I had such a great birthday, y’all.
My show is back! My show is back! And because my head is so full and I’ve already talked Tim’s ear off about the new episodes, I’ll put my thoughts here.
Spoilers beneath the cut.
My Struggle was, um, something. Thankfully my excitement over seeing our favorite dynamic duo on live TV again overshadowed the clunky dialogue, the plot holes (sooooo many plot holes), the rushed pacing, the rough acting as GA and DD tried to find their characters again. I cringed at the cliches, the exposition. The episode tried to cover too much ground in too little time, while bringing in themes from the old show and treating them like brand new discoveries.
Scully has alien DNA? Well, duh.
Why don’t we talk about Mulder’s abduction in the same context? He has alien DNA, too, but it never comes up.
And we’ve known since season 5 (and suspected before then) that aliens weren’t the real criminals. Mulder’s sister was abducted by men and experimented on by men. That’s not new information, and I don’t get why they had the characters act as though it was.
I get that they had to “onboard” both die-hard fans of the show and newcomers, but it came across as the show runners having completely ignored the previous series, and biting off more than they could chew.
That said, the ending turned things around. By the time Mulder and Scully reconvened in the parking garage, I saw a glimpse of the characters I remember, and the chemistry between them is palpable.
And the Smoking Man is back???? I look forward to seeing how they explain that nonsense. Dude must be more plastic than human at this point.
Founder’s Mutation, on the other hand, felt more like the X-Files I remember. There was banter! There was angst! There was telekinesis and people bleeding from their faces and Mulder Pain!
There was open discussion about Mulder and Scully’s child!
Oh, and then there were the dream sequences. You know, the ones where Mulder and Scully imagine what it might have been like to be actual parents?
There may have been weeping. There was copious weeping and eating of feelings.
Mulder puts it on himself to be the strong one — ”I felt like I had to put that behind me” — because Scully sacrificed so much to stay with him. I don’t think he’s given himself permission to grieve the loss of their son, but ultimately, he’s just as vulnerable as she is. This sequence was so hard for me to watch, because while we know Scully’s hurting, we’ve never seen Mulder’s side of that story, and when we do, it’s about as brutal as you’d expect.
In contrast, Scully is unusually open about the subject, which is interesting, because her character used to be so closed. Maybe she’s too tired to hold it in. Maybe the distance between her and Mulder has given her the space she needs to openly grieve.
I can see how such a wound would eventually drive the two characters to opposite corners, and how the resulting depression would lead to separation. I was hopeful it would be handled in a way that makes sense. So far, they’ve done it justice and kept the dynamic between the two interesting.
And I love that they’re talking.
“You’re never ‘just’ anything to me, Scully.”
Love. Love love love.
Also, three cheers for Rebel!Skinner. He’s the ally he should have been years ago, looking the other way so his agents can pursue justice for the ugly truths the government doesn’t want people to know. Living for it.
As far as the “monster of the week” in this episode, the concepts weren’t new, but I loved the parallels it drew with the original run and Mulder’s quest — a boy trying to find his sister. At least there was a happy ending for these two, and that they were able to exact their revenge on their father in classic X-Files manner.
The episode had a few rough spots. We’re never shown how Mulder and Scully are reinstated at the FBI, save for a brief scene in Skinner’s office, so the transition from the first episode felt abrupt. The original line-up placed Founder’s Mutation later in the series, so it’s understandable they wouldn’t have filmed anything to show the agents getting back into the Bureau.
I’m still not used to GA’s wig, and her voice sounds weird (rough, too subdued), and the pacing felt a bit rushed (but not nearly as bad as My Struggle), but overall, I loved this episode.
Now I’m left waiting on the edge of my seat for next week’s episode, which is supposed to be even stronger than Founder’s Mutation. Hopefully they’ll take it easy on the William story line, though. I’m not sure I can handle the angst.