The X-Files Season 11: Our Final Thoughts

In lieu of the best and worst roundup we wrote each season while rewatching The X-Files’ original run, we’re going to summarize our thoughts on season 11, just like we did for season 10.

Plus One

20th Century Fox

Radhika: Season 11 of The X-Files has come to a close and overall, I have to say that this season of the revival ended up being much stronger than the last one, with a good chunk of the episodes actually exciting a number of Philes or at least reminding us why we enjoyed the show the first time around. The biggest disappointments for me were the season premiere and finale, though, which could play a large part in future storylines, should the show continue — or could simply end up serving as yet another lukewarm conclusion to Mulder and Scully’s story, much like the original series finale and second movie did.

Overall, I’d say this season was a success despite those episodes, because it accomplished much of what a revival typically sets out to do. While the mythology has become stale for me over time, I really enjoyed the Monster of the Week episodes here (as well as some of the combo MOTW/myth episodes), because while they didn’t necessarily break new ground, they still remained enjoyable to watch while retaining the initial spirit of the show. That served as a reminder that yes, we like spooky stories and we like it when Mulder and Scully are there to investigate them. And that’s what a revival should be able to accomplish. Continue reading

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11×09: Nothing Lasts Forever

“I’m sorry, but we’re looking for Barbara Beaumont.” – Dana Scully
“You really don’t recognize me? I’m Barbara. I’m Barbara Beaumont.” — Barbara Beaumont
“We’re looking for an 85-year-old woman.” — Dana Scully
“Yes, well, I look good for my age, don’t I?” — Barbara Beaumont

Mulder and Scully investigate a case centered around organ harvesting and wind up stumbling across a strange cult.

Nothing Lasts Forever

20th Century Fox

Radhika: Well, this was an odd episode, while also being the type of episode that made me regret the burrito I bit into right as I watched a surgeon lick some pancreas. Did that sentence sound bizarre? Good. Because I wound up watching this episode with a detached sense of bemusement for the most part, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but does indicate the generally disorienting nature of it all.

Mulder and Scully get embroiled in a case seemingly about organ harvesting, but there’s a little more to it than meets the eye, including a cult centered around a former child actress who should be 85 years old (but looks a lot younger) and a doctor, who have seemingly been chomping on organs and also surgically attaching themselves to people to absorb their youth. It’s a bizarre monster of the week involving something of a vampiric youth-obsessed theme, as well as themes of revenge, and it’s also kind of grotesque. It’s probably not the strongest or most logical story in the show’s history, but it also manages to feel like it fits the show despite simultaneously seeming a little wacky (even for a series about the paranormal). So I’m not particularly mad that this is the second-to-last episode of the season (series?), though I’m still a little befuddled by it. Continue reading

11×07: Rm9sbG93ZXJz

“You suck, Mr. Phone.” — Fox Mulder

The machines rise up against Mulder and Scully in an episode that also revisits Mulder’s tendency to be a very bad tipper.

Rm9sbG93ZXJz

20th Century Fox

Radhika: Before we dive into this week’s discussion, I’d like to start with some shameless self promotion for a podcast Max and I had the honor to be guests on recently — the Not Another X-Files Podcast Podcast! We chatted with the hosts before tonight’s episode aired, but you can mosey on over here to listen to us talk about Season 11, the X-Files’ past and what we hope for in the future. (That is, if you’re interested in experiencing our thoughts outside a written medium).

Now with that out of the way, let’s talk about “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” — which translates to “Followers” in base64. It’s a concept that isn’t particularly new, exploring how dangerous machines might be to us humans, and The X-files has certainly tried to explore it in the past (starting with the less successful “Ghost in the Machine” and also including the flawed but much more enjoyable “Kill Switch”). In an era with shows like Black Mirror and Mr. Robot, this episode isn’t necessarily doing something new. But it managed to feel fresh and different and still appropriate for The X-Files and for that reason, I found it to be one of the more exciting episodes we’ve had this season. Continue reading

11×05: Ghouli

“Maybe I should have had the courage to stand by you. But I thought I was being brave because it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done — to let go and to know that I was going to miss your whole life.” — Dana Scully

Mulder and Scully investigate the strange case of a couple of girls who attack each other, claiming to see a monster, but soon realize that the case is more about them.

Ghouli

20th Century Fox

Radhika: We’re halfway through season 11 and it looks like the writers decided to give us an episode that feels like a Monster of the Week, but is really something of a mythology episode in the end. With its spooky opening, this episode feels somewhat vintage X-Files when it starts, but then it digs into the story of Mulder and Scully’s son, William, and we find ourselves in some mixed-up territory.

