Before I make any specific comments, I want to generally say my piece about "monster of the week" episodes. I'm a mytharc man. The mytharc and assorted conspiracy episodes always rate higher than the stand-alones on my list of favorites. Some of the funny episodes rate high, especially in earlier seasons, but for the most part, I find most "MOTW" episodes to be somewhat lacking.

Some of them rate higher simply because there are some unusual levels of continuity with the mytharc episodes. Recall "The Host". Sure, it was a stand-alone, but it tied in beautifully with the ending of "Little Green Men". That added continuity of character added something to the episode that would have otherwise been missed.

That, more than anything, is what made this episode interesting for me. There were clear signs of continuity with the emotions and the events that happened last episode. Scully was still attempting to come to grips with her "promotion", Doggett was still trying to find his way to "deal" with his new situation, and the presence of Mulder is solidly behind every decision and discussion.

I am expecting a lot of resistance and overzealous criticism from the Mulderites about this episode. There will be those who say that this episode was extremely weak, the bat creature was dumb, etc, etc...while also making it clear within the context of their statements that it is only the absence of Mulder that they cannot reconcile. For those who seek to bash this episode needlessly...I point to "Chimera", "First Person Shooter", etc. The presence of Mulder is *not* a sure thing.

Was this a classic? No. Was this a competent episode? Yes.

Some other comments:

- First things first. This is some basic information for those who are going to piis and moan about Duchovny not being shown in the credits. That is a direct result of the deal that he made, and the strict SAG union rules that apply to it. In short, if an actor or actress is listed in the opening credits, then he or she must be paid for that episode in the same proportion as he or she is paid in every episode in which he or she is listed in the opening credits, *regardless* of whether or not he or she actually appears in the episode.

In other words, if he had been listed, 1013 would have had to pay him, even though he was not appearing.

So...get over it. DD made his choice. This is the result of that choice. Don't blame CC or 1013 for the consequences.

- That said, the new new opening sequence is going to take a little getting used to. The flashlight montage is a little rough. But I am glad to see that Mulder does still fall into Scully's eye. It makes sure that Mulder is still prominent in everyone's minds. He is certainly not forgotten.

- Scully's indecision over whether or not to accept her new partnership, even for just a little while, was perfectly done. Do not be fooled into thinking that Scully has given up, just because she placed Mulder's nameplate into that drawer. She's set herself up as the protector of everything he is and does. The symbolism is crystal clear.

- Scully running the slide show could have been a disaster, if she had started pulling paranormal explanations out of nowhere. Instead, there was the symbolism of having her assume Mulder's place, while maintaining her own unique stance.

- I loved the tone of the investigation. Mulder would have been pulling vampires, werewolves, ant people, etc. out of his arse, so the restrained level of speculation was obvious and appreciated. Scully is not turning into Mulder, and that is comforting.

- Having Doggett find the article about the man-bat was a nice touch. We truly cannot assume where a lead is going to come from now.

- The man-bat was a bit disappointing. 'Nuff said.

- I thought that it was absolutely hilarious when Doggett and Scully realize that the man-bat is going to be coming for them, and Doggett tells Scully to stay with the intended victim while he goes out into the dead of night by himself! The guy was asking for it...

- And if that wasn't enough, how about pregnant Scully, after hearing the man-bat on the roof, walking out to see if she killed it? Yo, Scully, got a bit more to protect now, don't you??? (Never mind that by staying inside, they would have forced the man-bat to betray its position when it entered the building, letting them both have a clear target area in which to fire...)

- I hope everyone caught Scully's nasty looks when it was obvious that Doggett was patronizing her with the "good ol' boys"! She's definitely not going to let him get away with any of that...

- Does anyone really think that we will ever see that man-bat again?

- And finally, the last bit of evidence that Scully is not turning into Mulder. She's getting Doggett a desk for the X-Files room...

Final rating...6/10. Would have been a 5/10 just for being a MOTW episode, but the continuity with the mytharc openers brought it up a notch.

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