The X-Files: Conspiracy-alooza (S10: E1 Recap)

x file logo Did the overarching mythos of the X-Files collapse under its own weight or did the show  just go on too long? Let’s debate that later. Now it’s back, for at least six episodes. Part II is airing in a few hours, and in case you couldn’t find the first episode after the football game, and couldn’t stream it at work, or just want a five minute detailed refresher, here’s your recap.

We open with Mulder’s deadpan voice over explaining the origin of the X-files and his professional partnership with Dana Scully, while photos are laid out, and we hear the familiar and iconic soundtrack. We watch the photos and files burn, as he tells us that FBI “changed direction” in 2002 and the X-files stopped, but his personal mission continued. Does anyone outside of Hollywood “change direction” or “go a different way”?

Mulder takes us through history of UFO sightings, which aligns with the shows mythology. Finally, we get Mulder just asking the questions he was always asking: Are we getting the truth, or are we being lied to?

That was a long 3 minutes. The opening credits are the same as they ever were.

Then we’re in the sepia toned past, New Mexico, 1947. Some soldier referred to as “Doc” is on a bus with a probably evil government type.

Present day, Dr. Scully is about to head into surgery when she gets a phone call from Skinner. Stop picturing Principal Skinner. That’s Assistant Director Spinner, to you. He’s been at the same job since the 1990s.

The X-Files: Conspiracy-alooza (S10: E1 Recap)

Not this Skinner either, but he also had tenure.

Mulder is in his isolated home, net surfing. Turns out Skinner wanted to talk to him but he’s so hard to get in touch with that even the FBI has to go through someone else. Scully tells him Skinner told her to tell him to meet up with some conspiracy theorist type from the internets. Couldn’t she just have given Skinner his number? Doesn’t she have surgery to perform? And why does she have a bunch of scars on her neck?

The conspiracy monger is Tad O’Malley, slickly played by Joel McHale of Community. Let’s catch up with Scully and Mulder. Mulder lives alone in some isolated house and doesn’t drive. Scully gave up the whole UFO conspiracy business. They see each other once in a while. What’s the nature of their current relationship? Who knows? The show always was kind of discrete about that. Mulder agrees to meet O’Malley if Scully comes with, so she does, maybe because it gives her a chance to see how Mulder’s doing.

She was afraid he might look like this guy.

She was afraid he might look like this guy.

They meet in downtown DC. O’Malley steps out of a limo. He has bodyguards dressed like secret service, and he’s too paranoid to talk to them on the street. He gets some cred from Mulder for being more than a gun rights nut by passing an alien abduction trivia test. He tells them he has evidence of a big evil conspiracy. Wait like the one that constituted the arch of the old series?

He takes them to the isolated house of beautiful woman named Sveta pronounced the way your buhbie says “sweater” if she’s from the old country. The actress playing her, Annet Mahendru, look younger and even hotter than she does as Nina on The Americans. Sveta claims to be an alien abductee, with alien DNA, who’s had lots of alien-human hybrid fetuses removed from her body. She has the “classic” scoop scars on her belly to prove it. She remembers Mulder from when she was a little girl, and he interviewed her after her first abduction. How could Mulder resist a package like that? O’Malley claims she’s the one who gave him Mulder’s name.

She'd harbored a crush on Mulder since that initial encounter, but then realized he was older than her dad.

She’d harbored a crush on Mulder since that initial encounter, but then realized he was older than her dad.

We’re back 1947, at the crash site, an injured alien is crawling away when he’s spotted by government man who makes sure he’s shot dead because he could be dangerous. Doc shouts, “Do you know what you’ve done?”

Sveta is in the lab with Scully who’s taking a blood sample in search of the alien DNA. Sveta tells her she’s also a mind reader and knows Scully and Mulder were a couple and had a child together.

Maybe she shouldn’t speak of the worst subplot in history that ended in baby William’s adoption and who knows where he is now. But she also says Scully isn’t an abductee and wouldn’t understand, except if we watched the series or read the wiki, we’d know that Scully was abducted by a deranged alien abductee, which may explain why she’s so cool towards Sveta. Then again, she’s not exactly Ms Warmth toward anyone.

O’Malley drops by Mulder’s house via helicopter because that’s not conspicuous, and takes him to a very secret location to see an alien replicated vehicle, built by humans using alien tech. It runs on “free energy” and even has “gravity warp drive.” Oh, and we’ve had this technology since Roswell, but big oil’s been keeping it from us. Actually, that sounds about right.

Speaking of Roswell, back in 1947, Doc picks up the dead alien to study him.

Scully is taking her own blood when O’Malley stops by her lab. She’s doing work with kids born without ears, who as O’Malley points out look kind of alien, which she says is a coincidence. But are there any coincidences? He tells her he’s sorry if she felt put on the spot by this Sveta business, and also he just wanted to see her again. She is VERY skeptical about that.

