A Sashurai’s Review: The X Files – Season 10×01 (The pursuit of the almighty agenda is a stone throw away from the perennial retcon)

X Files 10x01

 

SUMMARY

Everything Fox Mulder knew was a lie. Though older and more reclusive than ever, he is baited back into the fold of government conspiracy and hostile agendas which reunites him with Dana Scully. Together, they are taken in by a self-made businessman and theorist who offers a wider truth more dangerous and closer to home than everything Mulder believed for the last two decades. At the height of this information becoming exposed, the shadows of conspiracy are drawn out and made to expunge those that would blow the lid off of that truth. Mulder and Scully are again drawn into that world as A.D Skinner reopens the X-Files once more.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This was a hot mess. Through the expositional art that Mulder has honed over the years, he’s much too eager to disregard seasons of backed up evidence he’s been exposed to which includes the fated 2012 invasion that lazily never occurred. That I suppose was Mulder’s first red flag, but the events that pushed Mulder into hiding have been glossed over so much that to simply buy into this new take on a government conspiracy is laughable considering what he’s seen. Granted, I half-expected more casual and technicle babble to rope in a new generation, but the truth is, this premiere failed to capitalize on that as well as pay the “correct” homage to old fans. While all the bells and whistles were there, a blatant fact remains, they’re rewriting history and doing that soft-reboot that I personally find dissatisfying and borderline insulting. It’s not necessarily a slap to the face, but it’s black ooze in my eyes, and this time, it’s not getting out.

 

RECAP

In the late 40’s a UFO crashes and the military are there to kill and experiment on an alien that survived. A military doctor is pressured to conduct experiments which causes him to become disillusioned once he understands what’s in store for the future. In the present, a rich theorist, Tad O’Malley lures Mulder out of hiding and together with Scully, listen to his take on a government conspiracy that is far deeper than what Mulder was led to believe that originally involved the colonization and take over of an alien species. Scully performs test on a woman, Svelta, who is a multiple abductee and appears to have some retro-cognative/telepathy abilities. Tad also shows Mulder a hangar with scientists who have successfully duplicated the same ship technology that the government made involving alien elements. After speaking with the military doctor who is now elderly, Mulder comes to believe that the government set up all the conspiracies that Mulder chased down during his tenure with the FBI. Scully finds evidence that she and Svelta possibly have alien DNA in them, but Svelta and Tad are silenced by the government, with the former killed by an “alien” ship. Mulder and Scully are retrieved by A.D Skinner and in the final scene, an elderly Cancer Man informs someone that the X Files have been reopened.

 

THE GOOD

All the tropes were successfully integrated into this new season, so in that effect, nothing felt truly lost in translation. Mulder’s expositional monologing, Scully’s hesitant mannerisms, Skinner’s bold stances, and of course Cancer Man’s very existence. All of that is a welcome sight because without those elements, the X Files simply isn’t the X Files. There’s nothing wrong with keeping these things the same. Character growth isn’t as simple and changing your mind or behavior about belief and direction by the end of a story, it’s much more complicated when your character is serialized, and prone to fighting the same battles over and over. In this case, I’m fine with keeping Mulder and Scully as separate entities once more who compliment one another rather than are represented by some strong relationship that we expected would be sustainable over the years. They’re not going to live happily ever after, I accepted that long ago.

 

Chris Carter has essentially written half of this mini-season. As no matter how bad it gets, I’m glad it’s him doing it, because no one else is going to successfully retell his own take on alien/government conspiracies, nor should anyone try. That’s not to say he’ll outdo himself, in fact this premiere isn’t showing a promising fate, but at least it’s him putting the nail in the coffin, if that’s what this end sup being.

 

THE BAD

Oh boy. Where to begin. As an X Files fanboy of the 90’s, I can’t begin to describe how many ways this episode contradicts the original seasons, and to be fair, the original seasons were somewhat tough to follow in their own right. But when season 9 ended, there was a solid sense on how everything led up to Mulder’s discovery of a planned alien invasion. Now we’re being told that was never the case and in fact, the conspiracy runs deeper because the only aliens that are involved are the ones that unfortunately got sucked to Earth and put to slaughter. So, that means the bounty hunters, and essentially all the other versions of aliens weren’t real or if they were, it was part of the government’s agenda to fool people like Mulder into believing an alien plot was going to take over the world. Yeah right. My issue here isn’t so much that there are a plethora of plot holes this episode opens up, it’s that Mulder buys into this new truth way too easily and somehow grows this insane omniscience with explaining what he found out to Scully toward the end. It’s a blatant disregard of things as the old man grudgingly dismisses old plots of alien/human hybrids, and aliens destroying eachother over control.

