Giddy. That was the only way to describe the feeling of anticipation my boyfriend and I felt about the return of The X-Files to TV. Giddy as a school boy (and girl), to quote Scrooge.
Trying to look at it more objectively, these first two episodes felt very different. The first episode came on the heels, rather awkwardly, of the NFL’s eastern conference championships. This has already been criticized, so I don’t feel the need to add to that. But I feel watching a post game show about a trouncing when I wanted to watch X-Files dimmed the views of a lot of folks.
Anyone who didn’t catch (or remember) the latter seasons of the old series and its movies are caught up in the opening seen by Mulder himself. The strife between the duo’s personal relationship is obvious if not blatantly laid out for viewers.
**Spoilers beyond this point**
Beyond that, the first episode seemed lackluster compared to expectations. “My Struggle” did indeed struggle to get off the ground as we follow Mulder and Scully as they are drawn back into the FBI by a TV talk host proclamation of a great conspiracy against mankind by mankind itself (nope, not the aliens). It wasn’t a bad episode, but the pace and plot just didn’t build well. Add in a frumpy and unshaven Mulder and a Scully knee-deep into surgical work for children, and nothing felt like home here.
But I held out hope. I watched last night’s episode, hoping things would improve.
I wasn’t disappointed.
“Founder’s Mutation” by its very title sounded better. When a Department of Defense scientist commits suicide with some unusual circumstances, Assistant Director Skinner (thankfully, still there and played by the wonderful Mitch Pileggi) puts them on the case. In the investigation, they find that scientist/philanthropist Augustus Goldman at the core of the issue and possible mutant experiments on human children, including Goldman’s own children.
This episode saw Mulder’s wit return to full speed, as well his suit and a shave, and Scully no longer seemed dazed. It also touched more on their own son who they gave up for adoption to protect him, as they each daydreamed about a life with him. I will say this hour of TV was a little more gruesome than Sunday night’s, so it’s certainly not something for youngsters (not that it ever was).
Next week’s episode, “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” looks like a return to the campy fun monster cases we occasionally saw in the original series. And the last three episodes are titled, “Home Again,” “Bayblon,” and “My Struggle II” – which can lead to some interesting speculation. Will their son continue to play a part in the season, possibly leading to find him? Will the team stay together at the end of the season or will the implied struggle be too much for them?
Whatever the speculation, last night’s episode has me super excited about the next four episodes.
The X-Files airs at 8 p.m. (eastern time) on Fox. You can also download and play episodes on Amazon.
By Pj Graham