes into his office... and then we hear screaming. The next shot shows us part of his body in a reflection with blood all over the place. We see the air vent on the wall being pulled shut from the inside and the screw turning back in its place. This is our introduction to Eugene Victor Tooms.

Accurate GIF of my reaction to that scene. via GIPHY

There’s an interesting relationship throughout this episode, and for the first time, we see Mulder displaying what could be jealously as Tom Colton, one of Scully’s old colleagues, tries to get her to join the Violent Crimes Section with him and leave Mulder behind. Mulder’s distaste for Colton is clear as he embraces the idea that Colton and, it seems, most of the FBI believe that Mulder is crazy. This in turn frustrates Scully because she’s seen that while Mulder might be a little weird, he is also brilliant and means well.


George Usher’s death is the third case over the past couple of weeks where someone is found brutally murdered in a locked room. The biggest detail that brings all the murders together is that each victim had their liver ripped out. Mulder reveals that this isn’t the first time this has happened either--every 30 years for at least the past 100 years, five people are murdered with their livers ripped out. Naturally, Scully decides this is a family issue, a freakish lifestyle, or a mental illness being passed down from generation to generation. And, naturally, Mulder’s insistence that this has actually been the same person all along is the correct answer. Tooms resurfaces every 30 years, eats five livers, and then retreats back into hiding. Mulder believes it is the livers that give Tooms the ability to “regenerate” and that’s how he’s stayed alive for so long.

Ew. No. via GIPHY

They actually arrest Tooms, but he passes a series of questions on a lie detector so Colton and his team believe Tooms is innocent. Therefore he’s set free. He almost immediately goes out and claims his fourth victim. Mulder points out that if his theory is correct, they only have one more chance to catch Tooms before he disappears for 30 more years.


Mulder and Scully actually seek help from a retired police detective, Frank Briggs. who worked on an earlier Tooms case 60 years ago. He was also around for the case 30 years ago but explains that he was stuck behind a desk at that point and wasn’t allowed to help out on the field. Frank shows them some pictures of the man he says he knows committed the murders, and it’s Eugene Tooms, who looks exactly the same in the pictures from 60 years ago.

Wait...via GIPHY

They get the address for the apartment that Tooms lived in 90 years ago and discover a hidden room where Tooms has, disgustingly enough, built a “nest” of sorts out of paper and bile.

Scully: "Oh my God, Mulder! It smells like... I think it's bile!" 
Mulder: "Is there any way I can get it off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?"

I'll be honest, this episode is pretty gross, so I'll skip the details. The episode concludes with Tooms trying to claim Scully as his fifth victim, but of course, they stop him in time. As Tooms is taken away, Mulder realizes that this means Tooms will be unable to go into hibernation because he still needs one more liver. As the episode ends, Tooms stares at us from his cell, a sinister look in his yellow eyes. We’re left with an uneasy feeling that this isn’t over just yet.

Via the X-Files Wiki
And of course, just eighteen episodes later, our uneasy feeling is confirmed as Tooms makes his return, as we know, in the episode aptly named "Tooms."

To be continued...


I have to say, as popular as Tooms is, he's not my favorite Monster of The Week. What about you? Do you have a favorite MOTW? What about your least favorite?


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