“We Could Use a Couple of Doctors”
Okay, let’s try and be positive. There was tension in “My Struggle II.” Real, genuine, edge of your seat tension. We love these characters. We’ve seen Mulder and Scully put through hell after hell and become all the stronger for it. In fact, this season has had the strongest chemistry between the two since the show started. So when Mulder is left within an inch of his life and a cure seems impossible to find, I genuinely feared for his life.
Except, all I kept thinking was “No. Not like this.”
Threatening to kill off one of the two main leads is really the only sort of, uh, teeth, that The X-Files has left. We don’t want to see any of them go, but damnit, I especially didn’t want to see anyone go in the complete and utter mess that was “My Struggle II.”
It’s finally the end of the world. The Cigarette Smoking Man has survived three Tomahawk missiles to the face, a select few have been implanted with alien DNA to ensure the survival of a few arbitrary members of the human race, and everyone else gets to die of buzzword diseases that infect the headlines every few months. This is truly the X-Files setup we all waited thirteen years to watch.
Here’s the thing: with a little shifting, the entire plotline could have worked out…fine. The biggest problem with “My Struggle II” is the breakneck pace that all this information is doled out. First, the alien DNA is a big problem. Then it turns out it’s actually the cure. But then the DNA sequence seems to disappear for no reason, but it’s okay, we probably just didn’t take a big enough sample. Oh there it is. Hey, we can make a vaccine out of this, but it looks like it’s too late for Mulder. He needs stem cells. FROM THEIR SON. BUT WE DON’T KNOW WHERE HE IS. Oh looks like we’re out of runtime, throw in a UFO and call it a season.
Which leads us back to the original question surrounding this season. Would it have been better to dedicate all six episodes to a mythology arc? Based on what we’ve seen, probably not. After all, the best episode of this season was a monster of the week episode. But then consider everything else. Does anyone remember what happened in “Founder’s Mutation?” What about “Home Again?” I’m not going to sit here and throw “what-ifs” at the screen, but this is something the series is going to have to consider moving forward. Which, by the way, you can bet we’ll see a Season 11. The ratings were enough to pad every Fox executive’s wallet beyond comfort.
One of the other points I heard about this episode, which I wholeheartedly agree with, is that the separation of Mulder and Scully was a serious misstep for the finale. Each episode in season 10 has seen the two grow closer and closer, culminating in a touching moment at the end of the previous episode. I suppose all of that makes us care for Mulder’s predicament more, but it’s a disservice to see them separated for the entire episode.
It’s also incredibly difficult to take any of this end of the world material seriously. Tad O’Malley’s internet show is the kind of stuff I get drunk and watch until 3 AM to make me feel better about my own sanity. I guess that’s the point, since The X-Files always operates on the fringe of what we might call “acceptable science,” but throwing everything from chemtrails to the anti-vaccination movement all at the same time and playing them straight is definitely a step too far. The only timely issue we were spared was the resurgence of the flat-earth theory, but maybe that came too late for the show to throw in there.
So it’s the end of the world, and who cares? “My Struggle II” was an insult to fans, its characters, and the one guy who tuned in to see what all the fuss was about. Hell, it was an insult to cohesive television as a whole. Do I want a Season 11? Absolutely. These characters still have chemistry, “Were-Monster” showed us there are still original monster of the week stories to be told, and even when the show missed, it still managed to be fun to watch. Does that mean I want more episodes like this? Absolutely not.
Odds & Ends
- No seriously. Fans got shafted during the first finale, then they got burned when I Want to Believe was released, but this definitely takes the cake. Where would you even pick up from for a Season 11 pilot? Where would you go from there? If there are more episodes, let’s hope they shelve the mythology altogether.
- Agents Einstein and Miller were fine in their role in last week’s episode, but I really don’t want them to be recurring characters.
- Partially because I can’t take people calling “Agent Einstein” by name seriously. I keep thinking they’re mocking her.
- I don’t know when Mulder became a kung fu master, but that fight scene was fun to watch at least.
- Was this reboot a success? Who the hell cares, it made a boatload of money.
- I’m bitter.
Steve has descended into madness but you might be able to reach him on Twitter.