The XFiles Returns With a What the Hell Was That

first_img After just over a year, it’s here: The 11th and possibly final season of The X-Files premiered last night with the third part of the “My Struggle” series of alien mythology episodes. It was… well, it was better than the previous two from Season 10, so we’ll give them that. By centering the action around Mulder and Scully, and the affection they clearly have for one another, “My Struggle III” delivered a more focused mythology episode that was easier to get sucked into. Even as the rest of the episode made it impossible to tell just what was going on. If you’re still watching X-Files for the Mulder-Scully shipping (and honestly, if you aren’t at least a little here for that why are you still watching?), this episode had a lot for you. Though they mostly behave like old friends toward each other, the love, affection and yes, the tension is all still there. Scully spends most of the episode in a hospital, so there’s a lot of hand-holding and David Duchovny worrying that should set fan’s hearts aflutter.Let’s start with the good stuff. The show opens strong. We get an extended monologue from the Cigarette Smoking Man who speaks of the grand alien conspiracy and goes over his role in history’s most important events. Including faking the moon landing. It gets you in the mood for some real conspiracy theory craziness. We even learn his real name. Carl Gerhard Busch Spender. Guess he really wasn’t lying about that C.G.B. thing. Not that it really matters much that we know his name. I’m still going to call him Smoking Man. It just sounds better than calling him “Carl.” The speech does a great job of getting us ready for another season of The X-Files. As for what else it does well… Well, aside from the aforementioned Mulder-Scully shipping, there’s not much else. Almost the best thing I can say about it is that mythology episodes turned garbage even before the series ended its original run. And this one is a little better than garbage. So it’s not like it’s ruining a classic legacy or anything.David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (Cr: Robert Falconer/FOX)Here’s the real frustrating thing. OK, one of the real frustrating things. Remember the end of Season 10? The finale wasn’t great, but that ending made some big promises. Mulder was dying, Scully was trying to save him and a UFO showed up, bathing Scully in a strange light. Man, where was the show going to go from there? It turns out nowhere. That was all just a dream. Or a vision of the future. None of it happened. Chris Carter says that was the plan all along, and foreshadowed in last season’s finale. OK, that doesn’t make it any less lame. So instead of having to answer any of the questions last season set up, we get Scully unconscious in a hospital, sending a message in Morse code to Mulder via… patterns in her brain activity. Sure, why not? The message reads, “Find Him.” Skinner immediately knows she’s telling Mulder to find their son, but Mulder refuses to leave Scully’s side. Look, this is very sweet and all, but these characters sure spend most of this episode refusing to do anything interesting.Scully wakes up and again tells Mulder to find William, but he decides to go after Cigarette Smoking Man instead. Smoking Man knows this and monologues some more before leaving, allowing Mulder to walk in on two other members of a different conspiracy. Also, Scully leaves the hospital, goes through Mulder’s files and tries to tell him about her visions before having another seizure and ending up back in the hospital. Really not her best episode. What follows is a whole bunch of exposition. I realize the X-Files revival doesn’t have the highest budget, but surely there has to be a better way to deliver this information than having two groups of people standing around, talking. Basically, it comes down to this. Smoking Man wants to release an alien virus that will kill everyone who doesn’t have Alien DNA (which includes Scully and William, but not Mulder). Cigarette Smoking Man corners Agent Skinner in his car, telling him to kill Mulder. The people that Mulder runs into are in on a different conspiracy. They want to colonize space and send an elite group of people up so they’ll survive Smoking Man’s virus. So now we have two factions of evil conspirators. Great. Hey, if there’s one good thing to say about all this exposition, at least it’s getting it out of the way so we can get to the good stuff next week.William B. Davis (Cr: Robert Falconer/FOX)Then we get to the biggest reveal of the show, and one that pissed off a lot of fans when it happened. Cigarette Smoking Man reveals that Mulder isn’t actually Willaim’s father. He is. Scientifically. Remember back in Season Seven when Scully woke up in different clothes and accused Smoking Man of drugging her? Yeah, turns out he did. And while she was unconscious, he impregnated her with alien-human baby William. Scientifically. Yeah, no. No no no no no. No. Noooooooooooo. I’m so glad the rest of the season is just standard Case File of the Week stuff because I hate this story so much. Those always have been the better episodes anyway. God, how is the show still this tone deaf? It’s always had problems with how it treats Scully, and instead of taking the opportunity to listen to its fans and learn from its mistakes, it just keeps digging itself deeper and deeper holes. Scully is one of the most iconic women in sci-fi. Hell, she’s one of the best characters in sci-fi. She deserves better than a gross rape storyline like this. No matter how “scientific” it is.Annabeth Gish and Mitch Pileggi (Cr: Robert Falconer/FOX)At least the episode ends decently. A mysterious assassin tries to smother Scully in her hospital bed, but Mulder shows up just in time to cut the guy’s throat with a scalpel. Scully makes a full recovery and suggests they keep looking for the truth in the X-Files. This puts all the garbage mythology away for the season and allows the rest of the episodes (aside from the finale) to be cool monster-of-the-week style stories. That’s where this show has always been at its best. Despite the terrible twist at the end, I’m genuinely looking forward to Mulder and Scully getting back to what they do best. We only have a few more episodes of them, and with the 11th season focusing on single, standalone case files, we can enjoy the final season. It gives the show the chance to go out as the engrossing, scary sci-fi series we’ve always loved. Until the season finale, anyway. After this episode, I’m really not looking forward to that. Stay on target 11 Great TV Shows With Terrible EndingsBuy This Comic: The X-Files: Case Files – Flordia Man #1 center_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more