Airtime: Mondays at 8PM on FOX
Tweetable Takeaway: #TheXFiles ruins a passable monster of the week with stale baby drama.
Oh, yay, more garbage from THE X-FILES reboot. Not only did we get a recycled monster of the week, it was hand-waved away in favor of even more baby drama from Dana Scully! I thought we got rid of this crap a long, long time ago. Wishful thinking, I guess.
“Home Again” starts off with a monster ripping Alessandro Juliani apart. You might remember Juliani as Lieutenant Gaeta from Battlestar Galactica. His face was pretty much the high point of this episode. The setup of the mystery was promising in that old weird ’90s way where you know it won’t make sense but it will probably be scary so who cares. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that scary and ultimately it was so nonsensical that it wasn’t even worth it. Additionally, The X-Files has already done a Tulpa. That cute episode from season 7 where Mulder and Scully pretend to be married? (Yeah, remember when X-F beat fandom to every fic trope ever?) The trash-monster killing people who violated the homeowner association rules was a Tulpa. So not only was that a disappointing monster mystery because it was a repeat, it was also strange to have Mulder suddenly be like “oh, Tulpa’s are totes a culture misappropriation!” since he was almost killed by the culturally misappropriated version seventeen years ago. I always found it fun to try to guess the outcome of mysteries ahead of time, but it’s no fun if you guess right because it’s something they’ve already done. (Aside: Supernatural‘s Tulpa episode is better than both X-Files ones put together. If nothing else, “Home Again” emphasized just how much early Supernatural was truly The X-Files‘ spiritual successor.)
Ultimately, the semi-promising monster-of-the-week start derailed into LaLa Land when Scully was informed of her mother’s heart attack. For one thing, do I really believe that her mother dies right now of all times? Right when we re-enter this story and are watching? No. I don’t. If X-Files exists in its own continuum the only thing that could explain such a coincidence is that their lives are a television show which suddenly returned and needed some drama. Funny how your life can be so normal and then suddenly bam you’re the center of everything. Let this be a lesson: when everything starts to happen to you all at once (as it tends to do) recognize that this is that meta moment when the narrative is looking. And poor Sheila Larkin! We dragged her back into this mess just so she could die? How dramatic! Plus! I don’t even remember Charlie Scully. Like, did he even have a name before?
Newsflash: you did treat William like trash. You know why? Because he was trash. His entire storyline was utter garbage. You put that baby on a bus because he derailed the whole show. Getting all weepy over it, whining about your guilt, and casting people who give up their children for adoption as evil and irresponsible when that’s often the most responsible choice is very very very wrong. Scully literally equated giving up her son to mistreating homeless people. Plus, I love how Mulder can solve all of his great mysteries with Scully “by his side” when he does (haha, had you even seen each other in like twelve years? This is not exactly a shared goal anymore!) but Scully’s “great mystery” is the lady mystery of her motherhood. That side-eye I’ve been throwing at the idea of an X-F reboot since like last May? Oh, honey. That side-eye is all for this moment. Also, Scully called Mulder “Fox” and it made my skin crawl. As if this episode wasn’t creepy enough!
There were two things I did like. First, there were some really on-point iconic shots in here. If they distract us with pretty I guess we won’t notice the hollow center? Second, Mark Snow killed it with that kitschy score. There were points where the score alone made me feel like I was watching an old (read: good) episode. But, again, that was just a surface-level trick to divert attention from how stupid and gross the story itself was.
Basically, show, just stop. Stop. Go back to the actual mytharc mysteries or the funny meta episodes. Stop trying to do deep emotional character studies because you suck at them and leaping into this story at this point waving around melodrama is uncalled for. This is definitely an area where your ’90s aesthetic is less charming and more offensive as hell. And, I’ll say it again: if you’re going to give me a monster-of-the-week episode it had better properly be a monster-of-the-week episode and not this faux trauma garbage. Like, really? There’s nothing left to Scully but that she had a baby sixteen years ago? Really?
Dana Leigh Brand is a digitization archivist by day and a masked pop culture avenger by night. She spreads the gospel of science fiction and fantasy wherever she goes.
Dana Leigh Brand | Contributor