So, I woke up this morning feeling conflicted.
On the one hand, I was sad. When something epic comes to an end, I always feel that way…
But I felt confused, too. I was a loyal fan, and someone had the nerve to just leave me in the dark!
And angry. When something finishes, I want some satisfaction, dammit…you can’t leave me hanging like that!
No, I am not not talking about my 2015 football season, as unsatisfactory as that was. And no, I am not back together with my ex, either!
I am actually talking about the season finale for the much anticipated The X Files renewal. I watched it last night, and I am feeling sad (it’s always sad when things end, at least for someone), confused and yes, even a little angry. In fact, I just want to give Chris Carter and the rest of the creative team a good, hard shake and ask them, ever so diplomatically, WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING? WHAT THE ACTUAL? FUCKERS! FUCK!!!!
Well, the above may be a bit of hyperbole, so maybe keep the f bombs, but lose the cap locks (after, I like to think I am civilized, and don’t resort to the overuse of cap locks to make a point.) While I did enjoy this episode, and think it does have some merits, I am also feeling conflicted, angry and maybe even a little bit let down after the conclusion of this season. Alas, I have been an Indianapolis Colts fan for years though, so this feeling is not new to me.
With that being said, here is my review and recap of My Struggle II, the season finale of The X Files renewal.
And, as always:
The episode begins with a voice-over by Dana Scully, detailing her history and her work on the X Files, along with her admiration for her partner, Fox Mulder. The voice-over ends with Scully mentioning that her genetic material contains what she considers to be alien DNA.
One morning, Scully shows up at the office, only to discover that Mulder is not there. Mulder’s computer is still there, and indicates that he has been watching one of Tad O’Malley’s podcasts detailing a government conspiracy, and a massive outbreak of a plague that will endanger the entire population.
Scully is worried and meets with Tad O’Malley at Mulder’s house, where there appears to have been a struggle, but no sign of Mulder. O’Malley had arranged a meeting with Mulder, and also had his DNA tested, learning that his DNA contained alien genetic material. O’Malley tells Scully that he suspects the entire population was affected, and this may be the start of a global epidemic.
Agent Miller takes over the search for Mulder, and Scully recruits Agent Einstein to help her determine if there will indeed be a global epidemic. Scully suspects that smallpox vaccines may have been contaminated with alien DNA, which were given to an unsuspecting population in an effort by evil men to destroy the population. Scully meets Einstein at the hospital, where they notice a young man who appears to be extremely ill and also has a lesion on his upper arm, where he received an anthrax vaccination from the military. Scully fears that anyone who has received a vaccine for anything will have his/her immune system react to the vaccine and become ill. Agent Einstein is skeptical, and tells Scully that she is skeptical of her theories.
In the meantime, Agent Miller has tracked Mulder’s phone to Spartanburg, SC, and begins the search for Mulder.
Scully receives a summons from her old friend, former agent Monica Reyes. Upon meeting with Reyes, Scully learns that Reyes has been working with The Cigarette Smoking Man, who has survived a terrible accident, leaving him with burns on much of his body. Scully also learns that Reyes has made a deal with her nemesis: in exchange for helping him, Reyes has also received injects of alien DNA, which will keep her safe from the global pandemic. Reyes also informs Scully that she is safe as well, because she also has been injected with alien DNA. Scully is disgusted at Reyes’ actions, and wastes no time telling her so. Scully also realizes that alien DNA is not attacking peoples’ immune systems, it is actually a Spartan virus that has been passed on to the population via childhood vaccinations, and that she may be able to use her own alien DNA to create a cure for this virus.
Mulder has arrived at the home of the Cigarette Smoking Man, but he is battered, due to a confrontation with a man sent by his nemesis to attack. Additionally, Mulder has become ill with the plague that is infecting the rest of the population. However, Mulder still attempts to confront his nemesis and expresses his disgust for his actions. The Cigarette Smoking Man tells Mulder that mankind is headed for extinction anyway, and Mulder loses consciousness. Mulder then awakens to Agent Miller, who has saved them. The Cigarette Smoking Man lets both Mulder and Miller escape, offering no resistance.
At the hospital, Scully and Einstein continue to work on a cure for the global plague, using Scully’s alien DNA as the basis. Einstein, the nurses and several doctors become ill, but Scully is able to manufacture a cure. She receives a call from Agent Miller, who tells her that Mulder is in bad shape. Scully then races to find Miller and Mulder on an extremely congested freeway.
Finally, Scully is able to locate Miller and Mulder on the freeway. Both men are ill, but Mulder is in particularly bad shape. Scully realizes that Mulder actually may need stem cells, and tells Miller than in order to obtain those, she will need to locate their son, William. A spaceship descends from the sky, shining a light on Scully. The scene then fades to black.
And on a few different levels, too…
Now, don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy watching this episode, and I believe that there are some merits to it. However, something about this episode just didn’t “gel” for me. Like with the previous episode, Babylon, I felt that I had a jigsaw puzzle in front of me, and some of the pieces were either missing, or I just couldn’t figure out how to put the puzzle together.
