The X-Files Review by John Keegan

The X-Files 11.02: This

The X-Files 11.02: This

Written By:
Glen Morgan
Directed By:
Glen Morgan

With so much mythology covered in the premiere, it’s time for the new season of The X-Files to put its best foot forward.  Meaning, of course, any kind of episode that involves someone other than Chris Carter.  Glen Morgan comes onto the stage to deliver what feels like a much better representation of what a modern X-Files episode can offer than, say, retroactively stating that Scully was medically raped. Again.

 


 

If these new seasons are essentially all about delivering a mixture of nostalgia and aligning with modern sensibilities in the same instant, then this episode works to achieve that goal rather well.  Putting Mulder and Scully on the run after the events of the premiere is a solid choice, as it is a lot more believable than trying to shoehorn them back into the familiar confines of the basement office.  Having the mystery center around Langley is the nostalgic icing on the cake.

 

Perhaps it is just the difference between the global state of play since the tenth season; things seem a lot more unstable and anxiety-inducing in the world now.  And so having Mulder and Scully in a more tenuous situation seems appropriate, even as the episode makes the statement that the pair are more than capable of handling themselves and threats with characteristic banter.

 


 

The return of Langley is an interesting turn of events, to say the least.  He’s not back from the dead in the conventional sense; instead, his consciousness was copied and uploaded into a private server.  Setting aside the lost opportunity for a bit of a callback to “Kill Switch”, one of the more interesting standalone episodes of the original run, this is a nice way to tie current concerns about the advancement of technology into the current material.  The current Syndicate, or at least the faction working against Cancer Man, is using a virtual “think tank”, and Langley is staging a bit of a revolt.

 

It’s not so much that this is something bold or new in an era when this sort of story concept shows up on dystopian shows all the time (I’m looking at you, Black Mirror).  It’s that it places one of the better supporting characters from the original run in a context that would absolutely disgust and horrify him.  Langley, along with any of the Lone Gunmen, would never want to have his mind slaved to the demands of the kinds of evil conspirators they endlessly fought to undermine.

 


 

Morgan has a solid history of delivering episodes with standalone plots that factor into the larger mythological scheme, and this is another example of that deftness.  It’s proof, to an extent, that the concepts of the mythology don’t have to be nearly so overwrought and poorly conceived as the Carter-driven entries.  Handing over the reins to someone with experience with the franchise but a less clunky delivery would be ideal.

 

More importantly, these are the kinds of episodes that fans would happily see populate an entire revival season.  The mythology didn’t really need to come back once Colonization was avoided.  A single episode to set the stage that the remnants of the Syndicate were constantly trying to take control of government and corporate power would have been more than enough to frame dozens of entries of this caliber.  It’s sad that Carter couldn’t set aside his ego enough to let that happen.




Our Grade:
B
The Good:
  • The old Mulder and Scully banter is back in full force
  • This episode plays on current fears and anxieties very well
The Bad:
  • It feels like there was a missed opportunity to reference “Kill Switch” from the original run

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 - 1/11/2018 1:24 PM119 views

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