Previously on The X-Files, ‘Babylon’
Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, Lauren Ambrose, Robbie Amell, Joel McHale, Annabeth Gish, Aliza Vellani, William B. Davis | Writers: Drs. Anne Simon and Margaret Fearon & Chris Carter | Director: Chris Carter
SKIMMING THE CASE REPORT
The end is here! Mulder goes on the warpath, seeking the mastermind responsible for the slow death of humankind. Agents Scully and Einstein race against time to find a cure and discover their salvation may reside in Dana’s genes. Miller and Einstein do their best to help the respective agents in any way they can, however the entire planet is looking pretty much doomed.
THE FUTURE IS NOW!
We finally really did it! You maniacs! You blew it up!
The apocalypse was bound to happen but not a single viewer expected the hammer to be dropped so resoundly. December 22 2012 came and went thanks to Mulder and Scully’s determination to prevent the alien-colonization-that-was-apparently-never-scheduled. Though maimed, broken and thoroughly cooked, the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) is an oddly difficult man to kill. Now a one-man Syndicate, CSM holds all the cards and the agents – along with the rest of the world – have quickly suffered under his reign.
For no rhyme or reason, Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale) is back on the air to warn the general public of the shadow government’s efficient stratagem that hinders all aid, cripples all critical systems and hastily annihilates the world’s population to manageable levels. While Rome burns, Scully receives a cryptic message from Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) who’s been missing in action for some time. Turns out CSM did his best Vito Corleone impersonation and gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse and ultimately made her his glorified assistant. Oh, and apparently Fox received close combat lessons from Jason Bourne.
“My Struggle II” – like the premiere and last week’s “Babylon” – was a hodge podge of big ideas that whipped by with breakneck speed and had faint interest in cinching the littlest things. It felt as though both halves of “Struggle” were written before the other four episodes were even a glimmer in their writers’ eyes; a type of fridge logic, if you will. What occurred after Mulder and Scully returned to the basement was of little consequence. Save for the inclusion of Miller and Einstein in “Struggle II”, who could have been played by random FBI agents. If the sudden shifts in personality among the leads wasn’t perplexing enough, there was a steady stream of technobabble (scripted to explicit accuracy, thanks to Drs. Simon and Fearon) to validate a rather convoluted design with an intent that is more difficult to accept than it need be. By the second act, Scully and Einstein discover nearly everyone’s immune system is suppressed at the genetic level, which was a moment when this gem came to mind:
Crude yet accurate.
As everyone leaks from all their orifices, Dana fashions a solution from her own genes due to the immunity she acquired from her alien DNA. Of course Mulder doesn’t want that shit in his veins because he’s too proud (and CSM already offered him an opt-in clause). Given his reasoning for executing his great plan, it appears Cigarette Smoking Man is the world’s most fervent environmentalist. He’s essentially Ra’s Al Ghul with half a face. Guess that would make him Two-Face as well… Ra’s Face? Two Al Ghul? Anyway, the suspension of disbelief is a laborious undertaking in regards to accepting the planet is in grave disarray from the dubious actions of a single individual.
DON’T STOP BELIEVING
Now that the entire series has been flipped on its abnormally large extraterrestrial head, what’s next? It took roughly 24 years and a pair of feature films to get to this point and viewers have to admit – whether they liked it or not – the endgame was unexpected and startling. With the world in complete shambles and nearly all of humanity on the edge of extinction, how can The X-Files recover if order is restored? Chris Carter wasn’t playing about wiping the slate clean; in arranging such a monumental twist in the mythology and narrative of the series, there’s the added uncertainty of how – not when – the show will progress in the future.
Though it’s only the advent of the systemic downfall of humankind, The X-Files has already backed itself into a corner. Despite the wide-ranging effects of the arc, it severely limits the quirkiness and whimsy of any non-alien X-File. Imagine Mulder and Scully attempting to seek answers about Guy Mann, a family of incestuous murderous hillbillies or the Flukeman in the midst of a collapsing nation. It’ll be very interesting to see in what direction and tone Carter and company will proceed.
If season eleven is greenlit, the quest for find William will certainly take precedent over any storyline, as his previous destiny of alien messiah is seemingly restored (though not as Scully and Mulder initially presumed). Besides, there remain so many burning questions that demand thorough answers. What’s CSM’s secondary objective now that he supposedly has dominion over the planet and its resources? Who are his chosen? What happened to the old doctor from the premiere? How can the X-Files ever be important to Mulder after this? Are there absolutely no aliens involved after 1947? Who in the hell was piloting that ARV?
If Chris Carter’s intent was to stoke the flames of interest with a barrel of gasoline, he’s done it. We all hope the staff is able to deliver in the second go-around because the bar has been set extremely high. There’s no turning back now so hopefully the best can be made out of such a harrowing, singular storyline. We all still want to believe.
The X-Files S10E6
So that was interesting.
It remains a challenging finale to process because so much happened so fast, I feel as though I may have missed significant clues or portents for future episodes. All I know is Scully better have more than two IV bags to save all of America or whoever’s inside that ARV is going to have the biggest Deus ex Machina in The X-Files’ entire run. All in all, I believe the great experiment was a success and has proven that Mulder and Scully are still relevant and match the more complex, well-rounded characters written for today’s smarter, more discerning viewers.