The X-Files Season Finale Recap: My Struggle II
What the hell was that? Seriously. What. The. Hell. I can totally buy into insane conspiracy theories; panic; the government trying to end most life on Earth. But I can’t take it done poorly. This was such a major plot, it was not something that should have been shoved into two episodes of a six-episode season. We had the “set up” of the insanity in the first episode; then all of a sudden the world is literally coming to an end. What’s worse is that we are left with far more questions, and no answers. This would be fine if it were just a season finale, but who knows if FOX will order more episodes? I admit, I love The X-Files unconditionally, but that doesn’t mean that common sense takes a vacation.
Okay, let’s get into The X-Files season finale which upset me so. We open with Scully giving narration, which is a nice mirror image to Mulder’s narration in “My Struggle.” Except that at the end, Scully’s face morphs into an alien. That seemed a little unnecessary.
Scully shows up at the office late, but finds Mulder is not there. His computer is open to Tad O’Malley’s site, which is back “on the air” with the “discovery of something so shocking you may want to sit down.” Tad claims that he has verifiable evidence of alien DNA in every American citizen. The phone rings, startling Scully out of her haze. It is Tad, and he needs her to come over right away.
Tad is at Mulder’s house. Mulder is missing, and there are signs of a terrific struggle. Tad came here for an informal meeting with Mulder after he found he had anomalous DNA. Scully downplays this discovery; everyone has anomalous DNA. But she thinks this got Mulder excited. Either way, she is calling the police. She is worried for Mulder.
When she returns to the office, Scully finds Skinner and Einstein are waiting for her. They are concerned about Mulder, and Scully is afraid that Mulder fears her judgement. She tells them about the DNA, but warns the facts cannot be discounted just yet. She takes Einstein to the hospital to test her DNA. Einstein thinks the whole alien DNA thing is absurd, but she is more than happy to let science prove that. The hospital is busy, busier than normal, and a dazed man comes up to them, asking for help. He has a laceration or infection on his upper arm. The nurse takes him away.
While Scully takes Einstein’s blood, she tells her about the aberration in her own DNA. It is unexplained, and by definition alien. Einstein doesn’t understand why Scully bothered looking, and Scully becomes slightly defensive. Einstein doesn’t understand her history, and Scully admits that her years with the X-Files have made her understand that the science they have been taught is not the whole story. Miller finds them and tells them the Internet is freaking out over the Tad O’Malley show. Tad is interviewing a doctor who is talking about a massive contagion like AIDS without the HIV. Basically, a contagious immune deficiency. Miller dismisses it, but Scully is worried – it is all too plausible. After checking with the nurse, Scully finds out the disoriented man is military. It all starts to make sense. The lesions are from anthrax. Soldiers are all given anthrax vaccines before being shipped out. But if they have a compromised immune system, the vaccine attacks the body (after all, it is a tiny little dose of the disease).
Miller goes back to Mulder’s office and again watches some of Tad’s internet show. This time he is backing up Scully’s claims of a first wave of contagion being delivered through vaccinations – but he sounds much crazier. Miller notices a phone finder app on the desktop, and pings Mulder’s phone. He is in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Mulder has been badly beaten after the altercation in his home (we will get to that, I promise). His driving is erratic, and he ignores multiple phone calls from both Skinner and Scully. He dozes off in his car and wakes to the sounds of sirens. He is on the shoulder; the sirens drive by, but he continues driving.
Back at the hospital, Scully and Einstein are having the kind of argument that Scully normally would have had with Mulder – except this time, she is in Mulder’s place. Einstein thinks the man’s arm lesions were due to a faulty vaccine. They are only seeing one class of people infected. Einstein can’t believe that anyone could or would tamper with their DNA to shut down their immune system. Scully doesn’t know why it is happening now, or how it is happening, and Einstein points out that in order to shut down the immune system would require something being taken away from the genome, not added. Scully considers this, but gets a call from someone who can “explain what is happening.” Rather than revealing who the caller is, the caller assures Scully she is “someone who was there for you when you needed help.” We all know who this is: Monica Reyes.
Scully meets Reyes in rain, wishing it was under better circumstances. Scully tried to look Reyes up when she returned to the FBI, but was told she left in a hurry and has been gone for a decade. Through some flashbacks, Reyes fills Scully in.
Right after he was blown up, Reyes was called in to meet with Cigarette Smoking Man. He was so badly burned that his face had to be reconstructed, but the agents standing guard assure her he will live. Despite his appearance, CSM’s voice is calm and even. He wants to make a deal with her, one that left her “little choice.” Basically, CSM will save her life, but she has to be his “companion” – basically bring him cigarettes and hold it up to his throat-hole. That was her that he was speaking to in the first episode. CSM talks about being the most powerful man in the world; about depopulating the earth with science that has been in use since the 1950s; “not as simple as alien DNA mixed with ours.” Their fates have been sealed since birth.
