The X-Files: My Struggle IV

“For so long, I believed.”

Me too, Mulder… me too. Heavy sigh.

“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things,” says Frodo to Sam near the end of The Lord of the Rings. I’m honored to be able to write the last series episode review of The X-Files, but I just wish that I could have had a better response to it. I’ve been devoted to this show from the first episode. I watched every episode live, contributed to the message boards, bought every season on DVD, watched both the movies in the theater... and now all I can think is: What did I do to deserve this? The most prominent thought I had while watching is – why? Why did Chris Carter make all these bewildering creative choices? A list of questions to the man, ones that might try to make sense of the messed-up mythology and character arcs, would take up page after page. I’m torn between being appreciative that there were more episodes produced of a favorite series, and certain that I’ll never watch these last ones (except for non-mythology), again.

William, a.k.a. Jackson Van De Kamp, lends us his voice in a bid to help us understand his story. Regardless of his happy childhood, he became a criminal and he’s hurt people – quite badly. I can’t feel much connection with this character (the actor’s a little bland, also) as most of his actions are incomprehensible to me. To make the story more confusing, the episode does one of those fiction time-jump things. There’s also multiple locations and car chases, plus quite a few laughable, overly dramatic lines of dialog. In lieu of a quote section, here’s a few of my favorites:

“Last good chance!”
“Everything depends on it! Every last thing in the world!”
“Death in the streets!”
“Agent Mulder’s our only hope!”
“I need the boy. The boy is mine!”

I’m not happy with much of this episode and the fact that it should have been titled: The Fast and Furious Fox Mulder. While Scully stays by the phone, Mulder gets to drive, run, and drive some more. You could really make the case that Gillian Anderson is actually phoning in this episode. One bright point is the appearance of Sarah, played by Madeleine Arthur. J-Will tries to get her to run away with him because he’s lonely. Luckily, Sarah’s not crazy and stays home, safe and sound.  Then, J-Will’s using his powers on Erika Price. I do enjoy seeing her get what she had coming to her – with a large red splat. Ha!

At last, Skinner and Scully show up together at the final (thank God) location, just as CSM and Monica Reyes join the party. I’m rooting for Skinner to outrun the large vehicle that’s chasing him. Surely, Skinner gets to survive as that bastard CSM already has gotten nine more lives than he deserves. Skinner stops running and starts shooting at Monica, who gets a bullet to the head. Oh Monica! You deserve so much more than this horrible send-off! Skinner kills you, even though your motivations were unknown and it seems like you are trying to help our heroes. What would Doggett say? I know what he would say: “It’s terrible that Monica didn’t get a premonition to run away from these crazy people and nutso show. She didn’t deserve this story arc and pointless death.” RIP, Monica Reyes. Sob.


So, things are about to get better... okay, they are really not. Skinner – that tall, bald, beautiful man – he gets smooshed. Not fair! I am not amused. With two of my favorite characters dead – CSM, that old monster, strolls away to join the search for J-Will. Since there’s flashforwards and flashbackwards (is this misery over, yet?) we are treated to CSM seeming to shoot Mulder in the head, Scully running mightily to catch up with her men, and multiple calls of, “William, William!” “Carol Anne! Aunty Em!, anybody?” I hope that David Duchovny was wearing his Fit Bit and was getting paid by the step. He ran and ran – only to have CSM be magically right there with him, somehow. Now, why didn’t CSM just kidnap William as a baby if he needed him so badly? Rachel was kept by the bad guys and indoctrinated to their cause on Orphan Black. I just wish that William had gone away as a baby and saved many episodes from his influence.

When CSM is finally shot dead (please be true) and J-Will has also gone into the drink, Scully runs up to Mulder – and they have a bizarre conversation. “You see, there are no worries,” says Scully. “He wanted us to let him go and he wasn’t meant to be. Don’t be upset, Mulder, he was never our son; just an experiment. I’m not his Momma, you’re not his Papa, so let’s just forget about all our dead relatives and co-workers and go to Dairy Queen for a milkshake because I’m pregnant.” (Paraphrased, of course.)

