My Struggle IV 11×10: I am tired of looking at him on video.


 

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#howifeel

 

I teared up before I watched this not out of excitement or nostalgia or even because I knew it was the end of The X-Files, but because I knew it was the end of The X-Files and it wouldn’t be good.

I suppose I should have given it a fair shot. But it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for Chris Carter to tie up the shredded loose ends of the mythology in a satisfactory way within the space of one episode. It can’t be done.

So, lowered expectations properly in place, I sat to watch. It’s over now and I’m sad. And I’m sad that I’m sad. I’m sad that I’m not sad the way I was at the end of “Existence” (8×21) when I knew it was the end of an era. I’m not sad the way I was at the end of “The Truth” (9×19/20) when I had the chance to remember the magic. Heck, I’m not even sad the way I was at the end of I Want to Believe when I waved goodbye back at Mulder and Scully in their rowboat from the darkness of a forebodingly empty theater. In that last moment, I was all but sure I would never see my favorite team again. In all three moments, part of me was relieved to see them go while there was still enough of their legacy intact for me to want more of them.

Today, there’s no sweetness in my sadness. I’m sad for The X-Files. I’m sad for 1013. I’m sad for David and Gillian and the years’ worth of unforgettable moments they stretched their acting chops to give the fans. I’m sad for the fans. I’m sad that we couldn’t have a comeback worthy of how great this show was at its peak. No, I would’ve taken Season 1 levels of greatness.

You know what? I’m not just sad, I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed for The X-Files, for 1013, the actors and the fans. This could have been so much more and it should have been. This was a golden opportunity to complete the series in a way that those of us who campaigned for X-Files 3 back in the day didn’t dare to hope for. That opportunity has been squandered. Gloriously.

I’m not even sure how to separate my musings of this episode from my overall feelings of mourning. William may not be dead, but my enthusiasm is.

William. His name is a one-word sentence in my head because I can’t even think of this plot without stopping to close my eyes and tenderly touch my weary head. I need a moment…

So, William. [insert nose bridge pinch here] What we have here, my fellow Philes (for no one but a Phile would still be reading… or watching by this point), is the ultimate retcon. Yes, yes. I know. I was there for Seasons 8 and 9 (unlike some of you, so don’t test me) and I remember the not-so-subtle hints that Williams’ origins were neither natural nor supernatural but manmade. The thing is, after all that back and forth, after all that giving Mulder a son and teasing taking him away, we were all, Mulder and Scully included, left with the conclusion that William was Mulder’s biological child. To pretend otherwise now is disingenuous in the extreme, also known as a right-rotten case of takesies backsies.

Actually, what am I saying? This entire episode is premised on the assumption that everyone had good reason to believe and did believe that William was Mulder’s child. Now, on the word of the Father of Lies… No, on the hearsay word of the Father of Lies as related to Skinner who was given no proof, to Scully who was given no proof, we are now to take it as fact that William was never really Mulder’s son, or Scully’s, for that matter. He was merely an experiment that Scully carried in her womb for nine months.

I know some had hoped that this whole “Luke, I am your father” jagoff shoeshine tip that Chris Carter introduced in the season opener was a mere technicality. CSM was William’s father because he merely medically impregnated Scully. But frankly, I never really bought that. And when we had this little exchange…

Mulder: Your mother has those same visions.

William: Then why don’t you see them?

…I think I threw up a little. Yeah, moving on.

William is Mulder’s little brother whose mother is Mulder’s lover. I know. I said I’m moving on.

Because if that weren’t sketchy enough, Chris Carter has now introduced a new little brother or sister for William. Awwwww.

Let me just. Hold on. Hoo. Okay.

So, everything we suspected in “Plus One” (11×3) was true and nothing will ever be true and right again.

Just kidding. I would have to be emotionally invested in this nonsense for that to be the case. We’re good.

This is not good, though. It’s really not good.

Chris, did you learn nothing from William??? You’re hoping to continue the series with a pregnant Scully AGAIN? Sir… stop it.

Verdict:

I’m also going to stop because otherwise, this will turn into an endless rant. I’d like to give some serious thought to the plot, but how can I when the entire plot was a foot chase for William? William whose hobby, like Darren Peter Oswald before him, was apparently causing death and damage for the thrill of it. William who can’t decide which irrationally adoring girlfriend to run away with. William who Scully is ready to move on from mere minutes after hearing of his (supposed) true origins and after well over a decade of yearning for him from the deep recesses of her heart. She absolved herself of his existence in about 30 seconds. But don’t worry, Mulder. We can still call you Daddy.

Really, I don’t know why Chris Carter thought Gillian Anderson would come back to this. I don’t know why anyone would come back to this. William has been displaced. The X-Files has shut down yet again. CSM is dead yet again. Mr. Y is dead. Erika Price is dead. Reyes is probably dead. Skinner might be dead.

I ask you, what is there to come back to?

I came back to The X-Files because I never really left. As you can see (*ahem*) I’ve already spent an inordinate amount of my imagination on this series. But I can’t go past this point. There has to be an end, Scully. I have now mused and bemused over every episode of The X-Files that exists in my world, and quite a few that don’t.

Naturally, I don’t mean that I won’t continue to obsess and discuss. Please. In fact, I’m going to take advantage of my current rewatch and finally post a couple of personal top ten lists. But from here on out, where 1013 goes, I can’t follow. Not on the screen, anyway. I can’t be a part of a show were William is the new Emily and discarded just as easily.

Nope. Nah uh. Not happening.

Grade: N/A

Crumbs of the Cracked Cookie:

I’m still not sure how I feel about Mulder the action hero. Sure there was Nisei and 731 and train hopping and stuff, but he was never Jack Bauer. He would drop his weapon before he’d kill mere footmen in this war.

What tipped Scully off to the lotto connection in the first place?

Scully looking in the mirror like it’s “Within” (8×1) and wearing a sweatshirt like it’s “Colony” (2×16).

Out with it, Scully. Just tell Mulder what’s going to happen instead of just telling him you know what’s going to happen.

“Kersh is blowing up my phone.” ← Should never have happened.

With CSM gone, does this mean no contagion?

So much for little green men.

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60 responses to “My Struggle IV 11×10: I am tired of looking at him on video.

  1. You took all the words out of my mouth. When My Struggle III aired I was (foolishly) so excited! I got all bundled up with a blanket and a cup of tea and some snacks and…watched CSM try to convince me that he was William’s father. And honestly something just kinda broke for me in that moment. There have been moments of S11 that I’ve enjoyed, but overall I just feel kinda like I’m watching really weird fanfiction that never should have been filmed. And I’m embarrassed because it didn’t have to be this way. The characters and the actors didn’t deserve this. ALLLLL of that said, reading your posts has been a highlight and a validation of my thoughts this season, and I deeply appreciate it.

    • I’m honored. At least if there’s one thing about misery, it loves miserable company.

      I think something broke in me last season, but for the life of William, I can’t tell you what moment it was.

  2. I opted out of this season because of season 10. Unless Chris Carter was replaced as showrunner, I was done. I’m not regretting my decision. And I’m so relieved that Gillian Anderson has decided to hang it up.

  3. The saddest thing is this was the most cohesive of all the My Struggles because there was less dialogue.

    I’d personally be open to more X-Files, as long as Chris Carter has nothing to do with it. Unfortunately I’m still not over this show. I keep seeing comments from people about how they don’t feel anything anymore and I’m like, I WISH.

    Did you read how Carter withheld the ending of the script from Gillian Anderson until four days before they started shooting or something? Not only is he an incompetent showrunner, he’s also kind of an asshole.

    At the end of the day, I mostly just feel sad. I feel like I did at the end of “Nothing Lasts Forever” – The X-Files is being slapped on a screen in front of us and fans aren’t even allowed to enjoy it anymore.

