Monster Nation: Why The X Files Season X Made Me a Believer (Again)

Reunited and it feels so good: a happy moment for Mulder and Scully

I enjoyed Adam Michael Sass’s thoughtful review of The X-Files, but as a fellow X-Phile—and one who was so thrilled by the limited series that he made more noise than a drunken Super Bowl watcher during the finale—I felt compelled to offer my perspective.  So here’s what was great about The X Files Season 10. (“Duh” Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers. Duh.)

1.)  It happened at all.  Seriously, after the abysmal, homophobic flop movie The X Files: I Want to Believe, who thought we’d see Mulder and Scully back on the big or small screens?  The return of David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and the creative team was a huge surprise and a true gift for fans.

2.)   It was ambitious. In just six episodes, The X-Files endeavored to give us mythology, monsters-of-the-week, offbeat comedy (Adam wasn’t too keen on “Mulder and Scully Meet the Weremonster,” but I dug it—and its inclusion of Mulder’s infamous red Speedo), and meaty character development for our intrepid FBI agents.  Sure, the premiere was a little clunky and overstuffed, but I still enjoyed every minute, and the way it tried to encompass more than a decade’s worth of social and geopolitical change, from Snowden to Uber.

3.)   Strong Female Characters.  First of all: Scully!  The goddess returned, and if she was your favorite, season ten did not disappoint.  She dealt with crises both global and personal, including the painful death of her mother.  She drove the breathlessly paced finale, which essentially sidelined Mulder to supporting status—and I was okay with that because SCULLY ROCKS.  She was also joined by Lauren Ambrose’s Agent Einstein—a “junior Scully” who emerged as a compelling character in her own right—and Annabeth Gish’s Monica Reyes, a character from X Files’ latter seasons who played a small but crucial role in the finale.  It sucks that this is still a thing in 2016, but I was overjoyed to see all three women passing the Bechdel Test with flying colors in the last episode.  Especially Scully and Einstein, who support each other and solve problems and science the shit out of a global pandemic.  HELL. YEAH.

4.)   Mulder and Scully’s chemistry.  The whole breakup controversy?  We needn’t have worried.  Duchovny and Anderson revived their characters’ synergy in the best way, overcoming emotional grief—including their sense of loss over the son they gave up for adoption—and essentially demonstrating that they are loving friends who will always be connected, regardless of being “boyfriend and girlfriend.”  (Speaking of relationships, can we talk about the vibes sparked by watching Scully interact with Einstein and Reyes?  And the cameo bit by Shangela? And the guy who tried to blow Mulder in a closet?  Who was Indian and a sensitive portrayal of a closeted gay man?  All of that.  All the feels.)

5.)   The finale, “My Struggle II.”  I enjoyed the season overall.  I wanted to marry the finale and have its babies.  A gripping thriller that brought all the season’s plot threads together and let virtually every main character shine, “My Struggle II” was a gift-wrapped nostalgia bomb for anyone who tuned in The X Files back in the day or discovered it after the fact.  It all led up to a holy shit cliffhanger that recalled the show’s best season enders.  I want to believe Mulder and Scully will return—sorry, couldn’t resist—but even if they don’t, I’m grateful for this bonus season.

Postscript: Speaking of bonus seasons, IDW gave us a four color season ten before Fox ever green lit the revival.  They even started a season eleven!  While the reboot pretty much reduced the comics’ canon status to a puddle of black goo, it was a solid effort.  A little overly convoluted at times—but when has X Files not been?—but very faithful to the characters and tone.  Plus: the Fluke Man and Home’s incestuous Peacock clan returned!  For a thorough assessment of The X Files comics seasons versus the TV edition, I highly recommend Daniel Kurlan’s Bloody Disgusting article: http://bloody-disgusting.com/editorials/3380559/the-x-files-season-10-television-versus-comics/

 

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