Back in the day, The X-Files used sci-fi to tell what was in its essence a romantic literary tale. It was about a quest for a mythical Holy Grail. Suddenly, it’s lost sight of that idealized adventure and it thinks we’ll be satisfied with pure sci-fi. We’re not.
Or perhaps it hasn’t lost sight of it, it just realized that it’s impossible to continue the quest without its resident knight errant: Mulder. The show has to change into something more suited to new leads Doggett and Reyes.
Whether it wants to change or has no choice, I do wish it would evolve into something compelling. This Super Soldier plot isn’t it.
It’s hard to be gripped by an episode when you already know that the premise of the plot is a lie. We established way back in “Deadalive” (8×15) that whatever these new villains are, they’re alien in origin. Could there be more to the mystery of them? I hope so. But that’s the bottom line.
I love The X-Files, but sometimes it can waste too much time on obvious misleads. I was down with it in Season 5. It’s wearing thin now. It’s not misleading if you’ve warned us it’s not the truth.
That said, I don’t have the complete disdain that some fans seem to have for the Super Soldiers storyline. It’s too convoluted for me to know if I should hate it or not.
From what little I can gather, what’s being hinted at here is that our little William is a Super Soldier in the making. That’s right. Between his mother’s manipulated ova and the chloramine in the water, William is on his way to becoming a regular Billy Miles.
And there should be and are other Williams out there, because this program of priming the population to breed natural born Super Soldiers is widespread. That’s why Carl Wormus and Roland McFarland had to die in Part 1. They were whistleblowers who were about to expose the program. And that’s why Shannon McMahon ingratiates herself to Doggett here in Part 2, because she believes he can lead her to who the last whistleblower is.
It just so happens that man is the captain of a ship that mainly stays out at sea, a ship that human ova experiments are being conducted on. Shannon McMahon and Knowle Rohrer appear to know that there’s someone on the ship about to betray the project, but not who it is. This whole complex plan of theirs that spreads over two episodes was designed to flush him out.
The plan is very, very hard to follow. The mythology has always been vague, but never opaque. Or maybe I’m just used to being able to decode the old mythology after long hours of practice. This plot took several rewatches during this one big rewatch before I felt I had a basic handle on it. And that’s not counting previous rewatches and the initial airing.
But if I’m understanding this correctly, two of Doggett’s former military buddies were chosen by the aliens because of their positions and transformed into Super Soldiers. That makes this new mythology uniquely tied to Doggett and his personal history in a similar way to Mulder’s personal history being intertwined with the history of the Syndicate in the old mythology.
Maybe if writers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz had had the time to develop this era of the mythology the way they had time to slowly fashion the old mythology, things would have gotten better. But as I said, I don’t think it’s bad. Emotionless monsters don’t seem as scary as nameless, power-hungry men, though.
One thing I don’t have mixed feelings about is the William development. I thought we settled William. I needed us to have settled William. Mulder and Scully made a baby. The end.
Sure, there was some confusion Season 8. William was normal, then he was alien, then he was superhuman so the aliens wanted to kill him because God was going to use him to punish them, then he was normal again. The Super Soldiers left him alone in “Existence” (8×21) supposedly because he was nothing but a regular baby.
Now he’s showing definite signs of being something other than a regular baby. If that’s the case, why did the Super Soldiers leave him alone? What triggered Scully’s fertility? This Super Soldier program? And… sigh… is Mulder the daddy or what?
If The X-Files doesn’t seem to know how to proceed, I think that’s because it’s basically a brand new show. As I said, the days of Camelot are over. We have two new leads and a new, tenuous direction. Every new show needs time to figure out what it’s good at. Unfortunately, The X-Files didn’t have the luxury of time. The viewers were making themselves scarce like they were being run out by alien rebels.
In Chris Carter’s defense, the Fox network was responsible for keeping the show on life support. From what I’ve read – and feel free to lead me to the right article if I’m wrong – Fox had made it clear they would continue The X-Files with or without Chris and so he signed up rather than see his baby destroyed by other hands and let his crew go down without their captain. I think he stayed for loyalty’s sake more than anything else.
And while I’m not excited about where this baby William thing is headed, nor do I think the new romantic angles were the way to go, it’s not all foreboding. Kersh is finally given something to do besides be a mindless hindrance. It was he who tipped off Mulder and Scully to a potential threat, then it was Scully who chased Mulder out of the house for his own good. Maybe Kersh will be developed the way Skinner grew into something much more interesting than a boss?
And the cancellation of their series means that we see more of the Lone Gunmen which I’m grateful for. They’re put to great comedic use in these episodes, adding a bit of levity to the proceedings, levity Mulder used to provide. They also provide real information to move the plot forward. You go, boys.
I’m less impressed than in the premiere, but I’m not without hope.
It feels like almost the entire fourth act is Scully, Doggett and Reyes wandering around the ship.
This William plot is turning Scully stupid. Get off the ship, girl.
Continuity – Skinner still has the bruise from his encounter in the elevator with Billy Miles in “Existence”.
The Super Soldiers walk around and no one notices those dinosaur scales on their backs? You’d think they’d wear turtlenecks. Sumpthin’.
The title’s quote is misattributed. King George III didn’t keep a diary.
Doggett sees Knowle Rohrer’s decapitated body “kill” Shannon McMahon and he doesn’t run, he turns his back on what’s left of Knowle Rohrer as if it can’t or won’t kill again.
The big explosion at the end feels pretty meaningless, as if they thought that would be enough to entertain us and make us think something important had happened. But, no. Nothing important happened today.
Frohike: You just never know who’s gonna come a knockin’ do ya?
Reyes: How’d you get in here?
Langly: Through the front door with the big happy dude. How’d you get in?
Reyes: Through a security checkpoint.
Frohike: [Displays fake ID] Kid’s stuff!
Reyes: What are you doing here?
Frohike: You sent us packing on this investigation of yours, only we had a small funding fiasco.
Langly: They cut our internet service.
Reyes: Don’t tell me you breached FBI security just to log on…