This month marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most iconic “The X-Files” episodes of all time, “Humbug.” Written by Darin Morgan and directed by the late Kim Manners, this episode about a series of murders in a circus town originally aired March 31, 1995 on Fox. It was the first hour that perfectly blended horror with comedy, a combination fans later saw in such Morgan-penned episodes as “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” “War of the Coprophages” and “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.” (See all Darin Morgan episodes below in our photo gallery.)
Throughout “Humbug,” FBI agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) bicker about what’s really causing the murders in town. Mulder thinks it’s the fabled Fiji mermaid, which Scully believes is nothing but a hoax. Scully is eventually proven correct, but not before she puts a cricket in her mouth to try to endear herself to the local circus freaks.
“I’ve seen the future, and the future looks just like him,” Dr. Blockhead (Jim Rose) tells Scully at the conclusion of the episode while gazing up at a heroic-looking Mulder. “Imagine, going through your whole life looking like that.”
The ultimate villain of “Humbug” turns out to be Leonard, an underdeveloped human fetus that detaches himself from his conjoined twin Lanny (Vincent Schiavelli) in order to commit murders. Leonard goes down as one of our favorite “X-Files” monsters of all time.
“Humbug” was Morgan’s first solo script after previously receiving a “story by” credit for Season 2’s “Blood.” His quirky style is one of a kind on the show, and he was even rewarded with an Emmy in 1996 for writing the Season 3 classic “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” which guest-starred Emmy champ Peter Boyle as a psychic who could foresee how people die.
When “The X-Files” returned in 2016 and 2018, Morgan served as a producer and wrote/directed two instant fan-favorite episodes: “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” about a lizard man and “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat” about the Mandela Effect.