A Sashurai’s Review: The X Files – Season 10×06 (Dear team, thank you for trying)

X Files 10x06

 

SUMMARY

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.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

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.

 

THE GOOD

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.

 

THE BAD

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.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

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.

 

CHARACTER MVP

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.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

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.

 

OVERALL SCORE

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.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The X Files – Season 10×05 (These are not the spin-off agents you’re looking for)

X Files 10x05

 

SUMMARY

After an art exhibit is bombed in Texas, a presumed terrorist survives but is legally brain dead. Mulder and Scully attempt to communicate to the survivor through different means after they meet a pair of younger agents who are attempting to stop the next attack. Scully proceeds to Texas where she and Agent Miller try to communicate verbally and translate signals from the victim’s brainwaves. Meanwhile, Mulder convinces Agent Einstein to supply him with a specific mushroom extract that will potentially free his mind to another plane of existence where he can communicate with the terrorist. Mulder goes on his trip and sees several people from his life while attempting to navigate through it a collage of of country-inspired imagry finally landing on a boat traveling through an ocean. He encounters the terrorist but only hears one Arabic phrase. After he wakes, he discovers he was given a placebo by Agent Einstein but manages to have the phrase translated leading the FBI and Homeland security to a hotel where a terrorist cell is captured. Mulder and Scully later reflect on religion, communication, and an openness to believe.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I consider this the substitute finale, the one meant to wrap up all the single episodic stories that have come before. We’ll get our true finale next week, but for now, The X-Files have chosen a topical subject and mixed in its brand of humor, overtones, and cameos. I feel this episode was very message-driven, but still widely appropriate for our agents to have their say in what our current world is like and where it came from. Their views and personalities have always been a product of their experiences and as wiser and more accepting as they’ve become, so too have their thoughts and feelings on current subject matter that engages suggestion as a primer for both good and bad results. The episode didn’t treat itself too seriously and as for the younger agents, let’s just keep them as far from this series as humanly possible.

 

THE GOOD

I felt this humor worked a lot better than the episode regarding the were-lizard. They rotated serious and funny between episodes and managed a really well-blended theme this time around. Mulder’s presumed mushroom trip was chalk-full of innuendos, subtle messaging, and for the next week, I’m certain the fans will be dissecting those scenes in hopes of detailing the portents we’re bound to run into during the finale. I’ll tackle a couple if I can.

 

Mulder’s catharsis was interesting given how susceptible his personality was when we were introduced to him in the premiere. There’s a plain and simple gesture of good-faith given how much pain and suffering he’s endured for the last two decades. At this point, he dabbles in all things that help bring him more copacetic peace along with Scully who as always, is along for the ride. There’s admiration between the two, something that may have been missing from earlier seasons, which is very different from love and respect. This is a very seasoned Mulder that isn’t driven to what leads him away from known science, but rather the unified belief that if all things are possible so too are the religious aspects. Plus, he just had a rip-roaring good time in his balls-tripping segment. It’s hard to imagine a placebo effect having such an impact, but that was entirely the point.

 

THE BAD

Let’s talk about our new agents. Granted, I’m not falling for the obvious innuendo that these will be our replacements come season 11. They knew we’d think that, they’d knew we’d balk at it, and they also knew we’d find it frustrating writing Agent Miller and Agent Einstein in our reviews because a name like Einstein draws a lot of attention and humor. But to be fair, I didn’t find Miller and Einstein that bad. True, I don’t want them replacing Mulder and Scully, but I don’t want anyone replacing Mulder and Scully. Doggett and Reyes were the last attempt and we saw how that turned out in the end. It’s not going to work a second time no matter how you paint them. Give Einstein red hair and make Miller open to the paranormal, it doesn’t matter. Won’t work. I think they know that and they’re throwing it in as a polite jab, the same way Indiana grabs the hat off of his son in “Crystal Skull”, showing that the original will maintain his stature for a long time coming. Mulder and Scully can retire all they want, just make sure the show does too if and when that happens. I don’t want a spin-off again.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Mulder going through his mushroom-placebo experience. It was a rockin’ good time and hilarious to watch. I don’t know this humorous episode resonated better than a few weeks ago, but I do think it had everything to do with timing and that if there was a funny episode to be had it should be placed right before the finale after we’ve saturated in the breadth of the serious tone. It was a the going-home episode so they might as well let loose and they certainly did. I wished the Lone Gunmen has a more significant appearance but at least they’re still considered canonically dead.

