The X-Files Review by John Keegan

The X-Files 11.10: My Struggle IV

The X-Files 11.10: My Struggle IV

Written By:
Chris Carter
Directed By:
Chris Carter

The second half of this supposedly-final season of The X-Files has been an odd one.  On the one hand, it’s great to see the larger episode order resulting in more stand-alone fare and opportunities for Mulder and Scully to reconnect.  In many ways, isn’t that exactly what the fans of the original run wanted to see?  A sense of closure on the lingering threads of their relationship?  On the other hand, some of the additional episodes felt unnecessary.  “Familiar” felt exactly that, or perhaps like a leftover script from the better days of Supernatural.  “Nothing Lasts Forever” gave us the hint of Mulder and Scully finally deciding to be a couple again, but beyond that, it was a lot of gore and absurdity wrapped in nostalgia.

 


 

But those mediocre offerings were light years ahead of “My Struggle: Part IV”, another Chris Carter-penned exercise in needless obtuseness and barely-coherent mythology that utterly failed to fulfill its own stated premise.  Besides leaving plenty of narrative doors wide open, it also forces certain plot and character beats in the seemingly opposing hope that this could serve as a solid ending to the series if necessary.

 

The biggest problem is that this is pure Chris Carter: a collection of supposedly “cool” moments that don’t fit what we have seen previously all that well.  Carter doesn’t really understand what it means to have a consistent or logical overarching plot, especially since he stopped listening to those who took his ideas and made them compelling.   There’s a reason why the mythology hangs together pretty well in the seasons leading up to Fight the Future and made no sense thereafter; Carter had lots of help getting to that point and made it up as he went along thereafter.  (Yes, the mythology was never planned out ahead of time, but at least once they started and then wrote Fight the Future as a possible concluding piece of the puzzle, they had a roadmap to follow!)

 


 

Trying to follow the narrative threads that began in “My Struggle: Part I” to this episode is nearly impossible.  It doesn’t hang together at all, and that’s setting aside that a big chunk of the story is retconned, there’s even less to the “new” mythology than it seems.  Consider, for just a moment, that Seasons 10 and 11 add up to only 16 episodes, far shorter than any of the classic seasons.  Now imagine if all the mytharc episodes in the middle of a season were revealed to be nothing more than a vision!  The sense of stagnation and confusion would be off the charts, and that’s one big reason why this episode fails utterly.

 

For example, where is the tension in the scenes between Skinner, Kersh, and Cancer Man when there has been practically no build-up of their actual status quo outside of a handful of scenes?  Where is the drama in Reyes’ apparent reversals when we barely understood her actions anyway?  Why saddle Mulder and Scully with dialogue that is so vague that it’s literally impossible for them to even deliver it with any conviction?  And above all, why is Mulder and Scully’s status within the X-Files important when we’ve barely gotten a sense of how they fit into things at all?

 


 

Trotting out William was inevitable, but considering that “Ghouli” delivered a fitting end for Mulder, Scully, and their supposed son, it actually took away from the entire story to have him chased around in this episode.  Worse, it literally looked like Duchovny and Anderson read the script and couldn’t even pretend to give a damn.  And it’s not hard to blame them.  Literally everything that happens leading to the scene before the open is incomprehensible garbage, and everything that happens afterward is worse for trying to cram consequences and meaning into a matter of minutes!  Anderson looks so disgusted with her dialogue and the plot around Scully, William, and Cancer Man that she can barely contain it.

 

The worst is reserved for the final scenes.  Despite Reyes clearly getting shot in the head and Skinner clearly jumping under his own car (let’s not try to move sideways or anything, Walter), Carter has claimed intentional ambiguity.  He’s even more annoying by stating that Cancer Man has “revealed powers of rejuvenation”, which is basically to say that no one is actually dead unless the actors won’t come back.  The worst, however, is how yet another miracle pregnancy for Scully is shoehorned in to give Mulder and Scully a “happily ever after” ending if one or the other never returns.  The revelation is so unbelievable on so many levels that Mulder and Scully don’t even look happy.  I can’t imagine many people in the audience were, either.


Our Grade:
F
The Good:
  • There’s something of a happy ending, at least?
The Bad:
  • Nearly everything about the script is a hot mess, from the teaser to the obtuse mythology bits
  • Hardly anyone in the episode looks like they want to be there or remembers how to act
  • Scully’s character gets one final round of Carter’s ridiculously sexist victimhood

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 - 3/22/2018 1:03 PM199 views

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