The X-Files came back with a six-episode new series. At RevolutionSF, we were in the trenches for the show’s last few seasons. We watched. We had to. Well, when we remembered to set the VCR. I believed that my outrage at the show’s last few years has subsided. So here is the show again. Old wounds. Feelings. This is what is happening. Here’s my look at all the new season-10 episodes.
1. My Struggle
I am so happy to see Mulder and Scully again that I am willing to forgive a lot of things. If that is true, I must be willing to forgive:
1: Debunking of everything in the X-Files up till now.
2: Instant belief in that debunking by Mulder. Mulder.
3: A new old guy that Mulder has never mentioned before who says something cryptic then vanishes.
4. References to real-life things that happened since X-Files went off the air. That takes me out of the X-Files universe and back to sucky reality. The references have no purpose; Mulder says, “I’m familiar with Edward Snowden,” and that’s it. No punchline. No follow-up. Now, if Snowden was a Fluke-Man, OK. I would’ve been down for that.
The good parts are seeing Mulder and Scully again. They’ve aged with their actors. They are a couple who have lived their lives together. They’re both still Mulder and Scully, but they’re smarter and more confident. The show hasn’t tossed away the relationship. It’s comforting that the show reopens the X-Files and gets back to business so quickly. It’s sweet, even.
So I say all that to say this: I’m willing to let a few things go.
A FEW things.
2. Founder’s Mutation
Oh, Monster of the Week episodes, how I missed you.
After over-delivering on its first episode back, this one simmers down. It’s just a murder investigation. Mulder and Scully investigate Lester from Chuck, who is totally not in Jeffster style here.
They have dream sequences about William, their telekinetic baby who they shipped off in the final season. They didn’t have time to do emotional acting about William during the original series. The stories back then desperately tried to un-filk the conspiracy and the Black Oil and the aliens and ha ha ha, that turned out great. Hooray for the conspiracy!
But now they have plenty of time to discuss William and be sad.
The investigation parts are fine. This episode is OK. It’s just neat to see Mulder & Scully back together again. Six episodes isn’t long enough for this nice feeling to wear off.
OR IS IT?
3. Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster
They appear to be attempting, with each of these six episodes, to revisit a different genre of X-Files episode.
“My Struggle” was a conspiracy. “Founder’s Mutation” was a Monster of the Week episode. This is a funny one. The show used to do a funny one every now and then, usually to clear our pallet for something with the Black Oil the next week.
It’s quite silly, and I mean that as a compliment. The heroes meet a lizard man and he is hilarious. This episode is very fun, and it reminds us that the show can be fun when everyone just relaxes.
Comedian Kumail Nanjani has a role in this episode. He analyzes the show on his podcast, The X-Files Files. That’s where the X-Files people say they found him, and offered him a part on this episode.
I and most of the RevolutionSF irregulars wrote analyses of X-Files episodes for years. The show ended before they had a chance to offer us parts. Obviously.
But I ain’t mad at you, X-Files! Well, I’m not mad about that one thing.
Scully makes a nice reference to “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” when she reminds Mulder that Bruckman told her she doesn’t die.
Which reminds me, what did Raymond’s dad on Everybody Loves Raymond mean by that?
That never got a payoff, and doesn’t here, either. Hooray for X-Files!
4. Home Again
This show is not a sequel to “Home,” the episode where Scully and Mulder fought inbred hillbillies who kept their scary-ass mother under their bed for breeding purposes.
But it is about mothers!
Scully’s mother is dying, and that’s a big old bummer. Before that happens, they encounter a monster who kills people who hate homeless people. He’s Swamp Thing made out of garbage.
Scully and Mulder have some good relationshippy moments. Very sweet. Very human. Then Scully yells at Mulder that she has to go to work and find Garbage-Thing to take her mind off her grief.
So Scully goes back to work, then doesn’t stop the monster from killing, doesn’t catch it, and doesn’t find out anything.
So on The X-Files, you handle the grieving process by getting frustrated and confused about something else.
Please allow me to paraphrase a character from a different speculative-fiction show from the 90s, Chandler from Friends.
Could the first few minutes of this episode BE any more outdated, hacky and offensive?
Spending a wordless few minutes with Middle-Easterners as they prepare for a suicide bombing is something, all right — but the ensuing story isn’t about Middle-Easterners. The bombers could have been literally any race and the story would be the same.
I’m going to assume this episode is named after the David Gray song “Babylon,” which this video will now cram into your brain. Baaaaaaa — bylon. This is super appropriate since that song, like The X-Files was also popular in 1998.
The Lone Gunmen came back in this one.
For about three seconds.
A sci-fi show where almost everyone has died and come back.
But the Gunmen came back for a couple of seconds during Mulder’s line-dancing peyote-trip.
It’s revealed that Mulder was not hopped up on goofballs. It was a placebo, which raises more questions, but that’s the X-Files‘s thing.
He wasn’t hallucinating that he line-danced, because Scully told him he had to be dragged out. That scene was hilarious. So I choose to think the Lone Gunmen were there, in cowboy gear, alive, just hanging out, then Mulder showed up. I WANT TO BELIEVE.
Before I get to the last episode, here’s what I think about the whole thing. I’m glad it’s back. I’m glad the same creators and actors are coming back and trying this thing again.
I still love The X-Files. If it didn’t have the same problems it always did, I don’t know what I would do. Rewatch it for fun? Discuss episodes all the time with friends? I do that already.
My Struggle, Part 2
“Well, I knew it was a snake when I picked it up.” — Becky Pano
RevSF writer Becky summed it all up in one sentence. I’m going to try to do it one word.