The X-Files 11×01 Review: My Struggle III
The first season of The X-Files revival left us dangling nearly two years ago, but the finale that left me asking, “Wait, what? Why?” with all of its loose ends was almost entirely wrapped up in the season 11 premiere, “My Struggle III”.
I suppose I should have expected as much based on the episode name alone, but while “My Struggle III” gave plenty of answers to the season 10 problems, it still introduced some pretty big issues of its own. And I’ll be honest – I’m not sure how I feel about it all.
Of course we knew that the Smoking Man (who has a name that we now know, but honestly how can he ever be anything but the Smoking Man?) was behind so many of the big X-Files mysteries, but it wasn’t easy wrapping my head around the fact that he was still alive when that was revealed last season. Oh, and Reyes is still being awful, despite my hopes that I was wrong about how awful she was and that maybe she wasn’t really up the Smoking Man’s butt (ha, bad pun).
Okay, okay, I know I’m being rude and it sounds like I hated the episode. I also acknowledge that I’m extremely late in writing this review, but I have an honest excuse for that (being at MAGFest all weekend, that is). But at the same time I’m questioning some of the characterization in “My Struggle III”; yes, Reyes, but I never liked her anyway. The real problem was – in my opinion – Fox Mulder.
Seriously, the episode began with him outright refusing to believe that there was anything strange going on in Scully’s head, which is very un-Mulder-like even considering the un-Mulder-like things he did in season 10. He also insisted that she was better off in the hospital…and didn’t change his mind until after he drove all the way to South Carolina only to find out that he’d essentially been led to do so by the Smoking Man’s former partners in crime. This meant that he barely made it back in time to save Scully from being murdered…and also led to a lot of lengthy car chase/driving scenes, most of which didn’t seem to do anything but pad the episode’s length.
As for Scully, well, when she was conscious she was her usual brave and determined self, but I have to hope that “My Struggle III” wasn’t a hint at how much of her we’re (or rather, aren’t) going to see this season. She didn’t have anywhere near as much screen time as Mulder, and while I didn’t count every second (or even minute), I doubt she was both on screen and conscious as much as the Smoking Man or Skinner or even Reyes. I know that the show runners understand that the Mulder/Scully dynamic is a huge part of what made this show as good as it was, but now that Gillian Anderson has revealed that this is absolutely, definitely her final season I’m worried that means we won’t be seeing much of her at all in the next nine episodes.
I suppose it’s good that the writers at least understand that Scully is absolutely amazing – even though she wasn’t there and awake for much of the episode, she was on everybody’s mind. Skinner and Mulder were both worried about her and Reyes and the Smoking Man couldn’t stop talking about her; in fact, they even accosted Skinner and tried to convince him to help them (and to essentially do so in Scully’s name). By helping them, he will supposedly also save himself from the Spartan virus that’s apparently about to wipe out most of humanity…but while Scully and her child William would also be safe (because they’re immune to said virus), Mulder would be…sacrificed, I guess? The Smoking Man acts like he doesn’t care whether his older sons (Mulder and Spender) live or die because guess what – he’ll still have one son left. Because William isn’t Mulder’s son – he’s the Smoking Man’s son.
Even amidst all the other ‘reveals’ in this episode (be they brand new or simply confirming old theories, and they were mostly the latter), it seemed to me that the writers thought they were dropping a bombshell by revealing William’s actual parentage. I for one wasn’t overly surprised, but I’d love to hear from other fans regarding what you thought about this, err, news!
And what about Skinner? I heard that we’re going to learn more about him this season than ever before, but “My Struggle III” was intent on keeping his choices/intents in the shadows. Still, while he has definitely been maddening more often than not, I’m holding out hope that when we find out what he’s up to and why, it won’t be all bad.
What did you think of the season 11 premiere? Were you truly surprised by any of the reveals? Let us know in the comments!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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