Airtime: Mondays at 8PM on FOX
Episode: Season 10, Episode 6 (S10E06)
Tweetable Takeaway: “The X-Files” concludes and we’re ready grateful.
Now I definitely feel like I was emotionally manipulated for financial gain. The thing is: I no longer care, because all that’s happened is that they justified my wariness and confirmed my suspicions. This entire endeavor at “revisiting” THE X-FILES was simply a desperate attempt at relevance by Fox. As is typical with Fox, they failed miserably. X-Files completely changed television. It is to modern TV as The Beatles were to popular music. The thing is, they’ve revisited the series without adapting it or updating it in any way. It is outclassed at every turn by its descendants. Literally everything I’ve seen on TV in the past five to ten years has more depth and self-awareness than this mini-series. And guess what? I was right! They cliffhanged us like pros! And yet even at that they failed miserably. Because who actually cares?
This episode felt like it was about four hours long. I was not impressed with any of the mystery. I was not hooked by a feeling of suspense. I just wanted it to end. I have a misanthropic streak that occasionally gets inflamed—usually by sloppy storytelling relying on the inherent sacredness of humanity en masse to provide a shorthand for something being “evil.” By like thirty minutes in I was so ready for the entire human race to be eradicated. That was the best idea I had ever heard. Anything to make this awful stop. Take me, Lord. Take us all.
Additionally, you’d think I’d be all up in the scientific explanations of what’s going on but I couldn’t tell if they were legit (one of the screenwriters did have “Dr.” in front of their name after all) or if they were complete bogus bunk. Even if they were legit, Scully and Einstein kept pulling theories and terms out of thin air without context and without any setup or even narrative utility. Because big words are flashy enough to fool such a gullible audience into thinking something profound is happening! I love my sci-fi science, but it has to be here for a reason. This was not here for any reason beyond trying to legitimate a crisis plotline that was in no way compelling. Also people haven’t been routinely vaccinated against small pox since 1972, so just how old are we saying Agent Einstein is?
Seriously, I really enjoyed Tad O’Malley in his first episode because his character was a brilliant way to immediately bring X-Files into the present. But no one in their right mind would view an internet conspiracy pundit as a legitimate authority on anything and “the internet going crazy” is just—I just—you can’t see it but I’m hanging my head in shame. “People are freaking out on the internet” is the shoddiest excuse for anything ever on Earth. His inclusion here was a shot at sensationalism but it didn’t work. This was a slapdash and hilarious misread of how media works now. This ain’t Mulder and Scully’s old internet anymore. I also love how conveniently Mulder’s laptop has a phone finder right there on the desktop. A+ investigator. Mulder and Miller FBI good.
And I just loved that Reyes defected to the Cigarette Smoking Man’s camp for no explicable reason except that the audience already hated her so why not attribute detestable behavior to her. Hey. Sure! /sarcasm. Reyes would never do that; who the hell thought Reyes would ever do that?! Complete and utter character assassination. Here’s what’s really up with Reyes: she stayed in the FBI and married Doggett who became an assistant director. They have a daughter who is possibly telepathic and a beat up pit bull they found stray. FanficLand aside, even suggesting Reyes would go Dark Side is unthinkable to the point of hilarity. I guess we should be glad they even acknowledged that she exists, right?
The first episode of this season-ish thing was a passable band-aid on the desperately terrible series mytharc. That would have been a nice place to leave it. Decent resolution. But X-Files doesn’t traffic in resolution and its refusal to do so was its original downfall. After serving up one stellar episode (the third one, i.e. the only legitimate monster-of-the-week) and some serious garbage, the only natural place for X-Files to end this disastrous run is in a futile, pathetic attempt to launch themselves into another ill-fated cultish mystery. I relegate all of this to a place even lower on the canon spectrum than fan fiction. Fan fic, at least, usually takes pains to tell an emotionally resonant story while competently representing the characters. I’m done with you, X-Files. Please just stop.
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