Well, that was a bit creepy and disturbing.
No, I’m not talking about the season eleven premiere, although I wish I was as The X-Files looks pretty tired and worn out. I’m talking about the big reveal from Cigarette Smoking Man at the end of the episode that while a bit surprising and disturbing, couldn’t save the episode from in essence spinning its wheels.
The premiere picks up where we left off last year, with aliens, viruses and conspiracies, oh my. Unfortunately, this is also where the problems begin as the whole UFO cliffhanger and deadly Spartan virus outbreak is thrown out the widow, instead giving way to the “it was all a dream” cop out. This was surprising, even with the mythology struggling last year to give us something really interesting and well thought out to hang our hat on. I know the final episode of this season will pick up on what was thrown out here but perhaps that’s not the best of ideas, given the state of the mythology these days.
Scully wakes up in the hospital, her brain running on overdrive from what is apparently communication from her son, William. As she babbles on about what she is seeing and what’s going to happen, it was humorous to watch Mulder be the one to try and pacify her and her ‘beliefs’. Sadly, this was one of the few good moments between these two as for some reason, we got to listen to Mulder talk to himself more than he did to Scully.
Mulder then goes on a long, long car ride in search of the Cigarette Smoking Man. It seems CSM is intent on wiping out the human race and starting again, with of course he being the one to choose who should live or die. However, Mulder does not find CMS but instead, another group who have plans other than that of CMS, who just happens to be a former colleague of theirs. Got all that? Mulder wasn’t buying it and neither was I as the mythology continued on its convoluted merry way.
In the final scene between CMS and Skinner, we get to hear about the ‘relationship’ between Scully and Cigarette Smoking Man, which reveals CMS as Williams’s real father. A little bit of CMS, a little bit of alien DNA and viola, you have the world’s first superhuman, at least according to our chain smoking friend. While a strange and disturbing revelation, I will hold my judgement until the final episode to see how this all plays out but for what it’s worth, I didn’t see that coming.
The X-Files is facing a few hurdles this time around, one of the biggest being there is no big anticipation like last time. It had been so long since we saw Mulder, Scully and company on the small screen that season ten was hyped and then some. This season, not so much, and that makes things that much harder right from the get go. The fact that season ten was also such a mixed bag didn’t help, making any buzz for this season much more toned down.
Also, bookending the ten episode season with the mythology part of the show is a big risk as really, how much do people really care about shadow governments and aliens anymore? Cigarette Smoking Man says as much during one of his speeches, touching on how fake news and hidden truths are now the norm.
In the end, “My Struggle III” was full of clunky dialogue, too many characters talking to themselves, endless car chases and what amounted to people running around chasing their tales. Again. Hopefully the stand alone episodes will be better written, creepier and much more fun.
Two and a half stars out of five
- Great to see The X-Files back on the small screen
- Cigarette Smoking Man is still creepy and dangerous
- Poor dialogue made too many scenes long and boring
- The mythology just doesn't have the same bite to it as it did in the 90's