****WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for the 2016 season of The X-Files. If you haven't watched the first 3 episodes of Season 10, STOP READING and go watch. It's free!****
"Yeah, this is how I like my Mulder."
"So, you agree with me?"
Let's get 2 things straight before I even begin this rant.
1. I am super critical by nature. I so deeply analyze media that my friends think I hate everything. Really, though, I'm critical because I love. My favorite things deserve detailed attention. I give it, even if the habit makes me look disdainful. Smart people critique.
2. I really had my heart set on The X-Files in 2016. I looked forward to it longer and harder than anything Star Wars-related. ...and before you ask, geekheart, I was critical of the show's original run. I hated the post-Mulder arcs, and didn't even see the last movie. I still wanted to believe, so I counted down the days.
I didn't want to write here until I'd seen three eps (Caffeinated Comics got me after two, the scoundrels.) At last, I just finished Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster. My verdict is in. I love The X-Files like I'm 10 years old again.
Unsurprisingly, I've seen a ton of Internet hatred pointed at the new eps. I can't get behind this reaction. For the first time ever, I'm not in the critical club. I mean, sure, I have questions. How are we on such positive terms with the FBI again? Why did Scully deny Sveta's alien DNA so harshly when she was still waiting on test results? What test does one even run to identify alien DNA? Where do we keep buying these posters? How many times can we say 'I want to believe' in six episodes?!
...but here's the thing: The X-Files is doing everything it has always done. Chris Carter and friends are simply making more of what we loved in the 90s. We're the ones who changed, not The X-Files. I find that incredibly charming. The fans- MY OWN PEOPLE- I find obnoxious.
I read a fan review of the first two episodes that blasted Mulder. The author claimed Mulder wouldn't want a cell phone, as he'd be paranoid about government surveillance. Fair... except for the fact that he has always had one. This same article also argued that Mulder should be all over social media tracking monsters, alien sightings, victims, etc. ...So no cell phone, but a tremendously traceable Internet presence?? This fan was never going to be pleased.
To me, last night's episode was a joy. The most popular comment I saw on the X-Files Instagram, however, was negative. "There are only 6 episodes," the fan complained. This person felt that funny episodes are a waste time. The implication, I guess, was that we should be having a very serious conspiracy chase alongside Mulder and Scully with absolutely no laughing. I'm sorry, did these people watch the same show I did at all?? The X-Files has always been hilarious.
In my opinion, The X-Files team has done an incredible job. They've filled in lost time, righted wrongs, AND entertained me. Let's examine the first three S10 episodes as storytelling tools:
1. My Struggle established Mulder and Scully's current relationship status. Let's be honest- this is what fans cared about most. There was a TON of clunky exposition, but I'm willing to forgive it. Episode 1 had to both bring die-hards up to speed and welcome in wandering football fans. The writing also had to leap over the biggest hurdle in retcon history: why the alien invasion never happened. The X-Files dug itself out of that plot hole in ONE EPISODE. Bravo.
2. Founder's Mutation performed another one-episode wonder: getting me on board with William. The telekinetic alien baby plot had been plain awful. This second episode fixed it for me. Mulder and Scully were portrayed as traumatized humans, too affected by their years of supernatural experience to be suitable parents. Mulder's sci-fi watching, rocket-launching family reminded me of my in-laws. As his William became Samantha, and Scully's William became Emily, I shed a few tears. Again, The X-Files healed a huge plot scar in under an hour.
3. I had been worried that Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster would be too packed with fan service. I ended up having a lot of fun looking for the Easter eggs (hello, red undies!) Also, the manager from Flight of the Conchords was a perfect casting choice. I delighted at how his tale turned werewolf myths upside-down. I will say I've heard a lot of criticism about this ep's handling of transgender issues. Frankly, I wasn't bothered. Mulder was clumsy about it, but he's also middle-aged. My parents are still learning IRL, too. The only character I'd call disrespectful was the monster, but to me, that was the joke- he was literally an animal. ALSO CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE IMMORTAL SCULLY THEORY??
Actually, no. I don't want to talk about it. I think it was just another Easter egg. If it wasn't, I'd rather just wait and see where the the series takes it.
...That's what I'm trying to say, in fact! Let's just wait and see! Let's just watch the 6 episodes before we all declare this a failure. Already, the things I was concerned about during My Struggle (bad CGI, Mulder's acting) have been swept away. I'd never say "Turn your brain off and enjoy it," because I celebrate criticism and intellect. Just remember what The X-Files is.
The X-Files is not a realistic crime drama. The X-Files has continuity issues. The X-Files occasionally stumbles like a drunk all over pop culture references. The X-Files is gory. The X-Files loves special effects contact lenses and rubber monster suits and that CG trick where one thing transforms into another. The X-Files is funny. The X-Files is a "will they, won't they" story because "yes, they did" stories are boring. The X-Files encourages us to question the rules, the government, our safety, and the people we trust.
The X-Files is a thing we need now more than ever. If you don't love that, I just don't know what you were expecting.
How do you feel about the 6-episode X-Files event on Fox? Do you want MORE new seasons (I don't)? Post below!
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