The X-Files, Season 11, Episode 2

Thank you. Thank you, Glen Morgan, thank you, thank you. Thank you.

Spoilers behind the cut.

“This” is a fitting title for the latest episode, because THIS is what an X-Files episode should be. Our favorite FBI agents, investigating weird shit and conspiracies together, being their quirky selves and Trusting No One.

Don’t mess with the feds.

We start off with Mulder and Scully in their (?) home, hanging out on the couch, reminiscent of season 7’s “all things”, but instead of chatting, they’re just napping. Because Mulder and Scully are all of us; their idea of fun at 50+ is a nap on the couch with their feet up on the coffee table. As it should be.

The peace doesn’t last long, however. A mysterious phone call from a long-dead Lone Gunman, Langly, breaks the silence, and suddenly the Mulder residence is under attack by a group of thugs.

What follows is a beautifully choreographed action sequence in which Mulder shoves the couch against the door to buy some time while Scully dives under the kitchen table, flips it over, and starts firing rounds.

I’m gonna need a minute.

Mulder and Scully quickly wipe out two of the three assassins, but the fun is only just beginning. The rest of the episode is a whirlwind tour as they go on the run to uncover some dirty little government secrets (Russian private-sector security contractors, yikes!) and try to get to the bottom of Langly’s unexpected reappearance.

“Scully, you looked so adorbs just there, all curled up in a ball in the booth of a skanky bar with your fingers wrapped around the grip of an assassin’s Glock.”

Fox Mulder, being equally adorbs

Apparently the new iteration of the Syndicate plans to use our collective consciousness to power their escape from a soon-to-be-devastated Earth, all while distracting us with a virtual heaven of eternal riches. Langly, having been “uploaded” to the virtual world, figures it out and gets in touch from beyond the grave.

The premise isn’t new (think Black Mirror‘s “San Junipero” with a sinister twist, or, if you’re old school, The X-Files‘ “Kill Switch”) but the plot actually made sense, and that is so refreshing after last week’s…thing.

We see Mulder and Scully in their element; traversing graveyards at midnight, hunched over computers (and bran muffins — hey, even FBI agents gotta stay regular), hanging out in crummy diners, and creeping down long, dim hallways in shadowy government buildings.

I just got chills.

Also: Parking garage conspiracy encounters. Classic.

We also see their evolution. There’s more hand-to-hand combat, more jumping down stairwells and off porches (handcuffed together!), and more confidence. They’re weathered, a little world-weary, and they’re Not Putting Up With Your Shit Anymore.

Those arms. Ugh.

And the banter! The back-and-forth throughout felt so in-character, I get a little teary-eyed just thinking about it. Morgan let David and Gillian do their thing, and they do it so, so well. Even when the actors’ personalities sneak through, it feels natural and sweet because these people know their characters and I am living for it.

Scully: Why do you operate so well with your hands cuffed behind your back?

Mulder: As if you didn’t know.

I’m the Grinch; my heart grew three sizes after watching “This”. If this is an indication of things to come, I will be very pleased.

Next week’s “Plus One” is a Carter special. We’ll see, we’ll see…


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