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Stephanie Watches The X-Files: “My Struggle”

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The X-Files has been a part of my life for 23 years, which is insane since I’m only 28. I remember the first episode I ever saw: I was 5 years old and saw “Squeeze,” the 3rd episode in the series about a scary guy who squeezes himself through anything (especially air vents) and eats your liver. I was terrified of my bedroom vents for many months after that, but that didn’t stop me from continuing to watch the show. I have a fond memory of sitting on the floor in my grandparents’ living room as me, my mom, granddad, grandma, cousin, aunt, and uncle all watched an episode together. I’m about 90 percent sure that episode was “Pusher” because I remember a guy lighting himself on fire.

This all led to me being madly in love with Fox Mulder, wanting to be Scully, and totally determined to becoming an FBI agent when I got older. I even had this little mini FBI agent kit that I played with all the time. I watched it regularly over the years, but as soon as Mulder dropped out for most of season 8, my mom and I lost interest with Doggett (I have since rectified that and watched season 8 and 9 last year and now love Doggett and Reyes). Regardless, the show was never far from my mind and as soon as Netflix had it for streaming about six years ago, I rewatched it all. And now I’m making crazy detailed viewing guides for all the peeps in my life that want to get into it.

The obsession truly resurfaced when Kumail Nanjiani created a podcast called The X-Files Files, where he goes episode by episode analyzing and discussing things in great, nerdy detail with either another comedian or someone involved with the show. It really reignited my love for the show and as it started getting more attention, more people were talking about bringing the show back. And then voila! A 6-episode miniseries was announced, filmed, and premiered last night on January 24! Aside from maybe another movie, I never thought I would get to see Mulder and Scully on the screen again and experience the thrill of a new episode. I really threw it back and watched it live, even dealing with commercials. (Though that was kind of unavoidable since Fox had it on after the never-ending sportsball and many people’s recordings got screwed up.)

I sat in my living room, nervously devouring chocolate chip cookies and hugging a pillow as I listened to Mulder giving me a quick summary of what I’ve experienced with him over the years (almost 14 years ago) and then the original intro starts playing, which caused me to lose it and I was unashamedly crying a little bit.

So, how was the first episode? Well, I loved it! To be honest, I’m just grateful for new episodes. They could literally have just shown me an hour of Mulder and Scully standing around doing nothing and I would have loved it. *shrug* So, if you’re looking for a super critical viewing of this series, I’m not your lady. Let’s just be excited this show is back!

Mulder is living out in the middle of nowhere, depressed from his hunt for the truth and never finding proof. This seems to have also driven Scully away from him, at least romantically. But she’s still there for him the moment she gets his call.

Scully is working as a surgeon on a project where she is reconstructing ears for children who have been born without them, giving them a rather alien visage. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Ha.

Throughout the early parts of the episode, we’re given flashbacks to 1947 of a flying saucer that crash landed in New Mexico, likely Roswell. (I did not get this was a flashback at first because I’m special. Mainly because I thought/hoped the bespectacled man was an older Gibson from the original series. The glasses were the same!) Doctor Glasses sees pools of dark blood (at first I was like, BLACK OIL!?) and then an alien creature bleeding and crawling away from the crash. Unfortunately, the soldiers follow him and kill the creature before he can stop them.

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Both Mulder and Scully are reunited to meet with a right-wing conspiracy theorist named Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale). He cheeses it up big time, offering them champagne and attempting to prove he’s the real deal, a real believer. But Mulder insists that he’s never been a believer, he only wants to believe. He’s just never found the concrete proof. Tad (what a douchey name, goodness) takes them to the middle of nowhere to meet with a young woman named Sveta, who claims she was abducted, impregnated, and had her baby stolen by aliens on multiple occasions. You can tell Scully is resisting the urge to eyeroll. But she promises to test her for alien DNA to see if her claims are true.

While Scully and Sveta head to the hospital, Tad takes Mulder to a secret hangar to show him an alien replica vehicle (ARV). The ship is powered by “zero point energy” and hovers in the room above Mulder. He looks like a kid in a candy shop. The scientists then demonstrate the cloaking ability, explaining that they’ve had this power at their fingertips for decades. Hmmmm.

