The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 12

War of the Coprophages

0
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 05, 1996 on FOX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (20)

9.0
out of 10
Average
365 votes
  • suprisingly suspenseful

    9.0
    By the first death, I was a skeptic. Could cockroaches really make good villains? But astoundingly, this suspenseful episode is one of the best X-Files I've seen. Early on, I unconsciously stood and moved closer to the screen, and didn't realize I had gotten up till I noticed myself wringing the remote later on. Perhaps the originality of the episode's villains heightened its suspense, and the actual genius of for example Dr. Barenbaum's theory of UFOs officially got around my skepticism. The humor at the end got me too.



    Nothing against Mulder, but I respect Scully more because she's more commanding, realistic, and grounded. It's bothersome to see her take a back seat so often to Mulder. Here she's relegated more or less to catty love-interest, inasmuch as an X-Files character can be. Hope to see more of her in future.
  • War of the Coprophages

    10
    War of the Coprophages was another perfect episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was fun, scary and intriguing. Cockroaches are interesting from a scientific standpoint but I don't care for them in my house. The story had action, drama, suspense and if your afraid of bugs then some moments that which would make you cringe. Dr. Bambi was a great character and it was funny watching Mulder interact with her. Scully was awesome in this episode as well, and I loved how her and Mulder kept back and forth on the phone. The ending was pretty good. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • Her name is Bambi?

    7.5

    Mulder goes to Massachusetts, to investigate reports of UFO activity and finds a town cowed by cockroach attacks. Mulder confronts artificial roaches, a factory making fuel out of dung, and an attractive entomologist named Bambi. Scully, worried about Mulder, gets caught up in a fleeing crowd and winds up covered in dung with Mulder.


    The episode is obviously a parody, and is filled with moments both brilliant and farcical. Fans will be hurling one-liners culled from this episode at one another for a long time to come. But these moments, charming as they are taken individually, add up to less than a whole.


    "War of the Coprophages" reads like a fanfic, a story written by a fan about his or her favorite show. As such it incorporates some of the worst excesses of that genre: indulgent self-references, sophomoric humor, and shallow characterization. Writer Darin Morgan leaves no pun unturned, no sight gag ignored. He cannot resist the sly in-joke, and there are several times when he should. If he cannot dazzle us with brilliance and subtlety, he is not above bathroom humor. Or insult: Mulder's parting remark to Scully, "You smell bad", is just mean-spirited. We got the return of Scully's dog, we got the personal phone calls in the middle of the night, we got David Duchovny wandering around in various states of undress, and we got Scully acting jealous. Is this "The X- Files" or a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie?


    The trouble with "Coprophages" was only partly with the individual elements of the story: much of the problem was the overall tone. There is a fine and dangerous line between black humor and sophomoric smirking. The tongue-in-cheek approach is funny once, amusing twice, and tedious a third time.


    This is no denigration of Darin Morgan's talent: his genius lies in setting up scenes where the payoff is either a visual cue. Scully scavenging "bug" candy in the ruins of the store was a very clever reference to the actual bug she ate in Humbug. And I think we all enjoyed the "cockroach" that crawled across our screens at home. : )


    Overall, this episode threw in everything including the bathroom sink, yet fails to achieve a coherent line. But seeing a casual Scully at home made up for my lack of interest in the plot. Frankly, I would have prefered just an hour at home with Scully as she goes about her daily routine. lol

  • Bugs are fun!

    9.1
    Another of Darin Morgan's guilty little pleasures, "War of the Coprophages" not only finds the programme in very healthy, playful mode, but it also harbours some interesting little subplots beneath the veneer of comedy. Above all, it seems to be a generous nod of the head towards Orson Welles' infamous 1930s broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" which many listeners assumed was real and which caused panic in the streets. There's a similar air of hysteria to the small town featured here, as you can tell by the hilarious scene where Scully takes control in a supermarket. Of course it helps the episode's effectiveness in that it deals with one of our greatest fears – bugs. They don't have to be big and threatening for them to be scary. And if anything this episode will go down in X Files history for just one line: "Her name is Bambi?"

