The X-Files Season 11: Episode 2: “This”

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Ok, so now we’re cooking with gas. Seriously, this episode gives me what I want from The X-Files.

And by that I mean, Mulder and Scully flirting, Skinner being exasperated and The Lone Gunmen. We start strong with The Ramones “California Sun” playing intercut with a statick-y message from Langley, and then a bunch of people invade Mulder’s cabin, and Scully kicks a table over and they kill two of the invaders.

Turns out these guys are Russian ops, maybe? Skinner’s pretty vague about it, but the three of them have some tense conversations about how the world has changed. Trying to figure out what happened, leads Mulder and Scully to the graves of The Gunmen and to Deep Throat. (DUDE!)

They find a microchip, which leads them to a professor, who it turns out was Langly’s girlfriend? And they wind up learning that there was an experimental computer afterlife, that they both volunteered for so that they could live together eternally. (Awww.)

AND it turns out that the program is run by Erica Price, which is what Barbara Hershey’s character is named, apparently. She offers Mulder a spot in the after life, if he kills CSM. I really don’t think Mulder needs that much motivation to kill CSM, but you know, whatever.

Also, it turns out computer heaven is hella boring, (though sounds kinda nice, with daily Ramones concerts and an ever losing Patriots team.) and they’re mining the minds of all the folks there for nefarious purposes.

But, more importantly so much flirting! Flirting on the couch. Flirting in diners. Flirting on a bus. A reference to handcuffs! OMG! Flirt away Scully and Mulder, make all of our dreams come true!

Oh also the crash computer heaven but it turns out that there’s a back up and one of the creepy Russian assassins is totally there.

Overall, a way better episode than last week. (NOT HARD) It reminded me of those glorious season 6 episodes of weirdness that I loved so much when I watched the show before. And honestly? The show can do a lot worse than just floating on Duchovney and Anderson’s chemistry, which is so incredible.

Also, someone get Skinner a stiff drink, that man deserves it.

The X-Files: Season 11: Episode 1: “My Struggle III”

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Guys, I know I’m not really qualified to complan about not having new X-Files content, for any amount of time, since I never waited over a decade for any of it. BUT because of the weirdly compressed way I watched the show. (0 to everything in less than 4 months) it left a really weird hole in my life when I was done with it.

Which is why I’m glad it’s back even though, this tweet I posted as the episode ended last night, basically sums up my feelings:

Because seriously do you want to know we didn’t need for this show to be compelling? The implication the The Smoking Man raped Scully and got her pregnant with William, rather than you know, a consensual sexual encounter between two adults who cared deeply for one another but could never make it work doing the deed.

I also didn’t need Jeffrey Spender to come back, like at all. If we’re going to be resurrecting characters with grey area motivations when it comes to our heroes, couldn’t we bring Krycheck back? (#TeamKrycheck! #SpenderIsTheWorst!)

Anyway, the episode. So it turns out “My Struggle II” was mostly a hallucination, or something? Who even goddamn knows with this stupid show, and dumb stupidness? I sound like I’m being dismissive but I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Scully is now in the hospital, getting seizures that may or may not be visions psychically sent to her by William.

The Smoking Man, meanwhile, is preparing, with the help of Agent Reyes, to unleash his alien plague and restart the human race with him, Scully, Reyes and Skinner, I think? Not Mulder though, for reasoning of I believe, “fuck that guy!”

Mulder, meanwhile is running around, hunting The Smoking Man, and instead finding all kinds of other, NON smoking man members of The Syndicate, (including Barbara Hershey!!! HEEYYYY!) and refusing to believe anything anyone tells him and yelling about it. (Mulder, at least is acting like himself.)

Anyway, Scully decides they all just need to go back to work, because she is a goddamn boss.

Oh, also Einstein and Miller were there. Because, whatever.

Look, I enjoyed the episode, but it definitely fell into some of the biggest traps of stupidness that The X-Files often falls into, but at least everyone was acting like themselves.

Except Reyes, I still don’t understand what’s going on with her, or how her psychic ability somehow got passed to Scully.

Eh. There are more episodes. We’ll see.

Or you know…probably not…because there is no truth you guys, if there’s anything I learned that the intravenous drip of X-Files I was on in 2015 & 2016, it’s that.

The X-Files 2.0: “My Struggle II”

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Well, this is over. And it wasn’t, you know, anything spectacular. I mean Scully did save the world with Science! but that’s about it.

