Thursday, March 10, 2016

The X-Files 10x06 Review: “My Struggle, Part 2” (Every Man Has His Weakness) [Contributor: Lizzie]

"My Struggle, Part 2"
Original Airdate: February 22, 2016

You gotta have faith, and a big pair of you-know-whats to write an episode like this. Either that or you have to not care one bit about your characters. Now, I might have been one of Chris Carter’s harshest critics for twenty-three years, but I can promise you this: he cares. This show is his baby — his vision. Unlike other The X-Files writers, he hasn’t gone on to helm other successful shows (*pointed glance at Vince Gilligan*). He has The X-Files. This is HIS legacy. He cares.

Which makes the ending of this episode even more baffling.

Either Chris Carter knows something we don’t — and considering he’s the showrunner, that’s not an unfair assumption to make — or he’s taken leave of his senses. Whatever it is he ingested to come up with last episode did a number on his brain, and we’ve lost him for good.

Though, considering this episode goes hand-in-hand with the first one, that’s probably not what happened. He either knows a season 11 is coming, or this is his attempt to strong-arm FOX into giving him more episodes, all the while giving us heart attacks as we wait for the confirmation.

Joke’s on you, Chris Carter. You didn’t have to strong-arm anyone into anything. People still love The X-Files. The ratings were great. You’re (very likely) getting more episodes. So, now, you better have a plan to fix this.

And fast.


I’m not what you might call the biggest Monica Reyes fan in the world. In fact, I never quite cared for her that much. She was like a female Mulder, brought in to fill the void of the original. And back then, I wasn’t falling for it. I wanted David Duchovny, not some replacement believer. I even stopped watching the show for a while there, when Duchovny was gone, and only watched most of the episodes in which she appeared later on.

But there’s not appreciating Monica Reyes back in the day, and there’s liking what Chris Carter made of her in this revival. Although, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure there isn’t one person out there who actually liked the utter character assassination of Monica Reyes.

Monica Reyes, as we knew her, was optimistic, open to new ideas, more spiritual than Mulder, a tad quirky, much freer with her smiles, and just a good person. A good friend. The Monica Reyes of today is CSM’s lapdog, presumably only there to hand him a cigarette and be reminded of her terrible life choices.

I get the point — Chris Carter is not subtle. Monica Reyes was offered a chance to survive, and she took it. Fox Mulder is offered a chance to survive in this episode, and since he’s the hero of this thing, of course, he turns it down. He’d rather die than compromise. He’s allowed to do that, not just because he’s Mulder (though that plays a part), or because he’s a guy, but because in Chris Carter’s black and white world, there can only be ONE hero, ONE person making the right choice.

Scully — the other half of the incredible duo — doesn’t even get to make a choice. She’s been saved without being asked, saved by a series of circumstances that began with Mulder and her assignment to the X-Files. Because it all leads to him: the salvation and the damnation. Mulder is the key figure in all this.

And that’s fine; we knew this from the beginning. We just sort of expected the other characters would get the courtesy of making their own decisions based on previously established patterns of behavior, not on the scale of how it makes Mulder’s sacrifice look.


If you don’t think that’s Dana Scully, then you might have been watching another show. And I’m not even talking about just now; I’m talking about during the last twenty-three years. Mulder is Chris Carter’s hero — in a way, because he’s also Scully’s, and because it’s impossible not to appreciate the sheer enthusiasm David Duchovny puts into the character, we’ve loved him too. But he’s never been OUR hero.

Scully is.

From the beginning, we were on the side of logic. We were on the side of common sense. We were on the side of actual explanations, not flights of fancy. Mulder is showier, but Scully is more grounded in reality.

She’s also the strongest character in this show, by far. She takes and takes and takes and keeps going. Mulder retreats. He hides. He gives up. Except that he never really does, because he has her. He’s always had her. And he probably always will, because I’m starting to think we should just call off the break-up. Yes, call it off. Just like Chris Carter told us they were broken-up — off-screen — we can decide that they aren’t. Period.

