August 10, 2019

The X-Files 11.10, My Struggle IV: The Last Good Chance

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:21 pm by Jenn

And so we end as we began: With these two nerds chasing a mystery

Summary: Our last-ever episode-beginning voiceover comes from Jackson. He knows his original name was William, and that he’s somehow connected to Scully and the future. He doesn’t know what his role will be in the future, but his visions are starting to make him understand. He doesn’t want any part in the suffering that will come.

Jackson had a happy childhood, and started to develop powers at a young age, such as breaking a window by stomping his foot. In middle school, he made a bully’s ears bleed. Every time kids at his school caught on that he was different, he had to leave. Eventually, Jackson started using his powers for evil, such as changing traffic lights with his mind and causing accidents. He was sent to a school for delinquents, and when forced to go to therapy, he would make stuff up.

Someone from the government caught on, so Jackson started lying low. He realized people were watching the house, which made him want to stay in line. Then he decided to play a joke on Sarah and Brianna, which got out of control and put him back on the radar of some powerful people. Now his parents are dead and he’s being hunted.

Jackson wants answers about who he is and how to get his life back. He wanted to ask Scully, but he thinks he can only get the answers from his father, a man he’s seen in his visions: CSM. CSM is with Mulder, threatening to kill him, though Mulder doesn’t think he can go through with it. CSM raises his gun and fires.

At what must be an earlier time (though he’s in the same clothes), Mulder goes to the Timberland Motel in Norfolk, Virginia, looking for Jackson. Back in D.C., Kersh tells Skinner that Mulder’s been going off about a conspiracy on the Internet. Skinner needs to rein him in. Kersh announces that he’s closing the X-Files and taking Mulder and Scully’s badges.

Tad’s latest live stream is about the coming global contagion that Scully and Jackson had visions about. It shows footage of Mulder at the motel. Kersh doesn’t care if the conspiracy is rooted in any kind of truth; it’s going to cause mass panic and needs to be shut down. As he leaves Kersh’s office, Skinner gets a call from CSM, who says the contagion is coming because Skinner didn’t find Jackson.

Scully finds Skinner and tells him Mulder needs his help. She knows he’s with Jackson, and that they’re both being pursued. Skinner tells her that Kersh is ending everything; Mulder’s started something that can’t be stopped. Scully says she made the claims on the Internet, not Mulder – and they’re all true. Skinner asks where Mulder and Jackson are.

15 hours earlier, Scully goes to Mulder’s house while on the phone with Reyes. She thinks Jackson has been captured in Tennessee and is being taken to Maryland. As CSM lights a cigarette outside the car Reyes is calling from, she tells the agents this may be their last good chance to save their son. Mulder asks what she means. Reyes says that whoever controls Jackson also controls the future. Then she hangs up.

Mulder wonders if he and Scully can trust Reyes. CSM doesn’t appear to have any suspicions about who Reyes was just talking to. Scully doesn’t think Jackson is really on the plane, but Mulder wants to believe Reyes’ claims. What if this really is their last good chance? Scully sends him off, telling him to come back alive.

A plane lands in Braddock Heights, Maryland, carrying only Mr. Y. He goes into a hangar, which Mulder manages to sneak into, briefly evading some armed guards. When they find him, he overpowers one and grabs his gun. He confronts Mr. Y, who says they couldn’t catch Jackson. Mulder asks why everyone wants him. Mr. Y says Jackson has something everyone wants – something they would kill for.

A guard approaches, so Mulder turns and shoots him. While Mulder’s distracted, Mr. Y reaches for a gun under his desk, but Mulder is faster than him and shoots him dead before Mr. Y can fire. Well, probably dead. It’s The X-Files, after all. Jackson is also dealing with armed guards on what looks like an abandoned ship. Cue the extended action sequence, in which Jackson outruns multiple men, then hides in a homeless encampment, making himself look like someone else.

Mulder calls Scully to tell her he hasn’t had any luck finding Jackson yet, but he did get to engage in some payback. Scully reports that there’s a cluster of recent lottery winners in Tennessee. Mulder goes to the convenience store where one of the winning tickets was sold; the kid who bought it seemed to know exactly which numbers to play. Security footage confirms for Mulder that it was Jackson.

