by Julian Spivey
I’m an odd fan of “The X-Files.” I was too young to see its original run, but one summer caught a few re-runs on BBC America and instantly liked it. It had a great mixture of science fiction and horror with two fascinating leads in David Duchovny as Fox Mulder, a believe in all things supernatural, and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully, the skeptic who always believed there was a scientific answer to the strangeness of it all. Shortly after I began watching, BBC America stopped carrying the series in syndication. I planned to watch the series via some streaming service, but never got around to it. When Fox revived “The X-Files” two years ago I tuned in, but like many I was mostly disappointed in the six-episode season – despite the fantastic episode that was “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monsters.” In the two years since I still haven’t found the time to stream the entire series. But, once again when an eleventh season was brought back this winter I tuned in. This season was much better and included one of the best episodes I’ve seen in “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat” (I realize many fans despised it) and a few other fun hours in “This,” “Kitten” and “Familiar.” So, I’m an odd ‘X-Files’ fan because I’ve probably seen less than a quarter of the series overall. I promise I will stream the remainder; hopefully as soon as this summer.
Coming into this season we knew it could likely be the show’s last because Anderson has steadfastly said she’s done with the series. They’ve done the show before without one of its leads as the final two seasons of the original run didn’t feature much from Duchovny, but it just isn’t the same or a good idea without both Mulder and Scully. The season had wrapped up before Anderson announced she wouldn’t return so this lead me to worrying about the ending of the season, as it could be and should be the end of the series too if Anderson can’t be convinced to do more.
After “My Struggle IV” aired on Wednesday (March 21) I was left mostly satisfied with it as a series finale for “The X-Files.” Based on reviews I’ve read since I understand many critics and fans aren’t too thrilled with it, but the last half of the episode especially gave me a bow on top that I could live with. Now, again I’m an odd fan of the show and my opinion might be differently had I seen the entirety of the series beforehand.
I agree with critics that there were some truly strange things about this finale and really all four ‘My Struggle’ episodes from the last two seasons that saw Scully and Mulder searching for and finding their long-lost son. For instance, much of the finale and the season 11 premiere simply feature Mulder driving around fast in a Ford Mustang as if he were in a Hollywood action film. It all comes off more like a car commercial than anything. I also found it odd and frankly a waste of time that Mulder shot up the mysterious man, who apparently runs some sort of space flight company, office and bodyguards – again a sequence that felt more in place with a dumb Hollywood action flick than with ‘X-Files.’
Once all that was out of the way the finale began to get better and more interesting. Mulder finally catches up to his son, William, in a hotel outside of Norfolk, but they have been tracked there by a unit of soldiers led by Barbara Hershey’s Erika Price. Having no other option William, who has supernatural powers by the way, kills all the soldiers by essentially exploding them with his mind in the most gruesome scene I’ve ever seen from the series.
Things get a bit hazy between this point and the end, but William gets away from Mulder and Mulder tracks him to an abandoned warehouse, where he is joined by Scully and Agent Skinner (Mitch Pileggi). Unfortunately, the show’s biggest villain the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) has also arrived needing William to complete his plan of world domination. As Mulder and Scully try to find William in the warehouse it’s complicated by the fact that William can alter his appearance (again supernatural powers) and does so to look like Mulder. This results in a scene where Scully believing she’s talking to Mulder, but it’s William is told to give up on the boy and that he knows she loves him. When the real Mulder shows up she realizes this is William and he bolts to the end of a dock (where he’s turned his appearance back to that of Mulder) and is met by the Cigarette Smoking Man (believing him to be Mulder) and shoots him through the head. The real Mulder seeing this gets immediate revenge by putting multiple bullets into the Cigarette Smoking Man. Scully arrives and the two comfort each other. Scully reveals to Mulder what Skinner had shown her that William wasn’t his son, but the son of the Cigarette Smoking Man through experimentation. Struggling with the realization of this Scully then hits Mulder with the fact that she’s pregnant with his child for real this time. This gives the show a somewhat satisfying end that would be better than continuing without Scully. Though, I understand most fans would’ve liked to have seen something else. The ball is in creator Chris Carter’s court now, but if he does want to continue the show I hope somehow, someway he can convince Anderson to return.