Destination: Roswell, New Mexico (1947); Washington, D.C.; Low Moor, Virginia
“But we must ask ourselves, are they really a hoax? Are we truly alone? Or, are we being lied to?”
To quote the master of never ending stories, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
To say that I have been excited about the revival of what is arguably my favorite show ever is putting it mildly. Ever since the official announcement, I have been greedily scouring the internet for tidbits of gossip while doing my best to avoid spoilers of any kind. As I sat down to watch the first episode of this new season, my level of excitement was ridiculously high.
That high carried through the first part of the episode. Listening to Mulder’s voiceover and looking at all those photos, watching a spaceship crash into the desert, and then listening to that oh so familiar theme music and watching those oh so familiar credits bought tears to my eyes. For a few brief minutes, I believed.
Like that spaceship in the cold open, however, I came crashing to earth. Tad O’Malley is a terrible character and it just doesn’t ring true that it would be he that brought our duo back together. Even Mulder and Scully can’t quite take him seriously at first. And, if you didn’t see the Sveta backtrack coming, you weren’t paying attention. Mulder actually calls her on it before choosing to believe.
As the episode unfolds, it becomes clear that Carter and Crew are starting again. They are throwing away all the old mythology and trying to come up with something new. That may not be a bad thing if they can pull it off. In fact, I’m kind of interested to see where they may go with this government taking over the world thing. Unfortunately, I have been through enough mythology reboots with this show to be Scully-esque in my cynicism that they can pull it off.
There was a fair amount of this episode that had a been there/done that feel. The Doctor as Deep Throat was irksome. I’m over Mulder’s sources being so cryptic and unwilling to tell him the unvarnished truth. And, I’m not sure Carter could have written more exposition if he had tried.
Now, enough whining. Let’s move on to what’s really important -- the Mulder and Scully dynamic. As always, it was watching these two together that was the emotional soul of this episode. The first time we see them together, on the street, was moving as hell. In one brief exchange, we learn that they are no longer together, that seeing Mulder the way he is brings Scully nearly to tears, and that Mulder misses her and is hiding that fact behind his usual snark. It is not accidental when he quotes part of the marriage vows to her to make his point.
Both of them are in a pretty bad way. Mulder is a mess and has been for some time. We are told that he is suffering from endogenous depression which explains his apathy, his appearance, and his general malaise. Until, that is, he catches the scent of The Truth again. All of a sudden, the old Mulder is back, demanding answers and pushing back against any opposition.
Even Scully, who clearly is trying to live some kind of life, is desperately unhappy. She has always been reserved and cautious, but she now seems to be completely closed off. Her initial conversation with Sveta is telling. Scully challenges the young woman at every turn and very nearly gets in her face when Sveta tells her she doesn’t know what it means to be an abductee. Of course, she doesn’t get confrontational, but the look on her face is one we haven’t seen often.
Once again, it is the power of the friendship between these two that brings everything together and keeps this episode from completely going around the bend. Their final scene, in the garage, was simply lovely and brought tears to my eyes again. They may both be unhappy; they may both want something else from their lives, but damn it, they can’t stay away from each other or their search.
The show took a dip there in the middle, but the ending was fabulous. I gasped as CSM sat there and announced that the X-Files had been re-opened. We’re back!
-- People much more observant than I, or who have much more time than I, have listed all of the Easter Eggs and references in this first episode. If you are interested, do a Google search and read away. My favorite were the pencils still hanging from the office ceiling.
-- Being the trusting soul I am, I had to look up false flag conspiracy.
-- I think O’Malley managed to reference every conspiracy currently making the rounds. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but the clips that Chris Carter chose during that scene were chilling.
-- The cinematography was second to none. The opening shot of the crash, the panning shot under the ARV, and Sveta’s death were all beautifully filmed.
Mulder: “Tell Skinner to set it up.”
Mulder: “And, don’t pretend I’m going alone.”
Mulder: “No, I only want to believe. Actual proof has been strangely hard to come by.”
Scully: “As a scientist, it was probably some of the most intense and challenging work I’ve ever done. I’ve never felt so alive.”
O’Malley: “You mean working with Mulder.”
Scully: “Possibly one of the most intense and challenging relationships I may ever have. And, quite honesty, the most impossible.”
Doctor: “Because, you weren’t even close. Warring aliens lighting each other on fire and other such nonsense.”
Mulder: “Scully, are you ready for this?”
Scully: “I don’t know there’s a choice.”
Final Analysis: An episode that had its weaknesses, but I’m willing to overlook them just to spend time with my favorite duo ever.
ChrisB is an X-Phile who may be more forgiving than she should be.
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