I have been an X-Files fan since I was a child when my parents would watch the show in glorious 480p on FOX in the Nineties. I have watched the entire series many times when it was on Netflix and I was on the X-Files subreddit as the premiere aired.
So let me start this review with blunt honesty.
The season premiere, “My Struggle III” isn’t good.
It’s not good at all and I don’t even know where to start. I suppose that I’ll go with the technical. Whether it was cheaper 480p cameras or 35mm when the show was at the height of its popularity, The X-Files was a landmark achievement in lighting, suspenseful cinematography, and editing. This episode looks like a 24 ripoff that happens to star David Duchovny.
Shaky cam tries to add drama during scenes of exposition and everything is blue all of a sudden when the show had a more natural color palette for over a decade. Thankfully the camera slows down for us to see that Mulder is driving a Ford. I liked that part. Just kidding, I hated it.
Now let’s move on to the story. The opening monologue by the Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM) was well made with a discussion about loyalty ending in a scene of a young version of him on a movie set as the United States government films the moon landing. The show then decides to run with a crazy idea. Remember last season’s final episode? The one where Mulder becomes ill, civilization falls apart, and Scully tells everyone that everything is going to be okay?
Well that was all just a dream prophetic vision of a possible future that has put Scully in a coma. As she is in this state, she tries to tell Mulder and Skinner through Morse code in an MRI scan to look for William. For those scratching their head, William is supposed to be Mulder and Scully’s son (we’ll get to that later). Most X-Files episode would make that an entire episode but not this one.
Instead we have Skinner, the hard-nosed pragmatist, outright believing what he sees in front of him while Mulder, who rekindled his faith in the supernatural last season, doesn’t want to believe any of it. What follows is a serious of scenes told in voice over expositions as everyone goes after the CSM.
Meanwhile CSM has his own exposition monologues to intercut Duchovny’s monotone voice. I’ll sum it up as quickly as I can, everyone is after William due to his alien DNA. CSM wants him for himself so he can use the kid as leverage against Scully. A new Syndicate member who happens to also smoke cigarettes wants to save William so Mulder will be for his plan to movie humanity off of Earth in a Dyson sphere.
Scully, who has now miraculously recovered from her coma (maybe these monologues were so boring that they motivated her to wake up) wants William as well. From her perspective, William is the only one who can save Mulder from the terminal illness that he is going to contract in the future.
Now that may be a lot of plot given out in ridiculous fashion but we’ve seen nothing yet. As this episode comes to a close we see Mulder miraculously come back from South Carolina to DC after failing to find the CSM just in time for him to kill an assassin trying to smother Scully in her hospital bed with a pillow. Mulder does this with a scalpel to the man’s throat. There’s no gun, no “Freeze! I’m a federal agent!”, just a straight up murder with a scalpel.
Oh don’t worry, there’s more! After nonchalantly killing a man, we see the conclusion of what Skinner has been doing this entire episode. Skinner finds himself in his car with the CSM. The man tells him that Scully’s baby isn’t really Mulder’s. In fact, Skinner is really the father with the help of alien science. Whooaaa!
I’m sure that this is a lie but turning Scully’s character from a strong protagonist to psychic coma patient who is a rape victim is still pretty terrible. I hope that the monster of the week episodes are worth this dreck because it took everything I had to not turn off my television last night.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10