Scully has a vision, which gets interrupted when Mulder calls to tell her that Jackson cashed in his ticket, then hitched a ride somewhere with a truck driver. The agents think he’s heading northeast. Someone arrives at the convenience store and plants a tracking device in Mulder’s car before Mulder heads off on Jackson’s trail.

Scully calls Tad to tell him a conspiracy he needs to talk about on his show. Jackson tells the truck driver that he has superpowers. Scully outlines the contagion for Tad as Mulder tries to get the truck to pull over. Jackson proves his powers to the truck driver by changing the radio station with his mind, then turns into a monster. The driver pulls over with Mulder right in front of him. But it’s not the truck Jackson’s in.

Tad asks Scully if he can name her as his source for the contagion information. She says he can credit her as a federal agent. She adds that Mulder is the planet’s only hope. She and Jackson have a shared vision of CSM shooting Mulder, who then falls into a body of water. Scully calls Mulder to warn him that he’s in danger, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to know where Jackson went after he left the truck.

The man who placed the tracker in Mulder’s car sees that he’s coming up on him, but Mulder’s now going in the opposite direction. As the tracker pulls his car over, he spots Jackson leaving the drain pipe he’s been hiding in and walking down the road. He offers Jackson a ride to his destination, Norfolk.

Mulder gets there first, going to a house. Jackson pays Sarah a visit, throwing some snark at Sarah’s friend Maddy. Mulder’s at Brianna’s, wanting to know if Jackson has been there. She says they don’t talk anymore, but Mulder thinks she’s covering for him. Brianna says Jackson’s in a lot of trouble, but if Mulder wants answers, he’s asking the wrong girl.

Over at Sarah’s, Jackson tells her that he can’t live like this anymore. She urges him to go to the police, but he says they killed his parents because he’s a freak. Sarah firmly says he’s not. He tells her suicide is an option to end his life being hunted, but another choice is running away with Sarah. Thanks to his lottery winnings, they could go anywhere. Since Sarah’s parents are coming home, she offers to meet him somewhere later. He says he’ll be at the Timberland.

Mulder goes to Sarah’s sometime later, but she doesn’t want to tell him anything if she can’t be sure Jackson trusts him. Mulder says he’s Jackson’s father. Maddy calls bull. As Price and some men find a car full of blood, we go back to the beginning of the episode, when Mulder got to the Timberland. He tells Jackson he’s his father, and whether or not Jackson believes that, he gives Mulder a chance to explain himself. Mulder just hugs him and promises to protect him.

The blood in the car belongs to the man tracking Mulder, who looks like he basically exploded. But now Price has a way to track Mulder. As she and her men head to the Timberland, Jackson tells Mulder that the people looking for him are never going to stop. He knows what’s going to happen because of his visions. Mulder says that Scully has the same ones. Jackson asks why Mulder doesn’t. He doesn’t want to live in a world where what’s going to happen happens. Mulder offers to help, but Jackson knows from the visions that Mulder’s going to die.

As Jackson argues that Mulder’s just helping his pursuers find him, Price and her men prepare to burst into the motel room and start shooting. Jackson hears or senses them outside and tells Mulder it’s too late. He tells Mulder to go out the back, but Mulder isn’t about to leave Jackson behind again. The men burst in and start to restrain Mulder and Jackson. Jackson tells Mulder to get down, then starts making the men, then Price, explode. When they’re all dead, Jackson runs away.

Mulder calls Scully as she’s talking to Skinner in the earlier scene. Other people at the motel are filming the chaos, which explains how footage of Mulder ends up on Tad’s live stream. Scully tells Mulder she’s going to join him in Norfolk, but Mulder doesn’t think it’ll matter – Jackson won’t listen to reason. Scully is sure that he’ll listen to her. She tells Skinner this is no longer about the FBI, so he can’t rein her in like he’s supposed to. Skinner invites himself along to Norfolk.

Tad begins his live stream as Reyes and CSM arrive at the Timberland. He points out Mulder on the footage, naming him the FBI source and saying he witnessed the execution of military personnel who arranged an assault on a teenager. What happened was so insane that it can only be part of a kind of conspiracy the world has never seen before. CSM finds the tracker’s device, which will lead him to Mulder.

Kersh texts Skinner a bunch of times, complaining about Mulder’s antics. Dude, go back to Seattle Grace Mercy West or whatever it’s called and leave these people alone. Scully asks why Skinner is violating Kersh’s orders. Skinner knows how important it is to find Jackson, and says he’s explained before why he’s willing to risk his career. He has information about Jackson…and who his father is.