Don’t tell me that they’re not together.

I won’t believe you.


I can’t, in good conscience, finish up talking about this revival without dedicating a few paragraphs to the Mulder and Scully dynamic — the ONLY thing that worked 100% of the time in these six episodes. Sure, it was awkward at first, as you would expect after Chris Carter forces you to break up for stupid reasons that no one really understands. But the awkwardness really lasted for like, one episode. Then, Mulder’s bitterness gave way to the utter joy he finds in just being by Scully’s side. And Scully’s... whatever it was, just folded when confronted with the things she loves about this man — the fact that he has been, and remains, her unflinching, unconditional partner in everything.

So the question is: why aren’t they back together?

The easy answer is: because Chris Carter still hates us. Or thinks he knows better. Or, probably a little bit of both those things. Because honestly, there is no good reason. Whatever the reasons were for the original break-up, they don’t seem to apply anymore. They CLEARLY still love each other. But then again, this was also true for at least three-quarters of the series’ original run, and boy, did that take much longer than it should have.

So I’m not holding my breath for confirmation any time soon. I’m just here to pass judgment on the brilliant idea to have Mulder and Scully broken up to start the revival. And in that regard, there’s just one thing I can say:


Just no.


This is whole new territory for The X-Files. This is potentially series-altering. For so long the “conspiracy” has existed in the shadows. Now, it’s out in the open. People are dying/have died. Everyone knows something is going on. That presents a very interesting paradigm for the future: how do you tell these stories in a world where everyone is a believer? Can you even do it?

Well, let’s just say I hope Chris Carter has a plan. Because season 11 seems like a certainty. (Because of the ratings, not because of this stunt he pulled.)

And because of the fans, not because of this episode.

Other things:
  • Do you really expect me to believe Scully didn’t think to track Mulder’s phone but Miller did? And that he conveniently found a link of Mulder’s computer to do just that? DO YOU? Do you even know how technology works, Chris Carter? 
  • I liked Einstein much more this episode. For the first time, she came off as an actual human being instead of a Scully clone. But I’m still not feeling the connection between her and Miller. No chemistry, no caring, no depth. Nothing. 
  • Agent Einstein is NOT old enough to have received a small pox vaccination. How do I know this? BECAUSE YOU TOLD US WHEN THEY STOPPED GIVING THEM, CHRIS CARTER. Seasons ago, yes, but I have a weird memory for crap like that. 
  • William better be driving that spaceship, otherwise anything the show pulls out its butt to save Mulder will be pretty unbelievable. And for The X-Files, that’s saying something. 
  • And as we previously ascertained, Chris Carter is not going to kill Mulder. In that regard, this is not so much a cliffhanger as it is a stupid power play. 
  • The tagline: “This is the end” was just cruel, especially when the whole point of this episode was for this to NOT BE THE END. 
  • We talked about how episodes DO NOT WORK when you keep Mulder and Scully apart, Chris. We talked about this.
  • I’m confused: does CSM WANT to save his son, or did he just want to see him beg? Also, how can he even talk? Is this one of those things I just have to take on faith? Because I’m a little low on that right now.
  • I thought you were about to when he brought up Scully. He never learns, does he?
  • I promise you, when (I refuse to say if) season 11 begins, we’re somehow going to find out that’s not a spaceship. Because, without the running gag of Scully not having seen a spaceship, where would we be?
  • The jump from “this will help” to “we need William” was hard to follow. But, whatever, we want William. We’ll take it. 
  • Despite all the issues, and all my complaints, I’m glad we got these six episodes. I’m grateful for The X-Files, even if I’m not always grateful for Chris Carter. Now, give me more.
The X-Files six-episode revival is available, in its entirety, on FOX.

1 comment:

  1. Not a fan of the cliffhanger. I thought the miniseries was going to serve as the definite conclusion to the X-Files mythology but instead, it seems Chris Carter isn't ready to let it go.