 

CHARACTER MVP

This one is an easy Mulder. His speech as the end on communication was the message from the get go, how those signals are received, interpreted, and even taught that makes the world what we see it as today. I think he’s reached his pinnacle as a character to sees an understands the world before him. All that’s left is for him to finish what he started and that’s to engage the truth for what it is. And he has potentially one more episode to do it before everything ends.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Okay, Mulder shows that somehow the whipping he received from Agent Einstein in his vision remained but we don’t know if Cancer Man’s whipping on his back did as well. We weren’t meant to know, but that doesn’t mean if had no effect on him. His back was turned to Cancer Man showing he wasn’t ready or didn’t need to face him. Even when Cancer Man proclaimed he was in the right place to find the truth, that wasn’t what was important to Mulder, at least at the time. That I think is where he’s subconsciously telling us that he’s essentially over it. The truth that is. He’s in the moment and living in that moment as it moves forward.

 

As far as the red, tron-flavored, dominatrix scene, I think its safe to say he was channeling Hank Moody. No, but really, he can never escape his ego that still encapsulates some sexual drive. And the red could be a gentle reminder that Scully is ever-present even if the character was Einstein that whipped him and made him go woo-woo. At least Einstein didn’t look like an alien.

 

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Strong themes, but equally strong humor made tonight’s penultimate episode a treat for both the drama-heavy and the comedic fans. Journeys came for both our seasoned agents and the new ones who learned important lessons as they thwarted an ever-present threat. What The X-Files is showing us is that they’re trying their best to catch up on so many years of absence. The good stories are still there, they just needed time to keep us believing in them. Now that we’ve rotated through a visceral, funny, thematic, and heartbreaking, string of episodes, it’s time to cap off the season and bring us to some much-needed closure on our agents who are not getting any younger, but they still look good on screen. Here’s to an end that hopefully won’t feel like one. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The X Files – Season 10×04 (Exalted is not the mystery of truth, but the belief in finding peace)

X Files 10x04

 

SUMMARY

Mulder and Scully travel to Philadelphia to investigate a series a murders centered around the relocation of a homeless group. The murders are tied to a nomad artist who conjured the form of an invincible character named Trash Man who rips his chosen victims apart as an act of justice. Meanwhile, Scully receives word that her mother, Margaret is ill and unresponsive in a hospital. Though confused by learning of her mother’s rekindled interest in Scully’s brother, Charlie, Scully contacts and convinces him to speak to Margaret. She wakes briefly and tells Mulder that she also has a son named William before succumbing to death. Distraught and anxious to be distracted, Scully and Mulder track and find the man responsible for creating Trash Man but they are unable to stop the last murder as Trash Man inevitably disappears quickly after. After Margaret is cremated, Scully realizes that her mother attempted to string together a message of responsibility for Mulder and Scully in regards to their parting of their son, William who Scully deeply regrets letting go.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This episode was in top form, a true testament to the style, tone, rhetoric, and one-liners that brought The X-Files through its many seasoned success in the 90’s. Never missing a single beat, it delivers on all fronts including more family sentiments than perhaps we were prepared for regarding the fate of William. The mysterious X-File itself is a robust concoction of gross evisceration, but topical enough to warrant such a tale to be told and dabbles in the usual case of what many episodes have been deemed as unsolved. I would personally consider this the best episode of the season by far.

 

THE GOOD

At first, there doesn’t seem to be a tangible connection between Scully’s mother passing and the murders that are taking place. It takes a resonant and emotionally strained Scully to marry both situations into a conclusion that what’s missing is a form of responsibility toward what we create. While Mulder seeks to understand the nature and creation of the creature itself, Scully relies on the perception and accountability that she herself understands by the episodes finale and how it relates to the artist. This was wonderfully woven and brought back a lot of much-needed nostalgia that showcases The X-Files is not telling good stories.

 

Scully’s mother passing is indeed heartbreaking for the agents as Margaret had dealt with many tragedies in her family. Yet, it wasn’t just thrown in as a moment meant to push Scully down some dark pit for no good reason. It brought to light just how important finding William is and somehow getting Mulder and Scully to a point where they either need to find him or find some evidence that he’s okay. This is becoming more of the driving force of the season and less about Cancer Man’s new syndicate or the government’s true motis-operandi. I can’t imagine our final revelation of the world’s most kept secret on aliens out-shining the need to find resolution on this family that never got to be. It’s strictly opinion, but Scully needs her peace just as much as Mulder needs his.