    • Yeah, Carter did withhold the final 4 pages of the script until just prior to shooting. He did go over it with David a bit earlier, but basically said he wanted Gillian’s full-on reaction during that scene. Um…okay, so how much time did Chris get to write and set up that shot? You don’t think actors need a bit of time to get their head around a scene to be able to bring it to their performance? It’s like when someone I work with drops something on my desk at the very last minute that I need to work on and have done ASAP. It not only makes me irritated, but you know without a doubt that you’re not going to get my best work. Same goes for Gillian.

    • There was significantly less expositional vomit. I’ll give it that. But it made me want to vomit, so… Chris Carter giveth and Chris Carter taketh away.

      I wish I could say I was open but I’m not. Frankly, this is starting to infringe on the nostalgia I hold so sacred. It’s not like my love of The X-Files made me blind to its flaws, as you’ve read, but it did make me immune to them. But now what were once forgivable cracks in its armor are now magnified and they’re interfering with the magic. You take away the magic, and episodes like The Post-Modern Prometheus are mere flights of fancy. You take away the magic, and I’ll be brokenhearted. Therefore, I have to stop before I am stopped.

      I didn’t know about the script withholding thing, because you know I read nothing. But that sounds like him. And I doubt he even did it because he was afraid she wouldn’t like it. I bet it was more akin to J.J. Abrams’ “magic box” syndrome. CC’s all about surprises out of nowhere. He probably thought this would get a more “authentic” performance out of her or some such nonsense. You know what? She gave it her best shot – running the gamut of extreme emotional poles within 30 seconds. I salute you, Gillian Anderson. I’m almost sorry that I’ll probably never watch “all things” ever again.

  4. These wonderful characters all bumped off in a matter of couple of minutes. Felt so sudden and jarring.
    When did William jump out of the semi?
    Why is Scully kicking her kid to the curb so easily and quickly?
    Why does gillians face appear frozen in that grimace?

    Why does CC hate us?

    • I too want to know “why?” Why did William ditch safe harbor in the semi just because the guy was a little annoying?

      Why Scully’s sudden rush to spill the beans to Tad O’Malley without any proof?

      Why is Scully so easily disengaged from the lost mother-son relationship she defined herself by?

      Why has CC’s writing inexplicably devolved?

      Why, why, why?

  5. Salome, I really appreciate these posts of yours. But I feel like I owe you both thanks and an apology. I was deeply skeptical when I first heard news of the XF revival, and so I thought “Ah, I’ll let the reviewers tell me about it first.” And now, well… I feel like you’ve taken a bullet for me. I’m disappointed to hear these bad tidings, but surely nowhere near as disappointed as you must be to bear them. Thank you for staying with it to the bitter end.

    • I won’t deny that I went into Season 10 excited but wary and into Season 11 dragging my heels. But I felt like I owed it to the show and everything it’s meant to me.

      But if I still want it to mean everything to me, this has to stop now. It is a bitter end, but it’s made less bitter by the fact that I’m able to detach myself from it as easily as Scully detached from William. So thank you, every moment of The X-Files post-Season 8 for making this final goodbye less painful.

  6. Allow me to join your misery club too. Thankfully in the week between the “Nothing Lasts Forever” and “My Struggle IV”, I grieved the entire week. Not because the show was coming to an end, but I was anticipating yet another aptly titled “My Struggle” episode that follows no logical through line from the characters and stories we’ve come to know in the series. I was expecting something horrible, and oddly, because of it, it was somewhat better than my rock-bottom expectations.

    How better? Well, Mulder and Scully survived and are together. Beyond that…not much else I can be thrilled about.

    *settles in for a major ranting session*

    Where to even begin…Well, let’s start with Mulder’s son…er, brother? Like you, I’m shocked that everyone blindly takes CSM’s word at face value when it comes to William’s paternity. Sorry…I’m not buying it either. CSM has REPEATEDLY lied. Why go with the actual narrative when you can make it up by twisting the narrative to make the story whatever you want it to be to save face? Not sure, actually if that’s CSM’s thinking or that of Chris Carter.

    Enough about Carter…we’ll get to that! William. Of the ideas I’ve heard floating around about how season 12 might happen without Gillian, the most likely scenario is to follow William. Here’s the problem, though. William has turned out to not be all that likable, really. Okay, in Ghouli, he was kind of a punk kid, pranking his two girlfriends. That I can chalk up to basic kids stuff or stupid teenage pranks due to raging hormones or something. However, MS4 made him out to be an overall criminal and generally bad guy (acting out at school, being kicked out of even the “bad kids” schools). Nothing really all that redeemable about him to be honest. Maybe this can justified as an adopted kid “acting out” because he was adopted, but honestly, they’ve taken a character who has potential with his powers to be extremely interesting into something that I’m pretty sure I’d get sick of if we saw too much of.

    Monica/Skinner…Why? Just why was it necessary to kill off two characters who made the show interesting. We got no explanation of why Monica started working for CSM. Reyes would not have been so selfish to save herself and turn on everyone/everything she knew. Yet, it appears we’ll never know the reasons behind it. And our beloved Walter Skinner deserved more than to become roadkill. The scene of Skinner shooting/the car hitting him was pointless. It added nothing more to the story than Chris Carter showing his absolute power over the show, and was extremely unsatisfying to see both fan-favorites taken out so unceremoniously.

    On a side note…I’ve not lost hope for Reyes or Skinner. Could this not have been some vision created by William to force his “father” out to face him? I want to believe…

    Moving onto Scully. Who the heck was this woman in this episode, and what did they do with the REAL DANA SCULLY?!?!? There was absolutely no reason that she needed to reach out to Tad O’Malley with her “end of world” predictions, except maybe to give Joel McHale a bit of screen time. It just served to piss Kersh off & put Skinner in hot water, and with no proof whatsoever. This was a feeling, vision, or premonition…not something based in science or fact. Scully would never jump on something like this and believe! Scully would also NOT be sitting around at home or the FBI waiting around for Mulder’s calls while Mulder is off running after their son. This was too close to Scully’s heart for her not to be at his side, searching for her lost boy too. And that ending, where after years of regrets, longing, and missing her son, she dismisses he meant nothing after a brief conversation with Skinner. Mulder might as well have shot all the fans in the heart too so we wouldn’t have to see this dramatic, and totally out of character moment. So what if William WAS only a result of CSM’s experimentation? William had no say in how he came to be…and is still her son, no matter what! That was cold, heartless, waste-of-Gillian’s talents, and certainly not OUR SCULLY!

    Gillian has said she’s done, and I really think she means it this time. Certainly this season was her final curtain call, done not because of the loads of money she received (we know better) or because she needed a job (again, we know better). No, this seems to be a gift to her fans of the show that launched her career. Chris Carter knew this before the final episode was penned/shot. He had time to make adjustments if needed, but nope…Guess we should be happy it wasn’t a cliffhanger of the alien invasion which will prove to be nothing more than a seizure-induced vision again. Thank you, Chris Carter for this fabulous gift? I’ll be returning it tomorrow to get my money back. Thanks.

    This episode as a whole lacked heart and emotion. Toss away all the bad story ideas that made no sense, there were so many missed opportunities. Why was Scully pushed to the sidelines while we got far too much of Mulder’s car chases/action scenes? Why not show Skinner telling Scully about William’s father? Talk about a real scene for Gillian to shine with her brilliant acting chops!

    Oh…and little Scully or Mulder Jr.? Again, what’s the point here? The last baby worked out oh-so-well, so let’s pull from the same bag of tricks to make this episode shocking. Doesn’t work like that! Tell me that Mulder stating that if he’s not a father, he isn’t sure what he is anymore, followed by Scully telling him “You’re everything to me,” wouldn’t have been even more meaningful. Instead, we’re left with thoughts of two 50 year olds raising their child who will be helping his/her parents move into a nursing home at the same time as they’re heading off to college. It’s the ultimate dream – NOT! So unsatisfying.

    Chris Carter has had 4…that’s right FOUR opportunities to give the fans proper closure for the X-Files! Each opportunity turns out to be nothing more than a wasted opportunity, with each successive end taking away even more of why fans watched in the first place. You’re absolutely right…there’s nothing really more to say. Not really any characters of interest to the Philes left (if we’re to believe the massive body count of this episode, knowing that essentially no one really dies in the X-Files), the mythology has basically been dismantled to the point no one is really sure it holds any meaning, and yet again the X-Files have been shut down. Do we really want to see Mulder still chasing aliens, bad guys, and conspiracy theories all while raising his baby with Scully having died in childbirth? That’s really the only thing left to explore.