Turns out the most recent conspiracy DID begin in 2012 (dun, dun, dun…) and it’s like a plague, or something, for whom the only people with immunity are people with alien DNA.

Again, or something. So everyone in the world starts getting sick, and Scully and Einstein have to science them up a vaccine using Scully’s alien DNA. How do they learn this, might you ask?

Agent Reyes of course! Turns out that not long after the series finale, Monica met with CSM and left the FBI, when he offered her immunity in order to work for him? Sleep with him? I’m not really sure what the exact nature of their deal is, but the point is that Reyes totally sold out.

I’m disappointed. I liked Reyes, but I know she’s widely hated by the fan base and this was probably really, really vindicating for them.

Also we never saw Doggett, which, I mean, BOOOO. And again, like, no Skinner at all which was stupid. And the ending was super dumb, and I didn’t like it and seriously, DAMN YOU CHRIS CARTER!

We did however get Mulder yelling at CSM and CSM looking vaguely amused by the whole thing. We also learned how he survived being you know blown up. Or at least whatever, I don’t know. It didn’t make any sense. And nothing was made better by Tad O’Malley’s dumb interludes. I understand what they were going for there, but it didn’t work out.

I did like that Scully’s blood is the key to saving the world, because, I mean, sure, why not, that makes enough sense. But the ending just infuriated me.

So it’s over.

No more X-Files.

I don’t know what I’m going to do now.

I mean, I’m sure I’ll find something that I’ve willfully ignored for most of my life but I should have been really into.

I’m thinking The Simpsons.

I don’t know. We’ll figure it out.

The X-Files 2.0: “Babylon”

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Enter the topical commentary. Enter the dopplegangers.

After two young arab men in Texas attempt a suicide bombing on an art gallery that featured a satirical image of The Prophet Mohammed defecating on radical Islam. One of the bombers survived in a deep coma. He’s due to die any moment.

Two young agents have been assigned to him, Agent Einstein (Lauren Ambrose) and Agent Miller (Robbie Ammell! Hey Firestorm, ‘sup?) She’s a skeptical medical doctor and he’s a ridiculously handsome talented profiler who has an interest in the paranormal.

Sound familiar?

Miller wants to talk to the comatose terrorist. Miller insists it’s impossible but humors him, going to Mulder and Scully for a way to do that.

They are both, of course, drawn to their opposites in the new pair. Scully going to Miller with the idea that comatose patients can perceive their surroundings, and live in an in between place. (She would know, after all…) And they decide to speak to him, using yes and no questions to get information.

Meanwhile, Mulder goes to Einstein suggesting that both he and the patient take Magic Mushrooms in order to communicate on the same plane.

Oh Mulder.

She scoffs but follows through and we get a delightful Mulder drug trip, including country music, line dancing, the return of The Lone Gunmen (in a blink and you miss it cameo, and by the way, I’m disappointed. I wanted real involvement from them. But whatever.) Then he finds himself being whipped by Agent Einstein and then by the CSM, on a slave ship where he hears the terrorist speak in Arabic.

It turns out, by the way, that Einstein just gave him a placebo, and Skinner is just fed up with this nonsense Mulder! (Really, I don’t know what Skinner expects, exactly, he got Mulder his job back after all…)

Anyway, the terrorists mother shows up and there’s some meditation on the love of a mother, and OMG WE GET IT THE THEME OF THE MINISERIES IS THAT MOMS LOVE YOU!!!!!

It was actually a very fun and interesting episode. I liked Einstein and Miller, and Mulder’s trip was a joy to behold.

Next week we get the finale. I think I’m ready.

The X-Files 2.0: “Home Again”

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A street artist/garbage man creates a gollum to scare off the people who are trying to gentrify a neighborhood in Philadelphia. Instead it tears them to pieces and throws their heads in the trash. They do not stop it. That is the whole X-File.

But it’s not the whole episode. While inspecting the first crime scene Scully gets a call from her brother Bill. Bill informs her that her mother had a heart attack, she rushes back to DC to the hospital and learns that her mother is on life support, and that before she lost consciousness she asked for Charlie, which is the name of Dana’s younger brother.

I did not know there was a fourth Scully child, but it turns out he’s a black sheep and hasn’t spoken to their mother in three years. Dana is stunned, but declares that her mom had a living will to stay on life support. It turns out that she changed that will. So Mulder comes, she’s taken off her respirator, and Scully gets in touch with Charlie to speak to her mother. After coming briefly back to life Mrs. Scully looks at Mulder and says simply, “My son is named William too.”