Other Thoughts:

Young Madeleine Arthur, (okay, she only looks young – she’s actually in her twenties) has been in quite a few of my favorite shows. She played Young Tina on Supernatural, Nora Darhk on Legends of Tomorrow, and Fray on The Magicians.

I truly dislike the fact that Mulder’s not William’s father (when he clearly wanted to be), and it’s also bad that Fox is CSM’s biological son. Hasn’t Mulder suffered enough, already?

The stunt work is nice, I’ll give this episode that bonus point.

The old man in the truck, that was one of the dudes from “Home,” right? Maybe I’m thinking of Supernatural, instead. Yep, he played Hansel in “About A Boy.”

Skinner gives the big revelation to Scully that William is an alien hybrid experiment and not Mulder’s son. Off-screen, of course – how dramatic.

CSM points out to Mulder that he shoots all his sons, so no big.

Scully sure seemed motherly to William when he was a cute, tiny baby. Oh, well.

Final Thoughts:

When J-Will pops back up at the end, I’m not surprised. This is a Chris Carter Production, after all. Ole Chris kept teasing us, in interviews, that he likes to end on cliffhangers, even when a show’s probably not returning. Nice of him.

I’ve enjoyed a few episodes from these last seasons, but mostly I’m dismayed by the treatment of beloved characters. Doggett and Reyes were magical together, almost as great as Mulder and Scully, but that’s ruined, now. Skinner dies, while Mean Mr. Kersh gets to live. CSM isn’t dead, not without a doubt. I’d have liked to have seen him turned into a red cloud of goop, just like Price. Many hours of television viewing were wasted on William when the show would have been much better without him. I’m not giving up on this show altogether, despite my rantings. My way of watching shows I love, without watching the parts I despise, is to liberally use the fast-forward function on my remote and to rewrite the show in my head, the way that I would have liked it. Not a fan of this episode, but my love still burns bright for the show, over all.

One out of five baby alien hybrids.

7 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Heavy sigh. You said it, Mallena.

I read an article somewhere this week, I can't remember where (but it's not important), that if there is ever any more X-Files, Chris Carter needs to stay far, far away from it because he simply doesn't understand what works with his own property. I remember thinking this very thing a lot during the final seasons of the original run of The X-Files. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen.

Hey, there was the Roomba episode. I loved that one. A lot.

Mallena said...

The Roomba episode was delightful and there were a few good episodes. At least M&S got to stay together.

Dr. Johnny Fever said...

What made this lousy finale so frustrating was that the previous episode actually had a decent emotional ending. After watching "Nothing Lasts Forever" I felt that things could be over. At this point, Chris Carter has made me care so little about CSM, Reyes, and even Skinner (which is a shame) that the emotional wrap-up last week between Mulder and Scully was a satisfactory conclusion. I didn't need more.

Mallena said...

I'm just going to forget this episode even happened and write my own ending in my mind palace. John and Monica are married and have 2 beautiful girls. They still work in law enforcement, but Monica gets to do her mystical crime-solving thing. Plus, she opened her own counseling center where she reads people's numbers and psychic auras.

Skinner exposes Kersh's corrupt activities and takes over his job.

Mulder and Scully stay together, but do what they like best. Scully works as a doctor with poor and disadvantaged children, Mulder chases UFO's when he's not at his computer doing research and writing about his and Scully's experiences, which turns into a best selling book and possible tv show. They also foster children who need a refuge.

The aliens decide that the Earthlings can solve their own problems, and go away to bother some other planet.

Mallena said...

Oh yeah,
CSM and the bad guys spontaneously explode in red clouds of goop. J-Will denies responsibility, but he then turns his powers into good works. Maybe he moved to Star City?

Mikey Heinrich said...

I personally will choose to remember this as the season that gave us the ultimate truth toward the end of the Lost Art of Forehead Sweat - We're not alone in the universe, but nobody likes us.

I'm comfortable with that as an ending

Patryk said...

Apart from the Roomba episode and Lost Art of Firehead Sweat the season was a giant waste of space. With the Chris Carter effect in full force. The only goood I can say about the finale is that at least it wasn't written by Tim Kring.