It’s Match 3 in our Mogadorian Fighter Challenge with Dan and Robison Wells! Two of sci-fi’s most beloved government spooks are about to go head to head. Who would fare better against the Mogadorians–Fox Mulder (THE X-FILES) or Tommy Lee Jones in MEN IN BLACK?
Dan: Do you know how hard it’s going to be for me to choose between these two? Tommy Lee Jones is the coolest guy ever, and Fox Mulder is one of the coolest characters ever. I love THE X-FILES dearly, and I wish Tommy Lee Jones were my grandfather.
Rob: If Tommy Lee Jones were your grandfather, he’d be takin’ the belt to you a dozen times a day.
Dan: I know, but maybe I would have made something of myself.
Dan: So let’s run down their strengths: what do you see as the strengths of Fox Mulder?
Rob: Intelligence. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything, especially weird things. Also complete persistence, even to a fault. Granted, he usually turns out to be correct.
Dan: Except his first theory is always alien abduction, no matter what’s actually going on.
Rob: And then it turns out it’s actually Sasquatch, so Scully’s still wrong.
Dan: What else does Mulder bring to the table?
Rob: He has a gun. He just never uses it.
Dan: He also had a cell phone, which was pretty revolutionary in the early 90s, but on the other hand he doesn’t know how light switches work. He’d explore an entire house with a flashlight in one hand and a cell phone in the other, instead of just turning on the lights. Which is probably why he never uses his gun, because he’s out of hands.
Rob: Meanwhile, Tommy Lee Jones in MEN IN BLACK is the self-assured guy who has everything under control and is unfazed by anything. It’s more than self-assurance, it’s complete, 100% faith in everything he does. When he climbs into the mouth of that alien, he neither shows fear when he goes in nor any surprise when he makes it back out. He has access to amazing equipment, a cool car with anti-gravity, a mind-eraser flashlight thing, and more.
Dan: He also has contacts. Mulder has Scully, the Lone Gunmen, and five or six people he doesn’t even trust. Jones has a whole world full of cool aliens who love him and want to help him because he helps them.
Rob: And others who are afraid of him, but still help him because he intimidates them.
Dan: I’m going to say that Tommy Lee Jones in MEN IN BLACK is Fox Mulder, forty years down the road, after he’s seen it all and all his theories are proven correct. Which is why I’m actually going to vote for Mulder, because Mulder’s still hungry.
Rob: But if aliens were invading tomorrow, and I needed someone to protect me, I don’t think I’d pick the FBI conspiracy nut, I’d pick the supremely competent action hero.
Dan: That’s a good point—all Mulder does is investigate potential aliens and then they go away. Jones says “oh, aliens are invading? I have a plan to deal with that.” So if it was an alien invasion like the one in THE AVENGERS, where the aliens open a portal and start swarming through, I don’t think Mulder would have much to offer. It’s actually very hard for me to think of a situation in which Mulder could handle something Tommy Lee Jones could not.
Rob: Since we’re talking about “alien fighters,” I think we have to go with Jones.
Dan: Now you’re just arguing semantics. This means we have a matchup with a non-fighter and a fighter, and we have to choose the fighter because it’s about fighters. Which means we set Mulder up to fail, which, to be fair, is what he assumed all along.
Rob: It was a conspiracy against him. He’s always known there are men in black, and that the government was covering things up.
Dan: How many times do you think Mulder’s been memory-flashy-thinged? Maybe by Jones himself?
Rob: Probably a lot, and one time it only worked halfway, and that’s his origin story.
WINNER: Tommy Lee Jones