CTP Episode of the Day - 12.26.06 - The Host

Today's Cherished Episode: The Host (2x02)
Original Air Date: September 23, 1994
Written By: Chris Carter
Directed By: Daniel Sackheim

Mulder stumbles upon a genetic mutation, the Flukeman, while investigating a murder in the New Jersey sewer system.

"They don't want us working together, Scully ... and right now, that's the only reason I can think of to stay."

Some "The Host" Tidbits & Musings:

-- The episode title was descriptive of what the monster was looking for.

-- One of The X-Files's most unique and talented writers joined the show not as a writer but as an actor. After dropping out of college, Darin Morgan wasn't doing much of anything, but he eventually landed a couple of acting credits on The Commish (as a corrupt pizza delivery boy) and 21 Jump Street (as a teenage street hustler) -- two shows that his brother Glen Morgan was working on at the time, along with his writing partner James Wong.

-- Morgan's third acting gig, also on a show on which his brother Glen was working, was a pivotal guest-starring role -- but not one that would make him a household name -- or face. Morgan had been asked by his brother Glen to help out with some ideas on an episode he and Jim Wong were working on. And since he happened to be around at the time, he was hired to play the part of the Flukeman, a genetic mutant living in the sewers of New Jersey. Had Morgan known what he was in for, he may not have agreed to tackle the role.

-- The Flukeman suit was a true ordeal that at first took six hours to put on before technicians were able to speed up the process, and at one point had to be worn by Morgan for 20 hours consecutively. Because it was so difficult to remove, that meant Morgan had to relieve himself in the get-up, almost like the scene where the astronaut has to do so in The Right Stuff.

-- Since most of the Flukeman's time was spent in the sewer, the exposure to water would ruin the suit each day and a new one had to be made from scratch.

-- Morgan wore two sets of contact lenses, "one on top of the other," he explained. "One of them was for the color and the other to create a kind of milky film over that. The contacts were the only thing that didn't hurt -- and the good thing was that they were prescription!"

-- The mask and rubber smelled like sulphur and Morgan could not breath through the nose, so that made eating while in costume difficult ("because you couldn't eat and breathe at the same time").

-- On the Season 2 DVDs, Morgan shared his recollections of filming "The Host": "I remember when I'd gotten the script thinking, 'Okay, how does a fluke, half-man, half-flukeworm, move?' And I wanted to come up with some kind of creepy movement like the Creature from the Black Lagoon has a very particular way of swimming. The minute you see him, you go, 'Oh my god, it's the Creature from the Black Lagoon, we're all dead!' Once I got into the suit, I realized that was irrelevant because my mobility was limited to moving like a robot. Like, 'I am the Flukeman.' That was the most I could move. The thing was incredibly heavy. I couldn't breathe, couldn't talk. There was no hole for me to urinate. Sex was completely out of the question. I decided to relieve myself when in the water because I figured Duchovny would never find out. He's never gonna watch these things."

-- Summing up his first X-Files experience, Morgan said, "It was terrible, just horrible. I can't describe how painful it was to be in that suit for such long stretches at a time. I just kept saying to myself, 'Don't go insane. Don't go insane.'"

-- "The key to making a rubber suit not look cheesy was more about what you don't show than what you did show," recalled director Daniel Sackheim. "It has to do with judicious angles and judicious lighting, and teasing the audience. I remember when I got a call from Chris Carter saying that he wanted me to direct one of the early episodes of the second season, and he said that the premise of it was about a half-man, half-worm. When I told my agent, my agent said, 'If that's what they're doing, the show's not long for television, so maybe you should think of doing something else.' So, I guess he was wrong."

-- Sackheim also directed "Deep Throat," "Conduit," "Kitsunegari," and "S.R. 819."

-- The episode that Glen Morgan had asked his brother to help out with was the one that followed "The Host," entitled "Blood." Glen had told his brother to do "something about a post office," and he also wanted to incorporate two other ideas that had been floating around the X-Files office: DDT in the 1950s (which Glen Morgan had seen a story about on 20/20) and something about digital readouts which had been suggested by Chris Carter.

-- Together, the two Morgans and Jim Wong conceived a story which revolved around a postal worker who began to receive hallucinatory homicidal messages. In the end, the script was needed in such a hurry that Glen and Jim had to finish up themselves. But Darin sat in on a few story meetings and so impressed Carter and executive producer Howard Gordon that he was invited to join the show's writing staff.

-- This led Chris Carter to joke that being suffocated in a heinous rubber suit without a fly was a rite of passage for all of his prospective writers.

-- Chris Carter recalled that he was irritated about something when he wrote this episode, and he brought this funk to Mulder's attitude. He also wanted to use this episode to further develop the relationship between Mulder and Skinner as the producers intended to use Mitch Pileggi more during Gillian Anderson's limited schedule due to her pregnancy.

-- Carter had a major fight with Fox's broadcast standards over the scene where the worker puked up the fluke -- one of the more vivid sequences in the show's run up to that time -- insisting that to lose that shot would ruin the episode.

-- "You have a friend in the FBI." The mysterious X, Deep Throat's successor, made his first appearance in this episode. Originally, X was intended to be a woman and actress Natalia Nogulich was cast in the role; but a female informant did not jive with Chris Carter and it was determined the actress would be replaced. Steven Williams had a good relationship with Glen Morgan and James Wong from his work on 21 Jump Street and was hired for the role on their suggestion. The actor shown onscreen (or more specifically the back of the actor's head) was not Steven Williams; he dubbed his voice into "The Host" after he was cast in the part for "Sleepless."

-- The autopsy Scully performed was case number DP112148; this was a reference to Chris Carter's wife's birthday (November 21, 1948) preceded by her initials (Dori Pierson).

-- Scully's autopsy was of victim John Doe number 101356; this was Chris Carter's birth date (October 13, 1956).

-- The Flukeman turned out to be quite a popular X-Files character. He was mentioned/referred to in future episodes "Pusher" and "The Field Where I Died."

-- Darin Morgan never formally met David Duchovny while on the set because of his restrictive costume. But on a flight from Los Angeles to Vancouver a few months later, David coincidentally sat beside Darin. Darin played the "adoring fan" and asked David for an autograph. "What do you want me to write?" asked David. "I want you to write, 'To my nemesis - Sincerely, Fox Mulder,'" replied Darin. David was thinking, "Who is this psychopath sitting beside me?" until Darin finally told him, "I'm Flukeman!" David was impressed that Darin was able to wait a half-hour into the flight before he pulled the joke; and the two have been fast friends ever since.

-- Once & Future Retreads: Darin Morgan (Flukeman) returned as Eddie Van Blundht in "Small Potatoes." Don MacKay (Charlie) was Warden Joseph Cash in "Beyond the Sea," Oates in "The List," and the Judge in "Pusher." Marc Baur (Agent Brisentine) was Man in Suit in "Ghost in the Machine" and Matlock in "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man." Gabrielle Rose (Dr. Zenzola) was Anita Budahas in "Deep Throat." Ron Suave (Ray) was Mr. Decker in "Teso Dos Bichos." Raoul Ganeev (Dmitri) played a Guard in "Tunguska," "Terma," and "Patient X." William McDonald (Federal Marshall) was Dr. Oppenheim in "Fallen Angel," Agent Kazanjian in "2Shy," Officer Trott in "Unruhe," and Deputy Buddy Riggs in "Chinga." Hrothgar Mathews (Man on Phone) was Jack in "The Jersey Devil," a Mental Patient in "Our Town," and Galen Muntz in "Talitha Cumi."

(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics.)

Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "The Host."

And with "The Host," our CTPs for Season 2 are complete!