There are only 6 episodes in the newest season of The X-Files and we have now seen 5 of them. Episodes 3, 4 and 5 of the return season of The X-Files could not have been more different from one another. The 3rd episode called, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster, was a campy, funny inversion of the viewers expectations; the 4th titled “Home Again” featured a memorable monster, even if it was a bit loosely assembled; and the 5th episode, “Babylon,” was a faith and religion episode like we haven’t seen in the show before.
The truth is out there and some of it is in this post; if you want to avoid spoilers check out another Oogie article.
In “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” we find Mulder clearly jaded and questioning his willingness to believe the unbelievable. The establishing scene for the X-File featured people huffing gold spray paint and a mysterious murder. Despite the only first hand reports that it was a green, scaly-skinned monster Mulder believes the suspect to be a more realistic monster: A human. The episode was pretty funny and the character Guy Mann, played masterfully by Rhys Darby, is one of the more memorable monsters in any X-File. There are also a handful of funny meta-moments like Mulder’s ringtone being the X-Files theme song, or Scully suggesting that she is immortal. As it turns out, the monster is real! Only, it isn’t a man who turns into a monster, but a monster who turns into a man and Mulder was right from the beginning. The murderer wasn’t supernatural, only a man. Mulder did, however, meet a monster that hibernates on 10,000 year cycles and shape shifts into a man. There are real monsters in the world.
The episode “Home Again,” was an interesting episode that introduced a new monster but retread old ground in many ways, as the title may suggest. After the first scene, featuring a man get both of his arms pulled off in a single effort by the monster, the audience knew that it would be a formidable one. The episode was a complete change in tone from the previous episode and relied more on scares and tension. The explanation for the existence of the character is actually one that we have heard before; it is a “tulpa,” or magical emanation from someone’s mind, a thought given form.
In the episode “Arcadia” from the 6th season, Mulder and Scully deal with the existence of one of these creatures. Beyond relying on old concepts, there were certainly a few things that felt off during the episode. The writing on this episode was uneven. There should have been more focus on the artist that was capable of creating this living art, especially once we see some of his other creations wandering around in the sewer. Also, even though it’s an accurate description of the physical characteristics of the monster, they couldn’t come up with a more clever name than The Band-Aid Nose Man?!
The latest episode, “Babylon,” was an absolute mess. The case that Mulder and Scully tackled in this episode revolved around terrorist plots. In fact, the episode felt more like something pulled out of the reject bin for Homeland. The episode started with a suicide bombing and suddenly The X-Files felt like it was trying to make serious, straightforward social commentary but instead used it as a reason for Mulder to try and make contact with a nearly dead suspect. The crime could have been anything, truly. It would have functioned in the exact same way. There were vague connections with an unexplained natural phenomenon somehow relating to biblical prophecy and mythology, but the religious aspect of the episode felt off. Faith is not a topic that the show has been afraid to approach in previous episodes and regularly factors into the dynamic of the characters, however, in this instance in did not serve any important purpose to the story.
Also, the random Mulder and Scully doppelgangers….
The highlight of the episode was Mulder tripping on placebo psilocybin capsules. It provided some levity in a fairly serious episode. There is some cool conversation regarding new science models around the use of psychedelic drugs, however, the episode doesn’t deal with it in depth even though it is the source of the only marginally paranormal event in the episode: Mulder talking to a comatose suspect. Another awesome part of the episode was The Lone Gunmen also making an appearance during his psychedelic adventures. Even though they are still dead, it was cool to see the throwback nod as they were some of the best characters in the 90’s run.
We will see how the 6th and final episode of the season turns out. Overall, my feelings about the revival of The X-Files have been mixed. Seeing Duchovny and Anderson reprise their roles as two of the most beloved characters in TV history has been fun but I can’t help but feel that the opportunity to bring this show back has been wasted in some way. This is exemplified by last weeks episode only marginally addressing one of the strangest internet sensations since the X-Files went dark, the massive and non-centrally located moaning, wailing or “trumpet” sounds that come from the sky. The old X-Files would have primarily been concerned with that phenomenon; instead, we got a messy religious and political episode. We will see if the season finale brings it together and gives the audience the promise of more episodes, hopefully another opportunity to get it right.
The finale for the X-Files season 10 airs tonight Monday, February 22nd at 8pm on Fox.