Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
OK. I'm OK now. Let's talk about Monday's The X-Files miniseries finale, “My Struggle II" ...
Warning: Spoilers ahead...
Now, we know.
Anyone who followed The X-Files for the past 23 years knew something wasn’t right in the world. Were it ever to end, though, we all expected it to be with Independence Day-sized explosions, an invasion of tremendous power. But like T.S. Eliot said so long ago, “This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.” In this case, it’s more of a coughing fit and a bad fever.
Because as it turns out, everyone was right and no one was right.
Tad O’Malley, who returned Monday after six weeks off-air to inform the world that the apocalypse has begun, was right that a conspiracy of men was behind the alien abductions. Mulder was right that the Smoking Man led said conspiracy and just wanted to watch the world burn. And Scully was right that the alien DNA was forced into her system for a reason.
But O’Malley guessed wrong when he announced on his talk show that everyone in America had alien DNA. Scully misjudged that this anomalous DNA would hurt her, and Mulder was wrong when he said he wanted to believe. Because Monday, when the truth finally came out, after 23 years, he wanted nothing more than to run from it.
“You don’t want to believe,” the Smoking Man tells him, as he drags nicotine into his neckhole (moments before ripping his face off to reveal the horrid charred skin underneath).
What Mulder doesn’t want to believe is that the world truly is ending and aliens have nothing to do with it.
“You’re witnessing what might be the advent of a global contagion,” O’Malley broadcasts to the world, as hospitals begin to be overrun first with military and police personnel reacting to the Anthrax virus by mysteriously contracting the disease via vaccines — no, Jenny McCarthy, this isn’t proof for the anti-vax movement — then with flu patients and worse.
Agent Scully and her young doppelganger from last week, Agent Einstein, get to work trying to figure out what’s wrong. Scully assumes the alien DNA is attacking them and that O’Malley was right to think everyone in America has it.
Quickly, though, she realizes something odd: She’s one of the few not getting sick. Before she has to figure it out, though, she’s spoon-fed an explanation.
Monica Reyes, who diehards will remember as an agent with the FBI’s X-Files in the original run’s final two seasons, returns to fill Scully in. Turns out she’s been working a killer gig as The Smoking Man’s sidekick — job duties include placing his cigarette into his neckhole herself! — and is thrilled to tell Scully the truth.
Using the smallpox vaccine, the Smoking Man and his merry band of dark evildoers have been injecting everyone with the Spartan Virus. The science is unclear, but basically it’s a virus that shuts down the immune system and can be triggered by, if O’Malley’s broadcast is to be believed, anything from chem trails left by jetliners to microwaves.
Some folks, though, are saved. You guessed it — it’s those with the alien DNA. As we learned in the premiere, the alien abductions were staged and men added those alien double helixes to random citizen’s systems, including Scully’s.
Upon learning this, Scully immediately sets about trying to save everyone by extracting and replicating her own DNA. Meanwhile, Mulder’s on a mission to find out the why.
After beating the hell out of a trained assassin and discovering the guy was there to bring him to The Smoking Man (sidenote: Hot damn, can Mulder fight), he decides to pay his old pal a visit.
The Smoking Man wants to create a superior race, one that he chose by picking who would be given alien DNA. As he so charmingly puts it, "The world will go on. Just in my image, instead of God’s."
When questioned as to, you know, why a dying dude wants to build a whole new race when he could just kick his feet up and enjoy a carton of Marlboro Reds, he goes on a rant worthy of Jonathan Franzen, citing global warming and the forced extinction so many animals. Like most deranged, evil men, he thinks of himself as the good guy.
“I didn’t set out to destroy the world,” he says. “People did.”
Before anything more happens, Miller finds Mulder, who is increasingly weak from his own sickness. He’s not the only one. O’Malley is just about to finish broadcasting and not by choice.
Eventually, Scully and an extremely sick Mulder wind up together on a bridge. Just as she thinks of her son, William, the one that’s been lost throughout the season, it happens.
It happens as Mulder is still dying.
It happens before we know anything more about William.
It happens with the fate of the world still hanging in a precious balance and Scully maybe with the power to save it.
It happens without any further info on why Einstein is named “Dr. Einstein.”
An alien ship, just like the one we saw in the premiere, the one that humans had learned to build, appears. Hovering overhead with its shadow blotting out the cars in darkness, it shines a beam of light down on an awed Scully, who stares with childlike amazement.
And then … NOTHING.
The end credits ran and the miniseries — THE ONE WE WAITED 13 YEARS FOR — ended.
It was such a tremendous hour of television that, even though we all knew it was only an hour, most of us probably just kept staring at our television anyway. I’d be willing to place a wager that there are folks out there who still are.
So, here’s a parting note to Fox, to Chris Carter, to Gillian Anderson, to David Duchovny: If we don’t get another season, The X-Files fans are going to lose their collective damn minds.
#XFilesSeason11 is all we have to say.