11×10: My Struggle IV

My Struggle IV

20th Century Fox

“For so long, I believed. What am I now if not a father?” — Fox Mulder

William becomes the all consuming obsession as all factions collide to take control of the future of the human race.

Max: This is it. “My Struggle IV.” The twists and turns of the mythology come down to the miracle child Scully found out she was pregnant with all the way back in “Requiem.” To say that this episode had a lot riding on it is the understatement of the pop culture decade — or at least for the next month or so when Avengers: Infinity War takes up that mantle. X-Philes the world over have become used to a level of disappointment as far as the mythology and later episodes of the series are concerned. Hell, I’m not even sure this post can do justice to all the thoughts stirred up in the wake of what may very well be the last entry of The X-Files in an audiovisual medium, despite thoughts that Chris Carter has to the contrary.

My Struggle IV

20th Century Fox

We all know the drill by now with an episode of the mythology. A whole bunch of stuff happens and it is all so serious. Cabals plot and plan using the global population either as pawns or unwitting guinea pigs. Mulder and Scully ride in to save the day and possibly the whole planet. Here, we have William tell his story of how he went from a happy child to the most wanted teenager ever, to see everything ripped from him as his emerging powers alerted those interested to his location — it is all very X-Men, like the sage truck driver joked. The CSM wants him, Erika Price wants him, and our heroes want to keep him safe, attempting to ameliorate the past seventeen years of history. Continue reading

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11×06: Kitten

“I tried to suppress that mistrust but it gnawed at me. Then you two — you two came along and you taught me not to hide from it but to shine a light directly into the darkest corners.” — Walter Skinner

Upon learning that AD Skinner has gone AWOL, Mulder and Scully dig into his wartime past in search of monsters both real and perceived.

Kitten

20th Century Fox

Max: Mitch Pileggi has been playing Assistant Director Walter Skinner in one form or another for almost 24 years. Throughout, we have seen a man once thought to be a thorn in the side of our intrepid heroes become a staunch ally — and fan favorite. But this episode does remind us that we know precious little about Walter Sergei Skinner outside glimpses from “Avatar,” “Zero Sum,” and his eloquent monologue about his time in Vietnam during Scully’s harrowing road to recovery in “One Breath.” It is this period in his life that rumbles its way back to the surface in this episode, as Skinner’s complicity in some dirty deeds committed by the United States government come back to haunt him.

Kitten

20th Century Fox

Called to the office of Deputy Director Kersh (the mustache is back!!!), Mulder and Scully are grilled as to the whereabouts of their immediate supervisor, a question they actually can’t answer, despite Kersh’s belief otherwise. Their investigation brings them to the small town of Mud Lick, Kentucky, where a number of deaths and mysterious happenings occur in the shadows of Glazebrook, a government-run mental hospital. Wanting to make things right with his former comrade-in-arms John “Kitten” James, Skinner comes face-to-face with John’s son Davey, while our heroes work with a local police officer to track down their boss. Continue reading

9×19 & 9×20: The Truth

“You’ve always said that you want to believe. But believe in what, Mulder? If this is the truth that you’ve been looking for then what is left to believe in?” — Dana Scully
“I want to believe the dead are not lost to us. That they speak to us as part of something greater than us — greater than any alien force. And if you and I are powerless now, I want to believe that if we listen to what’s speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves.” — Fox Mulder

Mulder returns, a courtroom drama ensues and somewhere in the middle of it all, the truth is still out there.

The Truth

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Oh boy. Here we are, about two years after starting this blog, at the series finale of The X-Files. It feels like something of a bittersweet step, considering how gung-ho we were about the bulk of the show until we got to the last couple of seasons. As far as series finales are concerned, this one was something of a mixed bag for most people when it aired — not particularly great, though at least saved by the fact that we got to see Mulder and Scully together again. And I still have mixed feelings revisiting it now, years after the show ended, having had time to reabsorb the series’ various threads and knowing that a six-episode TV revival is on its way. In retrospect, the finale is a little boring, even with some exciting elements thrown in there. It also makes a little more sense than I thought it did in the old days. It’s not quite the bang that I would have wanted this show to go out on, but let’s face it: Most series finales aren’t particularly satisfying. Continue reading

9×10: Providence

“Josepho said God spoke to him of a miracle child. A future savior coveted by forces of good and evil. Josepho believes your son is this child.” — Robert Comer

With baby William kidnapped by the UFO cult, Scully must do everything in her power to get him back while dealing with FBI interference and a whole bunch of prophecy mumbo jumbo.

