Well that wasn't so bad.
Voices from Variety to Vulture to Vanity Fair pronounced the X-Files dead on arrival. (Hmm, perhaps the are the real "Visitors".) Granted some of them counseled patience but for the most part the first installment of the reborn X-Files was dubbed a flop.
"Au contraire," as they say in distant parts of the galaxy.
Surely it got a little breathless and hyper-ventilated at times. Yes, the exposition came out like the rat-tat-tat of a machine gun (pulse cannon?) Mulder was especially guilty of the quick fire argument wherein you talk so fast and with such conviction it must be true. But beyond that, it was gloomy angst filled delight filled with juicy conspiracy and characters you just want to hug. (A one armed hug that is. You'll want your other hand in your pocket holding a taser just in case.)
I think I'll take the advice Mulder scrawled on the back of Scully's car and not give up.
So let's venture forth into this tele-visual alien autopsy and discuss some of the high points first.
Mulder and Scully
I'm going to try and not gush but it was a treat to see them together again. I know it is a trend to breath life into old properties but, c'mon, this isn't "Fuller House." (And they look pretty good.)
Mulder looks a little weary. Time waits for no man! A little jowly, a few more pounds. A bit disheveled. He has the look of a warrior returned from a long campaign with nothing to show for it.
Sadly, Scully's diagnosis of depression fits him like a glove.
Duchovney's still got it though. Just light the match to a new conspiracy and the fire still burns within. (And what a conspiracy it is.) Duchovney's Mulder is responsible for some of that over the top breathless urgency I spoke of earlier. However, it is in the quiet moments when he is most convincing. Whether it is on the phone with Scully or in the parking garage, Mulder still smolders with the deepest confidence. He pleads with his former partner with an intimacy that comes from affection and conviction.
Like I said, he's still got it.
There were some rough points for Gillian Anderson's Dana Scully too. Her exchange with Mulder on Sveta's front porch was a little desperate.
The rest was pretty on the nose. And she can still do the classic Scully eye roll.
Just check out the look she give's Joel McHale's Tad O'Malley.
Part of Dana Scully's charm is her vulnerability. Yes, she more than competent and an expert in her field. But take a look at her face when she realizes Tad O'Malley is interested in her.
Ouch, the pain of being alone too long. A little hurt mixed with desire that could use some flame. Somewhere deep inside the fire still burns for Dana Scully too.
The Other Players
Whatever Mitch Pileggi is taking I want some of it.
They guy looks great. He still has authority and command of the stage. When Mulder challenged his loyalty the hurt was palpable.
More Skinner please!
Excellent work by Joel McHale. He got to display some of his comedy chops and made a great ring wing conspiracy nut job. (And he hit on Scully!)
Imagine trying to counsel Mulder on paranoia. Pah! The classic Mulder look followed by Tad's exasperation. Very nice.
There was also subtlety of humor when Mulder was ushered into his old office and the pencils were still stuck to the ceiling. Loved it.
Geeking Out Over the Aliens
Loved all the alien related stuff. Here, poor little ET is just trying to survive and he gets gunned down by one of the original Men in Black. Was that "Black Oil" for blood?
This is exactly what you do when presented with one of your life dreams. You reach out and touch it. There is nothing like the tactile sense to reinforce memory. Like Captain Picard said in "First Contact." You just have to feel it. (Data didn't get why he had to touch Cochran's spaceship. Robots, sheesh!)
The craft itself was, I dunno, wicked awesome and bore a striking resemblence to the Navy's XB-47 seen below.
A nice "reverse engineering" real world touch.
And then there was this...
Not only did it disappear but it went someplace too. These guys really get it.
So I might as well get to the part I didn't like and I don't think I'm alone.
Yes, it turns out our favorite X-Files conspiracy is a conspiracy. I got that right, right? The conspiracy is a conspiracy?
Cue Dana Scully eye roll.
Yep, that was a tough one to swallow.
If I understand it correctly a cabal of ultra secret industrialists have been faking an alien invasion scenario to throw people (Fox Mulder) off the scent of their real goal which is to reap all the dividends of the world's needs, hide alien technology to suit their own needs and then take over the planet.
You know why a conspiracy like that is doomed to fail? Any group of people that greedy would be at each others throats to steal the other guys shares. Simple as that. They'd be killing each other off so quickly the whole thing would be over in a month.
Seriously, they've proven to be murderous so why not eliminate the competition? Each other!
Then there were things like this.
Just take the craft don't blow it up! You've got the manpower. Kill the scientists if you want but grab the damned craft. A stupid waste that made no sense.
In keeping with that line of thinking.
Really, you send a goon squad to blow up the craft but you send a craft to blow up Sveta?
Over kill much?
Just capture her! She can incubate some more babies for you! Duuuumb!
Still, the bad does not out weigh the good. I'm sure a conspiracy theory as bad as that one can be ultimately saved by someone as evil as the "Cigarette Smoking Man".
All hail William B. Davis! I saw him at an X-Files convention and he was the key speaker. So funny and worth the price of admission alone.
Here is a picture of my wife and I being accosted by aliens at the convention.
Odds and Ends
I didn't mean to be dismissive of the Sveta character earlier. She just wasn't as important as I thought she would turn out to be. I do like the image above. It seems to be saying she is protected by a thin veneer and it is already beginning to tear.
It reminded me of the cold war movie, "Torn Curtain" that starred Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. Here is a brief synopsis from Wikipedia.
Torn Curtain is a 1966 American political thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. Written by Brian Moore, the film is about an American scientist who pretends to defect to East Germany as part of a clandestine mission to obtain the solution of a formula resin and escape back to the United States.
It deals with the basic double switch of the good guy becoming the bad guy while still remaining the good guy all along. I have a sneaking suspicion one of our characters will follow a similar route.
And lastly, "My Struggle." That's an interesting title for the episode. The German translation for my struggle is "Mein Kampf" which was the title of Hitler's manifesto. Why make an allusion to one of the greatest murderers in human history? Does it have to do with the fascist takeover of the world like the cabal wants or is it just referring to Mulder's own mission to seek out the truth?