Mulder has tried to call Sarah to find out where Jackson might have gone, but Maddy’s the one he talks to instead. She sends him to an old sugar factory. Scully’s stunned by Skinner’s news about Jackson. Somehow, some way, she and Skinner spot Mulder’s car on the way to the factory, and they chase after him. As Scully goes into the factory to find her boyfriend and/or son, Skinner spots CSM and Reyes’ car and approaches it with his hands up.

Scully thinks she sees Jackson, but she loses him. She finds Mulder instead. Outside, Skinner pulls his gun. Reyes starts to back up the car, but CSM moves the gearshift into drive and stomps on the gas pedal, forcing her toward Skinner. He shoots, hitting Reyes. Oh, good job, Skinner. Mulder and Scully hear gunshots outside and realize Skinner’s in trouble. CSM speeds toward him as Skinner runs, but he gets trapped between his own car and CSM and is run over.

Mulder tells Scully that Jackson doesn’t want to be found. They need to let him go – there’s nothing they can do. They can’t protect him. Jackson knows that Scully loves him, though Scully doesn’t get how he could. Well, it’s because the person she’s talking to is Jackson, not Mulder. The real Mulder finds them, but Jackson runs away again. As they run around the factory some more, CSM gets out of the car and takes Skinner’s gun.

More running. Even more running. Jackson spends, like 50% of this episode running. Mulder ends up outside, where CSM stops him and demands to know where Jackson is. Mulder says Jackson would rather be dead, now that he knows the truth. CSM is ready to kill Mulder, even though, as Mulder points out, he’d be shooting his firstborn son. CSM notes that he shot his secondborn, so this isn’t a big deal.

Once again, we’ve come back around to a scene from the beginning of the episode, with CSM ready to shoot, and Mulder saying he doesn’t think CSM can do it. CSM says Mulder doesn’t know him very well, then shoots. Mulder falls into the water…then appears behind CSM. He shoots CSM a bunch of times and shoves him into the water, where I think we can all agree that CSM is really, truly, finally dead. Probably.

Scully joins Mulder, who tells her that CSM shot Jackson thinking he was Mulder. Scully reminds him that Jackson wanted them to let him go. Mulder’s distraught, saying Jackson was their son. She corrects him – Jackson was an experiment, just an idea. She carried him and gave birth to him, but she wasn’t his mother.

“But for so long, I believed,” Mulder says. “What am I now if I’m not a father?” Scully tells him he is a father. She puts his hand on her stomach. He says it’s impossible that they conceived a child, and she says she knows, but it’s still true. They hug, exhausted and heartbroken but also hopeful. And somewhere in the water, Jackson surfaces, still alive.

Thoughts: Maddy is played by David Duchovny’s daughter West, which…is really the only explanation you need for why the character is in the episode.

I’m going to pretend that Skinner’s still alive. He deserved better.

Can’t wait for this baby to grow up and ask why Mommy and Daddy call each other by their last names.

And that’s it for the series! It was a bumpy ride sometimes, but I’m glad I rewatched it.

Up next: something completely different.

June 15, 2019

The X-Files 11.2, This: Langly Calling from the Imitation Zone

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:25 pm by Jenn

“Mulder, if you Rick Roll me one more time, I’m leaving you for real”

Summary: The Ramones’ “California Sun” is playing as a car speeds somewhere, carrying three people who look like they’ve either just committed a crime or are on their way to commit one. Mulder and Scully are asleep on Mulder’s couch, oblivious to the fact that a familiar (though distorted voice) is speaking Mulder’s name through his phone. A staticky video shows Langly trying to reach out to his old friend. The three possible criminals arrive at their destination: Mulder’s house.

Langly asks Mulder and Scully if he’s dead, then says that if he is, “they know that I know.” The agents realize someone’s outside the house, and the second the door begins to open, Mulder tells Scully, “Go.” He moves a couch in front of the door while Scully slides under a table to grab a gun. She turns the table on its side and hides behind it as the three criminals enter and start shooting. After a brief firefight, two men are down, and the agents are unharmed. The third man gets away.