Scully is pissed off. “You came to tell me you are a coward?” Reyes assures her that Scully is safe; she is one of the “chosen elites.” They are both protected. The alien DNA was what would save people from this contagion; not cause their death. According to Reyes, this plan has been in motion since 2012. She assures Scully that CSM loves Mulder, and sent a man to him to offer a deal.
We flashback to Mulder’s house. A man breaks in, so Mulder, naturally fights back. It’s a pretty good fight. Mulder has moves for an old man! Mulder eventually “wins,” gets the guy pinned beneath him, and demands at gunpoint to know who sent him. Switching to “now,” Mulder has his gun to CSM’s head. “You sent for me. I’m here.” CSM insists this is unnecessary. “I’ve controlled you since before you knew I existed.” He really wants to save Mulder’s life, so he can see Scully again. This angers Mulder, and CSM chuckles. “Every man has his weakness.” He insists that he didn’t set out to destroy the world; people did. He is not responsible for climate change or any of the other horrible things that are bringing about the end of the world; he merely changed the time table. CSM assures Mulder that he will be dead within a week, and offers Mulder a seat at the “big table.” “We could start the world anew, you, me, your beloved Scully.” He notices that Mulder is looking a bit feverish.
Scully has returned to the hospital, which is now jammed with people. The nurse is overwhelmed. Einstein is still there; she is afraid to leave. The CDC has confirmed a massive contagion and things outside have gone from bad to worse. Scully needs Einstein’s help, admitting that she was right about what was happening, but wrong about the science. The alien DNA is the only thing that can save humanity. The contagion, called the Spartan Virus, is in the germ line already, put there via smallpox vaccinations. She can use her own DNA to create a vaccine against Spartan.
Mulder has collapsed, but he doesn’t want CSM’s help standing up. He is impressed that Mulder manages to pull himself up into a chair. CSM will miss Mulder. “You made my life worth living.” For fun, CSM removes his half mask to reveal the craters in his face. Mulder wishes Scully was there to see the “monster he has become.” “I’m all she will have left,” CSM promises sinisterly.
Scully and Einstein are doing sciencey things, and Scully is concerned. There is nothing alien in her DNA. What the hell happened? Meanwhile the nurse comes in – she is sick, all the doctors are sick. Tad is sick, but still broadcasting. His crew is suffering, but he vows they will stay on the air as long as there is a hope of a turnaround. Scully and Einstein get deeper into the science (which is far above my pay grade) and Einstein realizes what went wrong: their sample was too small. She is sure a larger extract of cells will reveal the alien DNA. Einstein is feverish, but determined to help
Mulder is in bad shape when Miller shows up and wakes him, promising he won’t let him die. CSM promises there is nothing that can be done for anyone. “You have no idea how well we planned.” Mulder suggests Miller ask for the cure, since he sure as hell won’t accept help from CSM.
The ladies have more success with the second sample. They find the alien DNA in Scully, and she sets to work on a cure while Einstein lies down. Miller calls, assuring Scully that he has Mulder, but he is not doing well. Miller is still driving, but he could use a doctor himself. He is worried that they will run out of gas before they make it home. Scully promises to find them, wherever they are – just keep your phone charged.
Scully gives Einstein the cure via IV. As soon as she is able, Einstein is to give the cure to the other doctors, who can create more doses of the cure.
Tad is getting sicker. The infrastructure is falling apart. “It appears we go out with a whimper.”
The streets are jammed with cars. People are looting. Scully actually tries to stop a guy who breaks a store window. She begs them to get to the hospital for the cure. She texts Tad, who announces on his show that there is a vaccine. “Don’t give up.”
Scully jumps in her car and takes to driving on the sidewalk. They used to have sirens on their cars; I guess she never got hers back after rejoining the FBI. Not like sirens would have mattered. She is on the phone with Miller, who directs her to their location on a bridge. Eventually Scully jumps out and continues on foot. Miller flags her down and she goes to help Mulder, but she is worried – he is much worse off than she thought. Even still, he manages to crack wise: “Old Smoky saved your life. I suppose I should thank him.” Scully pulls Miller aside and confides that he needs stem cells. From William, their son together. But Scully doesn’t know where he is. A bright light suddenly beams down from the sky, and I can’t help but laugh. A triangle-shaped ship hovers above the highway, and the light seems to be coming for Scully.
And that’s it. Screen goes dark. Credits roll. I am left sitting there pissed off and speechless.[Gallery not found]