The X-Files Season 11, episode 4 review: The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

L-R: Guest star Brian Huskey, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX, The X-Files via Fox Flash
L-R: Guest star Brian Huskey, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX, The X-Files via Fox Flash /

Season 11 of The X-Files continues its very strong run in its fourth episode, “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat.” Written and directed by fan-favorite Darin Morgan, the episode delves into the world of secrets, conspiracies and things not being what they seem, all filtered through the weird and hilarious. So just like any other Darin Morgan X-Files episode.


I am going to sound like a broken record again. Basically, I have been going over and over in my head as to where this episode falls within the grander scheme of Season 11. And like the other three that have aired, it seems as though a recurring theme of each of these episodes is to take a part of the show and figure out where it stands in today’s world.

Watch your favorite shows on fuboTVWatch over 67 live sports and entertainment channels with a 7-day FREE trial!

More from FOX

In “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat,” it comes across as though Darin Morgan uses the character of Reggie to poke fun at the conspiracies and the “search for truth.” At one point after being handed a book of answers, Mulder throws it to the ground in fit of anger and proceeds to have a hissy fit. He doesn’t want the answers handed to him, and therefore the audience doesn’t want the answers handed to us. Where would the search for truth end up?

After the much talked over “hookup” between Mulder and Scully (Why was there such excitement? It was implied for a long time that William was Fox’s son), we get to see them at the start of their “relationship.” Dana and Fox on a date. Which for Fox means hiding in a car park awaiting for an informant to show up ala Deep Throat. How romantic. Morgan here is poking fun at the audience, wanting us to be frustrated at the fact we want to see these two end up together.

As per any Darin Morgan episode, there are intertexual references, weird surreal visuals, at one point we get David Duchovny’s head on an 8-year old boy, and an underlying wry humor that David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Brian Huskey (Reggie Something) relish in delivering.

We are introduced to the Mandela Effect, or Mengele Effect, which provides the episode the impetus to go into the idea of false memories, delusions, and paranoia. Is there a grand conspiracy questioning every thought and memory we hold dear? The Mandela Effect is a phenomenon where a persons memory of an event is questioned due to facts of the contrary. This phenomenon should be intertwined with The X-Files, an idea that Morgan plays with throughout the episode. He presents the question, are we altering our perception of something by revisting it?

The audience is being made to question their memories, much like Reggie Something. Darin Morgan ends up putting Reggie Something into classic X-Files moments, seeing him recreate the X-Files intro, interact with Tooms, cockblock Mulder, and poke fun at one of series low points (“Guys, if this turns out to be killer cats, I’m going to be very disappointed.”)

Next: The X-Files review: Season 11, episode 3, Plus One

A whole book can be written on how good some of the quotes are and how much they subvert the show. A couple of favourites: “I’M FOX FREAKING MULDER, YOU PUNKS.”, “So that’s the truth? We’re not alone in the universe? But nobody likes us?”, and finally this interaction between Mulder and Scully:

Mulder: “I’m right back to parallel universes again. It’s true Scully, I’ve lost the plot. I can’t find the hidden connections between things anymore. The world has become too crazy for even my conspiratorial powers.”

Scully: “Maybe you’ve just lost your taste for it after all this birther stuff.”

If Reggie should be known for something is to help us fans come to peace with The X-Files coming to an end. He says, “It’s time to face the facts, guys. This is the end of the X-Files. But maybe the point wasn’t to find the truth but to find each other.” After 11 seasons, 2 movies, a couple of video games, comics, and countless books, we should be happy at what The X-Files has brought us.