 

I could tell this was a difficult episode to write because old fans and new ones are expected to marry into this wonderfully convoluted tale at the speed of light. This kind of plot should have been easily spread out over the course of an entire 22 episode run, but instead we get everything within one episode and a myriad of pacing and blind acceptance completely kills the credibility of this show. To simply discount so much we remember and embedded into our minds about the X Files isn’t very fair, and though I understand the concept behind these layers of conspiracy, it was too much too fast. We had no time to breathe it in and let this new plot simmer. And now we’re supposed to settle on a short round of one-all monster of the week episodes before we somehow wrap up this new tale by the 6th iteration. Good luck team, you’re going to need it.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

It’s more the tone of Mulder, but his scenes with how he discusses the world’s past, or least his new interpretation of it is always a welcome listen. If Fox Mulder narrated everything they used to show on the History channel, I’d probably invest more in that programming. His delivery is always soft spoken and tailored towards a long list of bullet points that are usually paired with old imagery to heighten the feel of historical verbal documentation. Keep those coming, Mulder.

 

I’m also tying this with the opening credits. It was great that they didn’t change a single thing. They didn’t even use the updated intro from season 9 which probably wasn’t that well received. This intro shows that Carter wants you to believe that we’re moving things along like nothing happened. Fair game, Carter.

 

CHARACTER MVP

This show is driven by Mulder and his obsession to uncover the truth. It’s fair to give him the opening round as he’s the most invested in what’s to come, though I have to give Skinner credit, he hasn’t lost a step after all these years and looks in top form along with Scully who still looks bored, but attentive as always.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

 

Okay, let’s just speculate on how Cancer Man survived a rocket to the face shot from an evil helicopter at the end of season 9. Was that really him? Were we shown simply an interpretation of events that didn’t happen? True, Mulder didn’t see Cancer Man get blown up. We the viewers did. But imagine how that factors into storytelling when everything you know is a lie on a show like this. It’s bred to fuel misinformation and perpetuate false truths. Maybe Carter was trolling us all this time because we wanted to see an end, we wanted to believe, but it was a false ending of sorts. Good luck explaining this plot hole writers.

 

And speaking of Cancer Man, are we sticking to him being Mulder’s official father? As for his role, is he and was he working for the “real” conspiracy team? And what about the ones who allegedly made a deal with the “aliens” to facilitate their colonization to save themselves and their families. Were they duped as well? What about the second conspiracy to create super soldiers? Is that a dead-end that will never be spoken of again?

 

They tried to insert some half-assed attempt at a romance-subplot between Scully and O’Malley. Never…do that…again. It’s not that I prefer Mulder and Scully together, it’s that she isn’t going to be swooned by a guy like O’Malley and she sure as hell isn’t in any kind of a relationship mood considering Mulder is now right back in the middle of her life.

 

Why is Skinner still only an A.D? Shouldn’t he at least be Deputy director now?

 

Will Agents Doggett and Reyes be mentioned in this season? I’d like to think both characters survived in their own right. They did try to do right with the X Files and even though they were no Mulder and Scully, I’d like to know what happened to them.

 

Does this possibly open the doorway to Mulder’s sister Samantha suffering a different fate then what we were told? Mulder may have gotten his “closure” in season 7 but at this rate why wouldn’t they change what happened based on a series of misconstrued events. If Cancer Man survived, why can’t she?

Maybe someone else can explain this to me, but I just didn’t get why there was a team of scientists working on duplicating the same kind of ship that the government uses that O’Malley knew about and showed to Mulder. What was the point of that at all? To show that humans were capable of facsimileing it to begin with? Mulder has seen that plenty of times in the past. And didn’t that ship’s design look a little too much like the crashed ship in Africa in season 6 with the origin of mankind etched on it’s hull?

Why would Scully keep inputting O’Malley’s show in the search bar? Why not bookmark the dang site?

Mulder and Scully’s child, William would be around 17-18 now. No reason now to have him show up after all this time. Why not put him back in the show? He was mentioned after all.

 

OVERALL SCORE

5 out of 10. Not a very balanced premiere. It felt very rushed and wrongly tailored to give the old fans something new to talk about at the water cooler. Essentially, we’re told to disregard those last 9 seasons in the hopes of reinstalling life into the franchise. I’m no expert, but redefining the alien myth-arc by discrediting the effort that went into telling it the first time is the wrong approach. The alien invasion angle was what we wanted to see and maybe they weren’t ready by 2012 to do it, but now we’ll never see it like that. In fact, everything is back to being human driven explicitly which is exactly how it was told back in the finale of season 4. Imagine that…they told us back then there really were no aliens involved and now we’re just supposed to roll with it, again. Aside from that, there were plenty of old shout outs to the series like pencils in the ceiling and whatnot, but it wasn’t enough to truly rekindle my faith that bringing the series back like this is the best approach. The last film, “I want to Believe” tanked at the box office and for good reason. This last effort to inject life into the show that coined conspiracy as an art may not be strong enough to survive our current view of the world, but as always, we’ll give it a shot. Hopefully, the one-shots bring that old monster of the week feeling back and the silliness of this new conspiracy will be better told at the bookend of the season. Mulder and Scully and back, but for how long? We’ll see. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

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