I Want to Believe: Thoughts on The X-Files

Posted: January 28, 2016 in Misc, Television/Movies
Tags: , , ,

X Files

In late summer of 1996, I was 14 years old. I had never had access to a Fox channel, but knew through word of mouth about The X-Files. It was shortly after school started back that my parents purchased a satellite dish (one of those big monsters that you had to move from satellite to satellite and with which you could pick up off air news-feeds). I wasted no time getting in on this phenomenon I had heard so much about.

The first episode I ever saw was Home. Is it any wonder that I fell in love with The X-Files. I watched it religiously from that point through the disappointing finale, while catching up on reruns when I could (this was before the days of buying a season on DVD or finding it on Netflix). Imagine my excitement when I found nearly all the VHS tapes on sale at a Wal-Mart for about $3.00 each. I could finally catch up on the mythology of the series, as well as seeing classic episodes such as Squeeze, Tooms, and Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.

X Files - VHS

These used to be magical, and didn’t remind me that I’m old.

When the show went off the air and the second movie came out as a standalone story, I just assumed that we’d never get resolution to the 2012 invasion that was revealed in the finale. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been happier to be wrong about something. Last Sunday (January 24th), The X-Files once again graced our television screens. I’m not sure I could have enjoyed it more.

Some points to keep in mind coming into this new story, regarding the mythology of the series:

  • In Season 5, it was revealed that an alien invasion would come via a black alien ooze that caused a creature to incubate within those afflicted with it
  • The Syndicate (the Cigarette Smoking Man and his compadres) were working with these aliens in order to, essentially, save themselves and try to create a vaccine against the ooze
  • Alien rebels were working to stop this invasion, but the Syndicate opposed them. Possible to save themselves and possibly because they felt the rebels stood no chance.
  • The invasion is nearly upon us in Season 6, but the rebels kill the Syndicate and short circuit the plan, leaving on the CSM alive.
  • The invading aliens then shift to creating super soldiers because reasons.
  • Scully and Mulder have a super weird baby.
  • The CSM informs Mulder that the invasion is happening in 2012, then gets shot with a missile. Mulder and Scully share a moment in a hotel room. Fade to black.
  • A second film adds nothing to this story.

Okay, you’re all caught up now. It’s convoluted, but I’ve always felt that it was pretty concrete through Season 6. After that, it feels like Chris Carter couldn’t really figure out where to go and just threw ideas at the wall, hoping something would stick.

The premiere of Season 10 opens with Mulder and Scully separated (they were an item in the second film). Scully works in a hospital. I’ve no idea what Mulder does other than watch Jimmy Kimmel on Youtube. A popular internet show host contacts them regarding a conspiracy he believes he has uncovered. This brings them to a woman claiming to have been abducted multiple times. Scully takes some blood from the woman while Mulder is shown an ARV (Alien Replica Vehicle) which, admittedly, is pretty cool. It is being built in secret by some scientists based on alien technology.

The most impactful plot element of the episode occurs when Mulder visits the woman again and she admits that it was men that take her. Mulder (with some minor confirmation from a source that was at the original Roswell crash) comes to the conclusion that it has been men, masquerading as aliens, that have been guilty of abducting people for 50+ years. This is going to ultimately lead to a takeover of the country by these men, through the use of fear and manipulation. It’s quite a leap. The episode closes with the woman at the center of the story being killed by a flying saucer, the ARV being destroyed by men in army uniforms, and the reveal of the CSM making a phone call, stating that the X-Files had been reopened.

X Files - CSM

How could we have possibly seen his reveal coming???

Firstly, let me say that the chemistry between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny is perfect. It’s been nearly 15 years, but you would never guess it by watching this episode. Secondly, regarding the story line of the premier, there is quite a bit to digest in this episode. Primarily, the revelation that men have been behind abductions (mostly) for over 50 years and are part of a larger plan bent on power and domination. The largest criticism of this turn of events is that the show threw 9 years of plot away by creating an entirely new explanation for UFO’s, abductions, and the like. Not that the show discarded aliens, just that they changed the role aliens have had in the story, that they were actually drawn to Earth by the atom bomb and were concerned for our welfare. This is tough to reconcile with the long running invasion plot, and lends credence to the charge that Chris Carter has trashed the story with 10 minutes of dialogue. This is a fair criticism, and I understand where it comes from (I mean, Mulder outright stated that maybe all they had done had been a lie), but I’m not buying it…yet.

X Files - Poster

Of course, maybe this was representative of what they were figuratively doing to the story.

Let’s recap again. In seasons 5 and 6, as well as in Fight the Future, we see alien incubation happen. We see attacks by the rebels. We see the Syndicate, along with their families, assemble in a warehouse, expecting to be taken away by the invading aliens. This can’t be dismissed by a few lines in the newest episode. Now, I may be proven wrong when the second mythology based episode airs in a few weeks, but I believe this newest revelation has to work in conjunction with the plot lines we’ve already seen in past episodes. One invasion has already failed due to the rebels. I believe we can assume that the second was thwarted as well, though we don’t know why. It could also be that the CSM was simply lying in the finale. That has been his prerogative multiple times in the past. Why should that prediction be taken as the gospel? At this point, there’s simply too much that we don’t know about what’s going on behind the scenes of the show’s mythology. I do have faith, however, that Chris Carter and others involved with the show wouldn’t, on a whim, ignore all that they have written in the past. Maybe I’m giving them all too much credit or am just a foolish optimist. We can only wait and see. At least no one can accuse me of taking the show too seriously…

 

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Comments
  1. Mason says:

    I was so mad when they killed off The Lone Gunmen! They’ll be back in the mini series though, can’t wait!

    I actually like episode 2 a little better. The premiere seemed to try and cram too much into one episode.

    Episode 3 should be a fun creature feature guest starring the hilarious Rhys Darby.

    • JAVGB says:

      I’m with you on Episode 2 being the better episode. I think the limit of 6 episodes caused Chris Carter to cram more story into an hour than he normally would have. I guess, with only 6 episodes to work with, he figured go big or go home. Maybe, if they do a limited order for a Season 11 (and with the ratings, why wouldn’t they?), he’ll step back on that just a bit now that he’s established the foundations of a new mythology.

  2. I think you’re right: CC only had one episode to change the focus of Mulder’s crusade and unfortunately the first episode suffered as a result. It’s too much to swallow for a long time fan. Mulder, in my opinion, doesn’t see enough evidence to completely change his mind about everything that’s happened in the past decade, nor does it jive with the pre-established storyline.

    If the second and third episodes are any indication, though, this miniseries has been wall-crafted and I (want to) believe that everyone involved with pull through and when it concludes everything will make sense.

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