So The X-Files revival is over, and after what happened at the end of “My Struggle II” I’m left sitting here asking, what the heck was that?!
It probably didn’t help that the opening credits were switched up a bit for “My Struggle II” – instead of the usual ending where it says “The Truth is Out There”, what flashed across the screen instead was “This is The End”. My reaction to that? “Wait. Wait wait wait. What?!” (Said reaction was only compounded by what happened in the very last scene of this episode.)
Rewinding just a bit, though, “My Struggle II” began with a voice over by Scully, explaining how she got involved with the X-Files and how working with them changed her irrevocably. It was interesting to hear her side of it after hearing Mulder’s at the beginning of the season, but I was thrown off by certain comments that made it seem as if she actually believed the idea that Mulder introduced in “My Struggle” – that being that the entire thing was (and is) a conspiracy of men. Or maybe I should say a conspiracy of humans? Even though it does seem to mostly involve men as the ‘bad guys’…
The thing is, though, I almost forgot about that nonsense because the rest of the episode also left me cocking my head and wondering “No really, wait, what?” over and over and over again. The biggest problem with “My Struggle II” was the fact that it broke one of the golden rules of writing – it told us so, so many things rather than showing them to us. Well, except for maybe the whole bit with Monica Reyes, because at least in that case we got to see her memories as flashbacks as she was telling Scully what she’d been up to. However, that doesn’t excuse the fact that she hooked up with the Cigarette Smoking Man in exchange for her ensured survival…I mean, I never really cared for Reyes as a character, but this seemed over the top even for her. And if she’s immune, and there ends up being more X-Files episodes, will she return? Will I ever like her? Only time will tell. (Though I think the answer to the second question is ‘probably not’.)
On top of that, so much of the telling was done through either the Cigarette Smoking Man’s diatribe to Mulder or Tad O’Malley’s…um…internet show. Yeah, we got to hear about how quickly the world was falling apart through an internet…um…reporter. Listen, sure, a lot of stuff happens on the internet these days, and I get that O’Malley is a character they would want to bring back, but how is he the only voice we hear as the world [supposedly] goes to hell in a hand basket? It’s true that this is all new territory for The X-Files (having something happen on a national – possibly global? – scale, rather than being part of a story that never seems to make it out into the open), but it just felt weird that Tad O’Malley, Internet Conspiracy Theorist, was the only place anyone in this realm was getting their news.
Meanwhile, Agents Miller and Einstein were back, though they were much more relatable in “My Struggle II” than they were in last week’s awful episode. And this time they were paired up in the opposite manner – so we had science-driven Scully and Einstein working together to find the cure for the Spartan Virus while open-minded Miller ran off to Spartanburg, South Carolina, to save Mulder from the Cigarette Smoking Man.
Side note: I currently hail from Greenville, SC, and I’ve lived here for some time, so it was really fun seeing that sign and then seeing Miller discover that Mulder’s phone was in Spartanburg. Though why Spartanburg, of all places…(if you know anything about the area, you know why I’m saying this – if you don’t know anything about the area, you’re lucky, ha).
Anyway, the Spartan Virus turned out to be something that the Cigarette Smoking Man and his minions could just sort of turn on and if I have this right, anyone who’s had a smallpox vaccine was vulnerable…unless of course that person also had alien DNA? Seriously there were times when I simply couldn’t keep track of all the medical jargon babble that was going on, and others when my concentration simply drifted because why in the world was that whole scene where they couldn’t and then could find Scully’s alien DNA really necessary at all? It was low-grade filler, if you ask me.
So basically alien DNA is involved. And the Cigarette Smoking Man mentions (VERY briefly) that aliens predicted everything – global warming, the fall of mankind, etc. etc. But other than that it’s as if they threw the vast majority of the old X-Files mythology out the window with this all-too-real conspiracy theory bullshit. And I’ve gotta tell ya, I’m not loving it.
I am, however, still loving Dana Scully. She was the shining light that guided me through the murkiness of this revival, and while I wish they’d done less telling and more showing in general, I mostly wish they’d done it with her. I briefly mentioned this in my review of “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” (another bright spot in these otherwise dim episodes), but it happened again in “My Struggle II” – she burst out of her lab saying she’d beaten the virus, but we didn’t get to see her working to do so? Though to be honest it did help a little bit that we then got to see her schooling some rioters and rushing to save Mulder’s life like the bad ass she is.
Unfortunately, so much of what we were told about and the little that we were shown was left up in the air with [the aforementioned] ending of “My Struggle II”…because just as Scully found Mulder, only to realize that he needed not just the vaccine but stem cells as well, an alien aircraft of some sort appeared in the sky above her and the episode closed with a zoom-in on her eyeball.
No really, that’s how this revival/miniseries, which for all we know is all we’re ever gonna get because there’s been no news of more seasons after this, ended. I mean, we can assume that the ratings were solid enough for them to maybe do another X-Files movie or perhaps even something more like a full season, but that’s still assuming, and we all know what assuming does.
Do you think there’s a chance that we’ll never find out whether the world truly went to hell, or whether Scully saved it (and Mulder)? What did you think of this episode, or of the revival as a whole? 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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