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

The X-Files Season 10: 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 10. Here’s what we thought worked, didn’t work and what we hope to see in what seems to be an inevitable season 11.

Founder's Mutation

20th Century Fox

Radhika: The six-episode miniseries that was highly anticipated by even the most cynical of X-Philes has drawn to a close and this has us mulling quite a few things over. After solid ratings, a cliffhanger ending and interviews indicating that the show will probably be back in some form, it looks like we’ll get to see more of The X-Files at some point. But is it what we need?

Despite the fact that the revival ultimately left me with mixed feelings, I remain interested in seeing what more the show has to offer. What we received in this mini season was not the show at its highest quality, but it affirmed my belief that as much as I enjoy The X-Files: Fight the Future, The X-Files is best in the medium where it got its start: Television. 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

10×01: My Struggle

My Struggle

20th Century Fox via @TheXFiles on Twitter

“This is my life, this is everything. This is everything I believe in.” — Fox Mulder
“You want to believe, you so badly want to believe.” — Dana Scully
“I do believe. I believe that Tad O’Malley is right. This is not an alien conspiracy. It’s a conspiracy of men.” — Fox Mulder

After years away from the FBI and the X-Files, as well as each other, Mulder and Scully are drawn back to their spooky callings when a conservative Internet news anchor reaches out.

Radhika: So here we are — finally discussing the first new episode of The X-Files to hit our televisions (and computers and tablets) since 2002. This is an interesting post for us, as I can still consider this episode part of my “X-Files rewatch” after watching it at New York Comic Con last fall, while it is a completely new experience for Max. We’re happy to be back for this limited engagement, so let’s get the recap and discussion started! (And yes, this means spoilers.) Continue reading

Some Final Words… Until January 2016

Bad Blood

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Those of you who have followed this blog, or have just stumbled across it, can see that we’ve hit the final point of our X-Files rewatch. We’ve watched it all — from those dimly lit Vancouver seasons to the big budget first movie and later seasons, full of California sunshine and sleek wardrobes. And just last week, we wrapped things up by watching I Want to Believe. It’s been a really fun ride for us, even when we found ourselves grumbling about some of the final episodes.

I first started thinking about rewatching The X-Files from the beginning to the end, and blogging about it, about three years ago. When Max expressed enthusiasm and asked if he could join in — more than once — it became a reality. We’re not the first ones to document revisiting the show: Some have attempted it half-heartedly, some outlets like The A.V. Club went through it all as well, and others with a little more fame than us have started podcasts with a fairly respectable amount of listeners and guests. But it felt like something we had to do, and so in July 2013, somewhat in line with the show’s twentieth anniversary, our little project began.

It’s been a really rewarding experience overall and it was delightful to see people from all over the globe visit our little blog. It was neat to see exactly which episodes held up, which ones were no longer enjoyable to us, and even though we had both rewatched the show in parts ever since it ended — revisiting old favorites or introducing friends to Mulder and Scully — it was the first time we both really viewed it through a critical lens as adults, as the show’s first run overlapped with our school years. We intend to tune in when The X-Files returns on January 24, 2016. We intend to revive this blog by then, if not slightly sooner, and chime in with our thoughts. But before we do that, here’s a little conversation between Max and me, looking back at our experience and looking ahead at the future of the show: Continue reading

Before and After X: The Mythology of The X-Files

“We didn’t invent it. Charles Dickens invented it, in a sense, and I’m sure there are examples before him. It worked for us, but it was a happy accident. It was something that was instinctual, but not necessarily a conscious decision. When we saw that the stories about Mulder and Scully were best told through the mythology — that they were more personal — it gave the show an emotional grounding, that I think the mythology of a show does. So it’s simply a good way of telling the most personal kind of stories.”
— Chris Carter, on the mythology

The Mythology

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Most people when asked about The X-Files think of three things: Mulder and Scully, freaky monsters, and aliens. Over the course of nine seasons and two feature films, agents of the X-Files division have come face to face with some pretty creepy adversaries, from liver-eating contortionists to sentient machines and the essence of evil. But what captured the attention of those who would consider themselves X-Philes was the developing story of a race of extraterrestrials bent on retaking the planet, and the people who endeavored to keep this a secret (The Syndicate) and those who wanted to bring their misdeeds into the light (Fox Mulder, chiefly). The result was a sprawling, highly complex, somewhat messy but mostly compelling narrative that served as the backbone of the series and informed the wonderful character work which made things memorable for audiences worldwide. The X-Files — writ large — became then a template that influenced countless television series in its wake, an object lesson for writers rooms and the next generation of showrunners.

It wasn’t always going to be like this though. In fact, Chris Carter scarcely had the idea in his head of a long running story when conceiving of The X-Files and later during the initial stages of its production. Alien abduction was the topic of the very first episode, but it was only one of a panoply of ideas that Carter and the writers had. Continue reading