Editor’s note: This recap contains spoilers for the season finale of The X-Files, so read on at your own peril.
“It makes no sense.”
You got that right, Scully, but who cares when you’re having fun?
Let’s just get this out of the way: everything that happened in this (apparent season, not series) finale was totally absurd, but you know what? That wasn’t really a problem for a lot of it. I mean, so much was thrown out/explained/formulated between just Scully and Einstein alone that it would be impossible not to kind of laugh at the general premise that the world was actually coming to an end, but I found myself laughing with it, instead of at it.
Maybe the absurd first episode (that was just the first half of a bigger story that concluded tonight) prepared me for huge, sweeping silliness to come so it didn’t bother me, because I found myself ready for this new X-Files that Chris Carter created in this reboot. Tonight, rather than roll my eyes, I just shrugged my shoulders.
Until that scene between Mulder and the Cigarette Smoking Man. Oh, so he’s destroying the world because man is destroying the world anyway, so why not just speed things up…because global warming…and chemtrails…and vaccines. I had been going along with everything until then, but it just became a bridge too far at that point, with the dialogue again seeming forced and insulting. (Although the removing of his face was pretty great, so at least it had that going for it.)
The last half of the episode was still silly, but unfortunately it became tedious, losing the fun pace of the first half. I’m not sure why we needed such complex talk about DNA and the science of extracting it in the midst of the calmest pandemic/mass extinction of the human race ever filmed. A lot (understatement) went on here, and I was willing to go along for the ride, until the ride came to grinding halt.
Considering it looks like they aren’t done telling this story, I wonder why they felt the need to pile so much on to this 6-part season(?), and these two episodes in particular. There was an interesting story here, but the desire to tell it so quickly made it downright ridiculous at times. Plus, it was so heavy-handed and covered so many prevalent modern-day conspiracies that it constantly undercut itself, seeming like more of a self-parody than a coherent story.
(Somehow I think The X-Files, in just six episodes, managed to piss off people of every political bent. “I’m not even mad, that’s amazing.” It felt like Chris Carter Googled “popular conspiracy theories,” found a top ten list, and then threw them into all of this, regardless of whether or not they made sense together…or at all.)
So I think this finale was better than the first episode, by a lot, because there were actual stakes and real action, but ultimately it caved under its own weight. It was doing so much it didn’t really do any one thing all that well. I mean, it’s hard to believe the world is coming to an end when Scully is easily driving through a mass traffic snarl of dying people that have the courtesy to behave themselves in a time of abject crisis. However, it’s also hard to believably sell that level of disaster in a mere 20 minutes anyway. (Maybe this mass government conspiracy/eradication of the human race plot needed a movie sized-budget to do it correctly.)
We got The X-Files back, and it was uneven and silly. That being said, when it ended I found myself wanting to see what happens next. I don’t know if that makes it a successful return, but it wasn’t really a failure either. I think they can learn from their mistakes this time and come back with a much more focused story as a follow-up.
Wouldn’t you know it, I still want to believe in The X-Files.
What did you think of the finale? What did you think of the six-episode run? Tell us in the comments below.
Is Mulder actually crazy? Kyle Hill diagnoses our favorite true believer: