Television: The X-Files, "My Struggle"

"Mulder!" "Scully!" "Mulder . . .?" "Scully."

I'm a day behind on the launch of a very tardy season of what used to be one of my all-time favorite shows because my DVR recorded a bunch of football commentary.

I have a very special relationship with The X-Files. My best friend and I would write letters to one another in which I pretended to be Chris Carter and she was "the Crew." My final project as an undergrad was an X-Files spec. And I dined out at conventions as a well-known fanfic author (back when there were fanzines; now it's all online).

Anyway. I had reservations when I heard X-Files was returning. Could it be updated in a way that would work? And still hold all its original intensity?

Weeeellll . . .

I realize they have to acknowledge everything that has happened—that Fox and Dana have a child, that Fox is a depressed recluse, etc. But I almost wish they hadn't. I wish we could just go back to when the show was really good and pick up from there. It's a vain hope, but there you have it.

By the way, picking up where you left off means potential new viewers won't have any idea what the fuck is going on, your opening narration notwithstanding.

But let's talk about the episode itself. Scully gets a call and contacts Mulder to let him know Skinner wants him to meet Jeff Winger Tad O'Malley, a conspiracy theorist with a television audience. Mulder asks the very valid question of, "Why didn't he just call me directly?" and Scully tells him, "No one knows how to reach you." What she doesn't say is: "Because this is how we get roped into working together to incite this plot."

Seriously, though, Joel McHale is playing Jeff Winger from Community here. And when I started to imagine the whole episode as something Abed was daydreaming, it got a lot more entertaining. It actually felt more like that than like a for real episode of The X-Files. I wanted a scene in which Abed snaps to and finds Jeff starting at him like, "Earth to Abed."

Okay, so Tad takes Mulder and Scully to meet a woman who has suffered multiple abductions, and who claims to have been made pregnant many times only to have the babies taken from her. But then the whole thing devolves into, "It's not aliens! It's our own government doing secret experiments using alien technology and DNA!"

You see, the episode is peppered with flashbacks to Roswell. The alien whose ship crashed is shot by military, but now the US government has the body, and the ship, and can go to town playing with all that shit. Why not try to create alien-human hybrids?

Scully tests the woman for alien DNA but the results are negative. She tests herself too, also negative. But then she runs the tests again and presto! Positive!

I would think you'd have to run them a third time, right? Like, one negative and one positive really means you still don't know. You'd need best of three at a minimum, and to be more sure you'd need a lot more tests. Right?

Whatever. Tad ends up off the air and the woman (Sveta) recants her claims of having been abducted. Then we see Smoking Man and know . . . Something. That he's alive, for one thing, and probably going to try and stop Mulder and Scully from learning anything useful.

By the way, was I supposed to think Scully and Tad were, like, going out on a date? What was that about?

I see why this episode exists. It sets up the conspiracy thing, brings Mulder and Scully back together, and gives them a personal stake (Scully's alien DNA). But it still wasn't all that good. There was some really clunky dialogue in there, and there wasn't any satisfactory payoff. I know you can't resolve everything, but you should at least resolve something in order to gratify viewers. That didn't happen here.

I'll try to watch the next one in the next day or so. Hoping we only go up from here.

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