Mulder and Scully are looking into an X-File (shortly after Scully has a “waking dream” that mirrors the visions she was having in the “My Struggle” episodes) involving two girls who attacked each other, each claiming to have seen a monster that they insist was the culprit. Both teens have a boyfriend in common — a Jackson Van de Kamp, who Mulder and Scully decide to visit, only to find the boy may have killed himself and his parents in a murder-suicide. But something doesn’t feel quite right, and as Scully realizes they’re in the house she was in during her dreamlike episode, she begins to suspect that the case has something to do with William, the son she gave up years ago. Continue reading

11×03: Plus One

“I know what you’re thinking Mulder.” — Dana Scully
“Anyone for a game of Hangman?” — Fox Mulder

Our agents find themselves investigating a series of murders involving doppelgängers that may be connected to a pair of twins playing a deadly game.

Plus One

20th Century Fox

Radhika: And we continue on in this new season with a Monster of the Week episode, which didn’t necessarily contain the best case I’ve seen on this show, but did manage to maintain that spooky (yet fun) X-Files atmosphere that feels a lot more like the show I’ve loved all these years. The case was kind of interesting, but the thing that makes the episode is ultimately the Mulder and Scully relationship that has always been at the core of the series.

In this episode, Mulder and Scully investigate a series of murders in which the victims see doubles of themselves before eventually ending up dead. The case finally leads them to a pair of twins (one is institutionalized) telepathically playing a game of “Hangman” that seems to be playing a role in determining who dies next. And while our favorite agents wind up seeing doubles of themselves during the investigation, they manage to survive with the twins instead dying at their own hands. Continue reading

11×01: My Struggle III

My Struggle III

20th Century Fox

“Every day a new disaster, but the one thing no one is prepared for will wipe the slate clean. We refuse to imagine our impending extinction, the acceleration of the cataclysms.”
— Cigarette Smoking Man

That plague that seemed to strike humanity in the last season finale hasn’t actually happened yet, but it might. And we get some more revelations (or do we?) about the Cigarette Smoking Man and William.

Radhika: The X-Files is back (again), picking up where it left off in the season 10 finale from 2016, which means the mythology is about to get a little more convoluted yet again. At first, this episode feels like it’s about to erase everything that happened in the previous season finale — and it sort of does, but not quite.

The season premiere opens with a monologue from the Cigarette Smoking Man (referring to himself as Carl Gearhart Bush — revealing the CGB in CGB Spender?), reflecting on his role in government conspiracies over the years. Then after the credits, we switch over to Mulder and Scully, where the former has found the latter unconscious after she suffered a seizure. Turns out that the mass illness striking humanity in the previous episode is all something Scully’s imagined, though she insists it’s all going to become reality and that Mulder needs to find the smoking man to prevent everything from coming into fruition. Continue reading

X-Files Dispatch From New York Comic Con 2017

“Knowing the way Chris likes to name characters, I’m surprised we haven’t met one named Cliff Hanger…. Special Agent Cliff Hanger.” — David Duchovny, New York Comic Con,
Oct. 8, 2017

X-Files NYCC 2017

Chris Carter, Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and Mitch Pileggi at New York Comic Con on Oct. 8, 2017. (Radhika Marya)

The X-Files’ 11th season, the second season of the show’s recent revival, will be on our television screens in 2018, so it’s no surprise the series was the focus of a panel at New York Comic Con today. I was personally a little torn about whether I’d make the effort to go to said panel, having had the luck of attending a couple of other panels in recent years, but surprise to nobody — I went. So here’s a little blog entry to show you we’re still here before season 11 graces us all with its presence.

The panel, moderated by Michael Ausiello and featuring Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi, was mostly fun to watch with banter that involved stories about a bear disrupting filming. But it seemed like the actors were simultaneously guarded and loopy. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they didn’t want to give up any spoilers (very little information was given to us about the upcoming season) and perhaps because they were tired as the show isn’t done filming. While there was plenty of laughter, I don’t think there was quite as much as there was back in 2013, around the time of the show’s 20th anniversary. Regardless, the panel filled up fast with enthusiastic attendees, so it seems that season 10 — despite the mixed feelings it evoked in some fans — has not chased Philes away.

Things kicked off with a trailer brimming with themes of saving humanity. It’s now readily available on the Internet (and below):

Continue reading