The new X-Files event series is promising so far. After a craggy start, most critics and specially fans of the show are satisfied. And we´ve just seen the first two episodes. And simultaneously we wonder how the event series is going to end.
Chris Carter promised “a huge cliffhanger” for the larger mythology, as he told The Wrap reporter Linda Ge. We know that he is terrific with cliffhangers. Let´s remember the seventh season finale in which Scully (Gillian Anderson) tells Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) that she is pregnant and then a black screen appears. Or much better the season 4 finale in which Mulder (David Duchovny) sits in his dark apartment, crying because everything he believed in is in question and because he feels responsible for Scully´s inoperable cancer (the result of her abduction) – a gun in his hand (oh oh!). The next scene: Scully sitting in an FBI hearing telling the committee with watery eyes that Mulder “died late last night from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head!” Our hearts stopped, didn´t they?
Remembering that, we see the big mistake in Mulder´s case this time. His believes are in question again. But this time he is not sad, not emotional about it. His whole world is not turned upside down when he learns that he was led by the nose for the past twenty years. A slow unfolding of acceptance, of actually believing it, would have been nice. The new event series lacks the slowness of the original show. There is not one moment that gives the actors time to express what they are feeling and let the viewers be empathetic with them. Everything is too rushed and I would rather prefer cutting out all those spaceship (crash and getting invisible ala Syfy-series) scenes and let Mulder and Scully suffer, so we can suffer with them.
That´s another factor that could have made the installment better. The X Files were always good with assuming things, but showing it vaguely. Allowing us just a glimpse in the dark. I bet FOX came with some ideas about having explosions, a big saucer crash and a cool effect of making a ship invisible in order to satisfy the younger generations. Maybe it works for the “Oh cool, explosions”-special-effect-generation. For the X-Files mood, it doesn´t.
But let´s put these small critics aside (the revival has its quality!), because this article is not supposed to be a review, rather than a reflection on some basic X-Files facts, which combine personal and mythological strings to tie the viewer for a possible profoundly dramatic finale or further episodes. The event series is in the right place, with the right emotions and gives us a believable Scully/Mulder-duo. But it can be more.
Now let´s remember the former X-Files cliffhangers (especially the season 4 cliffhanger) and muse what it could be this time.
An equal good cliffhanger for the X-Files event series would probably be Agent Scully being shot by the men who so badly want to cover up the truth. She is an abductee and has possibly a tricky DNA in her system that could reveal the conspiracy. This scenario could further explore her implied immortality, which the psychic Clyde Bruckman (Peter Boyle) had foreseen for her (he was able to see how people will die and in Scullys case he said that she is not going to die; check the episode 3×4: Clyde Bruckman´s Final Repose, written by Darin Morgan). The implication was further pursued when the Cigarette-Smoking Man (William B. Davis) shows Scully another woman with an implanted chip in her neck. She is 118 years old and fit as a fiddle. The chip has the power to let people die of cancer, if removed, or let them live a long and happy life. Who built this chip? And for what purpose? What kind of tests where performed on Scully? Exploring those questions and possibilities would make a good storyline, personal and fitting the mythology-arc. It would even lead the plot towards the truth behind it all. As once said “the truth is in Scully”. Let´s hope Chris Carter gives some hints.
As for the cliffhanger, of course in a next installment, Scully would not die from a gunshot. And that´s where new questions and the mysery starts all over again. Not only is her immortality and the chip in her neck a good plot for storytelling, so is William. His pure existence creates a big question mark already, but for a good cliffhanger, he has to be in reach. Mulder and specially Scully must be close to uncover what happened to her son (not that she is getting him back – oh dear god, no!) and learn that the child indeed had to suffer over the past years and that she must save him. Maybe rescue him from the Cigarette-Smoking Man, maybe from that elite government conspiracy. What ever it is, William must be saved.
With those possibilities in mind, let´s see what Chris Carter actually gives us in the series finale. It will be Scully´s struggle this time. Her sadness, her loneliness (which is played brilliantly by Anderson – after losing her child, her “most intense and challenging work” and Mulder, she is obviously not the same funny, lighthearted Scully from back then) will be explored and exposed. This will hopefully lead to the personal outcomes caused by Mulder´s and Scully´s search for the truth. It was always Scully who had to endure so much and brought emotional depth to the show. What we get in this new event series are two people broken from all the suffering they had to endure and another chase for the truth. The X-Files are reopened (in a weird and too short attempt, but they are) and so are the possibilities of storytelling.
But let´s be patient and see what actually happens in the finale. Chris Carter will do a good job, I´m sure. And it will hopefully lead to more X-Files episodes to further explore the depth of the two most incredible characters on television.
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Have fun watching the X-Files! Your Lit. erl – Team!
THE X-FILES, USA 2016 – Creator: Chris Carter. Writers: Chris Carter, James Wong, Darin Morgan . With: Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi. 44 Min.
X-Files, Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, TV-Reviews, #TheXFiles #xfilesreview #xfilesrevival