Well, let’s get this over with…
(Seriously, if I ever get tired of “Stay supple!,” that’ll probably be my new catch phrase…)
As you my remember, way back in 2016, I reviewed the 10th season of The X-Files. With the exception of the episode that featured Rhys Darby, I didn’t care much for it. In fact, the episode that was set in Texas almost drove me to throw a shoe at the TV. However, the 10th season did end with a big cliffhanger and, since I hate the idea of a story going unfinished, I knew I would have to watch the 11th season whenever it premiered. And I also knew that I’d have to review it because that’s what I do.
Well, tonight, the 11th season premiered. Armed with as much knowledge as one can hope to gain from scanning Wikipedia, I twice watched My Struggle III.
The episode began with a lengthy monologue from the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), in which he talked about how, if the American people knew about what was truly going on in the darkest corners of the government, there would be riots in the streets. Personally, I love conspiracy theories and I’m generally opposed to all forms of controlling legal authority so I enjoyed that part of the show. The episode managed to work footage of every U.S. President except for Obama into the opening conspiracy montage. Personally, if I had edited the show, I would snuck Obama in there just to mess with people and their expectations. But that’s just me!
Anyway, as much fun as that little conspiracy monologue may have been, I was more concerned with how the show was going to deal with the fact that the world literally ended at the end of season 10. Well, it was quickly revealed that nothing that happened during My Struggle II actually happened. Instead, it was all just a vision that Scully had. Apparently, it’s a premonition of what will happen unless Mulder … does something.
Does what exactly? I’m not sure and, to be honest, I’m not really sure that the show does either. I understand that this episode is meant to be part of a bigger mythology and, as a result, it was supposed to be a bit open-ended. However, as I watched My Struggle III, I got the feeling that the episode was mostly just something that was hastily whipped up so that the show could do away with season 10’s disastrous finale. And it was hard not to feel that, narratively, the show took the easy way out.
The majority of the episode was made up of Mulder driving his car from location to location, searching for the Cigarette Smoking Man. This led to Mulder breaking into a mansion and having a conversation with Mr. Y (Alexandre Campion) and Erika Price (Barbara Hershey) about aliens and the secret history of the world. To be honest, it was kind of boring and it didn’t really hold my attention.
Meanwhile, the Cigarette Smoking Man and Agent Reyes (Annabeth Gish) were having a conversation with Skinner (Mitch Pileggi). During the conversation, the Cigarette Smoking Man revealed that he, and not Mulder, is the true father of Scully’s son, William.
And twitter exploded in rage.
Don’t fear, twitter! There’s always a good chance that next week’s episode will open with the Cigarette Smoking Man revealing that he actually isn’t the father or maybe it’ll just turn out that someone else was having a vision. By dismissing season 10’s cliffhanger as just being a dream (or a vision or premonition or whatever), The X-Files has reminded us that nothing on the show actually means anything. Who needs to maintain continuity or narrative integrity when you can just shrug and say, “Well, y’see, it’s all a part of the conspiracy…”
(As I watched tonight’s episode, I found myself thinking about Twin Peaks: The Return. No matter how weird or convoluted Twin Peaks got, I still never doubted that David Lynch did have a definite destination in mind. That’s not a feeling that I got from tonight’s episode of The X-Files.)
Now, here’s the good news! I have heard, from people who I trust, that the upcoming episodes are nothing like the premiere. Apparently, the premiere was one of those “we have to do it” things. The upcoming episode will be stand-alone episodes, much like the one where Mulder met the Were-Monster.
So, with that in mind, I will tune in next week to see if episode 2 is any better than episode 1.