The 6th and final episode of The X-Files revival was a continuation of the season’s first episode, “My Struggle.” In that episode Mulder breaks down for the audience his own journey with the paranormal and in the finale, called “My Struggle II,” the story is told with a focus on Dana Scully, the possibility of her having alien DNA and how she fits into the scheme of the shadowy cabal that works behind the top agencies in the United States government. After going off the air in the first episode, Tad O’Malley is back with a conspiracy to top all conspiracies.
This is a recap of the season finale of The X-Files mini-series—and it contains spoilers. You have been warned.
As was promised before the season started, the last episode of the revival would be an episode that directly dealt with the mytharc of the show. The intro focused on Scully and mirrored Mulder’s monologue at the beginning of the season. She believes that the X-Files were worthy of her attention, that science only takes humans in the direction of truth and that there are inexplicable things in the world. She also comes to the conclusion that the FBI is under the influence of outside forces. She believes herself to have been a government lab rat and that her cancer is the result of extensive government experimentation, facilitated by the FBI.
After being shut down after the first episode, Tad O’Malley is back with his internet show and he is accusing the government of putting alien DNA in every American citizen. After O’Malley arranged a meeting with Mulder about new evidence that could back this accusation up, Mulder’s apt is trashed and he is nowhere to be found. Scully tells Einstein that she identified a running program in her genome. Apparently, the alien DNA compromises the immune system of the host enabling secondary infections to take hold. We find out that the person who trashed Mulder’s apartment was sent by The Smoking Man.
Mulder, while falling confronts The Smoking Man. The Smoking Man and his cabal of smoky agents plotted to depopulate the world because of the progression of man toward self-extermination. There are some random ramblings about climate change and associations with popular internet conspiracies thrown in there for effect without much explication. Man self-exterminates; so exterminate man;—…right. He offers Mulder the opportunity to save himself and to see Scully again by providing an opportunity to become one of few chosen to repopulate the world.
This is where the plot gets a bit muddy and reveals one of the more disappointing aspects of the newest run of The X-Files episodes: The consistent superficial approach and over reliance on internet conspiracies. When this was mentioned in the run up to the show I felt that it could be a good source of potential mysteries that the agents could investigate. Instead, there were only oblique and random references to various popular internet conspiracies. None of them played central roles in the development of the stories and their mention only served to undermine the show. The government is planting alien DNA in every American citizen and weakening their immune systems to depopulate the earth! But how? Chem trails and 2012, obviously.
Scully discovers that her earlier insights about the threat of alien DNA were unfounded, that it is actually helpful and decides that the only way to save humanity is to amplify her own genes by synthesizing a cure from the alien DNA that is preventing her and the other chosen ones from getting sick. At this point in the episode I was looking at my clock; I pressed the info button on my cable remote and realized in horror that there was clearly not enough time left for any kind of palatable resolution.
Scully is caught in the dense traffic of a sick and panicked population on a bridge; she abandons her vehicle and rushes toward Mulder with a cure in hand. It is at exactly this point that a UFO hovers over her, illuminates her face with a beam of light and the season ends.
In the end, the mini-series had tremendous peaks and valleys that looked more like lazy plateaus than true failures of the creators. Truthfully, this is no different than seasons 1-9 and perhaps a bit of the frustration I feel is nostalgia for the mysteries that The X-Files brought into my childhood. I would really like them to give it another try with more episodes so the narrative can take a different trajectory. 6 episodes just wasn’t enough. The Truth is still out there.