These are her last words. Scully is very upset, because, you know giving William up for adoption. This lead to this exchange in my house.

Me: GOD! JUST GO FIND THE BABY! Who’s now fifteen.
Mike: And is an alien.
Me: I mean probably…oh no, wait, Spender injected him with something so he wasn’t an alien anymore just a regular baby. (Mike raised his eyebrows at me.) Things got…kind of weird…at the end.
Mike: Uh, yeah.

Here’s the thing that doesn’t make sense to me about the whole giving William up thing. I know it was to save him from Alien cults and what remained of The Syndicate…and Krycheck’s ghost, probably. But why wouldn’t the alien cults find him anyway? I’m just saying the give him up plan is far from fool proof.

Anyway, Scully mourns her mom and tells Mulder that she worries about William. While I’m glad that he’s the emotional focus of this arc, I’d rather they actually be looking for him rather than just getting all emo. That said, this episode made me and my mom both cry a whole lot.

Overall I liked this episode. No Skinner was made up for by a nice goodbye to Scully’s Mom, who was always nice to check in with, and the reveal of a new Scully Sib isn’t a bad consolation prize ever. And the monster was super creepy. I feel like this series has gotten it’s groove and now we have the finale next week and it’s go to be sad and I’m going to miss it.

The X-Files 2.0: “Mulder and Scully Meet The Weremonster”

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“We have a new case, and it has a monster in it.”

This is the episode we’ve all been waiting for.

Darin Morgan.

HUMOR.

Mulder back to his old excitable self.

A WERE LIZARD!

And of course, Kumail Nanjiani.

But we’ll get to Kumail. The episode opens with a couple huffing paint in the woods. (I love that this is our starting point, btw) and come upon a man being attacked by a lizard creature. That man is Kumail! (Or Pasha, the animal control guy).

In DC, Mulder is throwing pencils at the “I Want To Believe” poster, looking discouraged. He rants to Scully about how it’s impossible to believe in anything anymore. (Because of Internet, I think? But also, probably, you know, depression.) She tells him that they have a new case with a monster.

They go to the sleepy small town and go a monster huntin’. Mulder is incredulous, and Scully is pretty sure that it’s a serial killer.

Turns out it’s both! Yay! Mudler learns that there is a legend of a Lizard Man who can only be killed by stabbing it in the appendix with green glass. Mulder, of course goes in search of said lizard man, while Scully, you know, autopsies the victims.

Turns out the Lizard Man is real, and is actually a Lizard Man who when the sun is up transforms into a human, after being bit by the killer. The Lizard Man is played by Rhys Darby and it’s awesome. He asks Mulder to kill him. Mulder will not, until he hears his story.

I’m not doing it justice but hey, it turns out that Kumail is the killer and he’s a text book serial killer (“It started when I was a small child. I felt the need to torture small animals…” When he’s being lead away and despairs that he doesn’t get to give his speech is pure fan service and it’s wonderful that the biggest fan of us all got to deliver that little bit.)

There’s a whole run of stuff about Mulder’s cell phone camera. And Scully actually says the line. “Yeah, this is how I like my Mulder.” This is how we all like our Mulder. Spinning wild theories that make no sense and barely connect to the case. But this is also how I like my Scully, quipping, getting shit done and keeping his feet on the ground.

Also! Scully gets a new dog! I’m happy for her.

It’s nice to see the show back to form and to see the weird experimental plays that I loved so much while I was working my way through the series. This isn’t quite “Bad Blood” levels of gorgeousness, but it’s pretty damn close to the highest highs of the series.

No Skinner this week. But there was Kumail, which almost made up for it. Not quite, but it’s damn close.

Also, when Mulder is hearing the creature’s story, he’s standing my the grave of Kim Manners, a dearly departed X-Files director. It’s a nice touch and a loving tribute.

Next week, Mulder and Scully find a head in a trash can.

And the people did rejoice.

The X-Files 2.0: “Founder’s Mutation”

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I guess that the one thing that this revisit will have in spades is feels. Or I guess this episode did.

Scully and Mulder are assigned to the case of a scientist who apparently committed suicide. After they learn that he was working with children who have severe genetic anomalies, Mulder becomes convinced that the mothers of these children are being tested on by the government.

