Biological Classification & ProcessesEdit
The Flukeman – a form of quasi-vertebrate human – was an example of reproductive and physiological cross-traiting due to radiation, abnormal cell fusion and/or the suppression of natural genetic processes; essentially, the creature was a result of human science rather than nature. Its vestigial features seemed parasitic but it also had primate physiology.
The Flukeman transmitted its larvae, a form of flatworm, through its bite. The being searched for hosts, in order to multiply, and would attack because its victims' bodies provided generative nourishment.
Typically, a survivor of a bite by the Flukeman would be infected with a flatworm that the victim would cough up, at a later point. The wound pattern from the Flukeman's bite looks similar to scolex attachment but is much larger.
- There is evidence to suggest that a bite by the Flukeman might result in a survivor subsequently experiencing a peculiar, unfavorable taste in their mouth that would be difficult to remove, although not be accompanied by a difficulty with swallowing. In the one recorded case of a Flukeman bite-victim experiencing such an unpleasant taste, the victim had also swallowed a mouthful of sewage, at the time of the attack. It is therefore unknown whether the Flukeman or the sewage was to blame for the unfavorable taste.
Like other fluke or flatworms, the Flukeman had no sex organs and was genderless but was, even though technically human, capable of spontaneous regeneration.
The Flukeman's typical environment was underwater, although it could also survive on land, in Earth's normal atmospheric levels. The being was also strong enough to haul its victims underwater with it. (TXF: "The Host")
Creation & First KillingsEdit
The Flukeman originated on a decommissioned Russian freighter that was used in the disposal of salvage material from the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. The creature was thus born in a primordial soup of radioactive sewage. In the Atlantic Ocean, two miles off the coast of New Jersey, the Flukeman caused a blockage in the freighter's boiler system. The being then attacked a young engineer named Dmitri who had been sent to clear the blockage, dragging him down into murky water inside one of the freighter's sewage tanks despite the efforts of his crewmates to keep him grounded. When the crew members flushed the tanks, the Flukeman was washed out to sea, along with Dmitri's body. This incident was later reported in the National Comet, in which the creature was referred to - in an article titled "Monster On Board?!" - as a "modern day sea monster, a bloodthirsty creature from beneath the waves."
It was following this incident that the being first entered the New Jersey sewage system. The Flukeman was subsequently believed to have entered the system via an old overflow system that dumped sewage into the harbor during heavy rainfall.
One morning, immediately after a workman removed a large piece of wood from the mesh over a sewer outflow and put it on a walkway above the sewage water, the Flukeman pulled the man backwards, while remaining underwater itself, and dragged him towards the mesh, biting into his back soon thereafter. The workman escaped, however, with help from a fellow workman, who threw him a rope and hauled him out of the water. He was left to assume that a snake had bitten him but he later died in the privacy of his own home, after vomiting up what is assumed to be the reproductive larva of the Flukeman.
Capture & ProcessingEdit
The Flukeman then entered the Newark County Sewage Processing Plant, where it was seen by a worker named Charlie as it swam through one of the facility's many filtration pools. Due to the alarmed Charlie subsequently backflushing the facility's sewage system, the Flukeman was caught in a large transparent pipe. The being was viewed, therein, by not only Charlie but also the plant's foreman and FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder (who had been investigating the Flukeman's past two attacks, after Dmitri's deceased body had been discovered in a sewer).
The Flukeman was then taken to the Middlesex County Psychiatric Hospital, where it was confined to a room and hid behind some pipes in a far corner when Mulder and his former FBI partner, Dana Scully, visited the facility. Even though Scully (who, with Mulder, looked into the room through a window while standing in a corridor outside) did not immediately see the being, Mulder pointed it out to her and she was amazed by the Flukeman's appearance. Mulder described the creature as, seemingly, a "giant blood-sucking worm", having used this description once before - when he had commented to Scully that he hoped he would not have to report that such a being was the culprit behind the recent attacks.
Soon thereafter, Mulder's FBI superior, Assistant Director Walter Skinner had a conversation with the Federal Prosecutor's Office about how to prosecute the suspect and learned that the Justice Department had asked for the suspect to be transferred to an institution for a full psychiatric evaluation. Despite Mulder warning that the being should not be transferred there as it was not a man but "a monster", Skinner was at a loss for what else to do – believing that the Flukeman should not be put in a zoo due to having killed two people – and reluctantly admitted to the bizarreness of the killer, ultimately agreeing with Mulder that the case should have been an X-file even though that unit had recently been closed.
Escape, Severance & LegacyEdit
An attempt to transport the Flukeman was then begun by the US Marshal Service; the being was loaded - while strapped to a gurney - into the back of a US Marshal's ambulance, known as vehicle forty-nine forty, that drove it away. Mid-journey, the Flukeman escaped from the gurney, however, and the marshal driving the vehicle - the ambulance's only other occupant - discovered this but continued to drive (calling for immediate assistance and backup), until stopping near a sign for Lake Betty. Even though he armed himself with a shotgun and then carefully conducted a visual search of the ambulance's rear compartment in which he found no trace of the being (except for a gooey residue on the straps that had held the prisoner down), the Flukeman then attacked and killed the driver, who screamed in horror and let off a shot from his weapon.