Mulder’s phone lights up again, and Langly repeats his message: “They know that I know.” Scully uses Mulder’s landline (which looks like it’s been around since the ’70s) to call in the attack, and the two start bagging up evidence. Mulder won’t give up his phone, knowing no one will do anything with it. He asks if there’s any possibility that Langly’s still alive. Scully doesn’t think so, since the Lone Gunmen’s bodies were completely destroyed.

Mulder thinks Langly’s message was more than just a warning that the three men were coming to the house. Langly asked if he was dead, which is pretty weird. Two military vehicles arrive, and at first the agents think they’re there to respond to the attack, but they quickly realize that’s probably not right. The phone rings, but Mulder says not to answer. He yells for the people outside to identify themselves. A Russian man shouts back that they need to answer the phone.

As Scully wonders if they should call Skinner, admitting that she’s no longer sure whose side he’s on, Mulder warns the group outside that they’re armed federal agents. The guy outside tells Mulder and Scully to come out. She calls Skinner, who tells her to surrender – it’s her and Mulder’s only chance. The guy outside tells Mulder that he knows what he did. The men who attacked the agents were wearing body cams, so the people outside know exactly what happened during the firefight.

Scully relays Skinner’s message that they should surrender. Mulder’s not about to give himself over to people whose allegiance he doesn’t know, so he tells the guy outside that they’re ready to fight. “We don’t need to identify ourselves,” the guy says. “What world are you living in?” He sends his men into the house, which leads to another shootout. This time, Mulder and Scully lose and are captured.

The Russian enters and tells his men that Price is going to be upset about the deaths of two of her best guys. She’ll want this group to finish what the original attackers couldn’t. The Russian wants Mulder’s phone, but Mulder’s not going to hand it over. The Russian mocks Mulder’s “I want to believe poster,” then says that America would have been okay losing the Cold War if they’d known they could make a profit off of it. He plans to kill the agents after he gets his hands on the phone.

The men toss the room, looking for the phone, which was stashed in the oven. The Russian finds it when it comes back on and replays Langly’s message. The agents choose that minute to surprise the other men, shoot one of their guns around the room, and escape. They escape through the woods around the house, handcuffed together.

Skinner arrives just in time to rescue them (and undo their handcuffs). He explains that the men are from an American security contractor headquartered in Moscow. They got permission from the Executive Branch to have authority over the FBI. Skinner thought they just wanted to question the agents, not kill them. He wants to take the agents to a secure place, but they don’t trust him. He gives them a pocketknife and all the money he has on him so they can go on the run.

Scully asks if Langly’s alive. Skinner reminds her that they were both at the Lone Gunmen’s funeral, which doesn’t answer her question. He thinks he did: “They’re buried in Arlington.” Back in the house, the Russian orders one of his men to hack Mulder’s phone and find out how Langly contacted him. But there’s a kill switch in the program, which shuts down any link to who sent Langly’s message.

Mulder and Scully go to Arlington National Cemetery and find the Lone Gunmen’s graves. Mulder notes that Langly’s birthdate is wrong; it’s seven months off from his and Mulder’s shared birthday. The other guys’ are right, which the agents know because Byers was born the day JFK was assassinated and Frohike was born the day FDR died. Mulder wonders if any president died on March 28, 1969, the birthdate on Langly’s headstone. Scully somehow knows it was Eisenhower.

She notes that JFK was the 35th president, Eisenhower the 34th, and FDR the 32nd. Mulder teases that she’s showing off. They wonder if skipping over the 33rd president (Truman, for the record) is significant. They go three rows up and three rows over (checking in both directions), which takes Mulder to Deep Throat’s grave. He reveals that he was in the cemetery the day of Deep Throat’s funeral, watching from a distance. In case anyone cares, Deep Throat’s real name was Ronald Pakula.

Mulder says that Deep Throat’s dead because the world was complex and dangerous back in 1994. Now it seems like a simpler time. Everything they feared back then has come to pass. Scully doesn’t get the connection between the Lone Gunmen and Deep Throat, who died eight years apart. Langly couldn’t have even known he would be buried at Arlington. Mulder realizes that the cross on Deep Throat’s headstone is different from the crosses on the others. Instead of being engraved, it’s a separate piece that Mulder turns to the side, revealing something underneath.