    In keeping with the playful tone of the episode, director Kim Manners throws in some cheeky little stylistic touches. Whether he's shooting up from the bottom of a sinkhole or over a toilet roll, he's clearly having as much fun as his cast. Nowhere is this better exemplified by the trick shot when Mulder is having a conversation with Dr Ivanov and a bug scuttles across the screen over their faces. It doesn't need to be there, but it's a funny little extra. Both Duchovny and Anderson are also having some fun here, despite sharing only 3 short scenes together. Her aforementioned repetition of the Bambi line, and the scene in the supermarket are testament to her skill. But just watch how alert Duchovny is as a comedic actor in his first scene in Dr Berenbaum's lab and he finds himself almost accidentally touching her breasts. Mulder's state of flummox at being confronted by an intelligent, beautiful woman is all the more amusing when you consider that he is confronted by such a woman every day at work. And his deadpan delivery when he answers the phone to Scully ("Not now") is priceless stuff. Scully's role in this episode is a reinforcement of the necessity to have her on the X Files. Every time Mulder rings her up to report back on the investigation, she responds with an utterly plausible explanation of events. And her reaction to Mulder's theories is very funny too. But Morgan is having a very naughty little pop at the X Files iconography with Scully here, by giving her probably the most portentous speeches she's ever had to expound in the course of the series. And how amusing that he chronicles her downtime at home as being spent cleaning her FBI issued weapon. (Queequeg's cameo appearance is also a nice touch, a rare example of consistency.) There's also an amusing in-joke at Duchovny's expense when we see Scully reading "Breakfast at Tiffany's", the question that lost him the competition when he appeared on an American game show. But underneath the slew of such in-jokes and lightness is a very interesting thread quietly disproving all Mulder's theories on extra-terrestrials and paranormal occurrences. Scully does it every time she speaks to him on the phone – and for once she is borne out to be completely correct in her medical appraisals of the various victims – while the enticing Dr Berenbaum quietly pooh-poohs the whole UFO theory by claiming it to be merely swarms of insects. To cap it all then Dr Ivanov further casts doubt with his theory that the metallic cockroaches are actually extra-terrestrial scouting machines and not the extra-terrestrials themselves. Either way, Mulder doesn't seem too ruffled by this all-round concerted effort to make him look foolish, seeing as he does a fairly good job of doing that all by himself. Either way, how apt that an episode about rogue insects should literally end with one of them being crushed by an X File. Congratulations to Darin Morgan for his third episode which, like its predecessors, is a delicious treat for fans and regular viewers alike. 9/10
  • Another awesome episode written by Darin Morgan

    9.0
    I've found over the past three season of The X-Files that there are some writers who write specific types of episodes. For instance, you can usually count on Darin Morgan to write a incredibly dark, intriguing and hilarious episode, sometimes combining all three in the same scene. He wrote last season's Humbug, which was just as funny as it was horrifying. And with this episode, we find the connection between Mulder and Scully growing even deeper than before, while also giving us a serious topic with a dark and humorous twist.

    The premise is basic for the most part, but the components that grow to make up the episode are what make it the most memorable. Cockroaches start invading a town and apparently killing people, and Mulder gets caught in the middle, even though he was only in the town to investigate possible UFO sightings. For a majority of the episode, Mulder and Scully are split up, and this leads to some awesome conversations between the two, filled with their usual humor, jokes and serious talk. Meanwhile, while Scully shoots down all of Mulder's theories, Mulder meets a slew of strange people: a man who works with alternate fuels who is terrified of the cockroach infestation, a beautiful USDA agent named Bambi (what's up with that?) and a scientist in a wheelchair who specializes in making mechanical bugs. Very strange, but it all works out in the end due to Darin Morgan's deft hand at writing.

    The ending was explosive and only reiterates how great Mulder and Scully's relationship is. It seems as if this was almost hinting at a liking between the two, or at least something where Scully was feeling jealous. It was fun to watch Scully poke fun at Mulder for talking to a doctor named Bambi. All around awesome episode that shows that Darin Morgan has a good eye for a specific type of episode.
  • No X-file at all

    9.0
    I think this episode has one of the best and most interesting conversations between Mulder and Scully. Of course, Mulder has to screw it with his 'Scully what are you wearing?' but still they are enjoyable and they sound authentic with our favorite duo.

    Mass hysteria is terrible and it looks like it's related with immaturity. People kept being irrational and tragedies started happening as a reaction from the first case. However, it was great to see Mulder consult Scully every case and decision he was about to make, after all, Scully is Mulder's reasoning.

    I detected a little jealousy from Scully and it intensifies in the next episode.
  • Funny and brilliant

    10
    In War of the Coprophages Darin Morgan – just like in Humbug and Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose – leaves aside the typical X-Files formula to create this hilarious and sarcastic tale of a small community in the brink of panic because of the attack of cockroaches. A truly brilliant episode which is based more on people's reaction to a deadly threat than the threat itself. The scene with Scully in the super-market is a fine example of this. All the background characters are great but the highlights of the episode for me are Mulder and Scully's phone exchanges and Scully's line "Smart is Sexy". War of the Coprophages is smart, funny and classic.
  • paranoia and mass hysteria captured beautifully in this bizarro tale

    10
    A near absurdist bizarro tale, almost written like a farce. Level one viewers will see it as a B movie-ish episode but I see it as an intelligent parody of "all things cerebral"- HG Wells... amongst them. With odes to Orson Welles "War Of The Worlds" Over time, this has become my favourite XF comedy. It is very well written, very well directed, and very well acted. Hysteria and mass panic is a concept that often works wonderfully in comedies as a parody, showing just how stupid people can be. (Just think of all the angry mob scenes in the "Simpsons", they are always hilarious.) And everyone can identify with that because everybody knows how stupid people can be. The definite highlight of the episode, and probably the funniest scene of the whole series IMO, is the supermarket scene. It is perfect in every detail (the car crash, the die bug die thing, the guy collecting pantyhose, the hilarious dialogue, Scully laying down the law, the chocolate roaches etc.) Then there are the funny phone call scenes of course, and Queequeg... BTW, Scully looks really cute in her casual clothes I think. And then there's Bambi and Scully's reaction to her... Well, I'm just rambling now, remembering how many good things this episode has. So I'll just stop and say...

    i also have to give Credit to the Late Director Kim Manners who throws in some Genius stylistic touches

    "Have you seen any roaches yourself?" - "No, but they are everywhere!!!" 10/10
  • The one with Bambi

    9.6
    Her name is Bambi. And - unlike that weird woman who has a crush on Mulder in Alpha - she's hot. Hot enough even for Mulder to notice. And DEFINITELY hot enough to get Scully hot under the collar at the thought of Mulder falling under her spell. Wonder if it's cos she's a woman of science too that makes Scully so jealous?

    Anyway, Bambi pointlessly wears tiny little shorts in the middle of the night, which is always desirable in a woman, and has a waist like a wasp, but whenever I watch this ep I wonder if she smells of formaldehyde?

    Anyway, I feel bad for Mulder in this ep. The poor guy never gets any and the moment he meets someone he fancies, Scully bares her teeth and he's rained on by hot dung. It's like Chris Carter birth control. No wonder he finds it easier have phone-sex.

    For the guys: Bambi's hot (did I say that already?) and Scully's cute when she's jealous
    For the girls: Mulder runs about without a shirt on and you get to see his dating technique, which consists of pretending to like bugs. Worst moment: A guy dying from straining on the toilet. YUK.
    Best moment: Mulder slapping his own face in case a bug went up his nose. Very funny.
  • Unabashedly funny and yet completely in character!

    9.8
    My husband (a long time fan) and I (a more recent convert) had both seen the very end of this episode before but never the whole way through until today, and after laughing the whole way through, looked at each other and with an air of complete satisfaction said at once "That was a great episode!" It was different, sure-- the series always has a bit of humor in it, but it's technically a scifi-mystery-drama, usually; this episode was one of the blatantly funny ones instead. But it wasn't JUST funny, it was funny done really WELL. It was funny that took full advantage of character nuances. The cumulating absurdity in Mulder and Scully's exchanged phone calls was cackle-inducing but perfectly believable. Half the humor in the episode came from the expressions on people's faces. It was creatively written and brilliantly acted. It's pure entertainment!
  • "Her name is Bambi?" Killer cockroaches and a woman named Bambi

    10
    A fantastic episode, particuarly because of the reappearance of Queequeg! The whole Mulder and Scully dialogue on the phone is just classic, plus "Smart is Sexy." It was really well written and rather funny. The whole story was slightly weird, but hey, this is the X-Files! It was one of the one-off lighthearted episodes and it really worked very well, it certainly made up for Oubliette in this series. I liked the way Mulder phoned up Scully for advice, and her jealousy over Bambi. What else can i say? If you want to watch a funny episode i'd suggest this one.
  • Beautifully-written Darin Morgan classic. A TV Writers' School. One of the best episodes!

    10
    Like “Humbug” and “Clyde Bruckman’s Last Repose”, this is a gloriously well-written episode which reveals a show not taking it self too seriously. It doesn’t matter that it’s not a “mythology” episode. It’s a creature-feature that tips its hat to Wells/Welles and Rod Serling, and which develops the slow-burning relationship between Mulder and Scully deliciously. On the face of it, it’s about cockroach bots, possibly from another planet, attacking people in Miller’s Grove. But more to the point, it’s an amusing snapshot of human mass hysteria in the face of moral panic. By the end of the episode, the roaches themselves are almost an irrelevance, because the relationships between Mulder, Scully and “Bambi” are vastly more interesting and entertaining. Scully perfects her dead-panning throughout, and Mulder (in his black, Bond-like top) smoulders over the gorgeous etymologist. There are some well-handled frightening moments, of course, but the balance of the episode is fun and good-natured.
  • What a great episode, nothing major happens... but does it have to?

    9.5
    Few spoiler's here, so ya might not want to read it if you have yet to see it.

    This episode just made so much sense to me, and I have to admit I'd never really thought of it like that before. That an intelligent species other than our own might use some type of robotic probe (cockroaches) to study other planets, the same way we're doing... well kinda, with the Mars Rover.

    It actually would make more sense than aliens actually traveling to our planet themselves, would be easier wouldn't it?

    That's the basic set up for the show, and it's works great. Through most of the episode your led to believe these cockroaches are just plain evil and are exterminating everything in their path. Then, only to find out that the deaths linked to the cockroaches are just plain and simple coincidences... Just absolute genius on the writers part!

    The back ground characters as well are just plain great. Bambi... springs to mind. And Scully's constrained but nonetheless strong feelings of jealousy towards Bambi's relationship with Mulder was a thing of beauty to watch unfold. Poor Mulder, lost her to the Stephen Hawking...ish guy, he's a great and funny character but still... poor Mulder.

    Just a fun episode all around, it's scary, it's hilarious, great character development, wonderful plot, and it made me think a bit. What more can can you ask for?
  • Does my scientific detachment disturb you?

    9.5
    OMG this is the funniest, most hilarious episode ever! A wickedly clever spoof of the giant monster movies of the 50s, as well as sci-fi and the X-Files themselves. I'd give it a perfect 10 except that it is not a Mythology episode and some of the jokes seemed a little stiffly set up. Darin Morgan is a very talented and witty writer.

