REVIEW: The X-Files S11 Ep1 – My Struggle III

Chris Carter, why. Why??

I was prepared for eyeroll-inducing, ridiculous, overblown monologues. I was prepared for nothing to make sense. I knew I’d have to endure more of the irritating mini-agents from last season.

And we did get all of that. And I was kind of enjoying it, because I still have a great deal of fondness for this show. Let’s be honest: who among us isn’t mostly watching because David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson still have amazing chemistry, anyway?

Poor Scully. And you only think that’s the worst thing that you’re going through this episode…

So, yeah. We have Scully having seizures and visions that – surprise! – are a retcon of the way the S10 mytharc ‘ended.’ In other words, Mulder isn’t actually dying, and the world isn’t ending – yet. Because those are actually just visions Scully’s seeing. Okay, sure. It’s more interesting once it’s obvious that it’s because of William. It is certainly about time we learn more about him. So, I can forgive that retcon, though I still won’t forgive the extreme incoherence of most of S10.

We have Monica, reluctantly serving/lecturing CSM. Whatever. Don’t care.

We have Skinner, worried about his two wayward agents. Aww, Skinner. I don’t believe you’d ever actually hurt Mulder or Scully, even if you believe… Wait, no, can’t get into what CSM told him yet because I will need space to rage.

We have another conspiracy, going up against CSM’s faction. Sure. Fine. I guess Barbara Hershey was intriguing. It’s… good, I guess, that there were actual aliens involved, after all? True to the show, anyway, which I didn’t feel like last season’s mythology was, really. I’m open to seeing where that goes. Also, William B. Davis just does the smooth, oily, terrifyingly-sure-he’s-the-hero villain so well. Maybe the showdown between the factions will be cool. I hope so.

They’re so pretty and angsty.
(Cr: Robert Falconer/FOX)

And Gillian Anderson is beautiful and flawless and I still ship Mulder and Scully like crazy. I admit I got all gooey at the hospital scenes, because, well, Mulder and Scully hospital scenes are tragic and kind of lovely. Even when the dialogue is clunky, which it usually is, in a Carter-penned episode.

Oh, and Chris Owens shows up again! I always liked him. I don’t honestly remember whether it makes any sense that apparently Scully had Jeffrey Spender hide William, but, okay. I’ll buy it if we get to see more of Owens.

So. We’ve covered pretty much all the non-rage-inducing parts. Now, here’s where I must vent, and ask why in the world Carter and company would choose to make the William storyline – which was convoluted and strange, but emotionally compelling – into something so horrifying? Why make him the product of rape? (It does not matter one bit whether it was medical or not).

Dana Scully has already been abducted, had her ova removed against her will, gotten cancer, been terrorized repeatedly by the scum of the Earth, had a daughter without knowing it who then died as soon as she met her, had her partner and love of her life die, and had to give up her son for adoption. You have to admit, that’s a heck of a lot to put your main female character through. Right? I get that it makes for dramatic storytelling, but seriously.

But now you’re taking that child, who we all knew as the product of genuine love, and making him the product of rape? Why? If I had to guess, I’d say it’s for the shock value. Because I don’t believe Carter had this planned from when we first learned Scully was pregnant. (I don’t believe he’s capable of planning anything that far in advance). And to write for the shock value without considering whether it should be done, sadly, fits the show’s pattern of victimizing Scully over and over.

I guess in all this talk about believing, I should mention that the title card changed from “I Want To Believe” to “I Want To Lie” in this episode’s opening. So, yeah, obviously, CSM might be lying, or delusional, or have some sort of twisted explanation as to how he could be called William’s father even though he isn’t. But it barely matters whether it’s true or not. I’m just so angry and disappointed that this is the way Carter and company have decided to tell this story – especially given that this is Gillian Anderson’s final season.