Time is quite fleeting. It only seems like yesterday that I was waiting with baited breath for The X-Files revival series. Now, it has passed us by. Last night, the finale of the six episode event aired, acting as a bookend to the mythology heavy premier. Beware, here there be spoilers.
The episode opens with a monologue by Scully, mirroring Mulder’s from My Struggle (I) and ending with her morphing into an alien (citing the fear of what her alien DNA means). Once the episode proper begins, Scully shows up for work to find Mulder missing and his laptop open to the latest episode of Tad O’Malley. Skinner and Agent Einstein drop in, a conference ensues, and Scully and Einstein wind up at Scully’s former hospital to…well, I actually can’t recall. Suffice it to say that they are there for something important. Testing Einstein’s blood for the alien DNA, I think. Anyways, the first sign of trouble is a former soldier showing up with exposure to Anthrax, which he wasn’t actually exposed to.
Meanwhile, we have also learned that Mulder was supposed to meet Tad O’Malley, but when he and Scully each arrive at his house they find it wrecked, with no Mulder. A flashback shows us that Mulder was assaulted by an agent of the CSM, whom Mulder has set out to track down. Scully realizes that the sickness she saw in the soldier is the beginning of what was hinted at in the first episode, and sets out trying to fix it. A meeting with Agent Reyes clears this up a bit. Agent Reyes is now the CSM’s go to woman, and has been saved from the coming extermination. Scully, as it turns out, is saved as well due to her alien DNA (given to her when she was abducted). She has had it backwards the entire time. Her alien DNA is not going to kill her, it is the only think that is saving her (thank you Agent Reyes, you may have redeemed yourself). Scully and Einstein successfully make a vaccine based on Scully’s DNA and begin administering it.
At the same time, Mulder has found the CSM, but is quickly deteriorating due to what is called the Spartan Virus, which shuts down most people’s immune systems and is the culmination of what we learned in My Struggle (I). The CSM fills in some missing spots regarding the current situation (population control, etc…), and simply waits as death approaches for Mulder. Using Mulder’s laptop to track his (Mulder’s) phone, Einstein’s partner, Miller, has tracked him down and pulls him from the home of the CSM, and makes plans to meet Scully to administer the vaccine. Once they meet on a crowded bridge, Scully states that Mulder is too far gone and needs stem cells from William to survive. Obviously, William is MIA. Out of nowhere, a blue light comes down from a UFO that is hovering over Scully and…cue credits.
Okay, this has been a quick and dirty recap, but if you’re reading this, you probably watched the episode anyway. I apologize for anything I got mixed up, but I really did just want to hit the high points.
Now, what does this mean for The X-Files? I was certain there would be no cliffhanger since this was a special event with no guarantee of future episodes, but it would appear that Chris Carter and company were not thinking in those terms. They went all in, renewal or no, and did manage to deliver one of the best cliffhangers of the series’ 10 seasons. Also, as I commented to my wife, this episode seemed to have the grandest story scale of any mythology episode I can recall watching. Traditionally, the world may have been at risk, but it was a future risk. In this episode, for the first time, we see one of these sweeping plans actually enacted. It was truly larger than I expected it to be, and I expected big.
So, will there be a renewal? I firmly believe so. The series was clearly a hit, averaging around 9.5 million viewers. Also, from most reports, the main principles are all interested in returning to the series again, though probably not for any kind of a full season (22 episodes or so). I expect there to be a Season 11 with a run of 10 to 12 episodes that will continue the story, as well as having the monster-of-the-week type episodes placed in between the story-centric episodes. I am very much in favor of this format. It keeps interest high and makes each episode feel that much more special because it doesn’t have time to become the norm again. It isn’t a show that just becomes a part of our schedule, it is truly an event that those of us that love The X-Files will anticipate for months. It also allows for anyone associated with the show to take part in other shows and/or films. It’s essentially a win/win for everyone involved.
The only change I would like to see is a bit more focus on the story. In a normal season, there would usually be 6 to 8 story episodes. That can’t happen here, obviously, but for as much as I enjoyed this finale, it did feel rushed from time to time. I think the same story, with the same cliffhanger, could have been handled much better over a two hour/two episode span. I understand that that wasn’t a choice here, but if this goes forwards, it would be nice to have the central story a bit more drawn out.
However the future of the show goes, I simply hope that I’m right in expecting a future. Fictional characters or no, I’m simply not going to be happy until I find out where Carter is taking this story. Just would have been nice if we could have gotten some minor confirmation at the end. Just a “The X-Files will return in 2017” would have sufficed.