The X-Files had some high and lows during its 9-season run, but man, those lows were abysmal. Trying to figure out the Worst Episode Ever of The X-Files is as big a mystery as most of the X-Files themselves. Still, if you had to pick, you probably couldn't do much worse than “Fight Club,” a tale of bad wrestlers, multiple Kathy Griffins, and rage transmitted through semen.
Our story begin with two chipper Mormon missionaries in Kansas City, traveling door-to-door to spread their Mormon-y word, arriving at the home of one Kathy Griffin. Yes, that Kathy Griffin. She’s just moving in, so she’s “saved” by the arrival of the cable installation guy (get it? GET IT?!). This does not discourage our intrepid duo, as they bike a couple of blocks away, and knock on the door of another house… to find Kathy Griffin. They are momentarily confused, and then start beating the shit out of each other, because Kathy Griffin has the mutant power to make Mormons beat each other up.
Okay, that’s not strictly true, as we’ll see. Obviously, this odd incident piques the interest of our monotone-voiced and red-haired pals from the FBI, who question one of the Kathy Griffins, named Betty Templeton, about what seems to be a religious hate crime. They ask her about the woman who looks exactly like her just a few streets away, and Kathy replies, “You know what they say! Everybody has a twin out there somewhere!”
The camera then cuts to the FBI agents, who — try to keep your hat from flying off comically — aren’t Mulder and Scully, but FBI agent who look uncannily like them! In reality, it’s David Duchovny’s X-Files stunt double and X-Files star Mitch Pileggi’s wife (he played Assistant Director Skinner on the show). This is when the other Kathy Griffin drives by, moving out of her house. The two Kathys glare at each other, and then fake Scully punches Fake Mulder in the face, and then these two beat the shit out of each other, inspiring a few very specific erotic fan fics.
Finally we cut to the real Mulder and Scully, sitting in their FBI office. Mulder goes through slide after slide of the agents in the hospital with a comical amount of casts on, although neither Mulder nor Scully ever observe they bear an uncanny resemblance to themselves (not observing things will be a key theme in this episode). Mulder is in full smarmy bullshit mode, telling Scully all the things he thinks she thinks he’ll suggest: psychokinesis, past lives, etc., but he refuses to tell her the actual details of the case, even though they are both paid to be investigating it. Scully plays his bullshit paranormal charades until she gets to the answer “dopplegangers.”
Back in Kansas City, the second Kathy Griffin — named Lulu Pfieffer — is applying for a job at a copy center called Koko’s (if you’re too young to remember it, there used to be a copy center called Kinko’s, so this is fucking hilarious). The manager is disturbed by Lulu’s job history, which includes 17 jobs in 17 states in the past three years. This upsets Lulu, so you know what that means — the copy machines start going crazy! Yes, these Kathy Griffins have a very unique mutant power to make people fight and upset photocopiers! The flustered manager hires her on the spot to fight the chaos. Meanwhile, Betty Templeton applies for a job at another Koko’s! She’s had the exact same amount of jobs as Lulu! In the same amount of states! Coincidence? I think not.
Cut to: A professional wrestler named Bert Zupanic, stuffing stacks of cash in a suitcase (I should note that Zupanic is played by boxer-turned-actor Randall “Tex” Cobb, although at this point his physique resembles the wrestlers of the late ‘70s at best). Mulder and Scully knock on his door, and ask him if he knows Betty Templeton. Tex does not; he obviously knows Lulu instead, but is so baffled by this situation that he can’t articulate this in any way. He does manage to reveal Lulu’s home address, somehow, without ever mentioning her; Scully goes to investigate the house while Mulder stays on the Zupanic trail.
Unfortunately, this means letting Bert Zupanic walk out of his apartment with a briefcase, and then breaking into his apartment to search for clues. If he’d followed ol’ Bert, the case would be solved, because Bert travels to a dive where he sees a Kathy Griffin. He thinks it's his girlfriend Lulu, but in fact it’s Betty, who is delighted when Bert orders her her favorite drink. Bert is still completely boggled by the fact that this Kathy Griffin doesn’t seem to know him, but he seems to conclude that Lulu is pretending to be Betty? Or has a double-life as Betty? At any rate, he’s completely unconcerned that the woman he’s dating seems to have a split personality.
