Well Season 10 just flew by for X Files, and the last episode has proven to be a pretty darned good one, with a huge cliff hanger – thankfully. New information was revealed, old characters reappeared and humanity is threatened. Who can save us? In this case, possibly Scully.
WARNING ** SPOILERS ** WARNING
My Struggle II is a wrap up of the first episode, aptly named just My Struggle, and is an interesting take on the alien myth that has been an inconsistent thread through the series. Now, if you’ve watched most of the myth episodes, including My Struggle that kicked off Season 10, you know that Chris Carter has wandered quite a lot over the years. Are there aliens? Were there aliens? What are their plans? And what of the cabal of humans that meet secretly? Is it a forthcoming invasion? Is Scully infected with alien DNA? Is it all a hoax? Is it a hoax of a hoax put on so that people would think the hoax was real but by denying the hoax, the government would cause people to think the hoax was real! (??) Who really knows? Not Chris Carter apparently.
That being said, the show ended on a high note with some new alignment on what the myth is all about and what’s really going on with aliens. In the latest twist, aliens are trying to decimate the human population before humans destroy the earth themselves through global warming, over-building, environmental pollution, etc. The aliens have grown impatient waiting on us to kill ourselves off and are taking matters into their own little green hands. Using the small pox vaccine that we all have been given to since the 1940’s, the aliens are modifying our DNA to be susceptible to common infections. These infections will wipe us out, leaving the Earth ready for their repopulation. But apparently those that have been implanted with alien DNA will survive the forthcoming plague. And those implanted may be part of some sort of alien resistance that doesn’t want the Earth taken over by the more imperialist aliens. Oh, and luckily Scully has this DNA.
Agents Einstein and Miller make a reappearance and team up with Scully and Mulder. They are actually useful in this episode and Agent Einstein is a little (just a little, mind you) less shrilly and annoying. Miller is fairly likable though way more low-key than Mulder. He’s a bland Mulder. A Blulder? Einstein and Scully eventually figure out what’s causing the disease and generally how to solve it, though the ability to generate a vaccine that’s I-V ready within a few hours seems a bit of a stretch. Note that the episode was co-written by Dr. Anne Simon and Dr. Margaret Fearon. Given the mass quantities of genetic mumbo-jumbo that is discussed in this episode, I’m not surprised. On the other than, X Files has generally been a smart series that tries to include reasonably intelligent science.
Tad O’Malley enters the series again as a conservative talk show host who believes in the alien myth. I’m not sure if I don’t like the character, or just don’t like Joel McHale’s portrayal of the character. I hope he doesn’t have a large part in future episodes.
Cancer Man now appears to be at the center of the alien plans, and while his body is much worse for the wear (much, much!), he is ready to lead the human race survivors into the future. The special effects and makeup that reveal his current condition should be nominated for an Emmy.
Agent Reyes (Annabeth Gish) pops in to unveil a couple of key plot points to Scully. She actually looks pretty much the same as when she was in the original series, but remember that she entered X Files late in the series run.
The episode ends with a very surprising cliff hanger involving an apparent alien abduction happening in the middle of a crowded causeway. As Scully runs up to save Mulder from his disease (also Miller, who is not quite as sick as Mulder), what appears to be an alien craft begins to hover and approach the three, as we then cut to black. Nicely done.
In a way, I was happy that it ended this way because a) now there HAS to be a follow-up show and b) it indicates that Mulder and Scully must play some part in future episodes. I was afraid that one or both of the characters would be killed off (much like Han Solo was killed off in Star Wars because he didn’t want to be part of the franchise anymore). As mentioned previously, Duchovny has a new series (Aquarius) that he is starring in and Anderson has grown to love the small stage in London, considering even relocating there. So the worry on my part was there – but thankfully not realized – yet.
What I do see happening is another short season (six episodes?) with Mulder/Scully anchoring a few episodes and Einstein/Miller anchoring a few, and then a few where they work together. It could even be a full 12-episode season with Einsten/Miller doing the bulk of the shows. I think there will be a longer term attempt to transition the series to the new Doppelgängers. I don’t think I would be happy about that. I’m a demanding X Philer and without Mulder and Scully, it’s just not the same thing. But I do think there are others who will begrudgingly accept it. Am I unequivocal with my stance? No. Is X Files without Duchovny/Anderson better than no X Files? I’m not sure. I think with a minor adjustment to Agent Einstein, it could work. But lets stave off that plan until say Season 12. I really don’t want to think about that. And I sure wish Carter had not named the character Einstein. An uncharacteristic childish attempt to be clever.
As an overall series, I think Season 10 worked well. Sure it was uneven, but it did an effective job of getting us back into the X Files universe. Remember that the expectations where very high, and living up to the hype would be difficult. But Chris Carter basically met the hype. There was a creature episode and myth episodes, reunions of old friends (characters) and some of that same humor, horror and excitement that made the series so effective.
I still think that each episode seemed too crammed with story lines. Perhaps with more episodes in a season, Chris Carter and writers could keep it to two story lines (or, gulp, one!) and take more time with character and plot development. At the end of the season finale, I was watching Scully approach a sick Mulder in the car and noticed there was three minutes left in the show. Three minutes??? Boy they had to wrap this up quickly. And well, they did.
The Monkey’s Concluding Episode Ranking – with some reshuffling based now on having seen all the episodes:
- Episode 3 – Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster
- Episode 4 – Home Again
- Episode 6 – My Struggle II
- Episode 1 – My Struggle
- Episode 5 – Babylon
- Episode 2 – Founder’s Mutation
I think Founder’s Mutation was just weak and generally a rip-off of X-Men (mutated humans) and it didn’t really move anything along (not the Fox/Dana relationship, the myth, etc.). Babylon was too extreme in its use of horror and humor, though I really enjoyed the humor. And then up from there. The smart and humorous Were-Monster episode is on par with some of the classics from previous series.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the reviews of the series. I’ll keep you posted on the future of the X Files. From what I’ve read, Fox TV is definitely interested in extending the run, but there are still questions about whether key players will return.
Up next is continuing reviews of Better Call Saul and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.