Chris Carter deals us the very ending that we were dreading, but knew all to well was going to be given.
As X-Files revival episodes go, ‘My Struggle II’ isn’t up there with the greats.
As the third episode written by show creator Chris Carter, ‘My Struggle II’ acts as a part two to you guessed it, the first episode of the revival – again written by Carter. The second instalment is given more from Scully’s point-of-view, balancing with Mulder’s point-of-view in the first instalment. It’s here that we see the full return of the Cigarette Smoking Man which comes as some surprise, since he miraculously survived a rocket to the face in the season nine finale. This is The X-Files, after all.
And with the Cigarette Smoking Man comes the reveal of the conspiracy of mythology introduced in the first episode. CSM and the shadow government are triggering a type of biological warfare upon America – and seemingly the world – which wipes out everyone’s immune system, leaving them susceptible to every illness under the sun.
Upon description, this narrative could have been something, but it didn’t play out that way. This big story really only begins to unfold within the last ten or so minutes. The remainder of the episode is full of clunky dialogue, one hospital full of people falling to this global pandemic and Scully somehow believing she can put together an entirely new vaccine using her alien DNA. Here’s to me thinking Scully couldn’t get any worse than googling how to conduct brain surgery in I Want to Believe back in 2008. And then there’s the long awaited confrontation between Mulder and CSM that we didn’t ask for, which amounted to nothing other than a dying Mulder quipping sarcastic remarks to a man who, for all intent and purposes, should have died back in 2002.
I may sound bitter about this episode, and I’m trying not to be. But it’s hard when a show that has been so highly anticipated ends like this. I’d be kidding myself if I said I enjoyed this episode – it was frustrating more than anything. Then there’s the cliffhanger of Scully not being able to use her vaccine on a near dead Mulder, who actually needs stem cells from their son (whose whereabouts is unknown), all the while having a giant UFO hanging in the air. Which is extremely petulant on Carter’s part, when there’s no conformation of a season eleven in the pipeline. But at least said cliffhanger gave us the four or so minutes of screentime with Mulder and Scully together.
And this isn’t even touching upon Annabeth Gish’s return as Agent Reyes’, who is written terribly and so against her character in the last two seasons. For an ally of Mulder and Scully, she is basically a informant of CSM, offering no answers at all, other than Scully wouldn’t be affected by the pandemic because of her alien DNA.
Hopefully we’ll be given a season eleven, with at least ten episodes to space out and perfect the plot. In hindsight, half of this revival was amazing and the other half felt rushed. The other half being Carter’s episodes, which were still being written whilst the revival was being filmed. Some lessons have probably been learnt here, which is a good thing if season eleven does roll around.
Season 10 of The X-Files is avaliable on 5 on demand, and all seasons are currently being aired (from the beginning) every weeknight on Spike.