Darin Morgan is beloved by X-Files fans. He's the genius scribe behind Humbug, Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose, and last season's absolutely brilliant Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster. As an actor, he played Eddie Van Blundht in another light-hearted outing, Small Potatoes. And he was the guy in the Flukeman suit. For enduring that (which generated a lot more than forehead sweat), he deserves a medal.
Morgan (yes, we're sure it's Morgan) is back with the fourth outing of The X-Files Season 11, The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat. It's an episode that tackles the nature of truth by way of the Mandela Effect. Long story short, that's collective false memory. Remember the Berenstein Bears? No, you don't, because they were the Berenstain Bears. You just think you remember it as Berenstein.
But maybe you do. Maybe it's a conspiracy. Or maybe, at some point, you fell into a parallel dimension, and where you used to exist, it really was the Berenstein Bears.
The Mandela Effect dates back to a shared collective memory, held by some, of Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 80s. With the rise of the Internet, and everyone being more connected than ever before, collective memories (false or otherwise) have greater impact than ever.
And so we come to The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat, which unveils Mulder's old partner, Reggie. Don't remember him? You're not alone. Neither does Mulder. Here's ten other things we learned (at least, we think we learned them - it's hard to be sure!)
10. Maybe It's The Mandela Effect, Because That Wasn't Chuck
Dr. Charles Burke, a.k.a. Chuck, was a sort of jack-of-all-trades science expert, and buddy of Fox Mulder, on the original run of The X-Files. He was the guy you turned to when you wanted to know about ghosts appearing in photographs. In six guest appearances spanning 1995 to 2001, he was portrayed by actor Bill Dow.
Dow, like many other X-Files guest stars, also turned up in other roles on the show, in bit parts. Yet Chuck became regular enough to have a name, and a bit of personality. He would have fit right in as one of The Lone Gunmen.
If you watched The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat (and you should, though it's not nearly as good as Morgan's last effort, Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster), you might have caught a glimpse of Chuck. Only you'd be wrong. Call it the Mandela Effect.
Or call it the show going back to the well and casting some old friends. In this week's episode, Dow plays "Pangborn" - clerk at a curiosity shop, and one who isn't long for this world. Adding Dow to the episode, given the theme of this particular story, is quite fitting. It's a shame we don't get Chuck back, but it's still a nod to the fans.