 

THE BAD

My one gripe about this episode is the jargon and attempt to quantify and scientifically explain the perceived existence of the Trash Man’s physical being. We’re in 2016 and we’ve become much more adept at explaining things even in molecule form. The X-Files never truly needed to be a show where Mulder sits down and is told why something supernatural exists from a scientist’s point of view. Imagine the episode “Kaddish” from the 4th season in regards to the Jewish Golem that is created to revenge the death of a man. Had we discovered more scientific roots on this creature I think some of the passion and theme of the story would have been weakened especially if Mulder was the recipient of such information. He knew exactly what the artist was talking about when he created the Trash Man and we as an audience should be satisfied that Mulder understands and accepts the culture’s belief in such a manifestation whether it’s Jewish or Tibetan. It’s a minor gripe that didn’t really derail anything in tonight’s episode.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Scully began to flashback the birth of William and realize how much she needed to know what happened to him. Her conclusion about responsibility was such a poignant moment that brought the story full circle, so much that it didn’t matter if the creature was stopped or not. If anything it accentuated the theme of responsibility even more-so because learning from our mistakes doesn’t mean we get to correct them. Scully knows that and that’s why she laments the way she does with Mulder at the lake. Very good stuff.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Scully is hands down the MVP tonight. She brought the classic mantra as well as a refreshing look at her regret for giving William up. The loss of her mother weighed so heavily that she ran right back to the case without dropping a beat just so she could deal with the situation. She had a personal mystery to solve and to her credit, she did solve that mystery albeit without the resolution with what that quarter meant. And by far her best lines came at the end when she committed to being with Mulder when he found his truth but that she had her own as well to consider. Brilliant actress with a lot of heart left to give her character.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

For a moment my brain froze when Scully got her call from William Scully Jr. I honestly thought that was her son calling him but then I realized William wouldn’t have her last name. I just forgot she had a brother named William.

 

I loved that the Trash Man wasn’t captured or stopped. It lends to the mythos and so many stories in which the supernatural element continues to exist along with so many others, unsolved, or unending. Even the artist was free to roam and continue his work.

 

At this rate, I’d be a bit upset if they didn’t somehow reunite the agents with their son, somehow some way even if its to stare at him unseen across the street. They need a reunion and I suspect Cancer Man knows exactly who and where young William is.

 

Whenever I hear that “downtown” song I will always think of Lost and the premiere of season 3 when Juliet plays it to deal with her time on the Island. Every.Single.Time.

 

Scully mentions Ahab and Melissa to her mother which are Scully’s father and sister respectively. Both died previously in the series, her father having a massive coronary and her sister killed by Krycek.

I loved all the throwbacks to their journey into the basement of the building especially with the flashlights and Scully’s takedown of the guy with the gun.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. The X-Files can be episodic at times, telling a monster tale with no true conclusion except how the agents choose to understand and move forward. This episode brought us that kind of theme and really delivered on it from those angles of heart, loss, justice, and longing. The agents are in dire need of closure and tonight Scully’s loss brings her and Mulder closer together than what we’ve seen as of late. The monster of the week had its moments of gruesome death, but no more so than what a show like this is capable of producing and with it the eerie atmosphere that comes with searching the unknown. The X-Files is coming back strong and with two more episodes left, needs this momentum to take us into a mind-blowing finale that should hopefully keep this world alive for years to come. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The X Files – Season 10×03 (I almost made a reaction video to this episode…almost)

X Files 10x03

 

SUMMARY

Mulder and Scully track investigate a series of murders suggesting a lizard-man is involved. Through a series of light-hearted calamities and tech-mishaps, Mulder discovers the creature represents the reverse telling of the were mythos and struggles to believe in such an entity after years of dissolving his own conclusions on such matters.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

It originally took three seasons to generate the concept of unusual humor diced in with the serialized serious tone the series had normally been known for. After two episodes into season 10, the decision to return the agents into that comedic paradigm has both good and bad elements to explore, most of which are centered around Mulder’s middle-age crisis on his belief in not just the paranormal, but the creature-aspect as well. It was a rough plot to sit through, but the last act did manage to resonate on old fears and reinstitute that just because most things don’t exist, doesn’t mean all of it doesn’t.

 

RECAP

A couple in the woods decide to get high on spray paint and notice a…you know what? I can’t write this recap. It’s too ridiculous. I’m just going to skip to the next section if that’s alright.

