Biological Classification and Processes
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 attacked because its victims' bodies provided generative nourishment.
Typically, a survivor of a bite by the Flukeman would be infected with a flatworm which 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 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 and First Killings
The Flukeman originated on a decommissioned Russian freighter, 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 which 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 and Processing
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 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 the Department of Justice had asked for the suspect to be transferred to an institution for a full psychiatric evaluation. Despite Mulder warning 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 the Flukeman should not be put in a zoo, due to it 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 and Legacy
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, which 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 which 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 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. ("Chris Carter Talks About Season Two: The Host", TXF Season 2 DVD special features)
According to producer and director Daniel Sackheim, Chris Carter – when calling Sackheim to ask him to direct the episode – told him the episode's premise was "about a half-man, half-worm." Based on this description, Sackheim's agent wrongly assumed the show was not long for television and recommended the director might think of doing something else. ("The Truth About Season Two", TXF Season 2 DVD special features)
The Flukeman costume was created by Special Makeup Effects Supervisor Toby Lindala and a small group of male makeup effects artists who worked with him. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies, pp. 55 & 57) 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 feet. And a facial prosthetic, contact lenses and teeth that came out of the prosthetic as well as the distended lips." ("Behind the Truth: Flukeman", TXF Season 2 DVD special features) Two pairs of prescription contact lenses were used, layered one atop the other. "One of them was for the color, the other to create a kind of milky film over that," stated Darin Morgan. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 61) Regarding the Flukeman in general, Lindala added, "We kept to really pale colours, like the underbelly of a fish, but with some human features in the face, [and] used urethane to give a translucent and fleshy look to the creature. We had to get all of the moulds done in one day – it was non-stop work." (The X-Files Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, p. 32) Though Lindala had only four men working for him in a small basement shop at the time of the Flukeman's creation, they found putting together the Flukeman costume was quick. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies, pp. 55 & 57) According to Lindala, his make-up effects team on The X-Files was extremely proud of the Flukeman costume. ("Behind the Truth: Flukeman", TXF Season 2 DVD special features)
The Flukeman was played by Darin Morgan – the brother of Glen Morgan and a subsequent writer on The X-Files television series. Shortly after receiving the script for "The Host", 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, characteristic of that monstrous being. ("The Truth About Season Two", TXF Season 2 DVD special features) Morgan noted, "Reading the script, I thought I was going to do more things." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 61) He later realized thinking this way was irrelevant, once he first climbed into the Flukeman costume and found wearing it allowed very little mobility. ("The Truth About Season Two", TXF Season 2 DVD special features)
The application of the Flukeman costume was, in total, about twelve hours. ("Behind the Truth: Flukeman", TXF Season 2 DVD special features) Wearing the costume was a stifling ordeal for Darin Morgan and originally took six hours to put on, before technicians were able to speed up the process. At one point, he was required to wear the costume for twenty hours consecutively. Because the suit was so difficult to remove, Morgan had to relieve himself while continuing to wear the costume. (The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files, p. 165) Morgan remembers the experience of wearing the suit; "It was hell! The suit required a very long makeup job [....] I couldn't urinate or anything else [....] I started suffering from sensory deprivation, where I couldn't really feel anything. It was a very bizarre experience." (X-Files Confidential, p. 94) Morgan elaborated, "The thing was incredibly heavy. I [...] couldn't talk. There was no hole for me to urinate. Sex was completely out of the question." ("The Truth About Season Two", TXF Season 2 DVD special features) Toby Lindala himself wondered how Darin Morgan went to the washroom. Morgan commented the fact the suit didn't provide a hole through which he could relieve himself "isn't as pleasant as it sounds!" ("Behind the Truth: Flukeman", TXF Season 2 DVD special features) He said further, "Each day that I wore the suit, I would have to be in water, and the water would destroy the whole thing. And so Toby had to rebuild everything from scratch each day, so it was just an ordeal [....] The contacts [lenses] were the only things that didn't hurt. I barely knew they were in there. And the good thing too was that they were prescription [so] I could actually see in them. The rest of the stuff was actually quite painful. The mask and the rubber smelled of sulphur and the whole thing was unpleasant. I had no air through the nose, so I didn't eat, because you had to eat and breathe at the same time. It was just impossible [....] Once I was in the suit [...] I just tried to survive [....] Being underwater was actually pleasant, because it cooled everything down. It was very hot in there as well." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 61)
Glen Morgan found it difficult to accept his brother's physical transformation into the Flukeman. "At one point, I saw Darin getting made up at five o'clock in the afternoon," related Glen Morgan. "After dinner and a few drinks, I went back to Darin's trailer at like one in the morning, and there's this thing in a rubber suit with my brother's voice. I said, 'I really can't deal with this; I've got to go.'" (X-Files Confidential, p. 93)
Chris Carter subsequently joked the difficult assignment of wearing the Flukeman suit was a rite of passage for any aspiring writer on The X-Files. (The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files, p. 165) Darin Morgan concluded, "I hope never to repeat [that experience]." Though Carter predicted he and the other makers of The X-Files might bring the Flukeman back after its initial appearance in "The Host", Morgan responded, "If they do, it won't be me." (X-Files Confidential, p. 94)
Darin Morgan later sat next to David 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 he was the Flukeman.
Todd Pittson, who served as Location Manager on "The Host", regarded the Flukeman as "one of the most grotesquely loveable creatures ever seen on the show." (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), p. 55) 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 "Flukie". Carter also analyzed the Flukeman's appeal, remarking, "I think Flukie 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." ("Chris Carter Talks About Season Two", TXF Season 2 DVD special features)
Flukeman appears in the 2017 audio drama The X-Files: Cold Cases.