TV: The X-Files S11 E04 - The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat - Reviewed

Episode 4 is silly, funny, and so well written that it feels completely normal as X-Files episodes go. That should tell you how great it is. Each scene is beautifully accompanied by the classic Mark Snow score accentuating the growing tension. 

Actually, I had to double check to make sure I wasn’t succumbing to Mulder-like tendencies because as a huge X-Files fan, I bought the comics IDW published in 2013 (written by Chris Carter himself) and it was entitled Season 10 which can be quite confusing because FOX released a televised Season 10 in 2016. The comics were made in an effort to continue the conspiracy. So, are those die hard fans suckers for buying the comics because the televised Season 10 is not related, or were we offered an in-depth front row seat to what the revived TV series is bringing to us?

It’s funny because what was fantastic in Season 10 (2016) is the exact opposite in Season 11 (2018). So far, Season 11’s aim at conspiracy is dull, uninspired, and from a storytelling perspective, quite lazy. Out of the aired episodes, last weeks’ Plus One not only had nothing to do with aliens, but is the best example of why we fell in love with the franchise in the first place. This “monster of the week” episode had everything; Mulder cracking sexual innuendo jokes, Scully debunking Mulder’s theories, the two strolling down memory lane filled with the deep admiration of each other, and even something new; growing old. But why is the conspiracy part so lackluster?

Yeah, that's an awesome selfie of my forehead sweat!

This week, The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat heightens almost all of Mulder’s conspiracy theories and one that many of us share – The Mandela Effect! When a mysterious man that's profusely sweating at the forehead (note the episode title) rambles about Mulder’s most memorable Twilight Zone episode never existing, he obsessively sifts through his library of DVD’s and VHS tapes to find it, but can’t all while insisting that it’s real. Jokingly, mystery man (Reggie Something) and Mulder argue about what this term is called – The Mingle Effect or The Mandela Effect as Scully points out that this is simply people misremembering, which launches the plot of different dimensions meshing together causing these “misremembering’s.”  

Episode 4 concludes in true X-Files fashion with sentimental metaphors, but not without a few jabs at the current state of things. We’re sent to an elaborate flashback of the three agents being approached by an alien foolishly wearing a cape Elvis would be sporting in Vegas, using quotes of President Trump, and hands Mulder a book that includes all the conspiracy theory’s truths. Putting the cherry on top, Trump is quoted, which might be the only truthful thing he has ever said that coincides perfectly with the entirety of X-Files canon; “You know, our current president once said something truly profound. He said, ‘nobody knows for sure.’” 

But we know the truth is out there.