Providence

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: You know that potential we spoke about in the previous post? Well, consider it fully squandered and dumped on with the conclusion of the activities of the UFO cult who so sought out William with reckless abandon. “Providence” is an unholy mess of conspiracy and fortune telling, and while the entire fate of humanity is allegedly in the balance, the stakes in this episode could not get any lower, with our heroes going through seemingly predetermined motions to get to a place where precious little of value is left.

The episode runs on the usual parallel tracks, with the Bureau skullduggery happening in and around St. Mary’s Hospital where both Doggett and the undercover agent Comer were sent after the events of last episode, and a route that leads to the UFO site that Scully and Reyes travel on in order to follow up on information about William’s whereabouts. Inbetween, there are many conversations about picking sides, the nature of truth, of God and belief, and of prophecies that tie the fates of Mulder and William to that of mankind in a fight against a looming extraterrestrial invasion. Continue reading

9×09: Provenance

“You saying this kid’s an alien or something?” — John Doggett
“You can believe or not, but the man who tried to kill Scully’s baby believed it… so must this cult he got involved with, who are obviously more than willing to kill for their belief.”
— Monica Reyes

We’re back to pondering little green men as Scully tries to protect her son from outside threats.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: And we’re back to the Scully “My baby, my baby!” hour with “Provenance,” the first installment in a mythology two-parter, where the mysterious alien rubbings of a few seasons ago resurface and Scully has to deal with crazy people who want to kill her son. I think the biggest bummer for me here is that this episode has so much potential in it. Even though it’s a bit of a science fiction cliché to have a miracle/weird/alien baby, that’s still a subject that can be fruitful for storylines. But again, as I have felt watching some of the other later mythology episodes, there is a lack of urgency here. As tiring as it is to watch Scully mope and cry, Gillian Anderson does a phenomenal job conveying the anger and fear of a mother worried about her child — but despite that, I have trouble finding much of the episode particularly compelling.

The events of this episode kick off when Navajo rubbings are found on a motorcyclist who crashed trying to cross the Canada-U.S. border. (The rubbings are meant to be something of a callback to the “Biogenesis” / “The Sixth Extinction” days). Meanwhile, the motorcyclist, an FBI agent named Robert Comer, begins to heal thanks to … what else? An alien artifact. Continue reading

9×07: John Doe

“This isn’t Tijuana or Cabo. We don’t see Americans in this town unless they’re on the run from something, somebody. This town… people like you come here to disappear.”
— Domingo
“People like me? You don’t know me.” — John Doggett
“Hey, you don’t know you.” — Domingo

Things get a little dicey when Doggett finds himself in Mexico with no memory of who he is.

John Doe

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Ah, finally — we finally come to a season nine episode that doesn’t entirely have my mind wandering halfway through. A Doggett-centric episode, “John Doe” is one of the more refreshing entries of the season, though I’ll also fully admit that I can’t quite lump it into the category of all-time favorite episodes either. But this is one of the more compelling Monster of the Week episodes to watch, which is probably at least partially thanks to the fact that it was penned by Vince Gilligan.

We start the episode with Doggett waking up inside an abandoned warehouse in Mexico, where a guy is stealing one of his shoes. As events unfold, Doggett realizes that he has no memory of who he is. As he goes through a series of misadventures, Skinner and Scully are trying to figure out a way to find Doggett, since Kersh isn’t exactly making it easy. They’re able to send Reyes to the town where Doggett was last seen after Doggett calls a U.S. Marines public affairs office in hopes of finding out more about his identity, thanks to the Marine tattoo he sports. Continue reading

9×02: Nothing Important Happened Today II

“Revolutions start, things that change the world forever, and even kings can miss them if they’re not paying attention.” — Alvin Kersh

Investigations collide on a military vessel docked in Baltimore as Scully grasps for answers that may go all the way back to the shadows in the Bureau that Doggett and Reyes are trying to bring to light.

Nothing Important Happened Today II

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: T.S. Eliot wrote now familiar words about the world ending in bangs and whimpers, and so the “Nothing Important Happened Today” two-parter ends with both simultaneously. Season openers have typically been some of the more memorable outings of their respective seasons, but with a lot of things surrounding season nine, things end with too much of a whimper, even with the bang of the top secret military vessel exploding to smithereens with perhaps evidence of baby William’s origins going up in flames along with it.

Somewhat streamlining the events of the previous episode, Doggett is confronted by Shannon McMahon who lays out to him the super soldier program of which she and Knowle Rohrer are prototypes of, as well as breadcrumbs about the Chloramine program the EPA employee she drove off the bridge was looking into. On the docks of Baltimore (bereft of Sobotkas for all you fans of The Wire), a navy captain is concerned about recent orders that have come through about secret biological experiments taking place in the bowels of the ship. And when his second-in-command is replaced by Rohrer himself, things get even more precarious. Continue reading