 

THE GOOD

The last act helped put things in perspective for Mulder and it’s interesting that they chose a comedy episode to do it in. Twice we’ve seen Mulder give in to the charade that has plagued his life. What baffles me is how after so many years he’s so ready and willing to discount everything he’s personally seen including the existence of so many forms of creatures. By seeing one again, he’s back to the wonder of his youthful self when it was easy to believe in that phenomena. I doubt this will have a lasting effect on the agent, but at least the story is generally centered around a defeated personality that is too cynical even for Scully. What this season needs to remind us in so few episodes is that Mulder is in a lot of denial over what he’s seen over the years. It’s all being washed away by simpler concepts and only when it hits him right in the face will he return to those roots and be as he once was.

 

I’ve always believed that all X-File related comedy episodes take place in their own universe apart from generally accepted darker tone of the franchise. Episodes like “Hollywood A.D” “Dreamland” and “Improbable” are given such a fantastic approach to the world they live in that to view these episodes in their hilarity means to suspend all disbelief that the world they inhabit could be this sardonic and bi-polar in nature. In any case, They wanted to remind the fans that they didn’t forget about this funny dimension where everything is just a little out of sync and even the agents just don’t notice because they’re too busy living their cynical lives to wonder.

 

 

THE BAD

Having said that, this was still a very awkward episode to watch, and placed too soon in the list of episodes that “need to be told” in season 10. New fans simply won’t understand the sudden switch into the comedy realm so quick and now will expect it probably by the 5th episode. The concept of the reverse were tale was something I would have expected in a show that once aired and ended on SyFy. What saved it was how the lizard-man connected with Mulder and how it parodied the status-quo life of a human in general. In a way it represents that aspect of Mulder that also grew up and became disillusioned with his life and whether Mulder understood it or not isn’t the point, but that he found a spark of his old self in seeing the unbelievable before him. Still, this was a hard episode to sit through based on the plot alone.

 

I also wasn’t expecting such a wild moment with the way Scully was depicted in the lizard-man’s fantasy. If I was in my 90’s mindset, I’d have probably watch that part a dozen times, but seeing it now was just strange. Not to say it wasn’t a surreal and candid moment for the actress, but it just made little sense except to accentuate the robust nature of a man who sexualizes in the same manner as the “typical” male would given his vanilla-driven life. Even Mulder didn’t think of her like that…allegedly.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Mulder rants to Scully and doesn’t let her rebuttal with him on her thoughts about the case. It was classic Mulder but this time he finished Scully’s sentences for her. I almost feel the entire episode was written just for this scene in mind. It shows they can still perform at a caliber that seems like nothing’s changed over the years, and even more so, it’s like how a married couple would react if one just knew what the other would say given any typical situation in their lives. Mulder is just good at ranting.

 

CHARACTER MVP

The lizard-man was unbelievable and for this moment, he deserves some credit for at least playing the part of a crazed middle-life male who adapted to conformity as an instinct just as a werewolf would when it became the creature. I just wonder why they played at him having such an over-done accent.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’m still at a loss with why Mulder would be so out of touch with things like phone tech. Just because we haven’t seen his character interact with the world for years doesn’t mean he just lived without some form of progressive technology at his disposal. Sure he’s avoiding the “government”, but he also gave up that part of his life, twice.

 

The grave that Mulder passed out in front of is Kim Manners, a producer and writer of the show way back when. I couldn’t find anything on the other gravestone.

 

Also, I refuse to believe Mulder actually has the X-Files ringtone on his cell. I guarantee that ringtone will not go off in any serious episode from here on out. Still, it was funny to hear.

 

This season so far has been extraordinarily well lit which is something I’m not used to on this franchise. Even in comedy episodes, there’s still a resonate tone that fits with the same lighting scheme, but now we’re digital and it’s all too clean. If they’re going to remind us how 90’s and out of touch Mulder is, they should probably dust off that old film quality too, I wouldn’t mind.

 

They never really clarified how a human bite could turn the lizard-man into a were-human as it were. Does that mean anyone could have done it, or did it have to specifically be that animal catcher?

 
OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. Even with a sentimental ending that gave Mulder a moment to reflect on his beliefs in the supernatural, I think it was way too soon to introduce the comedy genre that gave the X-Files a different lens to view through. We’re already halfway through the season, and we’re nowhere close to understand what this show is trying to do. Is it only using these 6 episodes to bring about a new set of characters to breathe life into the show? Is it just a reunion that isn’t meant to have longevity therefore we’ll get an episode that details all the different tones this series has come across? At this point, I just can’t make a real guess except that nothing will be essentially wrapped up by the finale. As a stand-alone, this episode was over-the-top, goofy, and lackadaisical, offering nothing more than the over-satirized theme that the older we get, the more bland our reality becomes. Mulder is better than that. Let’s hope he continues to find his belief that the truth is out there. Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next week.

