The X-Files Review by John Keegan

The X-Files 11.01: My Struggle III

The X-Files 11.01: My Struggle III

Written By:
Chris Carter
Directed By:
Chris Carter

The tenth season of The X-Files was a mixed bag.  While some of the “monster of the week” episodes were as strong as ever, the new additions to the mythology seemed contradictory and needlessly revisionist (not to mention characteristically obtuse).  With only six episodes to work with, there seemed to be missed opportunities.  So while having ten more episodes for this presumably final season gives fans renewed hope for a more balanced farewell, the memory of those missteps from Season 10 linger.

 


 

“My Struggle II”, the tenth season finale, was particularly frustrating.  Beyond being typically complicated and even contradictory in terms of character motivations (I’m looking at you, Monica Reyes), it also ended on a gratuitous and unnecessary cliffhanger that represented everything that Chris Carter had done wrong with the series mythology over the years.  Why keep the series so blatantly unresolved, when there was no guarantee of a chance to provide a conclusion?

 

At the onset, this episode threatens more of the same.  All those plot points that made fans want to throw things at their television screens in “My Struggle II”?  It was just a “vision” playing out in Scully’s head.  So the cliffhanger that enraged so many fans was utterly meaningless.  Instead, it boils down to the same search for William by various conspiratorial forces that dominated the tenth season.  That much of the narrative thrust of that short season is quickly retconned out of existence is irritating, to say the least.

 


 

But more irritating is the constant revisionism of character histories.  Cancer Man’s motivations continue to be tossed in a blender along with his personal background (why does he have a new real name?).  While the episode eventually reconfirms certain plot points revealed during the original run, other items are completely ignored, forgotten, or casually dismissed.  While the Syndicate’s plan was always tied to managing a “planned Armageddon”,  it seems too simplistic and reductionist to have Cancer Man pushing so hard for it.  And the notion that there are other remaining Syndicate members goes completely against the events of the sixth season, when practically everyone in the original Syndicate was killed off in spectacular fashion.

 

Ironically, the “big twist” that many probably expect me to deride is a surprising follow-up to a narrative oddity from the seventh season.  “En Ami” was a strange but effective episode that featured Scully and Cancer Man working together, and the scene where Scully just happens to wake up in a bed in pajamas raised eyebrows at the time, to say the least.  And when Scully was later pregnant at the end of the seventh season, some speculated that the events of “En Ami” were all too indicative that it was something sinister.  Bringing that suspicion back into full blown is an intriguing choice, even if it underscores the tension of digging deep into items of the mythology while ignoring or revising vast aspects of it.

 


 

On the other hand, the current stakes are precisely what they once were: an old and fractured Syndicate trying to use a virus derived from the essence of aliens that once sought to colonize Earth to reboot humanity for various purposes, promising various players the possibility of immunity in exchange for paving the way.  And once again, Mulder and Scully are caught in the middle, especially now that Scully’s son William (still possibly Mulder’s, since Cancer Man always lies) is old enough to be showing off all the emerging abilities hinted at in the ninth season.

 

What remains to be seen is whether or not Chris Carter got the message given by Gillian Anderson and others that this will be the final season for the series.  If he did, then William makes sense as the final “key to everything”.  If not, then we probably have another unnecessary cliffhanger waiting in the wings.  If past experience is any indication, fans should probably prepare themselves to receive some enjoyable new standalone episodes that serve as a loveletter to the fandom before a disappointing final mythological bow.


Our Grade:
C+
The Good:
  • The worst elements of the tenth season finale are wiped away in a matter of seconds
  • Following up on an obscure plot point from a past season is classic X-Files
The Bad:
  • Was it necessary to retcon the background and motivations of “Cancer Man” yet again?
  • Once again the story revolves around making Scully suffer

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

The X-Files by - 1/4/2018 10:22 AM57 views

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