He also doesn’t notice when Lulu walks in from the back. Lulu and Betty glare at each other, causing 1) an earthquake and 2) all the booze bottles and glasses to explode, including a large mountain of glasses the bartender had carefully stacked. Admittedly, this is a very particular mutant power. Betty and Bert escape out the front door to Lulu’s displeasure.
Meanwhile, Mulder meets with Bert’s manger (maybe? or maybe he's a general wrestling promoter?) Argyle Saperstein at the Kansas City… uh… arena where they have local wrestling, I guess. While sitting bizarrely close to Mr. Saperstein (and putting his arm around him), Mulder explains to Scully that Zupanic will be wrestling at this arena in a few days, and he usually brings a Kathy Griffin with him for good luck (Saperstein also says Kathy Griffin is “not much to look at," which, hey, she’s no Elle MacPherson, but come on, Chris Carter). So Mulder’s new plan is to dick around a few days and just grab her at Zupanic's match.
However, Scully has done some actual investigating and figured shit out. Betty Templeton and Lulu Pfieffer are two women who appear to have no connection except for the fact that they look exactly alike, they moved state-to-state together for the past 12 years, one after the other, leaving a path of destruction behind them — not just fights, but house fires and riots.
Mulder and Scully leave, and suddenly it turns out Saperstein is not the noble gentlemen he’s made out to be. He calls Zupanic and demands his money, which… I don’t know what this is. It seems like it’s his fee to fight in the match, but the idea of a professional wrestler paying to wrestle seems insane. Also, it’s $150,000, which makes that theory extra insane. It can’t be a gambling debt or a bet on the upcoming match, because, again, it’s professional wrestling. At any rate, Saperstein demands Zupanic bring the money to the dive bar at lunch or he can’t wrestle, which is very upsetting to Zupanic.
Also upsetting to Zupanic: The fact that he wakes up with Betty in his bed, and after Betty goes to the bathroom, Lulu knocks on his door. Bert, obviously, is still completely confused, because apparently he thought his girlfriend Lulu was doing some kind of very low-stakes role-play. Lulu is certain Bert has slept with another woman, and when she finds the world’s ugliest Betty Boop hairpin in his bed… she’s completely assuaged. BECAUSE SHE HAS ONE EXACTLY LIKE IT AND SHE THINKS IT’S HERS! Lulu leaves just before Betty exits the bathroom, obviously, and the whole scene ends with the couple upstairs having a gunfight that puts bullet holes through Zupanic’s apartment ceiling.
At the dive bar, Bert meets Saperstein to deliver this mysteriously large amount of cash, when Betty and Lulu both randomly enter the bar for lunch. Betty and Lulu glare at each other, Bert’s mind is now completely blown, and another earthquake occurs which destroys all the bar’s booze bottles that had been replaced and put in the exact same positions they were in before the first earthquake destroyed them last night, and also another mountain of glasses the bartender had foolishly stacked in the exact same way in the exact same place on the bar. Why, if I didn’t know any better, I might think it was the same footage! Betty and Lulu storm off, while the only one hurt in the incident is Bert. Saperstein, being a complete asshole, steals Bert’s suitcase of money and leaves.
Scully talks to Lulu and Mulder talks to Betty, then they call each other to confirm: both ladies say the other one is stalking them, and ruining their lives, and that Kansas City is their last stand. Which is when Mulder notices he’s standing in-between the two girls, both in their cars. Their glares cause a manhole cover to shoot into the sky and Mulder to get sucked down the manhole into the sewer. Oh, you laugh, but some of the ‘90s X-Men had even weirder powers.
