As with many things about this new season, the plot is confusing even as it is intriguing. It picks up 6 weeks after the events of the season premiere, but it’s form and subject matter give the impression that they happened as recently as the day before. No references are made to the episodes between them, basically telling viewers that in the grand scheme of things, the stories told in them were of no consequence. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it makes one wonder why the show spent time on these stories instead of, say, further developing the one started in My Struggle.
Actually, there are two references made to Babylon, the previous week’s episode. In spite of that show being widely derided by both fans and critics, the producers decided to bring Special Agents Miller (Robbie Amell) and Einstein (Lauren Ambrose) back. You know, because they were such engaging, multifaceted and gosh-darn likable characters the first time around.
On the bright side, the show wisely decides to focus on the originals rather than the parodies. Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is looking for Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), who has once again gone missing under mysterious circumstances. With help and information from Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale), former FBI agent and late series lead Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish), and even the insufferable Agent Einstein, she learns who is behind the conspiracy that led to her and Mulder’s reunion.
The instigator of all this mischief is all too familiar to veteran X-philes. Spending most of the episode away from Scully and searching for his quarry, Mulder tracks down the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), an old enemy who somehow continues to elude certain death. The two get some choice dialogue in and it’s great to see Mulder confront his nemesis once again, but sadly, we only see so much of the Smoking Man before we return to the incomprehensible events taking place elsewhere.
Most galling of all is how the episode, and with it, the season ends. As Mulder succumbs along with millions of others to an infection triggered by alien DNA slowly injected into their bodies by mandatory vaccines, Agent Miller rushes to take him to Scully, who desperately races to find a cure before trying to get it Mulder. The three meet on a bridge filled to the brim with ailing drivers but before she is able to administer the cure, a UFO appears over the bridge. Scully stares in awe at the bright light emanating from it, with the camera zooming into her eye before the credits roll.
I’ll just say this about the ending: I hope Fox plans on making another season because if they don’t, they will have taken a show with one of the best series finales ever and tacked on an uneven season with one of the worst possible cliffhanger endings ever. That’s a note I don’t want The X-Files to end on, and a note I am certain audiences don’t want to end on either.
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