‘The X-Files’ 11×10 Review: So Long, and Thanks for All the Pain?

I wondered, for a long time, how this day would feel. The X-Files has meant so much to me for so long that I always figured the closing of this chapter in my life, the absolute certainty that this is it, there’s no going back, would be bittersweet, at best, devastating at worst.

Funny how Chris Carter can make you reevaluate things.

To be sure, this might not be the end of The X-Files. Gillian Anderson says she’s done, and FOX says they’re not doing any more episodes without her, but in this day and age, even that seems less than certain. Carter might decide – he does, after all, suffer from paranoid delusions – that this show was never about Scully and that he can go on telling stories without her, maybe next generation stories, or hell, maybe stories of how Mulder’s life goes on, fighting aliens, while Scully stays at home to take care of their replacement kid. FOX might decide the misogynistic white man is right and give him a green light. David might decide to come back.

But me? I’m done. And not like Gillian, who, even now, still hasn’t convinced me that she’s really done. I’m actually 100% fucking done with this shit, and I’ve never felt freer.

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You know why? Because I’m not just done, I’m erasing this whole season from my mind. Season 10, too. And Season 9 was erased long ago; anyway, so, you know what, I’m just gonna go back to that perfect moment of Mulder and Scully kissing over the head of their infant son. That’s it. That’s my ending. Nothing else happened after, except good things – the kind Carter either doesn’t believe in or doesn’t think make for good TV.

And one of the things that especially did not happen was this …struggle, whatever, thing, that I watched with a bottle of wine and hopes that I’d least feel some nostalgia and, you know, remember the good days.

But nope, it seems like my default revival The X-Files mode is: WTF CHRIS? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? And tonight I am ON BRAND. Totally.

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Not just because none of it makes sense, and trust me, it does not. William, Scully being pregnant at 54, the fact that she – and Chris – expect us to just so easily dismiss William, the one we’ve invested so many years in, as an idea, when neither Scully, nor Chris, nor we, have been able to dismiss Emily, who we KNOW was an experiment, who we ALWAYS knew was one.

But hey, even common sense can take a break when it comes to The X-Files, let me tell you. I’ve given this show plenty of breaks in that regard, over time. Especially when it comes to the mythology. Does anyone care about that? Has anyone ever cared? Because as someone who’s been around twenty five freaking years and lost track of what was supposed to be real and what wasn’t a very long time ago, I can tell you about 99.7% of the people watching this show are not watching it for the mythology, or for the common sense and they certainly aren’t here for Chris Cater’s brilliant writing.

They’re watching for the characters, the kind we sorta hoped would at least get to, you know, spend time together, in the episode that, you know, ends this shit show.

 

But hey, ask and CC won’t deliver. Story of my freaking life.

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Or, he will deliver – deliver recycled plot lines (how many times can the FBI close The X-Files and at this point, why am I supposed to care?), deliver fake emotional moments (all you’ve ever needed to make me feel things is David and Gillian together), deliver twists that make absolutely no sense (how is the CSM even alive in the first place? how can Scully be pregnant again?).

“My Struggle, part IV” is exactly what the title says, a struggle. And not just because, as an ending, it’s the most anticlimactic, slow hour ever, one who just “takes care” of characters fans have invested in for so many seasons, in a pretty cavalier way, but because as an episode of TV, it just never works. This show knows how to do suspense, it knows how to do gore, and considering how much I loved it back in the day, I gotta assume they also know how to make people feel things.

None of that comes through in this episode.

No, Chris. Fans never just wanted a baby – we wanted to SEE Mulder and Scully together, happy, loving each other like we know they do. We wanted actual love declarations, not vague suggestions, and we WANTED A FREAKING LOVE SCENE. We wanted the promise to be fulfilled,  and we wanted to SEE it.

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No, Chris. Fans never wanted William to be a douche, they never wanted him to be the result of medical rape, and they certainly never wanted him to just be an “idea” that Scully (OMFG HAVE YOU EVER MET A WOMAN?) would so easily dismiss and so carelessly replace.

What we wanted, and we certainly didn’t get, was some respect. For Mulder and Scully and their journey. For the actors who made us love this show in the first place, despite you. For woman, in general. For this idea that you created and never did anything to preserve.

But hey – at the very least, now that it’s over, I can tell you what I’ve wanted to tell you for so long: Goodbye. You have no power over me now.

I’m free.

Other things to note:

  • So, hey, William is a douchebag. And he’s not even dead! YAY OPEN ENDINGS. Not.
  • “Just come back alive.”
  • Don’t worry, he will. You’ve always been the expendable one here, not him, Scully.
  • Gillian plays the moment perfectly, but Scully just letting Mulder go by himself to find their son? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah, right.
  • In fact, give Gillian an award for making us feel things even with this shitty ass writing.
  • I forgot you created Scully, but never understood her, Chris. How could I forget?
  • “I had some payback to pay back.” Seriously, Mulder? Seriously?
  • Let’s just kill all the people we haven’t killed in eleven seasons! Even if it doesn’t make sense. Even without closure. No one cares about that, anyway!
  • Yes, why listen to Scully. Why?
  • I have never seen anything more anticlimactic in my life than that Mulder/William reunion. What in the actual fuck was that?
  • How many cars does Mulder have?
  • I bet if The X-Files comes back, CC will find a way to revive CSM. You should have shot him in the head, Mulder.
  • Also, what happened to Monica? Why was she even back, for this crap of a story-line?
  • Not that I care about Skinner, but really?
  • I need alcohol. I need to forget.

The X-Files is over and done with, thank the Lord above.

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