Don't you hate it when you go to work and the end of the world breaks out?
This X-Files miniseries hasn't really figured out how to slowly bring up the central mythology while also engaging in its weekly episodes, and this "series" finale suffers for it. It goes from zero to nearly infinite stakes in a the blink of an eye, with everyone involved making wild leaps of deduction that are ... mostly correct? I'm still trying to figure out if that chemtrail bit is supposed to be a joke or if that was the actual way the Syndicate was triggering the death of the human race.
Well, the death of most of the human race. A few select individuals will survive to "get a seat at the big table," as the cigarette smoking man says. The episode is shot through with odd holes and weak spots, and it's probably best we not think about it too hard. After all, if CSM wanted to save Mulder, he could have injected the DNA into the agent when he was passed out in his office. Or maybe this was a Biblical riff where Mulder had to choose to be damned, or something along those lines. Who knows?
But the themes of the series didn't really pay off in any satisfying way. Scully figures out the good vaccine to fight the bad vaccine was in her blood, or maybe it was the DNA needed to fight the lack of alien DNA or maybe ... I mean, she has the medicine in her blood. They didn't see it at first, though, because they needed more blood, and they didn't take enough blood. Like so many of these episodes, the basic ideas seem sound, but they're laid out in such a slipshod manner that everything feels like a first draft.
The idea of the Syndicate finally pulling the trigger on the gun they've had pointed at humanity's head isn't bad, and CSM's logic about offering order and a stepped-up timetable to our own self-destruction actually makes a tiny bit of sense from his skewed perspective, but it all felt rushed and unearned.
It didn't help that Miller and Einstein, the baby versions of Mulder and Scully, were back to run around with our heroes while seemingly hoping for their own spinoff show. While the text from the show's beginning had been changed to 'This is the end," the episode predictably ended with a cliffhanger as a UFO hovered over a dying, feverish Mulder and a Scully who seemed to have found all the answers just a bit too easily.
So we'll see you when the show comes back — and the initial ratings of the miniseries mixed with the fact Fox will be able to sell the streaming rights for basically ever means the show is all but assured a second new season — but let's hope the next set of episodes is handled with a big more care.
Odd and ends
- For the love of little gray men, Chris Carter cannot write dialog. Almost every line landed with a THUD
- I was really hoping to see Krycek. According to Wikipedia the last time we saw him, "Krycek's ghost briefly showed up to help Mulder escape a military base in the series finale." Well then.
- The one bit of foreshadowing that was mentioned nearly once per episode was William, the son of Mulder and Scully, but the entire season came to a close without even seeing him. This is a bit like The Force Awakens closing with Rey on the way to seeing Skywalker. If they kept everything the same but just revealed that one character before cutting to black it would have felt a bit more satisfying
- My theory is William is a space trucker and it's his UFO at the end of the episode. His cargo is space chickens.
- See you when the series returns! If it doesn't I guess this will be just another long-running franchise that ended poorly due to the creative team hoping for a bit more cash to tell more of a story that should have ended a very long time ago
- So will there be more? "I can tell you this: Fox owns this show," Chris Carter said in an interview about the show's future. "I can’t imagine, with the ratings that we’ve got and the way we ended this season, that there won’t be more X-Files. They will find a way to get that done. Because I spoke about it briefly with [Fox CEO] Dana Walden today, so there’s an appetite there and… a chance certainly to find how we’re gonna get ourselves off this precipice."
- This is how I want to remember Mulder and Scully, at peace in the woods, talking about faith. And chemtrails.