    Loved the guy reading Scientific American on the toilet! LOL! Mulder's insta-crush on Bambi as she recounts her theory that UFOs are actually swarms of insects was also hilarious. At the same time, Mulder's attraction to Bambi is used to further develop the growing rift between Mulder and Scully (she becomes peevishly jealous of Bambi).

    The most brilliant moments in the script were the exchanges between Mulder and Scully on the telephone as he recounts one horrifying death after another with Scully calmly offering her medical conclusions whilst watching TV or eating ice cream out of the carton. Easily the best non-mythos episode so far and certainly one of the top 5 episodes to date.
  • "Did you know that Thomas Crapper invented the flush toilet?"

    8.4
    oh man, what an episode! I loved it from start to finish, Specially the scene where mulder was trying to kill the cockroaches! That was so funny and great, I loved what he said to one of the cockroaches before steping on it "Welcome to Earth"! and what Scully said about Bambi's Name "Bambi? Her name is Bambi?" LOL all Great quotes in one great episode.
  • A horrible episode, but still very entertaining.

    4.5
    This episode is so bad it's good.

    The premise of this episode - that cockroaches are attacking people - is pretty crazy, and it just gets more crazy from there. And not the usual X-Files crazy...this episode is utterly ridiculous.

    It's unclear if they're trying to play this episode for laughs or not. Most of it IS pretty funny though, and it makes you feel squirmy from start to finish. There are also lots of holes in the story, and there's no closure and a lot of unanswered questions in the end. Not the usual unanswered questions that the show is famous for, but a bunch of episode-specific ones. Plot points fade away and new ones quickly emerge to take their place, like a finicky ADD patient's attention span.

    The part about how the bugs are attacking scientists just fades away the moment it's mentioned. The idea that the bugs may be artificial goes nowhere. The entire town goes on a crazy rampage because of a few roach-related deaths. The episode ends with an explosion at a manure-filled methane plant, and with Mulder and Scully covered in burned-up droppings.

    It's all so ridiculous that even the cast doesn't seem to take it seriously, which adds a great deal of humor to the episode. It's full of bad lines and ridiculous situations, and the creepy bugs keep you on edge through the whole thing.

    By the end of the episode, you're laughing about how horrible it was.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the show. But even great shows have "off" days.
  • Its just pain down silliness.

    9.0
    “War of the Coprophages” is a silly episode about cockroaches. The episode sees Mulder investigate murders that involve cockroaches. In the end all hell breaks loose. This episode involves roaches, bongs, fat ugly men, bambi, riots, Skully getting jealous, the question of “Did Mulder get laid?, Steven Hawking like people, and a big explosion. Yep, that about covers it. It’s an ok episode that raises a few questions about Skully’s feelings for Mulder (Come on it’s not the first time she’s acted like this, is it?). Overall though, nothing really major happens that affects the series storyline. Its just pain down silliness.
  • The one with all the cockroaches

    9.8
    A fantastic and overly fun episode. And definitely the grossest episode thus far, cockroaches everywhere. The only problem is that it wasn’t really explained now was it?

    I loved the humor add to it, probably the best thing about the episode. And jealous Scully and professor bambi (lol)

    Anyway, cockroaches are attacking people, or were they? First an exterminator then a drugged guy where they crawl under his skin (grossest of all) then a doctor and then a Japanese fella.

    The whole city goes nuts and in meanwhile Scully (like always) tries to find explanations for it but Mulder doesn’t really care about what she says anymore, he has the huts on professor Bambi.

    Anyway, after all those scenes with those pukeable creatures it ends. I definitely find this a very humorous episode and enjoyed it quite a lot.
  • Anyone who's seen a Darin Morgan knows what a Darin Morgan is.

    10
    It's impossible to summarize a Darin Morgan episode. One can try, but he/she will fail at completely describing the universe created. It is almost as difficult to review a Darin Morgan episode. As much as I could describe my thoughts and reactions to the episode, I would never be able to fully express them. As you might imagine, Darin Morgan is my favorite TV writer, and I believe War of the Coprophages is one of the best episodes ever committed to television.