 

 

No more words

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The X Files – Season 10×02 (Should this show now be called The Ten Files?)

X Files 10x02

 

SUMMARY

Mulder and Scully investigate the suicide of an employee at a Nugenics facility. This leads them to uncover possible experimentation on children who suffer from several growth defects. During their search, both Mulder and Scully dream of life with their son William, but with drastic outcomes on old fears over whether he’s truly human or a part of the government’s plot. As they get closer to the truth of the employee’s death, Mulder is subjected to the same horrific effect that caused the man to kill himself.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

If the old routine was never broken why fix it, right? There’s a lot of reasons for both changing the show’s premise and keeping it the same. Carter is opting to return the agents to the status quo that made the series popular from the start. Tonight was more nostalgic than anything and the pacing was far more successful than last night’s chaotic debacle. At the risk of turning our old agents into a stale pathos of their former selves, what we have here is a general honest interpretation of their lives caught in perpetual limbo. There are subtle underlining clues that perhaps all is not as it seems and the strange repetitive nature of their personalities have a definitive reason, we’re just too impatient to see it clearly.

 

RECAP

A Nugenics employee kills himself when the high pitched sounds only he can hear are too much to take. Mulder and Scully attempt to interview the companies owner Augustus Goldman, but he refuses to be seen. After searching the victims home, Mulder becomes affected by the high pitched tones but recovers. Later, they attempt to contact Goldman at a hospital and come across a young pregnant woman, Agnes who is fearful over losing her child. That night, Agnes is found dead, hit by a car and her baby stolen from the womb. Goldman agrees to meet with the agents and shows them a hall full of children with deformities as a means to convince them his work is altruistic. Mulder and Scully track down Goldman’s wife, Jackie at a hospital for the ill and question her about Molly, her daughter. Jackie laments that she grew afraid of her daughter when she found she could breathe underwater and left the family. After a car accident she heard high pitched tones and cut her unborn child to allow it escape. She was later found and placed in the hospital for observation. Mulder and Scully piece together a video segment with a janitor at the Nugenics building reacting when the employee killed himself. They track him at his home and discover he’s Jackie’s son who survived. They take him in to see Dr. Goldman who takes a sample of his blood and shows him Molly, who he’s kept all these years isolated. Kyle, realizes the woman isn’t his sister and escapes to find Molly close by in another room. They are telepathically linked and the two escape after Kyle kills his father with his abilities. Mulder takes Kyle’s blood sample as evidence of their on-going investigation with alien DNA a factor in human experimentation. Throughout the episode, both Mulder and Scully imagine life with their son, William, but both succumb to fears that William is either alien or would have been abducted. Both lament their son alone.

 

THE GOOD

While the writing isn’t nearly as fresh as one might hope in this day and age, what I can understand and ultimately appreciate is the detail with keeping Mulder, Scully, and even Skinner the exact same copy of emotions and mannerisms as they have displayed since the beginning of this genre. Granted, this did not work for Indiana Jones in his 4th film, but for Mulder and Scully, there really is no other choice. Mulder remains light-hearted and comical in his attempts to hide sorrow (I mean specifically his son) and Scully is very dry with her cynicism, but in a tired and almost brash sense of replay. Her tone suggests she internally rolls her eyes at every statement Mulder says except in regard to their heart to heart over William, yet in the end, I find their lack of growth appropriate given the circumstances. These characters are not supposed to change and I’ll dive into way in a bit.

 

The plot itself was very modern-genome craze with a dash of Dr. Moreau sans animal splicing. The effects and personalities of the children were fantastic and the lack of reaction from the agents is all the more sensible considering they’ve seen everything. Kyle searching for his sister is the underlining metaphor for this episode and it’s good they knocked it out of the way here which I will also get into in a bit. *Hint* *It has to do with Samantha*

 

