The X-Files S10E06 “My Struggle II” REVIEW

The X-Files S10E06 “My Struggle II” REVIEW

Miller, Einstein, Scully

 

stars 2.5
Airing in the UK on Channel Five, Mondays, 9pm

Teleplay by: Chris Carter
Story by: Chris Carter, Dr Anne Simon, Dr Margaret Fearon

Director: Chris Carter

 

Essential Plot Points:

  • Mirroring Mulder’s introduction in the first episode of this season, we see Scully going through a pile of photos and providing a voiceover about her character’s history. It ends with her mentioning her alien DNA, and her face morphs into an alien Grey as she ponders what it could mean.
  • Conspiracy theorist Tad O’Malley is back on air, and this time he has a theory that a global epidemic, created by the government, is about to kick off.
  • Mulder, meanwhile, has gone missing and his house has been trashed. Agent Miller goes off to find him by tracking his phone.
  • Agent Einstein teams up with Scully to help tackle the possible epidemic. Einstein is sceptical at first that it’ll happen, but soon the doom and gloom is coming true. And it looks as though only Scully’s “alien” DNA can stop it – it makes her immune.
  • Scully is contacted by ex-Agent Monica Reyes – the woman who worked on The X-Files once Mulder and Scully went separate ways in 2001 – and is told that Reyes has been working with the Cigarette-Smoking Man for the last decade after he promised her immunity from the epidemic. Boo! Hiss!
  • It turns out that the CSM sent an emissary to Mulder’s house to see if he wanted a vaccine for the epidemic. Instead, Mulder beat the crap out of the guy and found out the CSM’s address.
  • Mulder now confronts the CSM, who tells him that he wants to rid the world of all but the most elite humans with the epidemic. He offers Mulder, who’s really sick, a cure, but he refuses.
  • Agent Miller arrives and drags Mulder out of there.
  • Meanwhile Scully and Einstein have found what they hope is a cure. Scully administers it to Einstein, tells her to give it to the rest of the staff in the hospital so they can make more, and heads off to find Mulder.
  • However, when she finally catches up with him on a bridge by the Jefferson Memorial, Mulder’s too ill and Scully realises he will need stem cells from their son to save his life.
  • And then… BOOM! A UFO appears. Cliffhanger!

Final scene

 

Review:

When you spot on the opening credits that a story has been co-written by not one but two doctors, it’s a fair bet that what you’re about to see is going to involve quite a lot of medical terminology – because why else would the writer of a supernatural telly show need to go to them for advice? And sure enough, what we get here is a mountain of geeky medical talk, with Scully and Einstein endlessly chattering among themselves as they develop a cure for the DNA attack. To the layperson it all sounds medically plausible, but does it make for interesting TV? Not really. Watching two doctors brainstorming in a lab is nowhere near as exciting as watching someone confronting the man who is destroying the world, and yet Scully and Einstein get way more airtime than Mulder… a horrible mistake.

Mind you, Mulder’s showdown with the Cigarette-Smoking Man isn’t quite as alarming as it probably could have been after all these years. Despite all the CSM’s machinations, he’s still just an old duffer – albeit one in a mask now – who likes to smile enigmatically and smokes so much he’s actually a parody of himself. Hardly a Moriarty or a Devil, this one, and his plan to rid the world of most humans to help its ecosystem is ripped straight off Hugo Drax’s scheme in Moonraker.

The fact that Mulder turns up, waves a gun at him and then conks out also removes all the tension, and Miller’s rescue is positively anticlimactic. “Before he dies, tell him goodbye for me,” says the CSM to Miller – is this the most boring thing a villain has ever said to anyone? What, no witty sign off?

Reyes

“My Struggle II” has many issues, from the casual way it brings back Annabeth Gish as Monica Reyes for no other reason than to deliver exposition, to the fact that Skinner pops up in one scene and never returns – pretty much all he’s done this season, to be honest. Then there’s the laughable, clunky way Tad O’Malley narrates what’s happening in his broadcasts, as though he’s the only person reporting in a world gone mad: “This may be global in scope,” he pants, “reports in from Europe!” It’s as though someone sent him a telegram, as opposed to the fact an epidemic like this would’ve saturated social media in hours. Was it even necessary to use him in this episode? It is kind of hilarious, mind you, watching him look more poorly with each broadcast.

As for the good things here, we have to admit it is nice to see a plot sown in the original series finally coming to fruition – those smallpox vaccinations from the early seasons have finally played their part! And a reference is made to all of this starting in 2012; again, an attempt to tie in the fact that this was the date of the long-forgotten alien invasion plan. And the final shot of the UFO hovering over the cars is truly stunning – what a cliffhanger, eh?

As it stands, we don’t know if The X-Files will return for a season 11; the main problem appears to be scheduling the actors. But one good episode (“Mulder And Scully Meet The Were-Monster”) out of six generic, forgettable plodders doesn’t exactly leave us gasping for more. Thankfully, though, there have been enough glimmers of the show’s old charm here and there to make oyu not want to give up hope. Fingers crossed that if it does return, the format gets a kick up the backside.

 

The Good:

Scully as an alien

  • Scully’s alien face. Totally unnecessary, of course, but it looks great.
  • Mulder says “I don’t believe you!” to the CSM. The reply? “You don’t want to believe.” Variations of “wanting to believe” have now popped up in every episode this season.
  • The Spartan virus that causes all this trouble apparently removes the gene that gives you an immune system. Thus you get poorly from whatever happens to be in your system at the time it switches it off. It’s a fascinating concept, isn’t it? You can understand why Chris Carter found it intriguing enough to focus on.

Mulder is a zombie

  • David Duchovny’s got some pretty fine zombie make-up on in this shot.

 

The Bad:

  • Scully’s opening voiceover goes on forever! And may we add our voice to the growing hordes wondering WHO TOOK THOSE DAMN PHOTOS ANYWAY?
  • Why does the action in Mulder’s fight scene keep switching to slo-mo? While sometimes gimmicks like this can work, all it does here is make you focus on the fact that no, he really isn’t in an Asian martial-arts movie.
  • Last week we said that we liked the fact that Agent Einstein was named Agent Einstein. This week, with a far more serious plot, it just sounds silly. (For proof see Best Quote, below.)
  • Why does Scully take time out from her mission to deliver the vaccine to a dying Mulder to stop someone smashing a shop window? Okay, she’s an FBI Agent and is supposed to uphold the law, but what does she care if there’s a bit of vandalism going on in the streets? …And why doesn’t the guy with the sign react in any way whatsoever?

 

The Random:

This is the End

  • The title card changes from “The Truth Is Out There” for the first time this season.
  • Best Quote: Skinner, somehow totally straight-faced: “Hold on, Agent Einstein, you’re talking to a scientist.”

Reviewed by Jayne Nelson


 

Read our other reviews of The X-Files

 

 

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