    Darin Morgan is able to contain so much in an episode. Self-jabbing humor, poignant plotline developments, piercing and intelligent dialogue, believable evolution of characters and character interactions, and wondrous homages to entertainment's past. Darin Morgan does more than write a TV episode, he creates an artwork so genuine and so unique, he could create his own genre of entertainment -- but no one could imitate it.

    War of the Coprophages is essentially a comedic look at human reaction to things scary or supernatural. Take, for instance, the cockroach -- so wonderfully described in the episode teaser by none other than an exterminator. The exterminator's death is the impetus for the storyline to unfold in this episode.

    It just so happens that the death takes place in Miller's Grove (sounds familiar to any War of the Worlds fan), and it also just so happens that Mulder is near the town at the time. Mulder is there investigating a number of calls reporting of mysterious and unidentified lights in the sky the previous night. But when a cop is interested in his behavior, Mulder soon learns of a "cockroach epidemic" in the town.

    One humorous aspect (of many) in this episode is the wonderful conversations between Mulder and Scully. Mulder investigates a death -- Scully supplies a scientific theory for the death -- Mulder turns away from a paranormal interpretation. And Scully is, indeed, right every time. But soon the immense number of cockroach incidents is too much for Scully to resist, and she comes to Miller's Grove. But not after a string of hilarious back-and-forth wordweb conversations between the two. This is one of the greatest Mulder-Scully episodes from The X-Files.

    In Mulder's investigation, he finds a cockroach whose exoskeleton appears to be metal. He discusses this with an entomologist in the town named Dr. Berenbaum (Bobbie Phillips), who believes that a Dr. Ivanov may be responsible. Dr. Ivanov works with robots and may have crafted such a "device". When Mulder goes to Dr. Ivanov (in a hilariously twisted scene), Dr. Ivanov explains to Mulder (through some prodding, of course) that if extraterrestrial life were able to reach other planets, machines (and not the actual life) would be the first to reach such a place. Interesting thought, and yes, curiously, very thoughtful too. So, Mulder believes that maybe some of these cockroaches were extraterrestrial.

    Well, after a while, it is determined that a plant nearby had a recent transport of dung (Coprophage is loosely translated as "dung eater") and that cockroaches were probably transported by mistake, leading to an infestation in the town. The infestation has left its mark on the town. When reports of the "cockroach" deaths spread, widespread panic from the town ensues. This has ultimately hilarious, but revealing, results: The town goes berserk, cleans out supermarkets, and runs for dear life since the roaches were claimed to spread the Ebola virus or "eat men whole", among other things. Funny, yes...but not so funny if you remember the reaction to "War of the Worlds" -- of which this episode is based. Morgan has the uncanny ability to make something funny and poignant at the same time. Most writers are funny and then poignant (or, sometimes, vice versa); Morgan, however, has the gift of multi-dimensionality. But after the hilarity of the scene in the supermarket passes -- we realize the intention. These people's reactions aren't so out-of-the-ordinary.

    Ultimately, the episode ends in another humdinger of a climax (one that intelligently completes both plots in the episode) -- with the ultimately hilarious final touch by Morgan. "Scully, I never thought I would say this to you, but...you smell bad." Yes. Yes, indeed.

    Of course, I've barely scratched the surface of this episode -- all I can say is, I have never seen anything like it before, and I never will again. And if you haven't seen this episode yet, find a way to watch it as soon as you can.
  • When cocharoaches are the only common denominator in several homicides, Agent Mulder decides to investigate the phenomenon, prompting the whole town to panic

    9.5
    Great Episode. The role of Dr.Bambie was played by Bobbie Phillips(who starred w/ David Duchovny in the Red Shoe Diaries), who did a good job confounding Mulder with her fascination with Insects. The story is quite well written and plays out nicely. Scully has some funny moments too. The case is definetly a X-File. The episode plays a spoff of War Of The Worlds, causing a panic over some cochroaches.
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