While at the victims apartment, Mulder has what can best be described as an episode where he hears a high pitched voice in his head telling him to “find her.” He doesn’t know what it means, but he also doesn’t tell Skinner about it and even Scully has to pry it out of him.

In the end it turns out that a child, the child of the head of the experiments in fact, crawled out of his mother’s womb in order to survive and escape from his father. He’s then adopted and raised fairly normally, but he decides to find his sister. He does. Also, he causes his father to bleed out the eyes.

You know. Standard story.

The case doesn’t cause the feels. The feels come because of William. Both Mulder and Scully have a series of fantasies, I guess? When confronted with the mothers in the experiment, Mulder calls them incubators. Scully takes this to heart, and asks him if that’s what he thought of her, and if he ever thought about William. She remarks that he’s fifteen, and that she’s missed each and every one of his birthdays.

My heart…I can’t take it.

He assures her that he does, everyday. It’s not clear if she believes him but that prompts her to have her first fantasy. Taking William to school one day. It’s a pleasant and every day interaction. Then she has another one, rushing to his side when he broke an arm. And then finally, going up into his room to find his face mutated and alien, begging her to tell him what’s wrong with him.

It’s wrenching and tough to watch. But it was Mulder’s fantasy that got me crying. Mulder and William watching 2001: A Space Odyssey together, and William asking him about the meaning of The Monolith. William and Mulder lighting off model rockets in the middle of a field. And finally, Mulder running into William’s bedroom only for him to be carried off, the same way Samantha was.

And so there it was. My heart, completely and thoroughly broken. I knew that William would be brought up. Hoped, in fact, that this rather large element of Mulder and Scully’s relationship would be spoken about. And I had a feeling that it would break my heart. But it got right at me, and seeing the life that these two never got to have is absolutely awful.

Again, only one Skinner scene. Not enough, but it’s a good one. As a bureaucrat tries to shut down Scully and Mulder, he rolls his eyes and tells them to go ahead anyway.

Never change, Walter.

The X-Files 2.0: “My Struggle”

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Ok, so here’s how things stand based on last night’s premier of the new X-Files, which I don’t have a lot of time to get into, (there’s a second episode tonight, I’ll deal with it more there when it ends not at midnight.)

Mulder is completely nutso, now, like he’s gone off the reservation. Scully left him because of his disconnect with reality, but she still misses him. She’s still at the hospital. Now she helps kids who were born without outer ears to get them put on. Joel McHale’s character Tad O’Malley, is a crazy right wing conspiracy nut, who wants Mulder and Scully to help him expose the “the truth.” Mulder seems very up for it. Scully is really over it, until they meet a young woman who claims to have been a multiple abductee.

“The Truth” this time around

No aliens. There were aliens, but they haven’t been to earth in a long time. They all died at Roswell and the other crash sights. The government, or possibly the military industrial complex (X-Files, so MEGA VAGUE) has been using the technology to test humans and distract them from a large scale fascist take over that’s been in effect since 2012.

Skinner reinstitutes the X-Files in order to combat this. I think? Or just because we needed Skinner.

OK, so here’s what I like (so far):

  • Mulder and Scully’s status quo. It makes sense both emotionally and from a story perspective for their relationship to have gone south as he sunk deeper and deeper into paranoia and depression and refused to get help. I don’t see her being OK with that.
  • The Opening Credits! They used the originals and now Mitch Pileggi is in them. It’s nice. I love Skinner.
  • Cigarette Smoking Man is back. I hope Mulder spends some time with Krychek’s ghost too. I’d like that.
  • Joel McHale. Who I like in everything. He’s just the right mixture of smug and creepy here, but as far as we know he’s on the side of the angels.
  • Scully has alien DNA! WHAT????
  • Mulder has a new shadowy informant guy. He was a doctor who was at Roswell. He wants to make things right.

Here’s what I don’t like:

  • This new “truth.” What’s the deal with the ancient ships then? What about William? This creates so many more questions. I don’t like it. It’s stupid. STUPID!
  • Weird sexual energy between Scully and Tad O’Malley. Nope. I am not on board.
  • I get that the world has changed so a guy like O’Malley would be the new face of the conspiracy movement. But he’s meant to be the new Lone Gunmen I think. And I don’t like that. The Gunmen were adorable. He’s a skeeze. I dislike this direction.
  • It was not funny enough. I know Mulder is in full on crazy mode so he wasn’t in a joking mood but still. I need some quips you guys!
  • The only mention of 2012 was that’s how long “the plan.” Has been in place. LAME!

