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TV Review: The X-Files - Season 10 Finale "My Struggle II"

02.23.2016

Episode 6: "My Struggle II"

Synopsis: The investigations that Mulder and Scully previously began with conspiracy theorist and web-TVshow host Tad O’Malley (guest star Joel McHale) seem to have awakened powerful enemies. A widespread panic begins as people all over the country suddenly start falling gravely ill, and Scully must look within to try and find a cure. Meanwhile, Mulder confronts the man whom he believes to be behind it all, but another figure from Mulder and Scully’s past may prove to be the key to their salvation.

REVIEW: When the series finale of The X-Files aired in 2002, we were teased with the impending alien colonization/apocalypse kicking off in 2012. Well, after the release of a feature film that bore no connection to the series mythology, it didn't seem like we would ever see that promised endgame that Chris Carter had been building towards. Well, after a mixed bag of episodes in this revival run, we finally see the end of days come to fruition in what has to rank as one of the best episodes the show has ever produced. Bringing together everything that has been a hallmark of the show with some action and a massive cliffhanger, The X-Files has proven that it needs to be back on the air in a big way.

Returning to the plot from the season premiere, tonight's finale brings back Joel McHale as Tad O'Malley as the predicted epidemic sweeps over the world. With Mulder missing, Scully is called to his home where O'Malley explains the alien DNA appears to be in everyone's genome as illness begins to sweep across the country. Scully contacts the police and teams with Skinner and Agent Einstein to try and find her partner. Scully heads to her hospital to try and see if her genome will lead to a clue as to what is happening when they encounter the first infected soldiers displaying signs of anthrax. Scully deduces that innoculations are the method of infecting the population but a call from an old friend lends some details to what is actually going on.

In an interesting move, the old friend ends up being Monica Reyes. While Annabeth Gish's character never quite gelled with audiences, making her the assistant to the Cigarette Smoking Man as he unleashes his plan to decimate the world's population is a ballsy move. In fact, Reyes wants to make amends for her deal with the devil by telling Scully that her alien DNA is actually making her immune to the epidemic. Scully then decides to sequence her DNA with Einstein to develop a cure. At the same time, Agent Miller heads to Spartansburg, South Carolina where Mulder is confronting his nemesis. It is there that the two have a showdown. CSM offers Mulder a chance to be a part of the chosen elite but he refuses and begins to succumb to a fever. CSM is just as evil as ever and slides in a reference that this plan has been in the works since 2012, meaning the originally teased date was the beginning of the end rather than the true end.

As Scully continues to watch the world collapse around her, Mulder is barely hanging on. As all of this happens, Tad O'Malley continues to broadcast as he himself begins to fall ill. The tension is palpable in the manner of the best thrillers about viruses and contagion. Chris Carter's script for this episode owes a great deal of thanks to the input from an actual scientific expert, lending some realism to Scully and Einstein's attempts to develop a cure for the diseases surrounding them. It also more organically deals with the series mythology compared to the overstuffed season premiere. You almost forget that Mulder's contact (Rance Howard) and Sveta are barely an afterthought. In fact, this episode thrives with the streamlined and single minded focus.

With the episode careening towards the final fifteen minutes of the hour, I began to feel confident that a cliffhanger was coming. Scully treats Einstein with the IV retrovirus treatment and then rushes to a bridge to meet Miller and Mulder with their own medicine. She finds that Mulder is much worse off than she anticipated and says he will need stem cell treatment from their son William. The only problem is she has no idea where he is. At that moment, a bright light shines down on the trio and we see it is an alien spacecraft, or possibly an alien inspired craft. With hundreds of onlookers witnessing what has been the crux of Mulder's crusade for two decades, it seems apparent that the truth is finally being revealed.

But, as much as the premiere was a Mulder-centric episode, this finale is very Scully focused. The opening teaser was narrated by Gillian Anderson and closed with a very cheesy morphing effect of Scully becoming an alien. The episode opening credits also featured a different tagline, this time displaying "This is the End". But, with the alien craft shining a spotlight, we zoom in to Scully's eye and the hour cuts to black. It is a perfect ending, but feels more like the beginning of the end. Out of all six episodes in this limited run, this was by far the best and one cell of a way to close out the season.

 
Season Consensus: Despite the short six episodes, The X-Files has proven that it is easily the best of all the revivals thus far. Sure, the six episodes were a mixed bag, but the three best episodes were amongst the three best the series has ever produced. As disappointing as the premiere was, the finale made up for it in spades. Great action, great dialogue, and a tightly scripted and originaly story. Seeing the CIgarette Smoking Man at his most evil was quite cool even if his ultimate motivations are unclear. Is this the work of aliens or men? Why did we get so little of Skinner? Did we really need to many blatant Ford close-ups? I enjoyed Reyes coming back into the mix but it was really disappointing that we only had two mythology episodes. I would venture that if we do get another run of episodes, it would likely be 13 episodes which would allow for the mythology to be teased out a bit more than over two episodes. Hopefully the potential spin-off focused on Einstein and Miller doesn't take the place of an eleventh season as Mulder and Scully sure as hell still have it.
 