As someone tries to sneak up on the agents, they use Skinner’s pocketknife to pry the thing out of the headstone. Mulder recognizes it as a memory medallion, a disc with a QR code that can be scanned to play a video of the deceased. The agents don’t have their phones, so they can’t scan it. Scully spots the person sneaking up on them, and they’re able to hide behind headstones while he shoots at them. Mulder manages to come around the behind the shooter (who was the surviving man from the original attack) and knock him out on Deep Throat’s headstone. The agents run off and leave him there.

The agents hide out somewhere for the night, then hit an Internet café in Annandale (not Annadale, chyron writer) the next morning. They’re starving, and managed to snag bran muffins so good that Mulder wants to open an X-File on how it was made. They scan the QR code, which gives them video footage of the exterior of a building in New York. Mulder knows from Edward Snowden’s documents that it was code-named Titanpointe and used by the NSA as a surveillance station in a program called Blarney.

In the ’90s, Mulder opened an X-File on the building, with info from Langly. He thinks they should look at their files. Of course, they can’t go to their office, since that would make them easy to find. But they can go to the FBI building and ambush Skinner to get his help. Skinner says he’s not working with their attackers, but the world is different now than it was back when the X-Files started. There are tons of organizations all fighting each other and trying to eliminate each other, including the FBI.

Scully tells Skinner that, even if they don’t trust him, they need his help. Skinner wonders how they got to this point. Scully says they’re not asking for rescue, just assistance. Skinner informs the agents that they can access their files from anywhere – the magic of technology! The private company that employs the Russians digitized all the X-Files so other agencies can refer to them. Mulder asks why Skinner didn’t tell them when the X-Files were reopened. Scully asks if Skinner’s working with the Russians.

Skinner says the contents of the X-Files is now public information, though it’s controlled by the FBI. Unfortunately, they’re not intact – all Mulder’s files on Blarney and Titanpointe are missing. Langly has also been erased from the files, though Byers and Frohike remain (and are linked to his name as related subjects, so…someone screwed up there).

There’s a file under Frohike’s name (called “Spank Bank,” and using an icon of Scully’s face – classy) that leads to a folder using Joey Ramone, Langly’s favorite rocker, as an icon. This takes the agents to contact information for a woman named Karah Hamby. There’s a note saying to go to her if Langly is scrubbed from the X-Files. Skinner’s on the phone across the room and doesn’t see the agents getting this info. He tells the agents that he’s trying to call off the Russians’ pursuit of the agents, but the FBI isn’t on good terms with the White House.

Karah Hamby is a professor at Semple Technical Academy in Bethesda, which is where the agents present her with the memory medallion. She thought that after five years passed without contact from them, she’d be able to let go of her regrets. She warns that the Russians’ organization, Purlieu Services, is watching. They came to her and Langly 15 years ago with the math and science to prove that humans can live forever.

They had their bodies copied and uploaded into a simulation. After Langly died, he was basically resurrected in the simulation. If Langly’s reaching out now, Purlieu must have lied about what was possible in the simulation. Hamby says that they wanted to have an eternal life together, so they accepted Purlieu’s offer. There was a limit on two-way contact, but Langly must have hacked it to reach out.

Mulder asks why Langly contacted him, of all people. Hamby says he must have figured out he’s in a simulation but still remembered working on X-Files with Mulder. Purlieu must know that he’s trying to tell the agents about the simulation. Hamby says they need to make it easier for Langly to make contact. She starts to give the agents what they need to do that, but the third attacker has found them and shoots her before she can finish. Scully takes him out, so two people will be joining Langly in his simulated world.

The agents go to a bar, where “California Sun” is playing, and Scully takes a nap while Mulder tries to use Hamby’s work on her phone. However, he knows Purlieu will try to use the phone to find them, so they can’t keep it on the whole time they’re on the run. Langly makes contact again, excited that both agents are there. He confirms that he’s not real, though that’s not bad – the simulation is like Heaven. He gets to eat whatever he wants and go to Ramones concerts every night. Also the New England Patriots never win. “I’m begging you, destroy it,” he says.

Langly continues that it’s like a work camp for digital slaves. The science known by the people in the simulation will be used by the elite to leave the real planet for space. The simulated people have no choices or dreams. Everything’s fake and everyone hates it. They’re all completely different from the people they were in life. Langly tells the agents to go to Titanpointe and shut down the simulation.

