TV

The X-Files’ First Monster-of-the-Week Was Its Best


A slimy serial killer introduced The X-Files to its monster-of-the-week format. Thirty years later it’s time for Eugene Tooms to return.

Dough Hutchinson as Eugene Tooms in The X-Files
Photo: 20th Television

From their windowless sub-basement office, FBI Agents Fox “Spooky” Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) began their assignment on The X-Files chasing little green men, or rather gray, as Mulder points out during the third episode, “Squeeze.” The “Pilot” episode was about alien experimentation. “Deep Throat” was about pilots who fly experimental craft, possibly designed using extraterrestrial technology. Season 1 episode 3 was more down to earth, while still out of this world.

According to both his DNA report and FBI profile, animal control officer Eugene Victor Tooms (Doug Hutchison) would be due to wake up some time in 2023, if only he’d have stepped off that mini-mall escalator. Fan favorite Tooms wasn’t only the first monster-of-the-week on The X-Files, but one of very few monsters who showed up on two different weeks. He wedges himself into the episodes “Squeeze” and “Tooms.” Both from season 1, these episodes set a tone, and perpetrated a mythology.

Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, and directed by Harry Longstreet, “Squeeze” begins with one of the oldest detective genre setups in literary history: a locked room mystery. A businessman is found murdered and mutilated in an office with no discernable entry points. He is not the first to be discovered in this scenario. The agent on the case, Tom Colton (Donal Logue), is no Edgar Allan Poe. He is Scully’s friend from the academy, on his way up in the bureau, and calling in a favor he promises will pay big dividends for her ongoing career. But his imagination goes no further than that.

Agent Colton believes he can save Scully from a professional life as “Mrs. Spooky.” His expertly opinionated solution? Bring her into the spookiest investigation he’s ever headed.

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