by Tess Adair
So, Season 10 of The X-Files dropped.
I loved this show when it was first on. I loved the mix of camp and paranoia, horror and humor, the dark gritty fantasy stamped with ’90s style. I loved that the show would subject you to slimy monsters that looked like intestines, cannibalistic products of generations of inbreeding, brain-melting aliens, and forced pregnancies, but obeyed the now-outdated cardinal television rules: Mulder and Scully (and, arguably, Skinner) must never die, and they must never change in any meaningful way.
TV shows don’t usually work that way anymore. Hey, Game of Thrones, how you doing.
So when I heard they were bringing back this bastion of mystery and conspiracy, I was excited, but I was also a little...uncertain. You know, like Scully at the end of every single episode.
I wasn’t sure how the show would translate today. (And I wasn’t 100% sure if it would successfully overcome the weirdness of the post-Mulder episodes in the previous run.)
Fortunately for all of us, Scully apparently made the executive decision to age better than a fine wine.
I’ve seen them now. So how did they hold up?
Well, there were only six. Why don’t I break it down episode-by-episode?
BY THE WAY, during my “research” for this post, I discovered some truly amazing, gloriously ’90s promo shots from when the show first aired. Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing them below.
So, episode one--“My Struggle.” Oh, this one. Episode one starts strong: we get the classy drawn-out tease before our leads appear, we get a scene set in 1947 Roswell, and we even get the old opening. (I mean, thank god. It’s the greatest opening theme song ever. EVER.) It gets weirder after that.
They...run into Joel McHale, who’s playing a conservative talk-show host type dude, like a Glenn Beck who’s actually more correct than crazy. I felt like Joel was doing a pretty good job, but it was still hard not to see him as Jeff (from Community) play-acting like a crazy person in order to goad other people into making his point for him.
It makes a weird kind of sense that they’d inject a shot of modern-day politics into the in-show paranoia. After all, a good number of far-right talking points lend themselves to it with ease. Still, it’s bizarre. Anyway, the episode ends with Glenn Beck’s show getting canceled. COINCIDENCE?
Onto episode two, “Founder’s Mutation.”
This one follows a pretty classic X-Files-style plot. Some guy hears an awful high-pitched noise that no one else can hear, and it gets worse and worse until he takes the most logical step: shoving a letter opener through his head.
Seriously, classic. Also? Gay blow job joke. Overall, I liked this one a little better than the first. I’d always generally preferred the stand-alones to the arc episodes. They were often more creative, more nuanced. A lot of them were kind of about the abuse of children.
Yeah, that one was solid.
Episode three, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.”
This one is tops. By far the best episode of the season. The funny ones were always the best, and this is no exception. (In fact, this episode is written by Darin Morgan, who also wrote one of my absolute favorites, “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.”) I don’t want to ruin anything for you, so I’ll just drop one of the sillier jokes of the episode: a character of dubious species origin is named Guy Mann.
This is probably the only episode I would recommend to anyone who isn’t a diehard fan. Go watch it!
Now episode four, “Home Again.” This one is okay. Parts of it are good--the monster-of-the-week is pretty fascinating, combining a take on street art with advocacy for the homeless and an indictment of greed.
Parts of it are cheesy and disjointed. They cram an intense Scully personal plot into it, and it never quite seems to mesh with everything else.
But hey...that happened sometimes, even back then.
Ugh, now it’s time for episode 5, “Babylon.” Uggghhhh this episode. Cringe this episode.
This one starts...ugh, no. I can’t do it. I’m not talking about this one.
I’m just gonna give you a few extra hilarious photos.
Okay, now the last one, “My Struggle II.”
This one definitely captures the X-Files feel, and it brings back 3 characters introduced in other episodes this season, so you know it’s a finale. That being said, it’s kinda all over the place.
It’s not bad. I can’t really say if it’s good, either.
Basically, it begs for a season 11. I’m not particularly surprised.
So, how did I feel about it? Honestly, I’m still not sure.
I guess I’ll have to watch it again.