The agents take a bus to New York, unsure of how they’ll get access to the building while they’re there. Right now, Scully’s more focused on the bus ride and the rambunctious kids around them. But they come up with a plan: Scully uses her FBI credentials to take Mulder to the New York field office, pretending he’s there to be questioned. An employee sexually harasses Scully (and I hope she gets him fired later), then lets them in. Mulder does a Hannibal Lechter impression to pretend he’s too dangerous to be uncuffed.

The harasser asks Scully, who he calls “hon,” where her home office is. SCULLY, HAVE HIM FIRED. She addresses him as “bro” and says she’s married to the bureau. The agents start to take an elevator up to the floor where the simulation tech is housed, but Mulder thinks they could get ambushed, so they should take the stairs. Scully has to agree, even though the building has 29 floors. They get ambushed anyway, just on the stairs instead of coming off the elevator.

Scully is able to escape, but Mulder is captured and greeted by the Russian. He tells Mulder he’s on Purlieu’s side now. He’s taken to the 29th floor for a meeting with Price, who admits that she didn’t see his value before. Over the past few days, she’s come to respect his “instinct for survival.” She wants him to change how he looks at everything. He won’t face the question of CSM, and he doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

As Scully fights her way to the simulation tech, Price tells Mulder that the world is about replacements. What he needs to know is this: Life on the planet is about to be destroyed. The simulation tech is necessary for our evolution as a species. Langly’s the only person who’s figured out he’s in the simulation, and of all the billions of people he could have contacted, he chose to call Mulder. That must mean something. Price thinks that when Mulder understands that the simulation is meant to advance life, not end it, he won’t want to destroy it.

Mulder has a proposal: If he kills CSM, can he and Scully upload into the simulation and spend eternity together after they die? Price says it won’t be the two of them. They can take a piece of a person any time that person makes a call. Mulder says in that case, he doesn’t have a choice. Price laughs that he can choose not to use his phone. Mulder says he wants to believe, but he’d like to see the tech first. Meanwhile, Scully’s found it.

Price asks why Mulder wants to see it. He says it’s the closest he’ll get to seeing God. Price sends him off with the Russian, but Mulder spots a shadow around the corner and realizes Scully’s close by. He overpowers and knocks out the Russian, making Scully wonder how Mulder’s able to operate so well while handcuffed. “As if you didn’t know,” Mulder replies, which, honestly, answers some questions I didn’t need answered.

Scully uncuffs Mulder and goes to the tech room while he continues fighting with the Russian. As Mulder smashes the Russian’s face, Scully smashes the glass cage around the technology. She shuts it down, whispering a goodbye to Langly. The winner of the men’s fight joins her, and fortunately, it’s Mulder. He’s pleased that he got his phone back. He’s ready to take the Russian to the FBI and start a case against Price, though he may need a few minutes first. (Fighting at this age isn’t as easy as it was when he was younger.)

The agents return to the building sometime later with more FBI agents, but, unsurprisingly, all the simulation tech is gone, as is Price. Back at home, the agents start to clean up the trashed house, then opt for a nap instead. Langly comes up on the phone, yelling that they need to destroy the backup. He disappears, then is replaced by the third shooter and “California Sun.”

Thoughts: Two of the boys on the bus are played by Gillian Anderson’s sons.

Why does Scully know multiple presidents’ dates of death? When would that knowledge ever come in handy? Maybe in some obscure trivia contest?

Scully asking one of the kids on the bus, “Are you kidding me?” as he’s getting in her personal space is the most I’ve ever related to her.

June 8, 2019

The X-Files 11.1, My Struggle III: Oh, Good, More Conspiracies

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

Haven’t we done this before?

Summary: Two years after “My Struggle II” aired, CSM greets us with a voiceover, immediately answering a question many have had for years: His real name is Carl Gerhard Busch. He’s seen a lot of history unfold, and knows that if people knew what was really going on behind the scenes, they would riot. CSM claims he’s not a bad man; he makes others great. That’s what makes him great.

CSM says both of his sons have made sacrifices and paid horrible prices while searching for the truth CSM has “parceled” out to them. There’s definitely life out there on other planets. CSM doesn’t want trust or loyalty, just for his sons to realize that CSM was right and did what needed to be done. P.S. The moon landing was fake.

