On January 24th, fourteen years after what fans thought was the series finale, The X-Files kicked off its much hyped six episode event. Ratings were HUGE with 16 million people watching episode one (probably didn’t hurt that it directly followed the Super Bowl) and even though episode two only pulled in about 10 million viewers, those are still big numbers for any network show, but especially interesting considering the show’s age (the pilot episode of the X-Files premiered 23 years ago.)
Critics eviscerated the first episode (“My Struggle”), but from a fan perspective, I thought it was pretty good. Granted the first episode brought a lot of happy nostalgia with it, which probably skewed my opinion of the episode a tiny bit, but at the end of the first two hours, I felt like the show still had something special to offer. Yes, a lot of information was thrown at us all at once but the writers only had so much time to catch everyone up, introduce a new alien conspiracy and set in motion the rest of the season.
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny also seemed a little bit rusty with their character portrayals, although by the second episode, the actors seemed more like their usual selves. But maybe the most jarring part of watching was seeing how much Mulder and Scully have aged from previous episodes – it took some getting used to and probably seemed more prominent since I had just finished watching the entire series the week before.
Episode two (“Founder’s Mutation”) felt more like your typical X-Files, re-introduced us to the William story-line and left fans feeling a little bit weepy. By episode three (“Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”) fans were treated to a monster-of-the-week episode written by Darin Morgan who wrote several of the show’s all time best episodes. “Home Again” contrary to early speculation was not a sequel to season four’s “Home” (although that would have been really cool) but instead continued with the monster-of-the-week theme.
By episode five, the season 10 story arc had switched gears, moving things toward the finale. “Babylon” felt more like an episode of 24 and touched on post-9/11 subject matter and themes that the show never got to explore in its initial run. The episode also has one of the funniest moments of season 10 when Agent Mulder is given psychedelic mushrooms and sends him on a country music fueled trip that also includes a tribute to the Lone Gunmen – another weepy moment for the show.
That brings us to episode six (“My Struggle II”) and the finale. We’re brought back to where episode one left off and a deadly contagion starts wreaking havoc across the globe . Scully seems to be the only one who is immune to the virus and begins work on a vaccine made from her DNA but when she finally reaches Mulder in time, only their son William can save him. The problem? No one knows where William is.
Cue the alien spaceship and bright light beaming down on Scully and cue the end of season 10.
Fans were promised a cliffhanger and Chris Carter delivered. The only downside is, we have no idea when/if the show will continue, so opening up a whole new chapter on the X-Files when there are no more episodes being planned is really quite typical, but frustrating.
Do I think there will be more? Probably. Ratings were solid, fans will be eager to see what’s next and the actors have said they’re open to more. Personally, I’d like to see maybe thirteen more to explore the themes the show opened up this time around but I say after that, wrap it up and give some closure to the series.
When that will happen remains a mystery. Until then, I want to believe there’s more story left to be told. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another fourteen years to tell it.