The being subsequently crawled inside one of two portable chemical toilets that were located in Lake Betty Park. In this cubicle, the Flukeman took up a waiting position inside the toilet itself. At 5:07 early the next morning, the being was picked up by a tanker truck, initially causing a blockage in the tube that sucked the toilet's contents into the truck. By 6:37 a.m., the truck - now containing the Flukeman - was traveling away from Lake Betty Park, as Mulder arrived to investigate the death of the marshal who had driven the being there. Although the search effort in the area was extensive and Mulder struggled to find the being, the Flukeman eluded detection until something undetermined was spotted by a linesman in a section of pipe that was near the place where Dmitri's body had been found and was part of the old overflow system where the being was thought to have entered the sewage system; Mulder concluded that the Flukeman was "working its way back out to sea."
Agent Mulder and the foreman of the treatment plant headed to this sewer, and into the vault alone. The foreman attempted the difficult task of closing a rusted gate between the vault and its overflow pipe, which led to a similar vault before the system traveled three-quarters of a mile to the sea. After the foreman fell in the sewage water while trying to shut the gate, the Flukeman dragged him underwater, avoiding Mulder subsequently shooting at it by remaining in the water, and prevented the foreman from being pulled out of the water by Mulder when the foreman resurfaced, dragging him back underneath. After the foreman resurfaced again and Mulder helped him to safety, the Flukeman tried to clamber into the overflow pipe but was prevented from doing so by Mulder, who desperately managed to finally close the rusty gate, severing the being in half. The Flukeman wailed a long, high-pitched scream and the lower portion of its body, including its legs, was left floating in the slightly bloodied sewage water inside the vault. At night soon thereafter, the top section of the Flukeman's body awakened while floating in the sewage of Newark. (TXF: "The Host")
In early 1996, an issue of World Weekly Informer was published with a headline on its front page reading, "He's Back!" The article's subheading read, "Flukeman washed up in Martha's Vineyard" and an artist's drawing of the Flukeman was presented above the article. (TXF: "Pusher")
The concept of the Flukeman, as characterized in "The Host", was thought up by Chris Carter after he had been closely studying his dog's worms and had been reading a story about Chernobyl and the extinction of species.
According to producer and director Daniel Sackheim, Carter – when calling Sackheim to ask him to direct the episode – told him that the episode's premise was "about a half-man, half-worm." Based on this description, Sackheim's agent wrongly assumed that the show was not long for television and recommended that the director might think of doing something else.
According to Toby Lindala, his make-up effects team on The X-Files were extremely proud of the Flukeman costume. Lindala recalls the design process. "[We] made a suit that came down to the elbows and the knees, to allow it a little bit more of that baggy sort of worm-like look. Um, his feet cast actually in a straight-out position, but it's a neat look when you see him crawling around and he's got these sort of slipper sort of look to his foot, to his feet. And a facial prosthetic, contact lenses and teeth that came out of the prosthetic as well as the distended lips."
Shortly after Darin Morgan received the episode's script, he considered how a being that was half-man, half-flukeworm might move. Morgan wanted to find a particular creepy movement, as he was influenced by remembering that the Creature from the Black Lagoon swims in a certain way that is characteristic of that monstrous being. He later realized that thinking this way was irrelevant, however, once he first climbed into the Flukeman costume and found that wearing it allowed very little mobility.
The costume was a stifling ordeal for Morgan and originally took six hours to put on, before technicians were able to speed up the process. Morgan remembers the experience of wearing the suit. "The thing was incredibly heavy. I couldn't breathe, couldn't talk. There was no hole for me to urinate. Sex was completely out of the question." At one point, Morgan had to wear the suit for twenty hours consecutively and, because the costume was so difficult to take off, he simply had no other option but to relieve himself inside the suit. Toby Lindala himself wondered how Darin Morgan went to the washroom. Morgan recalls, "I decided to relieve myself when in the water because I figured [Mulder actor David] Duchovny would never find out - he's never gonna watch these things." Carter subsequently joked that the assignment of having to wear the suit was a rite of passage for any aspiring writer for The X-Files.
Darin Morgan later sat next to Duchovny while they were both flying to Vancouver to work on the episode "Humbug", Morgan's first solo writing effort for the series. Duchovny was not yet aware who Morgan was, though, until after he signed a book for Morgan with the words "To My Arch Nemesis" (as Darin Morgan had requested); Morgan then began to reveal his involvement with The X-Files by declaring that he was the Flukeman.
The Flukeman proved to be extremely popular with the series' fanbase. The character has appeared on a fantasy PEZ dispenser, a small statue, and a limited edition figurine.
As noted by Chris Carter, the Flukeman came to be known as "Flukey". Carter also referred to the character as "a giant fluke" and analyzed the Flukeman's appeal. He remarks, "I think Flukey is the embodiment of everyone's sense of vulnerability. The idea that something exists in the underworld of the sewer system and that it might, in fact, come up to bite you in the most delicate of places. I think that's what I get from most people, and he was just a disgusting creature and we saw very little of him. I actually wanted to see less of him in the show than we did; it just so happens that some of the angles and the lighting showed more of him than I wanted to see. But I think that's what was creepy too, as you never got a perfect look at him until the very end."
Similarly, Frank Spotnitz comments, "There's something very visceral about this flukeworm and this Flukeman. It really captured people's imaginations and that was one of the big themes of the show, was finding things that were scary and real. And everyone seemed to be able to imagine, you know, for instance being attacked in a porta-potty, something coming out of your toilet. I think it speaks to deep fears - you know, urban myths people have heard their whole lives about, you know, snakes coming out of toilets or being attacked in vulnerable places, like a bathroom."