But first, let’s talk about the good in this episode. Contrary to popular internet opinion, I do believe that I can find some good in this episode.
I think the best thing about this episode was that it was “Scully-centric.” I love Scully…who doesn’t love Scully? Really, who doesn’t love Scully, so I can come to your house and beat you with a wet noodle?
Growing up, I was a nerd, living in a small Midwestern town. I had aspirations to perhaps go into science, or maybe mathematics. I always dreamed of being a part of something bigger than myself, and looked to life beyond that Midwestern town.
In other words, I was the outcast. My social calendar was clear until…oh say…2012 or so. Being a nerd (and a female one at that) isn’t easy, but someone has to do it, right?
Well, Scully also did it very well (the female nerd thing, that is). She “scienced” like there was no tomorrow. She could kick bad guy ass with the best of them, and all while wearing three inch heels. And she got Mulder out of jams pretty frequently, and kept him from completely going off the deep end before he lost any shred of credibility.
In other words, Scully gave me (and probably many others like me), someone to look up to and admire. And that was a breath of fresh air.
And this episode was indeed very “Scully-centric”, even right from the beginning. Mulder was MIA, and Scully was left to try and save the day. Scully got to use her smarts to come up with a solution to save the world. Again, Scully had to go save Mulder’s butt. Scully even got to do the intro this time, so we could get her POV of the time she has spent on the X Files, along with the reminder of how much she has had to sacrifice, all in the name of Mulder’s quest for truth.
I also loved how Scully’s DNA was the likely savior of the human race, and how this fact is probably linked to a certain memorable episode where some crazy guy says that Scully is “immortal.” Well, Scully’s DNA is (presumably) injected into the rest of the human race to save it. And if that is not immortality, I don’t know what is. Scully living on in everybody? Hmmm, I think I like that!
Another thing I liked about this episode was the reappearance of one of the most iconic onscreen villains of all time…
Yes, the Cigarette Smoking Man. The CSM is a bad ass. Well, actually, given some of his actions, he is probably just an ass. Regardless, he is still iconic. And awesome. And missed, at least by me. So seeing him was a breath smoky, stale air.
So some things worked in this episode. However, not everything, or even most things worked for this episode. So let’s talk about it, and since we are civilized, we will refrain from using the caps lock button this time.
And speaking of the caps lock key, this episode contained more than its fair share of some really off-the cuff, wacko, fringe ideas. I know that I was watching a show basically dedicated to off the cuff, wacko, fringe ideas (after all, cases don’t earn that X for nothing) but c’mon, man! Chem trails? Anti vaxxer sentiments? Microwave radiation? Again, c’mon, man! Give me something I can actually buy, like Flukeman! I think even Mulder was rolling his eyes at all this…
Scully turning into Ms. Ranty-pants and babbling about conspiracies and vaccines being the doom to us all? Did the writers forget some essential facets of Scully’s character, like the fact that she is a scientist and would probably encourage parents to vaccinate their kids? And I can’t even say that Mulder would have bought any of that either. He has an open mind, but not so open that his brain would fall out…
As stated before, I liked the fact that the Cigarette Smoking Man was a player in this episode. But again, things didn’t add up. Why would Reyes sell her soul to him, so she could spend her life handing him cigarettes to smoke through his traech (and there is another disgusting image I can’t un-see, Freud would be proud for the creative team on that one). That confrontation with Mulder made no sense, either. And Mulder went out with a whimper, instead of a bang, against the nemesis who has been plaguing him since day one. A bit of a punk ass ending, for sure.
Oh, and speaking of endings…
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
Yeah, I know, I broke my own promise, but I couldn’t help it. So I apologize for the use of the caps lock. I just can’t help myself, that’s all.
I am trying to figure out if the ending was just lame, or open-ended. For the sake of the show, I am hoping for the latter, so we get more episodes. I felt like the creative team realized that they only had 45 minutes, so oh damn, gotta end this, after we have built all this tension. So damn the luck, guess we will have to beg Fox Network for another season. Who gives a shit if we piss off the viewers? While we are at it, let’s tease about Mulder and Scully’s son William AGAIN, but only mention his name and give no more information, and then cut to a black screen. So the viewers will never get any closure on that (I mean, William has only been mentioned in every episode this season, and there appears to have been a build-up to something). And the viewers will never know if Scully’s efforts were successful, and the human race was saved, or if the aliens won out anyway. So yes, hard to tell if we are looking at lazy or open-ended, in terms of that ending…
Torture. Definite torture. Chris Carter and the creative team did not get the memo that torture was supposedly outlawed by the Geneva Convention…
So, there you have. Many of us wondered if this would ever happen. But it did. We were reunited with our favorite onscreen duo. Although the reunion was brief, it was still sweet. And fun. And frustrating, at least at times. But one thing it never was: dull. So I say goodbye, at least for now. And maybe I can hope for another sweet reunion with Mulder, Scully, Skinner and the rest of the gang. Actually, I am not saying goodbye, since I don’t like the finality of that word. But I will say, “see you guys later.” And maybe I will.