    I’m with you, Salome. I’ve watched the X-Files even through the rough patches, and fully supported the show through thick and thin. This time feels different, though. I can’t keep letting Chris Carter chop away at something I love so much. It has to end. I can’t support his half-cocked ideas anymore. He’s lost touch with his characters, can’t keep his own mythology straight anymore, and has basically forgotten how to write a story that will capture the imagination and interest of fans. His “throwing spaghetti against the wall & seeing what sticks” philosophy of writing a show with no end point in sight has frustrated fans for years, but it is now apparent, Chris Carter is not about to change his way. He needs therapy…no, he needs to pay for all the Philes to go to therapy for what he has done to us over the years with his game. I refuse to support his sadistic toying with us hoping against hope for a satisfying resolution that will likely never come. I’d rather remember it like it was…like it all was.

    • Chris Carter has had 4…that’s right FOUR opportunities to give the fans proper closure for the X-Files

      He has indeed, but that also speaks of the reasons why the series degenerated the way it did.

      The truth is they did kind of wrap it up in the middle of Season 6. They did not wrap it up satisfyingly or conclusively in any way, but that could have been (with some further additions) an OK ending for the mythology as it unfolded over the first 5 seasons.

      The problem is that up to that point they were able to keep themselves out of being painted into a corner by internal inconsistencies. There were a ton of those, of course, but they did not become jarring because the scope of the conspiracy was expanding and expanding so there could always be a way to explain the inconsistencies through hoping for more information to become available in the future. Had they ended where they were there, or at least decided to keep things consistent within the established framework, it might not have turned into a complete disaster.

      But then the Season 6 finale comes, and they begin to go totally off the rails with new twists that make very little sense given what has been established prior to that, and it was all downhill from there (with the occasional MoTW exception here and there). I remember very well watching Biogenesis/The Sixth Extinction back then and the WTF reaction I had to it all.

      It is no surprise that we got to this point at all.

      But the way things turned around at the end of Season 6 speaks a lot about why they did.

      The X-Files is a product of Hollywood after all (even if it was made in Vancouver during its heydays). And Hollywood warps people’s minds in certain ways, especially once they pass a certain threshold of fame and wealth. Then they get into all sorts of crazy nonsense (scientology, Deepak Chopra-style quantum woo, etc. etc.). The X-Files was a mix of horror, sci-fi, and paranormal stories, but it only started getting infused with that sort of nonsense towards the end of Seasons 6 and in Season 7 (and ever since). But it could never work well that way, because that is not what it was about.

      And that’s probably how we ended up with the mess that the mythology has been ever since the calendar turned to the year 2000 — I always got the sense that key people (CC chiefly) got victims of that classic Hollywood disconnect from reality, and once that happened, the show was doomed.

      So in retrospect, it was always naive to expect a proper resolution, or for the series to somehow turn it around and go back to its previous level. It was never happening.

      Besides, it wasn’t the 90s anymore, and that dark spooky atmosphere simply couldn’t be recreated. In the viewer’s minds, most of all, who now live in a very different world.

      • “‘Chris Carter has had 4…that’s right FOUR opportunities to give the fans proper closure for the X-Files’

        He has indeed, but that also speaks of the reasons why the series degenerated the way it did.”

        Spot on. Which is why this Revival is running interference on the original show. It only serves to make the poor writing in the original run go from clear to glaring.

        “The truth is they did kind of wrap it up in the middle of Season 6. They did not wrap it up satisfyingly or conclusively in any way, but that could have been (with some further additions) an OK ending for the mythology as it unfolded over the first 5 seasons.”

        Exactly. With some tweaks and a few more answered questions, this series could have and probably should have been wrapped up in 6 seasons. I usually say Season 7 would have been a more natural end, but that’s only because Samantha hadn’t been dealt with yet and because “Requiem” was a masterpiece of bookending, both reasons of which could have been handled earlier. The mythology and 90% of the standalone episodes in Season 7 were already dead. Really, truly, Season 5 would have been the *peak* time to end it and then take it from there into a movie franchise. I would have been heartbroken, but it’s true. Yes, they had great stories left they could have told, but most of those opportunities were squandered.

        “The problem is that up to that point they were able to keep themselves out of being painted into a corner by internal inconsistencies. There were a ton of those, of course, but they did not become jarring because the scope of the conspiracy was expanding and expanding so there could always be a way to explain the inconsistencies through hoping for more information to become available in the future. Had they ended where they were there, or at least decided to keep things consistent within the established framework, it might not have turned into a complete disaster.”

        It was the ever-expanding, unplanned nature of the conspiracy that was its downfall. To a point, it caused them to stumble upon some great stories and turned a vaguely connected set of government conspiracies into a mythology. You can see where it starts to take coherent shape at the end of Season 2/beginning of Season 3. Then it was planned and mapped out which is how they (mostly) avoided inconsistencies so bad that they slapped you out of the fantasy. But CC and Co. really only planned up to a point and it shows in everything past midway through Season 6. Even what we do have in Season 6 is rushed to an unpolished conclusion. Once we hit the pseudo-religious scope of mythology introduced in “Biogenesis”, I knew it was all over. It was just too big and unwieldy, too grand for a show that started out firmly grounded in the real world. And a few years later, we had an intergalactic superhuman baby messiah.

        “The X-Files was a mix of horror, sci-fi, and paranormal stories, but it only started getting infused with that sort of nonsense towards the end of Seasons 6 and in Season 7 (and ever since). But it could never work well that way, because that is not what it was about.”

        EXACTLY.

        “So in retrospect, it was always naive to expect a proper resolution, or for the series to somehow turn it around and go back to its previous level. It was never happening.

        Besides, it wasn’t the 90s anymore, and that dark spooky atmosphere simply couldn’t be recreated.”

        Maybe it was naive of us all. But this is almost nothing like the creep fest, paranoid mystery show that it was at the beginning.

        • Once we hit the pseudo-religious scope of mythology introduced in “Biogenesis”, I knew it was all over. It was just too big and unwieldy, too grand for a show that started out firmly grounded in the real world. And a few years later, we had an intergalactic superhuman baby messiah.

          Spot on.

          And doubly infuriating given that this is a classic trap a lot of sci-fi/fantasy long-running stories fall into. Superheroes are notorious for that — the character starts as an average person gaining some limited powers due to a freak accident (something people can relate to), then over time his powers inflate and the battles he fights become more and more grandiose, and at that point things are so ridiculous only a few diehard fans still pay any attention, and even they are grumbling about the whole thing.

          The X-Files used to be different. The characters, the settings, the often disturbing subject matter, the dark mood, the cinematography, everything was so out of the conventional Hollywood norm. That’s what made it great.

          But it could not find enough internal strength to stay that way and not succumb to the trappings of desperately trying to stay interesting by upping the stakes.

          • “The X-Files used to be different. The characters, the settings, the often disturbing subject matter, the dark mood, the cinematography, everything was so out of the conventional Hollywood norm. That’s what made it great.

            But it could not find enough internal strength to stay that way and not succumb to the trappings of desperately trying to stay interesting by upping the stakes.”

            I think this about sums it up. Upping the stakes is fine and I was with it in Seasons 2 and 3 and much of Season 4. But you have to stop upping the stakes at some point before you break the believability barrier. I’m not saying The X-Files was ever realistic, but the story has to be logical and believable within its own world.

            Once upon a time, we could believe Mulder and Scully. But at this point, a failed galactic colonization and 50+ plot revisions later, and the only thing we’re sure of is that Mulder and Scully have no clue what’s really happening. Why should we follow them? How can we follow them?

      • GM…I’ve always thought there were really only 2 ways to wrap up the series: 1) Mulder finds his sister – the REAL sister, not some clone acting as such or 2) Mulder and Scully get together.

