Tuesday, January 12, 2016

'The X Files': Mytholology 101 [Contributor: Lizzie]

The X-Files revival is coming. And when I say it’s coming, I mean it’s coming now. Not in an undefined future, or in a year, or even in six months. No, the thing we’ve all been waiting for is upon us, at last. It’s both exciting, and nerve-wracking, and a little worrying. Because, this is The X-Files. And you were meaning to re-watch the series before the new episodes were here. It’s all so complicated, after all. You can’t really remember what happened. Or, if you can, you don’t really trust your memory.

It was a long time ago.

Maybe you haven’t seen the show in a while. Maybe you just caught up. Perhaps you want to check out the new episodes without watching (or re-watching) nine seasons. Or perhaps you stopped watching all those years ago after David Duchovny left and have missed a few mytharc-related developments. Either way, I’m here to help. Think of this as X-Files Mythology for Dummies. A “what you need to know (or remember) before the revival” kind of thing.

Before we begin, I want to state that a lot of casual viewers like to refer to The X-Files as show with an open-ended conclusion, or, at least, a show which left many questions unanswered. Let’s dispense with that notion right away. During the nine-year run, The X-Files answered most of the big questions. It didn’t always do so satisfactorily (I’m looking at you, Samantha), but it answered the questions. The show is not coming back to provide answers to old mysteries, but to advance a storyline that never really got a conclusion. And that’s why you need to know these ten things:

1. Aliens? Check. But there’s more than one kind of alien.

This is basic X-Files stuff. Aliens exist, yes, but they’re not all the same. Duh. There are many planets out there, so this is just common sense. The basic ones you need to know are the Greys.
The actual aliens, however, are not as important (or at least don’t appear nearly as much) as the Human-Alien Hybrids and the Bounty Hunters. The hybrids are clones with green blood that is actually deadly to humans. So, killing them? Not as easy as it sounds. The Bounty Hunters are shapeshifting aliens (a type of Greys) used mostly as enforcers for the Syndicate.

The only way to kill them? Pierce the back of the skull with something sharp.

2. The Black Oil is really the thing you should be concerned about. 

Purity (also referred to as “black oil”) is basically an intelligent alien virus that can enter a body, control it, and emit radiation and/or incapacitate the host and incubate a Grey inside of it.
The last part is important. Just as the Syndicate was making secret contingency plans, so were the colonizers, apparently. When the Syndicate discovers that the virus can actually incubate a Grey, the Colonists develop a race of super soldiers to ensure colonization. Politics at its best.

Also, the black oil is apparently the original inhabitant of Earth. So, in truth, the aliens are not really trying to colonize us. They’re just returning home, and getting rid of those pesky humans who decided to use their planet.

3. The Syndicate was actually trying to save the human race at first. They just forgot that was the end goal. 

Following the Roswell crash, a group of men and woman negotiated an agreement with the alien colonizers. The Syndicate would use their government connections to help the Colonizers with the invasion, and the aliens would provide an alien fetus so the Syndicate could produce alien-human hybrids. When the hybrids were done they would be slave labor. But, at least, that way, humanity sort of survived.

Sort of.

The members of the Syndicate and their families, would, of course, be allowed to live out their lives. The only problem was that colonization was to begin as soon as the hybrids were done. So, like the politicians they were, these people stalled. For like, ages. Maybe the alien sense of time is not the same as us, because they generally bought it. Oh, yes, and the Syndicate also worked on a secret vaccine against the virus in the meantime.

4. For the previous deal to work, each member of the Syndicate had to give up a kid, as a hostage of sorts. 

Mulder’s father was one of them. He didn’t agree with the whole negotiating with the colonizers thing. And, in a shady government organization, when you don’t agree, bad things happen. That’s just the rule. So, he refused to give up a kid.  That’s when the Cigarette Smoking Man arranged to have Samantha (Mulder’s younger sister) abducted. Samantha is never seen again, and is revealed to have died as a teen, after many years of being experimented on. During the course of the series Mulder sees more than one “aged” Samantha clone

5. While they’re all busy trying to play each other, the Syndicate actually gets something right.

Not the vaccine — that doesn’t work like they want to (though it works well enough to save Scully’s life, so really, we’re not complaining), but the hybrid. They actually create a hybrid who can survive the virus. Of course, that’s just before...

6. Even aliens have rebels. 

At some point there’s a rebellion within the colonizers. The rebels that break off start killing off the alien abductees to sabotage the hybrid program. They also disfigure their faces by closing all orifices so they can’t be inflected by the black oil.

Oh, yes, and they kill most of the Syndicate. Not that killing most of anything ever works out.

7. The Smoking Man is one of the key figures behind everything. He might also be Mulder’s father. 

We’re not sure about the whole being Mulder’s father thing. It’s hinted at, but never really confirmed. We know he had an affair with Mulder’s mother, and that he was part of the original Syndicate. We know that he “chose” Samantha to be abducted, and that Mulder’s father would have chosen him, if he had to. This could indicate that he is Mulder’s father, or that he’s Samantha’s father, or that he’s just an evil SOB, or all of the above. He survived the assassination by the rebels and went on to create a whole new Syndicate. He also killed JFK.

No, I’m not kidding about that last one.

8. Mulder and Scully have a child, named William.

At least, we presume they do. The show never explicitly states that the baby is Mulder’s, but it goes out of its way to make it seem like it is. This was around season nine, when not even Chris Carter was buying into the whole platonic thing that he’s now trying to convince us of again.

When Scully was pregnant, super soldiers tried to take the baby away, believing him to a perfect human being, and thus a threat to them. But later it is revealed that he’s just another imperfect hybrid. This is all after William is injected with magnetite, to “make him normal.” The baby is given up for adoption, for his own protection.

(No, it doesn’t make sense to us either)

9. Scully was supposedly sterile.

Scully gets kidnapped by “aliens” and experimented on. We never really learn if she was actually abducted by the aliens or if it was the government experimenting on her, but as a result of her abduction, she’s left unable to bear children. Oh, and she almost dies of cancer after removing an implant that she found on her neck. She’s, of course, miraculously cured after Mulder finds another implant for her to put on her neck. Miracles don’t stop there, though, because a couple of years later, bam! Pregnant.

No explanation is ever given.

10. Colonization was presumably set for December 21, 2012.

... Except we’re still all here. So either that’s a bust or we’re in the middle of an episode of Colonization, and we’ve yet to realize it.

Excited for the return of The X-Files? Does the idea of just six episodes make you as crazy as me? Are you counting down the days? Do you have any more pressing mythology questions I failed to ask? Share in the comments below!

The X-Files returns to FOX on a two-night season premiere event, with the first episode airing Sunday, January 24, 2016, 10-11 PM ET/7-8 PM PT, following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME; and the second episode airing Monday, January 25, 2016, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT.


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