Next on The X-Files: FOX has not revealed whether the series will return for an eleventh season, but stay tuned for updates.

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8:46PM on 02/23/2016

Why this season sucked

It's funny how they leave it open ended, yet state in the opening credits "This is the end."
I'm not watching it anymore. It hasn't changed at ALL since 2002. I get monster of the week episodes, but - like many have said - they rushed this final episode and wasted the opportunity AGAIN to explain anything.
Leaving a stupid cliffhanger is just a ploy to try and keep the show going, but I have so many issues with that.
A) Scully is super skeptical and too faithful to "science" in the first
It's funny how they leave it open ended, yet state in the opening credits "This is the end."
I'm not watching it anymore. It hasn't changed at ALL since 2002. I get monster of the week episodes, but - like many have said - they rushed this final episode and wasted the opportunity AGAIN to explain anything.
Leaving a stupid cliffhanger is just a ploy to try and keep the show going, but I have so many issues with that.
A) Scully is super skeptical and too faithful to "science" in the first episode.
B) In the first episode, Mulder once again leaves Scully behind to do her science-y crap while he witnesses irrefutable evidence of alien technology. How convenient!
C) Throughout the four pointless episodes there is zero character development. No one has really changed at ALL since 2002.
D) Suddenly, the writers make Scully ONCE AGAIN embrace the idea of "alien" science, and apparently spends "four weeks" not believing anything and refuting Mulder's claims with science, while knowing/believing the whole time that she has alien DNA.
Let's think back to the original series: Shouldn't she have just accepted that there is paranormal and/or alien truth after meeting the greys in an abandoned train station? If not then, how about after she spends several months in Africa investigating ancient alien text and witnessing with her own eyes a 3000+ year old alien spacecraft unearthed on the African beaches? Having a vision of an ancient African warrior telling her prophetic truths, and flying metallic tablets that magically connect to each other should be reason enough for her to never again question the existence of alien life.
- Refer to "A)" to reiterate the stupidity of this horrible plot device.
D) It still follows a more dated approach to weekly television. There is the initial "mythology" episode at the beginning, then spins its wheels and promotes little to no character development or advancement in storytelling until the end of the season. At this point with shows like X-Files, I believe the viewers prefer a serialized approach to the show. Why not work harder to make each week advance the mythology, and deepen the series' main themes/arc? Which brings me back to point "C)".
E) Ending on a cliffhanger after rushing the first and last episode is a cheap ploy to negotiate another season. But after no progress with Scully and Mulder's maturity and world viewpoints after 14 years - except when it is only required to inorganically force the story in a direction that they want to make it go - I realize that the substance and depth of the X-Files canon goes about as far deep as a wading pool.
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8:05PM on 02/23/2016
Carter has said he wants to do a film with the alien invasion which would presumably be the end of the series. This is likely a set up for it and it makes for a much better ending than the original series finale. I loved the story, especially the face off with Cigs (was really hoping nicotine would be the only cure for the alien virus).

My only problem with it was it felt sort of weird. This being something of a greatest hit's compilation of the series most beloved episode types, it just
Carter has said he wants to do a film with the alien invasion which would presumably be the end of the series. This is likely a set up for it and it makes for a much better ending than the original series finale. I loved the story, especially the face off with Cigs (was really hoping nicotine would be the only cure for the alien virus).

My only problem with it was it felt sort of weird. This being something of a greatest hit's compilation of the series most beloved episode types, it just felt odd without more buildup. I think if this would have come at the end of a regular season it would have felt more organic. In addition it felt too rushed. The stakes were high but you never really got the time to feel that sense of dread.

On the plus side a much better send off for the series and hopefully with it's success the movie will get made and finally cap off the story.
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6:48PM on 02/23/2016

Is this everyone's first time?