        Guess we did get both of these in the series in some way. Closure and the whole “starlight” idea to me was not really a satisfying ending to the whole Samantha arc, though. I’ve always viewed it more as Mulder coming to terms that he’d done all he could for his sister, and it was okay to move on instead of carrying his guilt and devoting much of his life to searching for her.

        Existence did feel like how the show should end. In hindsight, I’d have been just fine if that was it for the X-Files. While I really enjoyed Doggett & Reyes, and will list them as two of my favorite characters in the series, the two of them investigating cases together should have been a spinoff or separate from the Mulder/Scully X-Files. Having Mulder abandon Scully with their newborn son (you can’t tell me William is not Mulder’s son until I get scientific proof…not the word of a habitual lier) was so out of character! The show would have been better to not have Scully in it at all by the 9th season and focus on a different/new mythology, so basically a “Next Generation” X-Files or something like that. A clear separation from the X-Files we knew (Mulder & Scully focused) would have made the Doggett/Reyes season much better. In that way, we could have forgone the whole separation of the Mulder-Scully family unit due to Duchovny’s departure to make a cohesive storyline and instead assume Mulder, Scully, and William went on to live a happy life together, which IMHO is all the fans really wanted anyway.

        Guess not only does Chris Carter hold some of the blame for this mess that appears to have no way to end that makes sense, but we as fans need to assume some responsibility too. We got greedy, wanting to see more of our favorite duo. At times, the angst of a season largely keeping Mulder and Scully apart worked (Trust No 1), but most of the time it left us scratching our heads. If we’d have been content with what we had, this likely wouldn’t have happened.

        • What you say goes to the heart of the fundamental split in the viewing audience of the show.

          Guess not only does Chris Carter hold some of the blame for this mess that appears to have no way to end that makes sense, but we as fans need to assume some responsibility too. We got greedy, wanting to see more of our favorite duo.

          “We” do indeed.

          There are two reasons why people watched it — for the cases or for Mulder and Scully. With some overlap, but the split was definitely there.

          Both of the conclusions you list strike someone who was viewing the show for the stories first and the characters second (such as me) as trivial irrelevancies. Personally I am one of those few weirdos (might be an an occupational disease) who subscribe to the Asimov school of writing (i.e. “characters” and “characterization” mean little when you have more important information to transmit).

          The problem was that the “shippers” were clearly a majority. And, somewhat paradoxically, that the show runners were to an extent listening to fans. Combine that with the showrunners’ own apparent descent into “spiritual” madness, and you got the degeneration into a pseudoreligious soap opera that we got.

          The more you focus on the “characters” and the “relationship” in a context such as that of the X-Files, the more you run the risk of mixing up the characters into what they are investigating and breaking the winning formula. Which is indeed what happened. It also ensured that there could never be a viable continuation without Mulder and Scully, not that there should have been an attempt to do one.

          If you ask me, what they should have done is have ~7 seasons, but without going that much further into the mythology than they did in 5 and a half seasons. There was plenty of stuff unexplained, a lot of very interesting flashback episodes could have been made providing backstories, etc. etc, you could stretch it easily to seven season and provide also all the cool MoTW episodes that would not have happened otherwise. But money had to be made, so the movie came, broke the continuity even more badly than it was already, then the TV show got extended to seasons 6 and 7, etc., and we know the rest.

          • I agree. I would have been happy with the focus on the cases with only hints of a relationship being teased as per seasons 2 to around 4. Most everyone I know looks to the middle episodes as the best of the series and I’m thats why.

            • The middle seasons actually feature episodes that go out of their way to move things away from a possible relationship (e.g. Syzygy). Chris Carter, to his credit, at that time had the common sense to be strongly against it. Alas, it did not last..

          • I’m going to disagree partially and say that I think it was plot driven. The plot is what made Mulder and Scully and their relationship larger than life. By the end of “Paper Clip”, they had reached a point of no return – Scully’s sister had been killed, Mulder’s father had been killed, Mulder had been brought back from the dead by a mysterious and ancient tribal ritual, Scully was psychically connected to Mulder, they were on the run from the government like Bonnie and Clyde – in other words, the plot forces them to a point where they only had and could only trust each other.

            After all, a good plot is what creates memorable characters since just as people grow through experiences, characters come to life through their responses to situations.

            That’s why in “Milagro”, CC seems to concede that his characters have taken themselves where he didn’t design them to go. He wrote the story that brought the characters to life, but the development of their relationship was organic and not conscious.

            NOW, once 1013 made CONSCIOUS efforts to present Mulder and Scully as a romantic couple, that’s when the train started to derail off the tracks.

    • “Why go with the actual narrative when you can make it up by twisting the narrative to make the story whatever you want it to be to save face? Not sure, actually if that’s CSM’s thinking or that of Chris Carter.”

      You know who it fits. What has amazed me this rewatch, and why I slowed down drastically once I hit Season 5, is how very different the world of TXF was in the beginning vs. what it is now. It’s taking place in a completely different universe with far more grandiose stakes. Once upon a time, Mulder and Scully were two normal if abnormally intelligent people with normal haircuts who investigated incidents that straddled the border between normal and abnormal. That was it. There was always something tangibly real involved, something Scully the scientist could investigate. And there was always the sense that these strange things were happening and could happen in the real world. It was like the veil to the unknown possibilities of science were being momentarily lifted every episode. That was it. There was no cockroach-like CSM surviving every personal apocalypse that came his way. There was no planned Mars colony. There was no mutant messiah child.

      “Of the ideas I’ve heard floating around about how season 12 might happen without Gillian, the most likely scenario is to follow William. Here’s the problem, though. William has turned out to not be all that likable, really.”

      I haven’t heard these ideas, but I’m not following this kid. You know what? Mulder was infuriating sometimes but he still managed to be likable. There’s a reason Scully stuck by him. This William is angsty for no reason. I say that because of his history as related via monologue. He had a happy childhood, but some kids thought he was weird because he made people bleed out of their ears. Funny that. So he decided to become D.P.O. and crash cars for fun. Right. His character arc makes perfect sense.

      Meanwhile, I don’t think CC explained what happened with Reyes because I don’t think he can. I think he thought it’d be a shock to see her in the role of CSM’s henchman and so he put her there and then forced the story to happen around it. I doubt he gave much thought as to whether it fit the overall story or the character.

      Scully spilling the beans to Tad O’Malley made no sense. Scully not realizing Mulder wasn’t Mulder made no sense. Scully moving on so quickly from William made no sense.

      “Thank you, Chris Carter for this fabulous gift? I’ll be returning it tomorrow to get my money back. Thanks.”

      We really should be reimbursed for this.

      CC seems to want to trade in shocks and surprises. Problem is, shocks and surprises don’t compensate for poor plotting and characterization. And his shocks and surprises are neither shocks nor surprises.

      Discuss.

      We all knew that baby was coming since “Plus One”. I expressed my horror in the comments section back then. I’m only disgusted to see we weren’t wrong. And the William-as-Mulder thing was predictable too.

      • “You know who it fits.”

        In today’s world of “fake news”, I could think of many people, actually. However, in the X-Files, I really think Chris is living vicariously through CSM. Both are puppet-masters, getting a thrill out of creating chaos for really no reason, even “scientifically” raping Scully. Maybe Chris Carter didn’t actually experiment on our heroine in real life, but he certainly planted that seed in his episodes. Plus Carter has essentially ruined the Scully that we knew by making her into this cold, unfeeling woman who brushes off a child she bore for 9 months, tried desperately to raise him alone, and when she couldn’t, gave him up in hopes he would have a better life at the expense missing out on watching him grow and her own guilt.

        Almost wished there would have been a series of deaths for CSM in MS4. For example: William explodes CSM’s head just as his bullet hits Will, at the same moment Mulder shoots him. CSM hits the water, sinking as the air bubbles cease, and a massive explosion raining his flesh high into the air. Gross, I know. However, I just feel like this, no matter how crazy, morbid, and outlandish this might seem, it would basically show just how CSM has cheated death so many times, with each successive return from death becoming more and more ridiculous. At least if we saw something like that, fans might actually say, “Wow…he really is dead this time. No way he’s coming back from that.” At this point, CSM will likely be nursed back to health by a mermaid or something, as Carter seems incapable of doing away with him…because he IS CSM.