Zoom in on Scully’s eye, then quick flashbacks of the events of the previous episode. Scully’s unconscious, having been found on the floor of the X-Files office by Mulder, who looks much better than he did in “My Struggle II” – as if he was never sick at all. Mulder and Skinner go to the hospital where she’s taken, and a neurologist, Dr. Joyet, tells them she doesn’t know what happened. All she knows is that Scully has abnormal brain activity, but no apparent damage.

Joyet shows the men scans of Scully’s brain and says she’s never seen what’s happening there before. There’s a flashing in her hypothalamus, her fight-or-flight center. Skinner sees the flashing as a code, six dots and two dashes: “Find him.” Joyet lets the men visit Scully, and Mulder vows to stay with her as long as she’s in the hospital. Skinner thinks they should focus on the “him” of the code – probably William. Scully must want him because she’s dying. Mulder refuses to believe that and again says he’s staying with Scully.

Great, more voiceover. Mulder fears that he’s responsible for Scully’s condition. If he is, how can he fix it? Scully has more flashbacks, then wakes up. She tells Mulder he has to go find CSM. She knows “how it begins.” The Spartan virus will become an epidemic and lead to massive destruction. But there’s a cure, so Mulder needs to find William and get his stem cells.

Mulder tells Scully there’s no plague, and besides, CSM is dead. Scully insists that he’s alive in Spartanburg. Mulder thinks Scully’s confused because of the weird activity in her brain. Scully tells him that CSM will kill him if Mulder doesn’t stop him.

Since the last time we saw him, Jeffrey Spender’s face has improved a lot. Wherever he is now, someone’s trying to run him down in a parking garage. He manages to dodge his would-be assassin’s car and lock himself out of reach of the driver. The driver says he just wants “the boy.” Spender won’t help, so the driver leaves.

Joyet agrees with Mulder that Scully’s visions are just that, visions. Nothing with the Spartan virus actually happened. The question now is where the visions came from. Joyet has seen some stuff in her time, and she figures Scully’s experiencing the aftermath of some experiments. Impatient, Scully wants to leave and investigate, but Mulder says he’ll handle it. On his way out of the hospital, he gets a voice mail from Spender.

Scully has more visions, this time from the future instead of the past. She sees CSM telling someone they can’t be found, and Mulder getting in a car accident. As she wakes up, we briefly see a teen boy doing the same, seemingly having had the same visions as Scully. Mulder listens to Spender’s message, which warns that someone came after him looking for William. Everyone connected to him is in danger.

CSM knows that Mulder will be looking for him, and just like in Scully’s vision, he tells Reyes they can’t be found. Meanwhile, someone follows Mulder as he heads off on a road trip, voicing over more pointless stuff about Scully. He knows he’s being followed, so he tries to get away from his pursuer. CSM gloats to Reyes that Mulder can’t stop what’s already been put into motion.

The car chase goes on forever. Is this what it’s like watching The Fast and the Furious? I’ll pass. Mulder’s pursuer crashes, but Mulder is able to get away. Back at the hospital, Scully has William-related dreams/flashbacks, waking up when Spender comes by. She asks where William is, but he reminds her that she made him promise never to tell her. Scully says Mulder’s life is at stake. Spender can only provide the adoptive family’s last name, Van De Kamp.

Scully tells Spender that CSM’s alive, and she tries to leave again to go on the hunt. Joyet stops her, but even the risk of a seizure won’t keep Scully in the hospital. CSM admits to Reyes that, though he knows William’s in danger, he doesn’t know who the danger is coming from. Reyes thinks someone knows William is CSM’s weakness. CSM says no one could know that. Even if his plans were to get out, people would dismiss them as “fake news.” No one wants to accept the threat of our impending extinction.

Mulder’s still driving and voicing over. Scully calls him to tell him that Spender gave him William’s last name. She’s left the hospital and is in the X-Files office. She promises that she knows what she’s doing. Mulder tells her he’s in South Carolina, just as Scully’s visions showed that everything begins. She insists that they find William. She has more visions, this time seeing the teen boy in distress as a man says he’s a special child. Scully winds up unconscious on the floor of the office again.

CSM tells Reyes that he thinks Scully will forgive him once she sees “the beauty of a planet returned to its savage state.” Reyes reminds him that he’ll be killing humans, and the survivors will hate him. CSM’s like, “What else is new?” More driving and voicing over from Mulder as Reyes tells CSM that Scully and William have a bond beyond science. CSM thinks Scully’s unaware of it – only he and Reyes know.

