Just when we were getting used to having it back, The X-Files is coming to an end. Again. A lot has happened in this six-episode season. In the first two episodes alone we learn that much has changed while we weren’t looking. The X-Files might have been frozen in perpetual syndication and on streaming media for the past 14 years but Mulder and Scully (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) have moved on.
At the beginning of the first episode we learn that they’ve gone their separate ways. Scully is working at Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital. (If that isn’t prophetic, what is?) Mulder is living off the grid. They are both dealing in their own way with the loss of William, the child Scully gave up for adoption. Mulder’s old office is abandoned. His “I Want to Believe” poster lies on the floor, looking as if it’s clinging on for dear life.
Which leads us to what brings Scully and Mulder back together: the conspiracy to end all conspiracies. In a nutshell: We’re screwed.
This time, in a surprising and bold move on the part of X-Files creator Chris Carter, Mulder is a skeptic. After waging a personal war to make believers of us all, Mulder no longer thinks the truth is out there. Upon meeting a conspiracy theorist (Joel McHale), who makes him look like some slacker prepper, and a tortured beauty (Annet Mahendru), Mulder makes a shocking discovery: It’s all been a lie. There’s still a massive government conspiracy and it is even more insidious and evil than Mulder ever hoped, oops, feared.
It takes some getting used to, hearing Mulder rebuff everything he’s always believed. At first it’s enough to make you say, “Seriously, Mulder? That’s all it took? One bad day?” Still, Scully has enough faith in Mulder and in what she’s seen for herself to re-up for a mission to find the truth. The new truth.
Good old Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) is back, with his hushed baritone and furrowed brow. So, too, is another familiar character who remains as sinister as ever, even though a partial mask makes him look a little like the Phantom of the Opera. The beloved Lone Gunmen (Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood and Dean Haglund) make an appearance. Chris Carter also kept the original opening, which is enough to make a diehard fan giddy with delight. Better still, some of the show’s original and best writers return, including James Wong, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan and Carter himself.
So, X-Files fans, rejoice — even though the show is ending. Yet again. We fans are made of hearty stock. We waited 14 years for a new season and we never lost faith, even when the first episode of Season 10 felt a bit like seeing the edgiest kids from high school now selling Amway. It was kind of a letdown. But our loyalty was rewarded when every new episode turned out to be better than the last. It’s enough to make one hope for a Season 11. Whatever the conspiracy or monster of the week might be, Mulder and Scully are truthfully the reason to love The X-Files.
Out of the Box is a biweekly column by VCReporter staff and contributors about television and streaming content.