        “I’m not following this kid. You know what? Mulder was infuriating sometimes but he still managed to be likable.”

        Exactly! The other rumor I’ve heard was that Season 12 might be based around Einstein and Miller. *insert eye roll here* As unlikable as William is, Einstein is equally so, but in a get-pissed-at-you-for-no-reason, nails-on-a-chalkboard sort of way. Miller, on the other hand, might be a bit more likable, but is as exciting as watching paint dry. I’ll pass on a William or Einstein/Miller version of the show. No thanks!

        “Meanwhile, I don’t think CC explained what happened with Reyes because I don’t think he can. I think he thought it’d be a shock to see her in the role of CSM’s henchman and so he put her there and then forced the story to happen around it.”

        Likely true. So tired of Chris’ “fly by the seat of his pants” style of writing. A story isn’t just being in the moment, it’s knowing where you’re going too. Reyes deserved more than to be a novel plot device.

        “CC seems to want to trade in shocks and surprises. Problem is, shocks and surprises don’t compensate for poor plotting and characterization. And his shocks and surprises are neither shocks nor surprises.”

        Same bag of tricks, different day. Things we’ve seen before: A “miracle baby”, CSM repeatedly lying, dying, and rising from the dead to wreak more havic, pointless character deaths, poor characterization…I’m sure I could go on, but what’s the point? CC isn’t about to ever change his ways.

        • Even then, we wouldn’t be able to be sure of CSM’s death. For one thing, he’s been experimenting on himself genetically. And whatever he’s done, he was able to regenerate after being incinerated by a missile. For two things, WE CAN’T TRUST ANYTHING THE X-FILES SAYS OR DOES. Chris Carter has made sure of that.

          Twists and turns are one thing. But if we can’t believe anything we see on the screen because you’ve flip-flopped the plot so much… it’s over.

          TBH, I forgot Miller and Einstein existed. Totally forgot. No one could base a show on characters so boring. Maybe CC gave up on the idea of using them in any significant way in the future since he thought better of hamfisting them into the finale.

  7. Ok some pre episode thoughts. I’m actually dreading watching this episode. The reason being based on the not so good previous ‘My Struggle’ episodes, and that I don’t trust Chris Carter to give the fans a proper and satisfying ending and CLOSURE. That’s all I wanted from this revival was to put the x files finally to bed. I wasn’t even concerned with motw episodes. I just wanted to see the planned alien invasion with Mulder & Scully saving the day. Well Chris Carter wrote off 10 seasons and 2 films of mythology with one line – “the aliens aren’t coming, no interest in a warming planet”. Thank you Chris Carter for that. I so wish Season 10/11 was one continuous storyline about the invasion. It would have been the perfect ending. Instead we got Chris Carter trying to recapture past glories and to extend the franchise. Anyway, my expectations are rock bottom.

    So based on what we do have this is what I want from “My Struggle IV”:

    Mulder & Scully to be reunited with William

    The Cigarette Smoking was dead all along, it was a fake clone version or him or something. I still can’t get over he survived a missile strike.

    Redemption of Monica Reyes.

    Most of all an ending and NO cliffhanger.

    Closure.

    Anyway here goes:

    It’s William’s Struggle, yay. I was hoping for that. NO it’s not going to happen. CSM will not shot Mulder dead. I don’t believe it.

    So Kersh is closing the x files? No biggie. How many time have we heard that? Oh not Tad O’Malley again please. Haha, Trump picture in the hallway. I bet Chris Carter hated putting that on the wall. Thank you Monica, thank you! Finally some redemption. Some nice shooting Mulder, I like ruthless Mulder.

    Ok the chase scene with William, it became night very very quickly. Like when Mulder was on the ski lift in “Ascension” 2X06. So was Monica lying with her tip off, trying to throw Mulder & Scully of the scent? How did William get out of the truck without Mulder seeing him? Mark snow reuses a bit of score from “Drive” 6X02 when the girl says to Mulder “I don’t believe your his father”. When Mulder finds William I felt a bit emotional, yes Mulder hug him. OMG gross deaths – but so cool William! So did Skinner actually tell Scully CSM was the father, or did Scully zone out and not hear it?

    Mr Y’s and Erika Price’s character’s seem an bit pointless to be honest. Brought in for what effect? As usual with the x files characters are never fully developed (asides from Mulder & Scully).

    Was Monica shot dead? If so, (which I later read she was) I don’t feel sad or upset about it. Although I will feel sad when I rewatch seasons 8 & 9 knowing now where they will take this character.

    It was clear that it was William talking to Scully and not “Mulder”. I knew it! They can’t kill Mulder. For a second I wasn’t sure. But now I have the sad realisation that William is dead. CSM killed again. The scene was robbed of its dramatic resolution as he’s been killed so many times. If there is anymore x files (which I hope not) I expect Chris Carter will resurrect him again. Is Skinner dead, where is he?

    Gosh I am more upset by Williams death than Scully seems to be. She is being a bit heartless to Mulder. Mulder looks genuinely devastated.

    My god she is pregnant again! All that theorising about “Plus One” is true. I’m kind of glad because it gives Mulder & Scully hope and a new chance of happiness. It gives me a sense of closure they will live a happy life now, and they really deserve that. But it’s familar ground again, “Reqiuem” 7X22 anyone? And aren’t they a bit old now to be parents again?

    One last it’s over, but it’s not over ending, and in this case I’m genuinely happy William is still alive. But it seems he will never find peace.

    So the impending virus apocalypse went nowhere really. All the ‘This Man’ sightings in the episodes, what did they amount too? Well at least the whole season wasn’t a dream or vision.

    Overall somewhat satisfying as an ending. But Monica’s motives weren’t revealed so that was annoying. Also it wasn’t really explained how the CSM was William’s father.

    Anyway I hope I can find peace now, and let go of the x files. It will always be my all time favourite show and I will continue to rewatch for years to come.

    B

    • “So based on what we do have this is what I want from “My Struggle IV”:

      Mulder & Scully to be reunited with William”

      Yes and then no.

      “The Cigarette Smoking was dead all along, it was a fake clone version or him or something. I still can’t get over he survived a missile strike.”

      No, but he’s “dead” again if that helps.

      “Redemption of Monica Reyes.”

      She called Mulder and Scully with a failed tip. At least she tried.

      “Most of all an ending and NO cliffhanger.”

      It’s a failed cliffhanger with no suspense. Does that count?

      “Closure.”

      I’m closed.

      • I’ve had time to digest this episode now and I’ve rewatched it. I’ve read various scathing reviews and I have to agree with them. All I feel is bitterness and resentment to Chris Carter. I feel he has completely ruined the show and it’s legacy. He had ruined my enjoyment and passion for it. I feel sorry for Gillian Anderson and back her 100% never to return to the x files. She did it for the fans and I appreciate that gesture of her’s truly. It’s such a shame Chris Carter destroyed it all. I feel like a need to detox from the x files and leave it in the past. I’ll never forgive Chris Carter. I feel sad that he’s done this.

        Regrading episode: F

  8. What to say about the final episode? Well, it was not as bad as I feared it could have been, but at the same time, it is definitely not the ending I wanted, nor do I think it is the ending either the fans or the characters deserved. It did, however feel like an ending, which is something, I guess. However, it felt more like an ending that would have been appropriate about the ‘I Want to Believe’ era. If it had ended like that back in 2006, I think it would have been satisfied, and quite optimistic about Mulder and Scully’s future, but here, it was too late, and more of a thing of distress than fulfilment.

