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Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man

Any good X-Files fan knows you can't trust half of what you see (in real life or on the show), so those facts we received about Cancer Man's life in last week's repeat might not be facts at all. Frohike obtained some shaky information on this shadowy character, and although it makes sense, the truth might be that Cancer Man is really nothing more than a Barney fan with a chip on his shoulder.

Nonetheless, "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" is an important episode in the mythology arc.

In case you missed it, Frohike linked Cancer Man to the assasinations of JKF, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy (he was pretty busy during the '60s). During ensuing years Cancer Boy battles the evil forces of communism while keeping the tobacco industry in business. But when '91 rolls around, and Gorby resigns as leader of Russia, the commie enemies are gone. So, seeing his career winding to an end, The Man with The Omnipresent Cig smacks a Nicorette patch on his neck and prepares to cash it in.

But then everything changes. An alien ship takes a nosedive in West Virginia (maybe aliens are big "Deliverance" fans), but the EBE doesn't die. Enter Cancer Man and Deep Throat -- ready to whup some disabled alien hiney. Deep Throat pops a cap in the alien and a whole new conspiracy begins.

The historical references in this episode make it easy to watch (particularly the explanation behind the Buffalo Bills' superbowl woes), but for any long-term X-phile, this episode works because we finally get some dirt on what makes Cancer Man tick. His failed efforts as a novelist actually made me feel bad for this previous symbol of all that is evil. And that soliloquy about life as a box of chocolates is classic (take that, Gump). All in all, it was a well-produced episode worth being repeated.

Note: This review originally appeared at Ontap.com. It's reprinted here for archival purposes.



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