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

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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

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

9×19 & 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