Synopsis of part 6 of 6: The end times are here. Scully desperately tries to find a cure for a virus that’s ravaging the human race as Mulder rushes to face the Cigarette Smoking Man one last time.


The season, or, maybe, series, finale of The X-Files is a singularly misguided hour of television, easily ranking among the series’ worst hours. There’s no getting around that. It uses its characters in ways untrue to who they are or even to who they’ve become in the episodes that proceeded it, its world building lacks any sense of internal consistency, it’s plot makes only the barest semblance of sense and it forgets or fails to use moments from the series that would change the ending. It’s an episode that makes you question not only whether the show could come back, but whether it should.


“My Struggle Part II” vastly picks up right where the series premiere began with Tad O’Malley’s prophesies of a massive alien conspiracy coming to roost. Soldiers are infected with anthrax, Mulder comes down with bird flu and only Scully, seemingly protected by the alien DNA implanted in her 14 years ago, can save the world.

The problem isn’t in the premise but how we get there and most of that falls on Scully. Faced with a single case of a seemingly amnesiac officer dealing with poisoning, she goes full Jenny McCarthy and claims that all humans have been infected with some sort of viral agent from vaccines implanted with extraterrestrial DNA from the Roswell crash.

How does she reach this conclusion? Fuck if I know. She just guesses and the show treats Einstein as if she’s an idiot for not going with this seemingly sound and not-at-all-the-ravings-of-a-loon theory that Scully has cooked up.

So much of the problem with the episode rests on that moment with Scully, where a once rational character, one who touted her role as a “medical doctor” so often throughout the series that it often felt like a catchphrase, turns on the scientific method as well as her demand for evidence and proof in favor of paranoia and insanity.

Einstein, who’s ostensibly there to question Scully’s plans, is treated more as an obstacle or roadblock than sounding board. Scully is right and Einstein is wrong and it’s as simple as that. There are no subtleties or shades of grey here, only absolutes.

Meanwhile, Mulder’s headed to West Virginia for one last conversation with the plot’s puppet master, the sinister Cigarette Smoking Man. He claims that he’s engineered the whole thing, with help from former X-Files fan-least-favorite Agent Reyes to wipe out either all of or the majority of humanity in order to make way for a new era of Earth history. He invites Mulder to join the Syndicate and Mulder considers it, which is mystifying to me.


A fundamental part of these characters’ interaction throughout the show has always been that if Mulder could pull the curtain back far enough, he’d understand everything and CSM’s the one back stage who could give that curtain a tug in exchange for Fox’s life and loyalty. It was always a question of how much of his humanity Mulder is willing to give up in his quest for truth and it’s a genuinely interesting dynamic.

CSM long ago sold his soul for those answers and he should represent the tragedy of that knowledge, that he’s abandoned or killed his family and everyone he loves for secrets he can do nothing with but this episode treats him as an almost noble figure. Mulder’s framed as weak and helpless, only refusing a cure from the Cigarette Smoking Man out of pride and spite, not the fundamental divide between the two characters. It’s so wildly out of character for both of these men that it ends up being distracting when it should be forboding.

It’s really strange to see the show so actively seem to be disinterested or ignore its own history in what could be its finale. The relationships and characters are all over the place but so is the show’s own continuity. It totally ignores that Scully once met a support group of women who had all also been abducted and experimented on with alien DNA in order to force a narrative that Scully is the lone would-be savior of the planet. After being slavishly devoted to continuity and series errata throughout the last six episodes, it’s strange and distracting to see that same history rejected at the climax.


And what a ridiculous climax it is. Scully somehow driving her way through a massive traffic jam out of Washington DC is intrinsically ridiculous but the last moments, with her desperate to save a dying Mulder and requiring stem cells from her son to save his life is just so ridiculous, so fundamentally lazy and silly that it’s sort of insane to see the show end with it.

What’s worst really is the hutzpah it takes to end with a cliffhanger that limp and toothless. Carter’s always had what could, at best, be described as a “fuck you” relationship with his audience and this epitomizes that attitude. There are no answers here, no resolution or even completion of a dramatic arc. It just ends, like Carter ran out of budget or tape and just decided to roll credits. It’s an ending as limp and poorly thought out as a 3 a.m. dick pic.

Honestly, I can’t imagine someone new to The X-Files wanting more after “My Struggle Part II.” I can’t imagine that Chris Carter thought this was the right way to build excitement, to reignite awareness in what was once a classic, beloved show with this episode. I can’t imagine the thought process and work that hundreds of people came together to complete in order to create something as poorly conceived, lifeless and inauthentic as this.

It’s a mess that’s not even fun to watch. I’d love to describe “My Struggle Part II,” as a train wreck you can’t look away from but it’s not. It’s a raging tire fire, burning and consuming everything around it, unleashing a putrid smell you can never truly wash out.

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