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TV Review: The X-Files (Season 11, Episode 10)

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‘My Struggle IV’ sees the eleventh season of The X-Files come to a close, and hopefully marks the end of the series as a whole. As much as I hate to say it, this revival shouldn’t have happened. The same goes for the ninth season and the second film.

Stepping back and observing the show post-‘Existence’ (the finale of the eighth season), creator Chris Carter had way too much faith that the show could fare well first without one of its main leads, then with a second film that didn’t answer questions posed in the unneeded ninth season, and then a two-season revival to correct the wrongs created in said season.

What’s crazy is that the eleventh season literally ends the same way as the eighth; Mulder and Scully together with a child (in this case, an unborn child), can let them – and the audience – be safe in the mind that they can live a life without being hunted and experimented on by aliens and/or a conspiring government. Sure, they’re just fictional characters. But David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson breathed so much life into Mulder and Scully throughout the original series run that it’s hard not to think that they will always be out there, searching for the truth and shining a flashlight on the injustices of America.   

That’s the only good take away from this season; that we’ve been blessed with ten episodes of seeing Duchovny and Anderson relish in the roles that made them who they are, and that their chemistry together is as strong as it was in the nineties. They demonstrate this brilliantly in ‘My Struggle IV’, where the fate of their son, William (Miles Robbins), is hanging on a tether, alongside their shared, pent-up guilt for not being able to protect him due to the events that unfolded in the ninth season.

As convoluted as the mythology could get in the first seven seasons, The X-Files always had a semblance of simplicity to its overall goal. Two FBI agents – a believer and a skeptic – working on disregarded and marginalized cases to save people that would otherwise not be saved. The main crux of the series was finding Mulder’s sister, whom he believed was abducted by aliens when they were kids.

This is ‘solved’ in the middle of the seventh season, which was the first red flag as to the direction in which the series was headed. Instead of ending the seventh season – and the show – on this revelation and closing the book, Carter pressed on, giving more instances of medical rape towards Scully and trauma towards Mulder, to further an agenda set by the ominously pathetic Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis).

Not much has changed in that regard, except that in ‘My Struggle IV’, Mulder finally garners a sense of retribution by killing the man that has caused him – and Scully – so much pain, and ultimately ending the cycle that Carter has been pulling since Mulder’s abduction in the season seven finale. It’s far more rewarding and cathartic to see Mulder territorially defend his partner and son (yes, I still wholeheartedly believe William is his son) by killing him than seeing him ‘die’ in the ninth season by a rocket launcher.

Just reading that sentence makes me want to curl grab a pillow and scream; when did The X-Files become a show that relied on a mythology that the majority of fans grew to hate, rather than a show that thrived on anthology-esce episodes that were few and far between in the revival, and a simple governmental conspiracy? The answer to that question could be its own essay, one that I will definitely not begin here.

What I’m trying to say is, that as nostalgic and heart-warming it has been to see Mulder and Scully back on the small screen, more questions were posed than answers in the sixteen episodes we received in this revival. Fans only wanted an eleventh season to fix the tenth, and a tenth season to fix the ninth and the film. That’s not good!

The last years of The X-Files are an example of where some showrunners tend to stray too far from what made the show as iconic as it was in the first place. You only need to look at something like Supernatural to see where The X-Files could have gone if Duchovny hadn’t have left.

Thankfully, Anderson’s exit this time around finalizes the series from continuing into a twelfth season. Just carry on with the fantast novelizations. The Origins series, the short stories of Trust No One, the ‘Season 10’ comic series that came out before the revival; that’s where The X-Files should continue. Carter has less of a presence with these, and are instead given to talented, budding writers, like how the episodes of the original show were dealt.

If there is a God, there will be no continuation of The X-Files on the small or big screen. The ending of ‘My Struggle IV’ was all that we could have hoped for. Imagine if my premonitions had come true – I firmly believed that Carter was going to kill Mulder and/or Scully. Now that would have been a disaster, and this review would have been a hit-piece.

I’ll give you that, Carter.

The X-Files is available to watch on demand on My5.

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