The New Season Is Done, So Let’s Talk About The X-Files

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We’ve seen the whole thing now, the entire comeback season of The X-Files. The result? Majorly mixed feelings for its longtime fans.

Spoilers ahead. Do not continue if you haven’t seen the whole season yet.

It may be too early to draw many conclusions; this show, and this particular set of episodes, will take some time to settle. I have the feeling that in a couple of weeks, the tiny storylines that arc through nearly all six episodes may seem clearer than they do now. (I’m talking about the Scully’s Mom’s Death Has Greater Meaning subplot, the We Have a Son Named William OMG OMG We Need to Find Him Now subplot, the Agents Miller and Einstein Are a Lot Like Mulder and Scully subplot, and possibly the Are the Lone Gunmen Truly Dead sort-of-subplot.)

Mulder Confronts CSM

Mulder Pointlessly Confronts the CSM in
Season Finale, Fails to Shoot Him

Still, I think I know these things:

  • Chris Carter is the George Lucas of The X-Files. Chris thinks he knows what makes the show appealing. He’s often wrong. If you watch the very first few episodes of the series—season one—there is a sense of ineffable mystery about the show. Anything could happen! Classics like “Fallen Angel”, “Deep Throat”, and “E.B.E.” are great because they show our dynamic duo dealing with unsolvable enigma. There was the Cigarette-Smoking Man, standing ominously in the room, a symbol of the unknowable power of the Majestic 12. The X-Files had a sense of Big Mystery—you could know bits and pieces but never enough to solve it, to make it small. Therein lies the problem: Carter gave into people demanding to know what it all meant, and the show became focused on answers: the reason for the abduction of Mulder’s sister, the green alien blood, the reason for the whole government conspiracy to begin with. Worst of all: the Cigarette-Smoking Man started talking. Not only does this deflate the sinister nature of his presence, but actor William B. Davis was not gifted with an especially commanding voice—and let’s not even talk aboot his Canadian accent, eh. The current set of episodes suffers from the same kinds of problems; the best of the lot were penned by other writers, including the very awesome Darin Morgan (who also wrote “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”). But the most important episodes lay most everything bare; there is little sense of deep mystery at work.

    Scully is an Alien

    In a moment we’re not sure whether to love or
    cringe at, Agent Dana Scully imagines herself
    morphing into a gray alien. (Click to enjoy.)

  • It was gratifying just to see the old gang back together—mostly. Some are taking the opportunity to say the show has lost everything it every had, that the Mulder/Scully chemistry is just gone, that all the episodes were completely stupid, and that the show is just not scary anymore. I don’t believe them—I don’t even think the people who say crap like this even believe it. It’s just fun to join the negativity bandwagon, no? The chemistry is definitely still there. There were moments where I was frightened. And even in the weaker episodes there were moments of brilliance (Mulder got high on fake ‘shrooms and went line-dancing with a cowboy hat and boots, people!). Did we really need to see Annabeth Gish as Agent Monica Reyes again, though? I didn’t. The only thing she reminds me of is that during the later, weaker part of the series’ original run, when Duchovny got tired and mostly left the show, they tried to replace Mulder and Scully with Reyes and what’s-his-name-I-don’t-care-enough-to-look-it-up. Bad memories. Sucky episodes. Oh, and when rumors flew about the Lone Gunmen appearing in this new round of episodes, I certainly hoped for more than a hallucination of them, dammit.

    Mulder is a Cowboy

    Agent Mulder, Under the Impression That He’s
    High on Magic Mushrooms, Discovers He Has
    Friends in Low Places

  • We want more. I say that despite the cheap stunt that was the cliffhanger at the end of the final episode. Sure, I wouldn’t mind some unresolved storylines, but leaving everything entirely unresolved, with a Black Triangle hovering over Scully and an apparently dying Mulder, shows contempt for the audience. Look, Carter, if you don’t want to do your show—and your audience—justice, take an Executive Producer credit and leave the show-runner duties to more capable hands. Have Darin Morgan write more episodes, while you’re at it! Obviously, we are not done with The X-Files; Carter has said as much, and Fox executives are keen on seeing more as well (ratings were stellar, so why wouldn’t they be?). As long as that involves waiting on Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny to return—both have indicated that they will, schedules permitting—that will be fine. Please, please, for the love of all that is holy, do not attempt to replace them with Miller and Einstein. As delightful an actor as Lauren Ambrose may be, she’s not Gillian. Sure, give ’em their own show or something, let that fizzle on its own. That pair doesn’t have the old Mulder-and-Scully magic.
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