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

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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

10×06: My Struggle II

“You think it’s power what you’re doing, but it’s not… it’s sickness”
— Fox Mulder

Unable to reach Mulder, Scully has to deal with a frightening escalation of medical cases that may be linked to the biological threat of extraterrestrial DNA.

My Struggle II

20th Century Fox

Max: I wonder — if The X-Files revival might not have gone as well as it has ratings-wise — where the hell that would leave us if this episode was the last we’d see of Mulder and Scully for the foreseeable future. Certainly, we as viewers are left with a doozy of a cliffhanger that portends that the race against time might be all for naught. At the very least, “My Struggle II” improves significantly upon the season premiere, but not without scores of unanswered questions and narrative revelations that still do not quite feel in step with the classic conspiracy mode we all know and love.

Scully is approached by both Skinner and Agent Einstein when Mulder seemingly disappears, called to alarm by a new Tad O’Malley report that the alien threat in the form of mass illness and casualties is upon us. In the midst of all of this, droves of afflicted people begin to arrive at Our Lady of Sorrows hospital, leaving Scully and Einstein racing against the clock to locate and isolate alien DNA in Scully, in order to create a vaccine. Continue reading

10×04: Home Again

“You saw those things in the hall. I made them. I didn’t mean to, but I made them… but the bandaid nose man… I spent a lot of time… what I wanted him to look like, what I wanted him to be, and why I wanted him…” — The Artist

In West Philadephia (born and raised?), a federal employee is the unfortunate victim of a rather gruesome disembowelment, which may be linked to the local homeless population.

Home Again

20th Century Fox

Max: I think I know where this season is going at this point. Much has been made by X-Philes about that shot in the promotional materials where Scully apparently gets a call from William, our favorite freaky alien baby. Well, that shot came up in “Home Again,” tonight’s episode which — despite early speculation — does not return to the lovable Peacock family, but rather to a similarly disgusting creation from writer Glen Morgan. This new monster of the week dovetails with tragic events that cause Scully and Mulder to think about what they have lost to bring them to this moment.

Unfortunately, the case that the dynamic duo are brought in to investigate is one of those that ends up quite anticlimactically, much like in “GenderBender,” with the writers losing steam after painting themselves into a corner. A lot of things get thrown into this episode: gentrification, the plight of the homeless, NIMBY politics, art, creation, and Tibetan Buddhism. Continue reading

10×02: Founder’s Mutation

“This is dangerous.” — Dana Scully
“When has that ever stopped us before.” — Fox Mulder

Our heroes’ first case back on the job involves an apparent suicide at a biotechnology firm. But as always there may be more here than meets the eye.

Founder's Mutation

20th Century Fox

Max: It has hit me over the last 24 hours or so just how much television viewing has changed in the past 15 years, a result of technological developments as well as a culture that The X-Files help to bring about. When the program was in its heyday, total strangers came together on an obscure but rising telecommunications platform known as the Internet to discuss and nitpick and ship. Now, that platform is ubiquitous and inside so many devices and appliances. The community of cultural discussion is now mainstream, with gigantic corporations providing the forums with which we gab about these things. Tonight, social media will be talking about “Founder’s Mutation,” an excellent MotW entry that couples Mulder and Scully’s shared history with a pretty freaky case of messing with the laws of nature.

We begin when Dr. Sanjay — an employee of Nugenics Technology — kills himself in a particularly gruesome manner after being the only one to hear a high-pitched sound that seemingly wouldn’t stop. Upon an autopsy of the body (love Scully snapping on the latex), she discovers the words “founder’s mutation” written on his palm. The dynamic duo searches his apartment for clues, which include clinical reports of children with severe genetic deformities. Continue reading

The Best and Worst of Season 9

Screencaps: 20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Screencaps: 20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

It’s no secret that season nine is our least favorite season (and the least favorite of most X-Files fans). It wasn’t just because Mulder was gone or Scully was sidelined — the stories genuinely felt tired after a somewhat creatively boosted season eight. Our snark and boredom were pretty obvious in most of our rewatch posts for this season. But there were at least a few episodes we enjoyed, even if they wouldn’t make any “classic of all time” lists. And there were naturally episodes we disliked even more than others.

So here we go, time for our last look at the best and worst episodes of The X-Files’ original run. As always multi-part mythology episodes count as one installment for our purposes: Continue reading

9×16: William

“It’ll never be over. They’ll always know what he was. They’ll never accept what he is.”
— Jeffrey Spender

Scully makes the most difficult choice of her life as a shadowy individual forces her hand.

William

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: What an incredibly dour, depressing, and tragic episode this is. Granted, mythology episodes aren’t the feel-good hits of the X-Files world, but there is no relief and no exit from the simple fact that Scully has to give up William — the miracle baby she thought she could never have — in order to ensure his safety from those who wish to exploit him as a pawn towards alien colonization.

Really this is the story of two characters devastated by the effects that the government conspiracy around extraterrestrials had on their lives — our beloved Dana Scully and the weasel-made-good Jeffrey Spender. When a badly burned and scarred Spender sneaks into the X-Files office and assaults Doggett in an attempt to flee, Scully is called in. Continue reading