Remember that alien DNA Scully found in the season 10 premiere? Well, that comes back and plays a really important role in what better not be the (new) X-Files series finale, “My Struggle II.” (FOX, I’m expecting season 11 news tomorrow. Thanks.)
Mulder and Scully spend almost the entire episode separated; both reunite with familiar faces from their past, and she is working on trying to save the world while he just wishes one person in it would die already (and take that creepy face-removing move of his with him).
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The finale begins just like the premiere did, with a monologue acting as a recap of sorts and photos reminding us of “back in the day.” This time, it’s Scully’s, as she morphs from the Scully we all know and love to an alien Scully (whom we could grow to love and not be sort of creeped out by?): “During my short disappearance, I was subjected to tests, tests resulting in a life-threatening disease, its cure as mysterious as the illness itself, tests which I now suspect are part of the larger conspiracy, a conspiracy of men hiding science for almost 60 years. … But questions remain unanswered, about their motives and their final objectives, when and where these men might play out their dark plans and the significance of a recent test result of my personal genetic makeup turning up DNA anomalies that I can only classify as alien.”
And this time, the opening credits have a new tagline: “THIS IS THE END.”
Scully arrives at work, late due to the parking garage being “locked down for some reason,” but Mulder’s not in his office. The only sign that he’s been there recently is the video of Tad up on his laptop, with Tad proclaiming the “legitimate and verifiable discovery of alien DNA that’s in virtually every citizen.” And that’s when Tad calls Mulder’s office phone and tells her to get to Mulder’s.
When Scully gets there, there are signs of a struggle and Mulder’s gone. The door was open when he got there, Tad tells her. He and Mulder had arranged to meet about the new facts surfacing. But Scully’s ready to refute his claim about alien DNA because that anomalous DNA he found in his DNA? Ninety percent of everyone’s genome is anomalous DNA. Try again, Tad.
Upon arriving back at the office, Scully finds Skinner and Einstein waiting, and Einstein is still the skeptic — especially once Scully tells them about Tad’s claims that their DNA has been tampered with. It’s “science fiction,” she argues, and in the hopes of clearing up the “nonsense,” she joins Scully at Our Lady of Sorrows. There, they run into a man with some sort of lesion on his arm. Was he exposed to something?
Meanwhile, Mulder’s bruised, driving somewhere and ignoring Skinner’s call.
Einstein draws her own blood for Scully to test, even as she still refuses to believe that their DNA could’ve been tampered with. Maybe there was more to the smallpox vaccine, Scully suggests, and that possibility is enough for now. Miller joins them and reports that people are freaking out about Tad’s show, with his latest report coming from a doctor talking about multiple contagions. If the flu doesn’t kill you, something else will. Was their DNA tampered with to shut down their immune systems?
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And here’s when Scully figures out what’s wrong with that man who approached her and Einstein earlier: he’s a soldier who was given the anthrax vaccine but has now developed those lesions due to his compromised immune system. This may be just the beginning of a global contagion, Scully worries, but Einstein is insistent that this is just an isolated case and wants to wait and see her test results. Scully disagrees and tries calling Mulder, but he ignores her call and drives past a sign welcoming him to South Carolina.
Miller heads down to the basement office, checks out the ‘I Want to Believe’ poster, adds a mental note to pick one up for himself and then does a bit of snooping on Mulder’s laptop. After watching Tad’s latest video, this one about the anthrax cases, he notices a phone finder app and tracks Mulder to South Carolina.
Einstein is now ready to blame this on a faulty vaccine. Scully’s gone way past pondering possible scenarios and has moved to “we’re in deep trouble.” But Einstein has questions. How is it possible that their immune systems have been shut down? Why now? Scully doesn’t have any answers for her, but she may get some of her own when she receives a phone call from “someone who was there for” her.
Welcome back, Monica Reyes. A decade ago, when she left the FBI, she made choices that made sense at the time, she tries to explain, but is there any way to explain working for the Cigarette Smoking Man? See, she was called to his hospital room when he had been “near death, so badly burned” they needed to “reconstruct his entire face.” He had an offer to make, a deal that she had little choice but to take.
The Cigarette Smoking Man told her that if she helped him, he’d spare her life. “I’m the most powerful man in the world,” he insisted. In this case, his threat was his ability to depopulate the planet, kill everyone but the “chosen,” thanks to science acquired in the ’50s and given to them by the alien race.
Reyes is now one of the protected — and so is Scully, due to her abduction. And Mulder could be as well, seeing as he sent a man to offer him a deal. (That man attempted to blindside Mulder in his home, only to, after the fight that destroyed the room, end up facing down a gun in Mulder’s hand as he demanded to know who sent him.)
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Mulder and the Cigarette Smoking Man Meet Again
And so they come face-to-face again, with Mulder trying to tell CSM to stop what he has put into motion. But it’s too late, something Mulder refuses to believe. “You don’t want to believe,” Cigarette Smoking Man corrects him. And, hey, he wants to save his life so he can see Scully again. “Every man has his weakness,” CSM laments when Mulder doesn’t react too kindly to any possible threat to Scully’s life. (Their weaknesses are just too obvious.)
CSM argues that they can’t save mankind, so all he did was change the time table. He’s offering Mulder a seat at the big table, but Mulder wouldn’t be able to look himself in the mirror if he accepted it. (He wouldn’t really want to look at CSM either, considering he pulls part of his face off.)
Scully returns to the hospital and tells Einstein that she was wrong. It’s not the alien DNA that’s the problem. In fact, it’s Scully’s alien DNA that could help them save people from this “Spartan virus.” The only problem? When they check Scully’s DNA, the alien part of it isn’t there. That’s because they didn’t take a big enough sample. When they do, it’s there, but Einstein is getting sick now too.
Also sick is Miller, who has found Mulder and gets him out of there. Mulder tells him that CSM has the cure, but he didn’t take it because it’s what CSM wants. Tell him goodbye for me before he dies, CSM tells Miller when the young agent wants to know who he is.
As Miller’s racing back to DC with Mulder, Scully’s working on putting together a vaccine, and once she gets an IV in Einstein, she has someone to help her distribute it. That means she can run outside, direct people to stop looting and get to the hospital and get to her car to get to Mulder. Fortunately, despite all the traffic everywhere, Scully somehow manages to find the right gaps to drive in the street and on the sidewalk to get close enough so that she can make it the rest of the way to Mulder and Miller on foot.
However, when she looks at Mulder, she sees that he’s worse off than she thought. He needs stem cells in him right now — from William. But she doesn’t know where he is. And that’s when a UFO appears in the sky above them, the camera zooms in on Scully’s eyes and … that’s it.
So again, FOX, I ask: where’s the news about season 11? (Or a third movie. Even a TV movie. I won’t be picky.)
(Image courtesy of FOX)