This is the End…
I got a terrible feeling of déjà vu during this last episode of The X-Files. I’m certain that we’ve had a season closer from Chris Carter’s 1013 where a plague was unleashed by a secret organisation, which spread rapidly… That’s right. We did. It was the final episode of the second season of Millennium (which had to be rather drastically retconned when the show returned for a third year). That’s the same universe as The X-Files, and I know that Millennium isn’t exactly the best known series out there, but all the same, this treads too many familiar paths.
That aside, this is the episode that the series was brought back for, answering the questions that remained hanging after the show finished. What happened to the Cigarette Smoking Man? What happened to Monica Reyes? (And it’s not the same as in the “canonical” comics.) What happened to the invasion that was meant to happen in 2012? We get a confrontation between David Duchovny and William B. Davis that will remind longterm fans of so many previous ones, the latter’s Jigsaw countenance aside. We get Scully basically playing Mulder – extrapolating wild conclusions from one piece of data (as Agent Einstein points out – a character who comes across much better in this than the previous episode). We get Skinner er… er… actually, what the hell does Skinner do in the whole of this miniseries?
There’s a double recap at the start of the episode: firstly catching us up with events in My Struggle, and then the Scully equivalent of Mulder’s monologue from that episode, which ends… oddly. That’s nothing to the end of the episode, which – no spoiler – is a cliffhanger that might as well have a card saying “Give us some more episodes” coming up as it fades to black! Inbetween we get some ambitious scenes showing the devastation of the plague… or at least as it’s seen in the hospital where Scully works. (The worldwide effect is confined to comments being made by internet host O’Malley who makes a sudden return from hiding… and no matter the character’s comments there’s no way that every major news organisation wouldn’t comment on this outbreak!)
You have to wonder if originally these bookends to the series were written and planned as a single two-hour reunion movie – bar the appearance of Miller and Einstein, there’s very little reference to anything that happens in the other four episodes. They certainly provide some answers, even if they don’t fully hold together. And if the show doesn’t come back? Well then, no doubt there’ll be a novel to tie things up, much as we’ve suddenly got two novels announced about Mulder and Scully’s teen years…
Verdict: An ambitious, if familiar, ending that is the best of Carter’s three contributions to the miniseries. 7/10