As she’s taking her blood sample, Sveta claims to be able to read minds and move things with it. Scully gives off the impression that Sveta is nuts, but then she starts detailing things from Scully’s past with Mulder and her defenses go up. Considering Scully has had similar abduction experiences and even her child was thought to have alien DNA (and had the ability to move things with his mind), she decides to test her own blood. Tad walks in as she’s doing this and tries to get real flirty with my homegirl. Step off, brah.

Without Tad or Scully around, Sveta confides in Mulder that actually it was men from the government that stole her babies. This leads Mulder down the government conspiracy rabbit hole since that’s what happened to Scully. Plus, after seeing the ARV in action, it makes sense that the government would use those to trick people into thinking they’ve been abducted. Mulder even goes back to his old office in the basement with Skinner (YAY!) tagging along. All of his files are gone, which seems to upset him. I mean, it’s been like 13 years…and 15 years since he’s been on the X-Files, so it’s not going to be exactly as you left it, buddy. Also, I thought the entire office was burned up at some point in the later series… Either way, the pencils in the ceiling remain. Skinner basically tells him how much he misses him, but still somehow sounds stern and scolding about it. Good ol’ Skinner.

I’m hoping for a call from somebody named Mulder.”

Mulder is going off the deep end, feeling desperate about the situation and newly reignited in his quest for the truth. Scully goes to his home and the two have it out like old times. She’s basically saying, dude you’re crazy, you need help! And he’s all,  NO, I’m finally on the right track, closer to the truth than ever before!!!! And to make matters worse, Scully looks a little hurt that cute Sveta is chillin’ in Mulder’s secret home. Then, Tad shows up to make things even more awkward (since she had ditched on an outing with him to go see Mulder) and has his own government conspiracy spiel that he says he’ll be broadcasting to the world.

According to Tad, the alien conspiracy goes even deeper than the Syndicate of the first few seasons and that it’s all been an elaborate ploy to lead Mulder further from the truth so that the U.S. government can take over the world using alien technology and the threat of aliens to distract people from what they’ve been doing all these years right under people’s noses. This time, the Scully eyeroll is out in full force. She’s like, guess what this chick doesn’t even have any alien DNA, so can you all just chill????

The next day, someone’s gotten to Sveta and she’s changed her story, claiming Tad is a liar. Plus, Tad’s show is gone, according to Scully’s googling. Or Finder-Spyder-ing. (Fun fact: apparently that is the go-to fake search engine used in many shows like Breaking Bad, Homeland, Prison Break, etc.) Just in time for her to get the blood test results back. She sequenced both her and Sveta’s genome, just in case. Turns out, they’re both a match for alien DNA. Dun dun dun!

Mulder meets with someone in secret, trying to get answers. This man turns out to be old Doctor Glasses. But instead of giving him answers, he just tells Mulder: “You’re nearly there. You’re close.” Fat lotta good you are, dude!

Now Mulder can’t find Sveta and some government peeps have gone to the secret hangar and blown up the ARV, along with the scientists. While trying to escape, Sveta’s car starts acting wacky. Exactly like Mulder and Scully’s car in the original pilot. It stops in the middle of the road and suddenly an alien spacecraft appears over her. (Hmm is it a legit alien or an ARV? Probably the latter given all the government conspiracy drama.) Before she can get out, the craft blows her and her car up. Nice known’ ya, Sveta.

The government has gotten to them all! Or maybe it’s just aliens??? The forever X-Files questions.

The course of events seems to have wigged Scully out enough to jump headfirst into whatever Mulder’s plan is, firmly reuniting both of them in their ongoing quest for the truth. “I’m saying someone has to stop these sons of bitches.” Thankfully, Skinner misses his two favorite agents and made a play to reopen the X-Files and reinstate both of them in their original positions.

Cut to a VERY familiar face, smoking out of his neck-hole. Yeesh. But also, YAY! Cigarette Smoking Man returns, even though he most definitely got blown up in the series finale.

We have a small problem. They’ve reopened the X-files.”

Chills, you guys.

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