    1. The previous ‘My Struggle’ episodes opened with a character background history. I liked them in those instances because of the nostalgia and because it brought back all the love for that given character. Here, however, we know nothing about William bar his first year of life, so when we hear him saying how he used his powers to hurt people, it makes us dislike him. We have no opportunity to understand the reasons behind his actions, and we don’t have enough time in this one episode for him to develop as a character, and for the audience to grow to like him. I said previously that I didn’t mind that William turned out to be a bit of a douchebag, and I don’t have objection to that. To turn him into someone who has intentionally hurt others for no reason, and without a chance for him to atone or be understood, however, means that we can’t identify or care about him. I kind of wish we got the William, Mulder and Scully envisioned in their fantasies.
    2. Despite the fact that we have already had three ’My Struggles’, this episode really needed to be a two-parter to do it justice. As it stands, we got half a plot, lacking explanations and poor conclusions to character arcs. There was not time for both, so we got a little bit of each, but nothing fulfilling from either.
    3. What was with Monica’s decoy about William bring in the plane? First of all, Scully already intuitively knows he’s not on it, so there is no audience tension about it. Second, why did Monica give this false information in the first place? If she was trying to help them, then it doesn’t make sense to lie, and if she is intentionally trying to deceive them, it’s not on CSM’s orders, as she keeps her actions secret from him. Did she believe the information to be correct, and if so why?
    4. This is the last episode of the series, and Mulder and Scully are separated for most of it :~€
    5. In one of Scully’s visions, there is a brief image of her ultrasound. It’s dated 2015. Huh?
    6. If Scully saw her ultrasound during a vision, then William must know she’s pregnant too…?
    7. I like the scene at the shop with the bitter shop assistant who just happened to going on duty five minutes after the last person was given half of William’s winnings.
    8. William’s superpowers are way over the top. He’s practically unstoppable now, and doesn’t seem to have a problem killing people, so why is he insistent on going on the run when he can just make his enemies go ‘splat’ with a single thought?
    9. William being so powerful makes his character less interesting and less believable. I thought we were getting a more advanced Gibson Praise, but his powers are just ridiculous.
    10. The scene where he made those people explode from the inside out was almost comical. Once again as case of showing too much. Anyone else reminded of the Star Trek:TNG episode, ‘Conspiracy’?
    11. Mulder gets to have a conversation with William, but Scully is denied seeing her son in his real form yet again.
    12. It was obvious that she wasn’t speaking to Mulder before they even uttered a word to each other. William already did the exact same thing to her in ‘Ghouli’
    13. It is also 100% obvious CSM is shooting William, not Mulder. Aside from the fact that William was ahead of Mulder in the chase, the blood spatter pattern on his clothing is a dead giveaway.
    14. I was also certain that when William was shot, he wasn’t actually dead.
    15. Before season 11 started, I concluded that there were three possible fates for William: a) He meets Mulder and Scully, but in the end decided to live with his adoptive parents. b) His adoptive parents die and he goes to live with Mulder and Scully c) He dies d) he has a genuine conversation with Scully explaining telling her to let him go, and Scully finally coming to terms with it. The last was my preference. Halfway through ‘Ghouli’, obviously a) was eliminated, by the end of the episode, I’d eliminated b). In the end we got a mixture of c) and d), but this just felt to harrowing because Scully never got that heart to heart conversation.
    16. Scully does probably know, however, that William is alive from her visions. She doesn’t tell Mulder, however, because she realises he’ll never stop searching if he thinks William is alive. Just like with his sister. I think this is why Scully isn’t in complete pieces at the end because she knows he’s alive.
    17. I think the speech she gave at the end is very badly worded, I don’t think it was meant the way it came off sounding. It sounds like she’s saying it doesn’t matter that William is dead because he was an experiment and not really theirs. This would be completely unScully. We have seen how much she considered Emily her daughter despite her being an experiment, only knowing her for a week, and nit even giving birth to her. Scully, up until two minutes previous (after she’d learnt the truth from Skinner) said how much she loved William and wanted to protect him. The way the speech is written contradicts this, but I interpreted these words differently, and it was her attempt to break the news to Mulder. Her emotional state at the time resulted in it being poorly phrased.
    18. On the other hand, did she really need to tell Mulder at all? Wouldn’t it have been kinder to withhold the fact? What does it matter if he’s the biological father or not? He was still William’s father, just like Bill Mulder was really Mulder’s real father, despite biology.
    19. Mulder’s line about ‘if I’m not a father, then what am I?’ Didn’t feel quite right. Although he’s always loved William, I don’t think until recently that he ever felt the need to find William, and could have managed through life not meeting him. In this episode he had a complete character arc, and needed William as much as Scully had felt the need to find him. But fatherhood is never something that defined him. That doesn’t stop the pain being any greater; again it’s just the phrasing.
    20. Back in ‘Plus One’ some people commented that they were worried Chris Carter would make Scully pregnant again. It was a well founded fear. It wasn’t one I thought would come to pass to be honest, but sadly it did.
    21. I know women in their fifties can get pregnant, but it doesn’t just happen by random chance there has to be medical intervention. Even if it did happen by random chance, Scully has no ova, so it is impossible. Was there medical intervention? Not as far as Scully knows, because she tells Mulder she doesn’t know how it’s possible.
    22. Unless Scully was abducted again and no one noticed. Not likely.
    23. Putting the lack of logic and plausibility to one side, how incredibly cruel is Chris Carter being to our beloved characters?
    24. After all the trauma with William, imagine the fear Scully is going to have through this pregnancy.
    25. And what about Mulder. He’s just witnessed the son he’s been madly searching for being shot in the head, only moments later to be told he is not the biological father after all. But hey, don’t worry, you are the father of this baby, so everything is okay. Talk about cruel, Chris.
    26. And no let’s think about it. Bu the time this new child is 12, Scully will be 67 and Mulder 71. Can’t they at least have a peaceful retirement?
    27. Why bring Monica back simply to sully her name, briefly redeem herself, and then get shot by one of her former allies? It’s an injustice to the character.
    28. And if that was injustice, I don’t know what to call what they did to poor Skinner. At first, I thought he’d rolled under the car for cover, but then in the next scene we see he has been run over and is unmoving. He doesn’t deserve such a pathetic death. He didn’t deserve to die at all. It was gratuitous and unnecessary. It didn’t add anything, only took away. For what it’s worth, in my mind, Skinner is not dead. He’s survived worse. Get him to a hospital and he’ll be fine.
    29. The one death that was needed was CSM’s. Definitely not as grand as in ‘The Truth’, but by this point he doesn’t deserve to go out in flames. Mulder shot him. A lot. And he was the person who needed to do it.
    30. Before his death, however, he ‘killed’ ‘Mulder’ without hesitation. This is contrary to all his previous behaviour, most recent example being Scully’s vision, in which he wants Mulder to take the immunity chip. While I don’t doubt CSM would have killed him, I don’t think it would have been so cold a process. There is usually something behind the eyes.
    31. Still no explanation as to why his face magically regenerated.
    32. Now onto the mythology. So what’s happening with the alien invasion? The members of the Neo-Syndicate are dead, so that’s space colonisation scuppered. CSM is dead (again), so no alien virus purging the planet. But the aliens are still out there wanting to colonise Earth, so is that still meant to be happening or what?
    33. Supersoldiers wanted to take William when he was born. Maybe it’s because William is the next generation of Supersoldier? Maybe that’s why he didn’t die when shot.

    • “8. William’s superpowers are way over the top. He’s practically unstoppable now, and doesn’t seem to have a problem killing people, so why is he insistent on going on the run when he can just make his enemies go ‘splat’ with a single thought?
      9. William being so powerful makes his character less interesting and less believable. I thought we were getting a more advanced Gibson Praise, but his powers are just ridiculous.”

      Yep, yep. He’s one of the X-Men now, something this episode had the grace to at least acknowledge. I always thought of him exactly like that too – a more advanced Gibson Praise.

      But then, look how 1013 treated the character of Gibson Praise when he was once trotted out before us as the “key to everything.”

  9. I just hope the X-Files is gone for good.
    Season 10 & 11 were a joke, I can’t develop here because I would be too long, plus you’ve already said it all, Salome, and better than me.