THE BAD

I’m not as nitpicky this time around, but I do want to make note of Ryan Robbins as “Murphy” in this episode. He’s shadowing Skinner and is currently the guy who gets to order our favored A.D. There’s some awkward babysitting going on here and it’s stifling Skinner’s ability to aid his agents when we all know Skinner is biding his time to once more show his crass and push back against those that continue to run his department. What I don’t get is why anyone above the A.D role is allowing Skinner for the agents to pursue the X-Files if they’re a legitimate threat. Many times in past seasons the cloak and dagger role in the 90’s put them in harm’s way a great number of times. Simply stated, it’s the one trope I’m not ready to forgive now that I’ve seen it carry over into season 10.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Mulder and Scully discuss William. This was very important because it’s a loose end that doesn’t get to be forgotten and X-Files has over a hundred loose ends, easily. I am bad a math, as they stated William would be 15 at this point. That’s okay, what matters is there’s every possibility they may find William by the season’s end. I’m hoping they do because they deserve some kind of family reunion, even if the parents are separated. Who knows, maybe Kyle and Molly will inadvertently find William, they are telepathic after all.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Twice in a row, Mulder is the choice. He’s still sneaky, snarky, and full of knowledge he loves to expel at any opportunity which Scully has had to listen to for many years. He’s in good form, not necessarily rare form, but he’s sliding back into old school Mulder that we’re comfortable with. I just find it a bit hard to believe that even with isolating himself he’s not 100% caught up on all the memes.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Okay, back to my thoughts on their assumed stagnation. I proclaim that this is actually a good thing because of my premise that they’re are mentally stuck in limbo. They lost their child due to some “syndicate” running things and have been unable to mentally and emotionally move on, even though Mulder says he’s tried to, he hasn’t and it showed. We see Scully in a psuedo-flashback of her own machination and she retains her old red-hair and hairstyle. There’s so much of their psyche that’s affected by those events that their paradigm is forever locked in this state of investigating, autopsy, and questions. Imagine after several years of being around someone and loving them and losing them to so many crazy moments and still calling them by their last name and vice-versa. Who even does that? Well, Mulder and Scully do because it’s just too weird to see them do it differently and that’s the point. It’s just too weird. We can’t see them being anything else, so Carter isn’t trying to change them. They’re stuck as these agents and it doesn’t matter how old they get.

 

Second theory. This episode is a mirror to what Mulder is and has always gone through. The projected image of seeing his son taken just as his sister, Samantha was is heartbreaking for the guy but it shows that subconsciously, he’s still not over what happened to her. Kyle is looking for his sister, Molly, someone who was essentially abducted and he found her. I don’t know why, but I feel like there’s something else going on and maybe, just maybe it has to do with Mulder’s sister. Yes, she died, so told to us by Cancer Man, who remains so untrustworthy, he can’t even pretend to die. Did Mulder truly see his sister as a ghost in a world of starlight? Or maybe he projected what he wanted to see. In any case, there’s a lot of subtext here regarding missing one’s family either in their minds or in literal fashion. It’s carrying over into something tangible, and hopefully something more concrete as the episodes unveil more of this new “truth.”

 

I’m a big fan of Kacey Rohl. Anyone who reads my reviews knows I was heartbroken when her character died in Hannibal the series. Now they did it again, and I frowned the whole time. Stop killing Kacey! She’s going to be in an episode of Once Upon a Time later this year, so hopefully she survives in that world.

 

Mulder briefly touches on The Syndicate and their failed attempt to colonize the world by creating alien human hybrids, yet we know that there were in fact perfect hybrids created. *Hint* *He’s called William* What’s funny is that was the entire purpose of the shadow conspiracy for nearly 7 years in the original run. And now, somehow we’re supposed to believe that aliens colonizing the planet was a smokescreen, yet it wasn’t. I’m having a hard time trying to understand what Mulder actually believes happened. At least he paraphrased those 7 years in one free form sentence while keeping a straight face.

 

I forgot to mention last week that the Lone Gunmen were rumored to still be alive and will appear this season. At this rate, I’ll buy into any characters not being dead when they’re supposed to be. Come on, Krycek, don’t let a bullet from Skinner ruin your day!

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Tonight’s episode brought an old lens to today’s infrastructure. The science-fiction told here isn’t new, but it’s not about new, it’s about our agents surviving in this world of tech and protocol while holding onto the roots of their beliefs. It really is business as usual with our agents who were reinstated again, for the second time as though nothing happened. There’s limbo at work here, and unless this is a parallel dimension or some time-traveling event is going to take place, odds are this season will end with everything changing for Mulder and Scully and I’m not talking just about hairstyles and beards. As an old fan, I accept that our beloved agents run through the same routines, interrogations and conclusions that are peppered with skeptical dialogue and paraphrased historical monologues. It’s what we want even if we say we want something different. By slowing down the art of the story, it was much easier to digest this time around and shows that it can be done right. Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next week.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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