And…that’s about it. See you guys for more X-Files tomorrow!

The X-Files: I want To Believe

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OK, this is really it. I mean it. (I mean, until Monday when I write about the new season.)4

Apparently this movie was made quickly because the writers strike prevented further drafts.

Um, that definitely shows. I Want To Believe isn’t terrible, but it’s definitely messy.

The plot revolves around a kidnapped FBI agents and a purportedly psychic ex priest. The Bureau calls Mulder in to decide if the guy is legit or not. He is. Probably. I mean, it’s X-Files things are left pretty vague.

Mulder and Scully are living on a farm together and she’s working as a pedicatric surgeon. I love everything about this set up, but it does lead to Scully being pretty inactive in the story and doing a lot of stuff that is not a good look on such a previously active character. Mostly she fights Mulder about his darker angels taking over as he works the case.

It SUCKS.

But the story itself is interesting, especially the fact the the priest is retired due to being a convicted pedophile and this makes Scully furious. (By the way, it’s a really refreshing thing to see in a fictional character who’s established as a practicing Catholic have the kind of rage that most of us had finding out about the cover ups in the past 20 years. It’s always shown as if you couldn’t be horrified and maintain a connection to the church. I have opinions about this, can you tell?) And he is a real psychic.

My favorite part had little to with the actual plot, and not even much to do with the Mulder/Scully relationship stuff (although its awesome!) 

It’s a single moment, where Mulder, after going rogue (obviously), is passed out in a frozen wasteland and wakes up to Skinner, baffled but thrilled. I assume it’s the first time in years these men have seen each other.

So that was fun. And Amanda Peet is in it, and I love Amanda Peet. And Scully is as awesome at being a doctor as she was at being an FBI agent.

I’m looking forward to what the new series is going to look like. I know it’s only six episodes. I know it might mean that I join the ranks of tons of other X-Files fans, where I have to wait five or six years before getting any new X-Files. But hopefully X-Files-Files comes back at least.

Speaking of X-Files-Files, last week Kumail released a conversation he had with David and Gillian, just chatting about the show. It was awesome.

But as I said, I Want To Believe, categorically not awesome.

The X-FilesDebrief: Season 8: Hope

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You guys, I did it. It’s finally over. (Well, almost, I’m watching I Want To Believe as I’m writing this.)

I feel as though a massive weight has been removed from my shoulders, and I want to thank my family and friends for putting up with me for the past few months, as I was consumed in the ins and outs of a television show that they’d all finished with 20 years ago. (Give or take)

Anyway, onto season 8, which I liked quite bit, if I do say so myself.

Again, totally would have hated it if I’d been watching it at the time. It’s not the same show. It’s a similar show, but I admire the way they decided to not have it be the exact same show as it once was, because it couldn’t be.

That said the thing I found most frustrating was the way Scully, Reyes and Dogget felt the need to find Mulder.

They don’t really need him.

I mean, when he shows up at the end, I was thrilled and I actually found the finale pretty good. The Trial of Fox Mulder is a good way to go out as well as Mulder and Scully’s final confrontation with The Smoking Man (and hey, Spender comes back! I mean, I hate him, but that was a cool twist.)

I genuinely enjoyed the season though, truly. I like Scully as a mother, as I said with season 7, I like Dogget and Reyes (especially Reyes, she’s such a different feel from Scully and their freindship is so much fun to watch.) But yes, I do agree with most of the world that Super Soldiers are hella dumb. But do you want to know what isn’t? Doggett catching his son’s killer, The Lone Gunmen sacrificing themselves to save the world from a virus, Mulder talking to the ghosts of Krycheck and Mr. X, the reveal that Mulder is absolutely the father of Scully’s baby. (Not awesome? Scully giving the baby up for adoption because alien cults keep trying to kidnap him.)

So, I’m done with The X-Files, well, except the movie. And the six new episodes that start on Sunday. (I’m going to be recapping them each Monday morning. There’s no reason for me to go cold turkey on the X-Files analysis.) I’m glad I took on this project. I’m glad the I finished this project. I’m excited to see what the new series is going to look like. It sometimes felt like I would never finish and my life would just be watching X-Files forever, but well, I did finish, and I’m excited about it. I’m glad for it. I’m glad to have gotten to know Mulder and Scully, for being disappointed in the way things turned out and for finally seeing how influential this show really was on the current entertainment landscape.