Meantime, Mulder shows up at Sveta’s house. He’s having doubts because he noticed how she looked at O’Malley before answering a question. She confesses it was because aliens didn’t kidnap her. There were men on the spaceship, and it’s too dangerous to talk about. Mulder calls Scully because now he realizes everything before this was lie. Aliens were benign visitors. Human haven been using alien tech to take over the world. He returns to FBI HQ, and sees his old boss, Skinner, who now has a shaved head and facial hair, so he’s probably on wife number two. The office is empty except for an “I want to believe” poster (Heh!) and hasn’t been touched since Mulder left, which isn’t a thing that ever happens except in movies, and someone should clue in television writers on that. He and Skinner start talking about the post-911 world, and they’re sounding not so different from O’Malley.

Speaking of Alex Jones on steroids, O’Malley  is on the net again talking about how the government wants to take your guns before they declare martial law, oh and also he’s tots friends with Dr. Scully and she’s doing great work on the earless.  Scully, who’s watching, is not thrilled about the shout out.

Mulder goes to meet Man with Beard and Hat who looks like he might have been a character on the old show, maybe the fourth lone gunman, or one of their fathers. but unless our memories have all been erased he wasn’t. Through flashbacks we learn he’s the doctor who picked up the dead alien. He’d told Mulder he’d confirm if Mulder figured things out. Mulder tells him it’s vast conspiracy of venal men using alien tech, but why the abductions? MWBAH won’t tell him, but tells him he’s close. There’s something about 2012, which sounds like it was just thrown in because of per the show’s final episode that’s when the alien invasion was supposed to happen.

Who's your daddy? (Also these guys are coming back.)

Who’s your daddy? (Also these guys are coming back.)

Scully drives up to Mulder’s. He comes outside and starts talking to her about the great conspiracy, and when she sees Sveta inside, she starts to leave, probably thinking what we’re all thinking, but O’Malley pulls up, so it was a planned meeting unless they were planning a threesome, or a foursome because Scully was invited. They all sit down and Mulder starts detailing the vastness of what’s happening. Fortunately, we get visuals which is a good thing because if Mulder was in a Geico commercial it would go something like: If you’re special agent Fox Mulder, you talk in a monotone. It’s what you do.

O’Malley picks up the summary. The aim is a takeover so they’ve been making us fat and lazy, plus it’s also their fault we buy too much crap.  Even so called “droughts” and other calamities are part of it. It’s basically the nutty fringe nonsense that’s out there but tied up in a bow, except that other than 911, they don’t mention attacks labeled false flag by real life conspiracy-mongers like Alex Jones, probably because if they said Sandy Hook or San Bernadino we would be really mad at our televisions.

O’Malley plans to expose the whole shebang the next day on the internets. It’ll be a game changer because there’s nothing that crazy on the internets except for everything on the internets.

Scully puts a damper on things by telling them that Sveta doesn’t have any alien DNA. Except maybe it doesn’t. There’s some pretty choppy continuity here.

It seems to be the next day and Sveta is on the television saying O’Malley paid her to make shit up. Mulder heads over to her house but she’s gone. Soldiers arrive at the site of the alien replicated vehicle and blow everything up. Scully gets a “site down” message when she tries to pull up O’Malley’s show. She goes into a parking garage and Mulder is waiting for her. He starts talking about “the Venus syndrome.” “They” are going to wait till the planet is too warm to be inhabitable and then ditch all us left  poors and head for the refuges they’ve already built in space. So wait, they’re going to destroy the planet in order to save it?

Scully has some more news for Mulder. She was wrong about Sveta’s DNA. She ran another test. Plus she reminds us that Sveta isn’t the only one with alien DNA. Their son had it too. Does this mean that she’s come around and lost her skepticism? Does she believe? Mulder gets an “urgent” text from Skinner.

Speaking of Sveta she gets blown up in her car by an alien probe.

Then we see our old friend the Cigarette Smoking Man, who was killed in the finale, but never mind. He should be dead if for no other reason than cigarettes but being super powerful he can probably buy all the spare parts he needs like some former vice presidents. He’s still smoking but does it through a hole in his throat, which isn’t the most original idea in the world, but it’s all a rehash anyway. He picks up the phone – a landline at least in my memory of it – and is miffed to find out that the X-files are being reopened.

Cue the music.

Part II broadcasts tonight at nine on Fox.

Do we love it, hate it, or not ready to commit?

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

TV Show: The X-Files

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  • John Lewis

    Being an X-files watcher with a long memory, it’s irritating that the new episodes seem to be ignoring all the established ‘alien’ aspects from the original run. Either those happened in this fictional universe, or they’re going to have to find a way to explain away the shape-shifters, blind torchers and so forth from all those old cases.