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The X-Files - This - Review

The X-Files “This” was written and directed by Glen Morgan. I enjoyed this episode, mainly just watching Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) work together and recapture that magic – not to mention just how kickass Scully is. It was nice to almost have one of the Lone Gunmen back too. I also really loved how bravely they go for it as far as current events and the Russian/Trump debacle. However, it’s hard to really ignore all the pretty serious plotholes in the episode.

It’s hard to beat any episode that opens with the Ramones and “California Sun.” I loved how the assassins in the car looked like the Lone Gunmen – nice bait and switch. We see Mulder and Scully asleep on his couch when his phone suddenly sparks to life and it’s Langley (Dean Haglund)! He asks if he’s dead and then says if he is, they know that he knows. The shootout that follows as the assassins attack is fantastically choreographed.

Mulder tells Scully to call it in from a landline – and he’s determined not to hand over the phone. He asks Scully if she’s sure that Langley is dead. When she said that she hadn’t actually seen the body, I was hopeful, because, as we know, if there’s no body, they probably aren’t dead! It turns out that Langley is dead though… Scully thinks the call was a warning about the assassins, but Mulder points out it wasn’t a warning, Langley just wanted to know if he was dead.

Mulder and Scully are immediately on alert when jeeps pull up far too quickly to have responded to her call. Scully reaches out to Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) who tells them to just surrender. It’s still unclear whether they can trust him. They are ultimately taken – by Russians. Commander Al (Andre Roshkov) tells them that it turns out Americans are fine losing the cold war as long as they can make money off it – and who else do we know with Russian ties who is all about making money??? Nice jab, show!

Mulder and Scully manage to fight their way out and take off through the forest where Skinner picks them up. He tells them that the Russians are essentially hired mercenaries working for the American government and they answer to the executive branch – which he later points out doesn’t think much of the FBI these days… Scully asks Skinner if Langley is dead. Skinner tells them that he’s buried in Arlington, but evades Scully’s actual question.

Scully and Mulder head to the cemetery and make some interesting discoveries about the Lone Gunmen’s graves. They find Byers, Frohike, and Langley’s tombstones and the clues lead them to Ronald Paluka’s grave – Deep Throat. They find a memory medallion under the cross on his tombstone before they are attacked by the remaining assassin. Mulder knocks him out – but doesn’t check to see if he is dead or otherwise incapacitate him – so of course, he shows up later at another very inconvenient moment.

Mulder and Scully wait for Skinner in the NSA parking garage. Skinner tries to explain to them that the world is different – there are a lot more agencies now, all vying for information, power, and favor. Scully tells him they were attacked and need his help. Neither is really comfortable trusting Skinner, however.

Skinner tells him that if they want access to the X-Files, they’ve all been put online. Mulder is looking for Project Blarney and Titanpointe. Skinner tells them that they were gone and the X-Files were too important to just leave, so he had them reopened and given back to the FBI, but because they’re online, every agency has access to them. Mulder is not happy.

Once they access the files, the Project Blarney and Titanpointe files are gone. However, they have a lead to go to Dr Hamblyn (Sandrine Holt). She tells them that 15 years ago, they came to her and Langley and told them that they could live forever – by having their consciousnesses uploaded to their simulation. Over two weeks they had their brains scanned. The plan was for one of them to reach out if they got there first and it wasn’t what was promised. And that’s when the assassin shows up and kills Hamblyn just as she’s showing them how to use the sim card modification to contact Langley. This time, Mulder does kill the assassin.

There’s an adorable scene between Mulder and Scully in a diner as Mulder works on the sim card and Scully tries to grab some sleep – and avoid shooting the waitress. They make contact with Langley, and at first, he says the simulation is heaven – the Ramones are there, and they aren’t fighting! But he quickly tells them that it really isn’t heaven – there’s no choice or diversity. You can dream but not have dreams. He’s basically a slave working for the elites. Steve Jobs is there too – and also a slave. It’s not what they were in life. He begs them to kill him.

Scully and Mulder infiltrate the Titanpointe Building in Manhattan. I loved them pretending that Scully had Mulder as her prisoner – and he was a Hannibal Lector-level danger! I also loved her flirting her way in – and Mulder gagging over it! The two are ambushed in the stairwell, and Mulder is taken prisoner.

Mulder is taken to Erika Price (Barbara Hershey). She tells him that she was disappointed in him after their first meeting, but he’s moving up in her estimation. She tells him again that life on earth is about to be crushed. The simulation is necessary to their evolution. One wonders what happened to their space colony – is this it? She actually finds it extraordinary that only one person out of so many in the simulation was able to figure out that it was a simulation. And then the one person – out of billions – that that person reached out to was Mulder.

Mulder asks her if she would upload him and Scully if he agreed to kill his father. Mulder is clearly trying to play her. He tells her that he wants to believe, but he wants to see the server. Price tells him it doesn’t look like anything – what’s the point. Mulder tells her it’s the closest he’ll get to seeing God. She agrees, but Mulder sees Scully’s shadow and creates a distraction while Scully gets into the server and destroys it. Of course, she doesn’t actually destroy the hard drives, she just shuts it down – another pretty major plothole. Mulder is pretty happy to get his phone back…

When the two come back with the FBI in tow, naturally, everything is gone. Have the achieved anything? It seems unlikely. The two go back to Mulder’s. The episode loops back on itself – a rather nice reflection on them having really gotten nowhere – but I did love them taking up the same positions on the couch. There’s one final message from Langley – they know. And then we see that the assassin is now also in the simulation…

It’s hard to know exactly where to place this episode. Given that Price is in it, it must be a mytharc episode, but it also feels like a Lone Gunmen episode. I did really enjoy the Mulder/Scully dynamic in this one, but is that enough to make the reboot really matter? What did you think of the episode? Did it feel like there were plotholes to you, or can you plug some of them up for me? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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