An epidemic sweeps the globe systematically eradicating the building blocks that give humans their immune system. Only those inoculated with alien DNA are safe including Scully who frantically searches for a cure in her own blood with the help of Agent Einstein. Meanwhile, Mulder tracks down Cancer Man who sent a henchman to summon him. As the world begins to become sick, Scully is reunited with Agent Monica Reyes who informs her she’s been safeguarding Cancer Man for years since he survived an explosion over a decade ago. She tells Scully her part in Cancer Man’s endgame as Mulder finds the man himself. Cancer Man exclaims he’s simply speeding up the process of mankind’s destruction and seemingly wants Mulder to ask for the cure, but Mulder refuses even at the cost of being sick himself. Agent Miller finds Mulder and helps him leave as Einstein and Scully create a workable cure out of her blood. Scully finds Mulder amidst a city of scared and near-rioting people but quickly surmises that even with the cure he may not survive. She tells Miller they need to find William, her son to extract his stem cells when they are bombarded by a beacon of light emenating from the UFO that destroyed Sveta. The last scene closes in on Scully as she watches in fright.
So many thoughts are hyper-mixed with frustration and glee. There’s a lot of tension and release that permeates this finale both on the nostalgic aspect and the dismal one. One the one hand, old fans may feel somewhat satiated at the tireless effort to make sense of old decisions originally meant to end the saga while on the other hand, a forced apocalypse based on germ warfare all but crushes the credibility this show had as it pertains to slowly rising it’s cataclysmic warnings. What we’re left with is an epic gust of wind that felt sensational for the moment, then slowly dissipated into a calm tasteless memory that came year and years too late. But as an old fan, I’ll take it. Yes I will.
Credit where credit is due. I watched Cancer Man take a rocket to the face in the 9th season finale and the writers said he survived by a thread. Okay, I’ll accept it save for one small inconsistency. The man had inoperable cancer, and he knew his days were numbered. Did the cancer just go away? Or was it just not aggressive enough that he could survive years on end still smoking? I’m deflating my own point. I’m actually glad they threw in a sensible story to prove they could do it. I’m not mad at them for trying. I even applaud them for getting Reyes back in the mix even though her motivations still seemed a bit in the dark and made her appear like a character who chose the wrong side because it was only thing to do. If we just had more build up to this it could have been flawless. As it stands, I’m satisfied with the execution mainly because I was always rooting for more cameos from living characters.
It was a short scene, but that fight between Mulder and the henchman was down right fantastic. The flip over the table and the raw intensity Mulder displayed had me cheering for the mature agent every step of the way. Great use of choreography and stuntwork. My hat is off to that team that did a phenomenal effort in making David look good.
Let’s not spin this one too hard. Cancer Man’s endgame was to help eradicate most of the human population because he wanted to be alive to see it done. His motivations feel really cheap, something akin to a cartoon villain who just wants to see the look on his nemesis’s face when he pressed the button. Cancer Man was never apologetic for the lifestyle he chose, but to put him at the center of this kind of world-ending plot just doesn’t hold up to the shadowy force he represented for all those decades, or misrepresented as it were. This showdown was supposed to be for the ages, and while the finale lacks any real closure between the two or the story in general, I found this act of worldwide chaos the cheapest way to get this show the kind of hits it needs to stay alive in this modern age of science-fiction and topical news drama. While I never expected Cancer Man and Mulder to team up and take on a greater threat, I did expect the kind of dialogue that two enemies would share at the end of their days. Mulder almost pulled it off with his comments about sitting on the throne, but it was still missing some key ingredient, probably from Cancer Man himself. But he wasn’t budging on his egotistical sense of humanity. Even the origin of the alien had no bearing on this episode at all.
I really enjoyed watching Reyes’s flashback with Cancer Man and the details of how he survived with her helping him. It was a complete throwback to the original ending and how it feasibly could continue without going outlandish and making Cancer Man the subject of alien origins or cloning himself. It was strangely down to earth and typical of the man who technically rules the world. Just seeing Reyes again was enough only because I wanted her and Doggett to have a cameo in this season.
Scully was masterful in this episode. She was the Mulder to Einstein’s Scully even while keeping to the science and order of things. She never gave up and fought with all her credibility and knowledge she had, even convincing Einstein of things she couldn’t accept. Though she and Mulder had next to no screen time together, I liked how she ran through the city to reach him and then detailed how only William could save Mulder and then staring with fight on the UFO that blazed above her. She was the glue that inevitably held this chaotic episode together.
Let’s recap that last seen. All the old fans will remember how Scully never ever gets to see the UFO. Every single time, it’s just outside of her visual range and the worst was in the movie “Fight the Future” when the largest UFO ever flew outside of Antarctica and she was too unconscious to notice it right before it disappeared. Now, without a shadow of a doubt, she’s seen this UFO in action. Granted it’s not a true UFO in the strictest of definitions as it’s likely not being piloted by an alien, but I think the look on her face still gratifies this long awaited rendezvous.
I’m deeply disappointed and mildly offended that Skinner was played such a minor role in both the finale and in the season as a whole. His build up and evolution as the agent’s most trust ally was completely squandered in this season. Why put him in third billing if he’s just going to be put on such low visibility? It made no sense to me. He deserves more credit and screen-time considering what his character has been through and if they green-light a season 11, he better have more scenes and even entire episodes dedicated to him.
I don’t know why, but when Agent Miller was in Mulder’s office, I started thinking that he was another “dummy” agent, set up and planted by Cancer Man to spy on Mulder, much in the way Krycek was in season 2. They didn’t go with that angle and that’s fine, but I’m hoping I’m not the only one who thought of this idea.
I’m not even going to try and understand the science and I thank the writers for not trying to laymen-terms everything Scully and Einstein said back and forth, but I do think it’s a bit comical how Einstein was interpreting the information. A lot of her dialogue was only necessary to feedback on our lack of knowledge in the subject and it’s wording that you can’t really escape from. I’m just glad there wasn’t a third person going “Can you speak English please?”
No William to be found, but you can rest assured, the hunt to locate him has begun. Which means that Miller and Einstein will have a much bigger role to play in the next season, and to be fair, I’m liking that direction, because it gives them not just a general purpose to seek out the truth in the X Files., but a very strong singular one that will help save Mulder’s life. I just can’t imagine any other scenario then of Mulder being put in some coma to stabalize his condition until William is found. That will certainly keep him off the show in a vain attempt to revitalize with younger talent.
8 out of 10. I scored it higher than normal because of the attempt to really connect the storyline to the original take on the X-Files. Stating that Cancer Man started the process back in 2012 still gives the Mayan calendar enough credit and in a strange ironic way, Cancer Man’s seclusion and subsequent explanation of an alien invasion was just a ruse yet contained enough truth that Mulder and even the audience would take Cancer Man’s explanation as literal, when all he meant was the only alien part was in the DNA of selected humans he deems worthy to survive. Now there’s a gross amount of issues with his thought process and practical application but the truth is, we were given a delayed response to the lingering issues the show always had. This season finale was a bridge into the new world that gave the agents enough flair and compassion that they still burn to understand the truth and will fight to save the future. The show doesn’t want to end and I respect that decision even if I feel there should be at this point. The cliffhanger promises more to come, but for now we’re left waiting to see if season 11 is a sure bet or not. As it stands, as an old fan I’m satisfied with the turn of events even if the apocalyptic angle was a bit overly dramatic. As always, thank you for reading and hopefully next season we’ll find out where William is and what he’s been up to. Live on Mulder and Scully, keep fighting.
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