    I just don’t know if now that Chris Carter opened again a new door on another comeback to the series (really CC, WTF ?!) if i’m going to watch it. I’m a fan of the show, so that’s the only reason I watched season 10 and 11 while I knew beforehand they would suck. I watched and noted that it did suck.
    For a potential season 12 ? Without Scully ? I don’t think i’ll prolong the suffering, but you never know.
    Fans like me are stupid, sometimes 😦

    • I think it is gone for good, at least in any screen-related format. I wouldn’t mind a few (many) more comics written by Frank Spotnitz.

      The only way the fans can speak is by refusing to accept less than from 1013. Money talks. Even if something does come out, I’m not watching unless they’re ready to do this television legacy justice.

  10. I’ve got some stuff to say, but for now: I have been DYING to ask you all about this for months:

    One of the characters who I was so so sad never to see again after “One Son” was Cassandra Spender. She was the absolute best of the abduction victims, and then when we found out she was CSM’s wife her character developed perfectly – she *hated* CSM, rather than being terrified of the aliens.

    We last saw her probably about to be burned to death. A rebel looked down at her, we saw her, then we never saw her again.

    BUT LAST YEAR SHE CONFIRMED THAT SHE WAS GOING TO BE IN SEASON 11!

    She said it to a reporter.

    I have been so excited to see her. Cos it *might* mean that some decent writing was coming our way – it might’ve meant that Carter realised how badly he was treating Reyes and wanted to bring back another popular character.

    SO WHERE WAS SHE?

    • Yes! I completely forgot about that. Such a shame, would have been so cool. I guess she took a look at the script and said no thanks. Maybe that’s why we got Jeffery instead. His appearance turned out to be pointless as well.

      I think it’s best to believe now the show ended from season 7. That was the natural end point. I do like season 8 as it has urgency and new direction. This revival has been totally devastating for fans. Characters history ignored, rehashed plots, no cohesion, character’s we know and love completely destroyed. I blamed one person, the George Lucas of x files – Chris Carter.

      • I kind of agree, although I really don’t like Requiem as the ending. Firstly, in that episode Mulder said to Scully “I don’t think they’re coming back” – somehow, Mulder had the impression that the aliens were now cleaning up after themselves, meaning if he did get abducted, he would be gone forever.

        Secondly, when we see the group of abductees “frozen” underneath the UFO, they all seemed so peaceful and happy. As if something good was going to happen. But then we saw the bounty hunter, and he gave such a cold, nasty look to Mulder. The music backed that feeling up.

        We were being told: no, this is not going to be a good experience for any of you. You are now trapped with your worst enemy.

        For me that would’ve been such a lonely, cold end to the series: Mulder out there, who knows where (in this galaxy? in another? killed? used as a host for an EBE?), with Scully never knowing why.

        And as a side point, given that Carter didn’t at that point know what was gonna happen to the show, right there and then *we* don’t know why Mulder chose to allow himself to be abducted.

        For the whole of the series he had never been someone who wanted to *be* with the aliens – he wanted to *believe*. He had no desire to go out into space to find his sister – in all the places where he’s come into contact with abductees or aliens, he’d never tried to find a way to contact them or get abducted. It was completely out of character for him to become a guy who finds peace in the energy field of a UFO. All we saw in the show was that Mulder was looking for the ship, then his hand went funny in the cloaking field, then he walked through it and joined the others.

        It made no sense to me and never has, even with the awful retconning of “Mulder was dying” that we were force-fed in season 8.

    • I had no idea. I don’t even think I saw the teaser trailer for this season until a couple of days before it started, so I really didn’t know Veronica Cartwright was supposed to be joining us.

      That really is too bad because her character could’ve brought something interesting to the plot. But even though she could have, I doubt her character or the plot would have been given proper time on the screen or proper thought behind the scenes. She would need to be woven into this mess in a way that made sense.

  11. For those who didn’t know, the reason we got Jeffrey Spender in 11×01 was cos Robert Patrick couldn’t make it. It would’ve made so much more sense for Doggett to be the guy who was able to find William – but Carter literally admitted “we gave that bit to Spender cos Robert Patrick couldn’t work the schedule out”.

    Apparently they were gonna have Jeffrey in one of the My Struggle episodes anyway – and given how the rest of the plot went, all I can think is that they would’ve given him a horrible role.

    • That’s really interesting. Thank you for sharing that. it is a shame Patrick couldn’t have made the scheduling, as it would have made a whole lot more sense.

      • That would have made more sense, not that I was mad at seeing Chris Owens. Either way, I wish they would use these characters in a meaningful way rather than dropping them in and letting them fall back out.

        Speaking of which, what happened to that doctor Mulder was secretly talking to who witnessed the alien crash back in “My Struggle I”???? Way to prove useless, buddy.

  12. Thanks for this…non-review, straight from the heart! I’ve been following these reviews here throughout the season and mostly if not entirely agreed. It’s tempting to make categories about who liked and who didn’t like this season – separations based on old fans vs new fans, or those who were actively fans in the gap years 2002-2016 vs those who watched casually. But systematically such categories fail, there are always so many exceptions. If I’ve learnt one thing with this revival, it’s that there is *always* somebody out there that will like a product of TV entertainment, however horrible yourself might think it is. I am baffled by some of the positive reaction this episode is getting in some circles. Apart from the cinematography and an expeditive sense of closure (which by the way is totally backed away from in all of CC’s interviews!), I don’t see anything that remotely resembles the subtlety of the XF of old I fell in love with.
    FWIW, my own review, written in haste because I didn’t think it was worth to spend as much time on it as in the past: http://www.eatthecorn.com/2018/03/25/11×10-my-struggle-iv/

    • I just read through your take on it and it was amazing. There’s so much there I was too emotionally detached to even think about. I confess myself also bemused at some of the love that not only the Struggles have been getting, but the entire revival in general. I won’t drop franchise names, but I think our standards for good storytelling have dropped as a culture. And that’s all I have to say about that.

      Wait. No, it isn’t:

      1. Why Modern Cinema and Hollywood Movies Suck
      2. Nihilism and Post-Modernism in Hollywood
      3. 5 Reasons Movies Keep Getting Worse – PARTICULARLY relevant to 1013’s faults.
      4. 26 Reasons Why Post-Millennial Movies Are So Awful

      There’s more where that came from, but I won’t bore you. I already have. Anyway.

      Some of my favorite parts of your review:

      Interestingly, Carter said he had initially seen Strughold for the role of Mr. Y, but I suppose the 90-year-old German Armin-Mueller Stahl was unavailable!

      This is what I was hoping for, even if I knew it was probably impossible. At the very least, I was hoping for a reference to the alien rebels and the second generation Syndicate that was hinted at by Krycek and Marita Covarrubias (what happened to her?). Instead, we got a new… Syndicate (?) that was never developed and unceremoniously disposed of. They were never scary. They were never powerful. Worst of all, they were never interesting.

      MSIII, within its dialogue, also set up a Sophie’s Choice type of situation where Scully would have to choose between Mulder’s life or William’s life and joining the CSM’s side; nothing came out of that set up.

      Which goes to the point – why the battle over Scully? Why did CSM need/want her and not just William? Did CSM implant something in her that made her different than the other abductees? Was it the long-ignored chip still in her neck? Or was CSM just being a lech? I guess we’ll never know.

      He lived a normal first five years (so Scully was right to give him up for adoption?) but then his powers kept developing and he became a criminal, a masterful liar and somewhat of an emotionless manipulator (and so Scully was not right to give him up?), who can also blow people up with psi powers, Scanners-like.

      It’s that emotionless manipulator part that especially turns me off of him. Frankly, I think his normal early years only indict Scully: no one was after William after all. And you know what? When CSM wanted him, he knew where to find him anyway.

      …something that must be spelled out in order to make this whole story engaging and understandable, is the why of the importance of William. Apart from stating the fact that he is “the key”, or Mr. Y’s last words “Your son has what everybody wants, what people would kill to have“, there is nothing here apart from the same tease since season 8: why is he important to, well, everyone?

