Episode three completes the X-Files trifecta by giving viewers a perfect example of the a stand alone monster of the week episode. Episode one was focused on the mythos. Episode two was a monster of the week but still related back to the mythos. Episode three didn’t even mention the main plot or have any hidden relation to it, and it was wonderful.
Mulder and Scully had a perfect dynamic, sassing each other like only a couple who have been together for decades can do. Seeing them in the field again made my inner nerd so happy. It’s like nothing has changed, even though everything has. Oddly, Mulder himself called attention to this fact with his opening rant to Scully. Almost everything he would’ve jumped at the chance to investigate in his younger days is now easily explained. So is he shaming himself for his passionate youth or is he shaming the world for growing less special? Probably some of both. But in his own words, Mulder wants to believe. He is desperate to see something more in the world.
At first glance, this is a silly episode. Jokes abound. This is the typical “Mulder and Scully show up but nothing happens” kind of plot. If this had been an episode in the middle of a full season, casual viewers would feel cheated. Hard core fans would roll their eyes and put it in the list of goofy tangents. But as one of only six episodes, the mood of this episode is much more important. It shows fans that even after all these years, Mulder and Scully still have fun at their jobs. The pressure of dealing with government conspiracies has not truly broken their spirits. It also demonstrates that the world itself has not gone completely dark. Unexplained oddities still exist.
Initially, I though there would be nothing truly supernatural to be found. The first encounters all were witnessed by people under the influence of various substances. And the X-Files has proven willing to deal with hoaxes and pranks. But ultimately, two distinct supernatural events were revealed. As usual, Mulder was the only true witness. But he walked into the final exposition and reveal full of doubt and suspicion. I don’t think he really believed what was happening, even after the proof was seen. I enjoyed watching these events through Mulder’s perception. His doubt flavored the episode and made it better. As much as I love seeing Mulder chase down a lead when no-one else believes him and when the evidence points elsewhere, I love this tired and suspicious version of Mulder a little more.
I also love the Mulder that can’t work a smart phone. Really, I find this to be the least believable part of the episode. It’s played for jokes, and Duchovny still has an excellent sense of comic timing. But come on. Of course, hearing his ring tone made it all worthwhile.
Seeing Kumail Nanjiani in a role was excellent. He’s a talented actor and probably the biggest X-Files fan in existence. This appearance also
upholds the tradition of casting big names into small roles. A small part of me wanted him to be a bigger part of the conspiracy plot. Maybe he could’ve been the recluse in a basement that knows all the answers, or an agent who is leaking Mulder info. But he certainly was a great part of a great episode.
With only three more episodes to go, I don’t know what to expect next. All I know is that I want more. Obviously, there won’t be any real answers. The new conspiracy plot will receive some sense of resolution, but there will be a bigger reveal looming just off screen. Mulder and Scully have never been lucky enough to truly close the larger case. It might get locked down for a time, but something is always out of their understanding and control. This might be dangerous to say, but what if these episodes are testing the waters for a true return of the X-Files? Will the X-Files be closed again in the next few episodes? Maybe the show will continue. Maybe new agents will be involved. Maybe Mulder and Scully will hand over the reigns. If these episodes were not so amazing, I’d be worried to hear about a relaunch of the show I love so much. But as it stands, the quality is there and I’d love to see a few young hot shot agents take over for Mulder and Scully.
Will it happen? Would it be good? I want to believe.