When The X-Files finally closed thirteen years ago, I’ve got to admit part of me was a little relieved. In the eighth and ninth season, the series had become a pale imitation of the series I loved and made appointment television for its first six to seven years. The mythology had become so convoluted that I no longer looked forward to it and the stand-alones had become a bit weaker than we saw in the early days.
When news broke that Fox was going to revive the series, my first thought was — please, don’t let me it be as unmemorable as seasons eight and nine. And the more I heard about who was being brought back for this six episode run, the more intrigued and, dare I say it, excited I became. Maybe, just maybe this six-episode mini-series could channel the series at its best and find a way to send Mulder and Scully off with dignity and grace.
After watching the first installment of the mini-series, I have to admit the results are a bit mixed.
“My Struggle” was no where near as eye-rolling inducing as the final two years were. But it didn’t quite achieve the dizzying heights of the mythology episodes in the first four years.
I’m hoping that my quibbles with “My Struggle” were simply that it had to do a lot of heavy-lifting to bring viewers up to speed on things and that it’s putting the pieces in place for the next five episodes.
A conservative talk show host by the name of Tad O’Malley is trying his best to get in contact with Mulder. O’Malley is convinced that he’s found the evidence of aliens that has always eluded Mulder in the form of Svelta, a woman who says she’s a multiple abductee. Enlisting Scully’s help, Mulder meets with Svelta and O’Malley and is slowly drawn in by their enthusiasm and beliefs.
Interestingly, the story glosses over a lot of the later season mythology while keeping the components that worked in the first few years. We don’t hear anything as to why the date for the invasion has come and gone without the aliens showing up, but I expect we’ll get into that as the series progresses.
We also see Mulder and Scully have gone their separate paths. Scully believes Mulder suffers from depression, sitting alone in his house that is somewhere off the grid (though he does have a cell phone). Mulder is reluctant and skeptical at first — almost like the Mulder arc we saw in season five when his faith was tested and eventually rebuilt.
The script by Chris Carter is typical Carter from the later seasons. It’s got a lot of info-dumps with characters (esp. Mulder) making speeches about things and connecting dots. I did like the connection of the young man at the UFO site in the 40’s becoming Mulder’s inside source in the present scenes, though I think someone needs to tell that poor guy that Mulder’s sources don’t have a long survival rate.
This first episode is all about bringing our heroes back to the FBI and re-opening the X-Files. And for that, I suppose the mission is accomplished. I will admit it was just starting to get interesting and the characters starting to feel like themselves when the big reveal came at the end.
I won’t even get into how or why CSM is alive. I can only hope that the series finds a way to decent way to explain how he’s still here.