      Gibson Praise was mentioned in another comment. He was once the “key to everything” too and discarded just as unceremoniously. CC is like the hype man for a headliner with a head cold. If you’re going to build up, build up to something.

      Why then didn’t he blow him [CSM] up when he had the chance the way he did with Erika Price?

      GOOD QUESTION.

      If the series continues, the new baby’s conception will again be a mystery to focus on, repeating the tired tropes of seasons 8 and 9. (Or, continuing the parallel with Rachel, Scully could die at childbirth of her second child!)

      I mentioned this in the comments for “Plus One”. And I think this is *exactly* what’s going through his mind. Either that, or he’s convinced he’ll be able to convince Gillian Anderson to disregard her dignity again.

      Skinner’s death is the only new variation of the dubious ally/enemy trope this character has been trapped in since his conception

      *slow clap*

      There is no reversal of the reveal in My Struggle III: Scully was indeed, again and again and again, the victim of experiments involving medical rape and her reproductive system. And so because of that, all of a sudden, one year of miraculous pregnancy, one year of stressful upbringing, and seventeen years of remorse at having given up William for adoption, including in the revival (Founder’s Mutation, Ghouli), are all swept away: Scully no longer cares about William. Apart from this being an insult at anyone that has adopted a child and has been able to genuinely love it independently of biology, it is also shoehorned in the story in a way that messes enormously with the way Scully’s character is represented. Scully cared more about Emily, clearly the result of an experiment, than for William, whom she carried and thought about for so long. Carter gives Mulder a hug and chat with William but denies any real meeting between Scully and William — something unimaginable in the emotional context of anything up to this episode, particularly since this is most likely Anderson’s last episode (another indication that Carter is done with William as a character?).

      I’m just gonna park this here and back away.

      • Interesting videos! Yes there’s a lot to say about all that. (And about a particular point about nihilism and multiculturalism – I understand the point, but I don’t know if that should automatically be an argument against multiculturalism and pro strong values of family-religion-country!)

        In XF, there were so many OOC moments and out of continuity moments that as they kept happening again and again I had to numb myself to them a bit and consider s11 as something that I should appreciate in a different way from what I expected. With reconsidered expectations, s11 is not that bad, Struggles excluded. But compare the excitement and expectations pre-season 10 and the amount of goodwill there was to the experience of watching season 11!…

        NeoSyndicate: The way they were unceremoniously thrown out of the story really shows that Carter not only had no idea how to proceed with them but also no interest in doing so (but then why introduce them at all?!). In retrospect, it seems we fans were much more invested in the world and the mythology than its own creator was.

        Why the battle over Scully and CSM’s new love for her? No reason other than tension, which ended up having no impact whatsoever in MSIV and on Scully as a character. And also, William ended up being no different than Emily, only that Scully was the carrier. I still don’t understand why William was so special, we have seen so many hybrids that could have survived wounds and passed for immortals in the past.

        “no one was after William after all. And you know what? When CSM wanted him, he knew where to find him anyway.”
        After all these years wondering about what the hunt for William would look like, it is all a bit anti-climactic. They really find him by looking at lottery wins!… If it turned out like this, why the secrecy on who the Van de Kamps were with Jeffrey in MSIII? And was the DoD looking for him before Ghouli at all?… There were certainly frustrating things in the mythology in the past, things that went nowhere, were not picked up again, key things happening offscreen, yes – but not so much that it all looks completely incoherent!

        • Oh no, I don’t think he’s arguing against multiculturalism, but rather than the lack of distinct perspective being an unintended byproduct of multiculturalism. Or maybe directors just need to have something to say.

          I really believe CC had time to wrap this up in a better fashion. GA had put everyone on notice about leaving, according to her. It sounds like it was miraculous she showed up for Season 11. The opportunity was completely squandered, at least as far as the mythology and their character arcs were concerned.

  13. Are we all ready to scrap everything after season 9, and write 13 episodes of Mulder and Scully vs colonisation, to satisfy the Hero’s Journey, inspire future generations, and have the whole show finish on 10×13?

    I’m going to need everyone’s help in writing 13 episodes we would give A+ rating to. If we present the entire script to GA, as an absolute conclusion and celebration of her character, she may say yes.

    • I wish we could bring her back. But with school-aged kids living in England and after the frustration she must have lived with the past two seasons? I doubt it. But, man… an epic fanfic could happen.

      • Imagine if we started it with a PROPER “it was all a vision” flashback, taking out all the dreadful decisions Carter made. Actually, as awful as they treated her, the original abduction and cancer arcs *were* amazing stories; the awful misogyny behind them don’t take away from that. Hey women actors, it’s lucky we hate you – it means we write good stories about you being violated, and that puts food on your table right?

  14. So many absolutely insightful and very accurate comments. I just wanted to add one thing… in addition to its multitude of more complex crimes, this episode was also just plain BORING! I kept getting distracted by the curry I was eating… not good.

    Deleting from my mind…

  15. I’m going in for my full rewatch. I’m actually a little bit worried right now, because so far I’ve been able to hold 1-9 (actually, 1-6 – it’s not so much the stories in 7, 8 and 9 that bothered me, it’s that that is where the change happened, where suddenly everyone started explaining rather than showing, where Carter’s editorial control seemed to get stronger and the show got weaker) and 10-11 as two separate “events”, with the awful comeback seasons not affecting what I *feel* happened.

    Something is worrying me – what if we start to get into the mythology and I can’t shake the feeling that it is just a load of nonsense? I hope Carter hasn’t fundamentally damaged my relationship to the show.

    Patient X is, in my memory, such a fundamental, amazing, brilliantly filmed episode – what if I no longer think so once I realise that the black oil is written in a weird way in Vienen and then never mentioned again?

    • Well after season 10, I did a rewatch, and it did not damage my enjoyment and love of all the previous seasons. However, when I saw what they did to Reyes’s character in season 11, when I watched past episodes with Reyes in them, I couldn’t help feel she had been tainted a little, and couldn’t gel with the character the same way I used, which is sad. My Mulder/Scully/Skinner will always remain untouched by such things though.

      • Thanks for this Bryony, that’s helped a lot. As an aside, I actually really liked Reyes and Doggett – I thought they were really interesting characters. Reyes really played the “new age” vibe that Melissa Scully had, and Doggett’s character was really thoughtfully written. Frustrating but well-written.

    • evilpants, don’t worry… I’ve been doing a full re-watch too and the magic is still there bigtime. In fact, there’s something so wonderful about following it all right from the beginning that I’d say it’s helped me to erase the nonsense of the latter bad-fanfic-masquerading-as-seasons from my mind. The badass newness of S1 MSR right through to slap-a-pimp S6 Scully. It’s all there. For me, it’s actually acted as a cure for the malaise and I hope it does for you too.

      It’s been what… a month since S11 ended? Time for us to leave it all behind and revert to our former state, I’d say, which in my mind means cutting things off somewhere around S7ish and wilfully ignoring the rest.

  16. BTW, why oh why couldn’t William’s powers have been the same as what we saw with the black oil? We saw the power it had over its hosts. How AMAZING would it have been to see people covered in radiation burns after a visit from William? Admit it – we would all have had chills, seeing that kind of callback. He doesn’t need to be omnipotent. Just a shapeshifter plus radiation weapon plus super-strong plus super-healing. All stuff that we saw from different alien/hybrids, in one person – *helping to explain why he is so special*.

    • I think the green blood would have been a better angle, such as was the case with Emily. His blood could have been like acid to the people he came into contact with, and that’s how he ended up killing people and hurting his girlfriends, rather than intentional making people explode or see things.

      You know, that Ghouli creature reminds me of Mr Pinkus.

      • Yep I’m with you there – actually what I was thinking was, he could have the “powers”/problems from both the black oil AND the green blood: toxic retroviruses, radiation weapons, super strength. That would then instantly show why everyone wanted him and why he was so powerful – cos he was a combination of the hybrid humans AND the actual alien life force, but as a whole he is human, hence he alone might be able to stop colonisation cos he has the same abilities as the aliens but is on the other side.

        Ugh, see how easy it is to formulate a story about William that honours the original mythology?

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