Why is everyone so surprised and angry at a cliffhanger? Guys, this is par for the course for just about every single season finale this show has ever had. Since this episode truly marks the beginning of the end, of course the cliffhanger is going to be MASSIVE. Did you really think this entire series was going to be neatly wrapped up with only two mythology episodes? Obviously they're planning on bringing it back for more. You'll just have to wait for the next season, like we have always done.
Why is everyone so surprised and angry at a cliffhanger? Guys, this is par for the course for just about every single season finale this show has ever had. Since this episode truly marks the beginning of the end, of course the cliffhanger is going to be MASSIVE. Did you really think this entire series was going to be neatly wrapped up with only two mythology episodes? Obviously they're planning on bringing it back for more. You'll just have to wait for the next season, like we have always done. Chill out.
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10:28AM on 02/24/2016
Well, I think what sucks about the cliffhanger is that there were no definite plans to continue the series. They just brought it back for 6 episodes and gave the impression that they were taking the "let's see where this goes," approach. Regardless of what they've done with the past seasons, they never let on that they would just leave us dangling with this special event series or that they planned to continue it. Therefore, it should have been a series with more resolution to it, even if they
Well, I think what sucks about the cliffhanger is that there were no definite plans to continue the series. They just brought it back for 6 episodes and gave the impression that they were taking the "let's see where this goes," approach. Regardless of what they've done with the past seasons, they never let on that they would just leave us dangling with this special event series or that they planned to continue it. Therefore, it should have been a series with more resolution to it, even if they wanted to leave the door partially open for more seasons/content.
5:37PM on 02/23/2016
I liked the return overall, but the "finale" was anything but. When you plan a six episode return without a guarantee that you'll be able to continue the series further, one would hope that you would be telling a contained story, or at least a story with some resolution to it. Instead, we're treated to a cop-out of an episode with a frustrating cliffhanger. This is not indicative of the show's best work.
I liked the return overall, but the "finale" was anything but. When you plan a six episode return without a guarantee that you'll be able to continue the series further, one would hope that you would be telling a contained story, or at least a story with some resolution to it. Instead, we're treated to a cop-out of an episode with a frustrating cliffhanger. This is not indicative of the show's best work.
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9:28AM on 02/23/2016

Liked it but...

I enjoyed the finale for what it was but if they are to move forward, they need to extend it to a full 10-13 episodes and stop rushing. The problem this season was they tried to pack in as much as humanly possible into 6 episodes and it just can't work that way.
I enjoyed the finale for what it was but if they are to move forward, they need to extend it to a full 10-13 episodes and stop rushing. The problem this season was they tried to pack in as much as humanly possible into 6 episodes and it just can't work that way.
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8:50AM on 02/23/2016
I wasn't impressed with the run of episodes. In the premiere they get the gang back together, hint at some ongoing issues with the central mythology/conspiracy, only to leave it behind for 4 episodes before returning to it in Ep. 6. Had the run been longer, say 10 - 13 episodes, I wouldn't have minded a few departure episodes where they deal with a random mystery up front and relegate the main story to the background. But it seems like all we got was a departure from the mythology. In such
I wasn't impressed with the run of episodes. In the premiere they get the gang back together, hint at some ongoing issues with the central mythology/conspiracy, only to leave it behind for 4 episodes before returning to it in Ep. 6. Had the run been longer, say 10 - 13 episodes, I wouldn't have minded a few departure episodes where they deal with a random mystery up front and relegate the main story to the background. But it seems like all we got was a departure from the mythology. In such a short run of episodes, they should have JUST focused on the central mythology/conspiracy.
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8:14AM on 02/23/2016
It will all come down to ratings. Chris Carter has said that he has a script that he thinks would make for a good movie. Most likely that script will become the basis of X-Files Season 11. Perhaps we can finally learn what happened to Mulder's sister and Dana's son. Gillian Anderson said that she would only do Season 10 if the season was "less than eight episodes". They could have a season with eight episodes or more if they have a few Miller / Einstein episodes. I don't think people want
It will all come down to ratings. Chris Carter has said that he has a script that he thinks would make for a good movie. Most likely that script will become the basis of X-Files Season 11. Perhaps we can finally learn what happened to Mulder's sister and Dana's son. Gillian Anderson said that she would only do Season 10 if the season was "less than eight episodes". They could have a season with eight episodes or more if they have a few Miller / Einstein episodes. I don't think people want that, however, although an episode featuring the return of Agent Doggett would be interesting.
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8:11AM on 02/23/2016

Thank God That Shit is Over!

X-Files had six episodes to tell its "mythology" story. Instead, they waste our time with four mediocre-to-freaking TERRIBLE episodes, rush the finale... and end with a fucking cliffhanger?!?!?!
Fuck you, X-Files. No excuse for that shit.
X-Files had six episodes to tell its "mythology" story. Instead, they waste our time with four mediocre-to-freaking TERRIBLE episodes, rush the finale... and end with a fucking cliffhanger?!?!?!
Fuck you, X-Files. No excuse for that shit.
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5:35AM on 02/23/2016

Unpopular Opinion!

It seems you are carrying your work over to TV as pretty much every other review I have seen for this is scathing.
Don't think I'll bother watching these episodes now. I'd set them to record but will just cancel it.
It seems you are carrying your work over to TV as pretty much every other review I have seen for this is scathing.
Don't think I'll bother watching these episodes now. I'd set them to record but will just cancel it.
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