Since her phone call was interrupted, Scully searches where Mulder was talking to her for about 10 seconds or so, then enters the nearby Koko’s to use the Internet, a.k.a the Information Super Highway. Likely using her AOL account, Scully does a bunch of research that seems… unlikely in 2000, when this episode was shot. What she finds out, somehow:
• Betty and Lulu have the same father, a man named Bob Damfuse.
• Bob Damfuse was a sperm donor, and both Betty and Lulu’s mothers used his sperm for their artificial insemination.
• Betty and Lulu were born at the exact same time.
So! Scully goes to interview Mr. Damfuse, who is in jail because he’s the world’s angriest man. He can only talk in screams of rage. Scully asks him if he knows any reason why his daughters might be able to cause these disturbances, when she realizes the only thing unique about Damfuse is how angry he is. This means he is so angry he transmitted his anger through his sperm. He’s so angry that by virtue of his genetic code, his anger has not only been passed along to his daughters, but given them special powers. That is how angry Bob Damfuse is. HE HAS MAGIC HATE SPERM.
Betty and Lulu visit Bert in succession; he gives them both the same sob story that he needs $150k to wrestle tonight, because even though Saperstein took Bert’s cash, he’s still demanding the fee, because Saperstein is a dick. Betty and Lulu both have the same, exceptionally stupid idea — photocopying $150,000 worth of $100s at Koko’s. Seriously? Photocopying cash? I understand these characters are supposed to be rocket scientists, but COME ON. A 5-year-old could explain why that wouldn’t work.
Mulder, having spent the afternoon and evening in the sewers for some reason — maybe he took a nap? Hung out with the Turtles? — finally exits and calls Scully, who’s still at the prison. Scully updates him on the Hate Sperm, Mulder explains both ladies are in love with the lothario Bert Zupanic, and both are coming to his match tonight, which will likely kill or maim everyone in the Kansas City Professional Wrestling Arena. Which is when Scully turns around to see Bert Zupanic in a cell! WHAAAAA?!
At the event, Saperstein still refuses to let Zupanic wrestle — luckily, a Kathy Griffin (I’ve completely lost track of which one is which at this point) brings her bag of photocopied money. Saperstein, being as stupid as everybody else is, looks at the money, believes it's real, and allows Zupanic to wrestle (against a young Rob Van Dam, for you wrestling buffs out there).
While the match is going on, Mulder finds the Kathy Griffin and asks her to leave — but is interrupted by Kathy Griffin #2, with her own bag of photocopied money. The two yell about how they both want the magnificent specimen of manhood that is Bert Zupanic, and Mulder tries to carry the first Kathy Griffin off. Everyone ends up at ringside, where 1) Bert is baffled yet again to finally see Betty and Lulu in the same place, 2) Saperstein takes Kathy Griffin #2’s bag of fake money, and 3) everyone starts fighting.
That is, until Scully arrives with... Bert Zupanic?! Oh ho! In a twist no one could have predicted as long as they’d fallen asleep in the first three minutes, Bert has his own doppelganger (who may or may not have mutant Mormon-fighting powers) in jail! Now the Kathy Griffins can each have a Zupanic! Unfortunately, this does not stop the fighting at all, and everyone continues to beat the shit out of each other.
So in the end, everyone gets what they deserve. The Kathy Griffins each have a Bert Zupanic! Saperstein has $150,000 of real money that he stole, and $300,00 in completely, obviously fake money! And Mulder and Scully? Well, they had the shit beat out of them, too. Another X-File closed! Kind of!
What Have We Learned?
• Apparently, people in Kansas City think photocopied money is real.
• It costs $150,000 for the privilege of wrestling in an local, untelevised match. This is why only millionaires wrestle.
• A man can be so angry he can actually enrage his own semen, adversely effecting his own offspring. I don’t know if women can make hate-eggs out of their hate-ovaries, though.
• Apparently. you can hate someone so much that you can suck David Duchovny down a manhole.
• X-Files creator Chris Carter wrote this episode, so really we shouldn’t have been surprised when the movies sucked.
• Have you seen The X-Files’ opening credits recently? It’s the most dated thing ever. It couldn’t look any more ‘90s if MC Hammer made an appearance in them.