Last night marked the season 11 premiere of “The X-files,” which was brought back to life two years ago in a short, six-episode season that garnered mixed reviews and ended on a major cliffhanger, with the fate of Mulder and Scully uncertain, due to impeneding alien colonization. Thus far, this season has generated positive reviews and is slated for 10 episodes. Last night’s premiere was generally strong and marked the return of some other long-standing fan favorites.
There are some spoilers ahead, so you may want to avoid reading if you haven’t seen the episode yet but plan to.
The premiere was a mythology episode that generally focused on the ongoing alien invasion story line. Well, it turns out that the aliens are no longer interested in planet Earth, due to global warming and waning natural resources. With the alien invasion put on hold, the show’s long-standing big bad, the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), plans to wipe out most of human kind with an alien plague and let the chosen few survive, thus essentially wiping the slate clean. The key to stopping him centers around Mulder and Scully’s son, William, who is poised to be a major figure this season. Near the end of the regular series, we learned that he is part alien and was hidden for his own protection.
The Cigarette Smoking Man had some of the best dialogue during last night’s premiere, dialogue centered around the Trump era. In a show that has thrived on the notion of conspiracy theories, the villain said how truth is now fluid, how nothing is crazy anymore, how it’s so easy to label truth and hard science as fake news. The opening moments of the show featured a relatively powerful voice over by the Cigarette Smoking Man talking about U.S. history and power. This voice over was juxtaposed with images of the moon landing, the JFK assassination, the Clintons, the violence in Charlottesville this past summer at the hands of neo-Nazis, and yes, Trump. The point of this seemed to be that events and politicians will pass, but there will always be a chosen few working behind the scenes to control the outcome of world events. This has generally been the long-standing premise of “The X-files.” The syndicate, a group of shadowy conspirators, were always the real enemy.
Last night’s episode felt fresh and new, while still maintaining general aspects of “The X-files” mythos. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were great in their reprisal of Mulder and Scully. I look forward to seeing them on screen more together this year.
My only real gripe about the premiere, and the show in general, is the way that its creator, Chris Carter, keeps rewriting the main story line. First, the aliens wanted to colonize Earth. Now, they suddenly aren’t interested in that. Is the Cigarette Smoking Man lying about this? Also, how is he still alive? He appeared briefly in season 10, but at the end of season 9, which was meant to be the show’s finale, he was blown up. How did he survive that? I always got the sense that the show’s writers had no idea where the alien mythos story line was going. I still feel that way after watching the season 11 premiere. It often feels like the writers make up or change the mythos with each season, with no clear end in sight.
With that said, I’m eager to watch the remaining nine episodes, especially the monster-of-the week entries. Gillian Anderson recently said that she doesn’t plan to revive the role of Dana Scully after this season, so this season very well may be her “X-files” swan song. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy watching Mulder and Scully search for the truth once again.