More driving and voicing over. We get it! Mulder wants the truth! CSM tells Reyes he’s worried about William. Reyes thinks he’s in love with Scully. CSM says he worries for her; Mulder always protected her, but now he’s forced CSM’s hand. Reyes asks what will happen if Scully finds William first. CSM says they won’t let that happen.

Mulder reaches CSM’s gigantic house and runs around for a while with his gun drawn. When he finally finds people, they’re not CSM and Reyes. They’re Erika Price and a guy known only as Mr. Y. Skinner goes to the X-Files office looking for Scully, who’s no longer there. She’s also left her phone behind, so she’s out of contact.

Skinner gets in his car to go searching for her and is surprised by Reyes and her gun. As Scully drives somewhere, looking like she’s seconds from causing an accident, Skinner turns the tables on Reyes and holds her at gunpoint instead. Then CSM joins them, asking if he can smoke in the car. Meanwhile, Scully predictably crashes her car.

Price and Mr. Y claim they don’t know where CSM is, though he was at the house not long ago. They were part of the Syndicate, but they’re not co-conspirators. Price says that CSM wants to exterminate humanity. CSM tells Skinner that the new human religion is faith in technology, while a simple pathogen could destroy everyone.

Price and Mr. Y tell Mulder that aliens aren’t a threat anymore – they don’t want to come to a dying planet. CSM is going to release an alien pathogen to wipe everyone out. Mulder needs to kill him, or he’ll never see William again. CSM tries to make a deal with Skinner: Bring William to CSM, and Skinner will get immunity from the pathogen. Mulder asks why CSM wants William. As in Scully’s vision, Mr. Y says he’s a special child.

They tell Mulder that years ago, aliens came to study humans and were going to work with the Syndicate. CSM was going to be in charge. Of course, that went badly, and everyone realized he was a bad leader. CSM puts a different spin on it, telling Skinner that he protected humanity as long as he could. He used aliens as test subjects to try to protect humans from the pathogen. I guess the moon landing was a way of making humans look heroic.

CSM says this is “the fourth turning,” the end stages of civilization: “The only truth left is to survive it.” Scully and William have immunity and will survive along with some elites. Mr. Y and Price urge Mulder to kill CSM before he can wipe out humanity. He won’t be expecting Mulder to do the deed. Mulder wants more information, like what Price and Mr. Y want. They plan to colonize space and build habitable structures. Mulder doesn’t believe them – they want a war, and they want to use Mulder to start it.

Mr. Y offers to take Mulder and William along to the safety of space, but Mulder would rather go with Scully’s plan to save everyone. CSM thinks his conversation with Skinner is over, so Reyes gets out of the car, but Skinner has more to discuss. Mulder heads back to D.C., calling Skinner along the way, but he’s still talking to CSM. Skinner wants to know why he’s supposed to betray Mulder and Skinner to get William. This means turning his back on humanity.

Scully’s back in the hospital, thanks to two FBI agents who found her after the car crash and took her to the place listed on the medical bracelet she was still wearing. They’re Miller and Einstein. Joyet calls Mulder to let him know that Scully had a setback but is back in her care. As Miller and Einstein leave the hospital, they pass by a man who goes to Scully’s room and tries to smother her with a pillow. He switches to strangulation when that fails. Mulder arrives in time to save her.

Sigh, more voicing over. Conspiracies! William! Girlfriend in the hospital! Mulder is so conflicted! He tells Scully he recognized her attacker, whom Scully says couldn’t have been sent by CSM, since CSM wouldn’t try to hurt her. She thinks her visions are coming from William, somehow. He’s trying to guide both Mulder and Scully. CSM can’t act without William, which the teen knows. CSM won’t find William, but William will find Mulder and Scully. They just have to keep doing their work and wait.

Skinner arrives, and Mulder instantly gets suspicious about where he’s been, even before he smells the smoke on Skinner’s clothes. The two men start scuffling and have to be broken up. Mulder asks whose side Skinner is on. Skinner just tells him to leave it alone. In a flashback, we see the rest of Skinner and CSM’s conversation. CSM has an offer for Scully, which Skinner says she’ll never take. CSM thinks she will, since she’ll have to choose between Mulder and William.

CSM continues that he and “Dana” have a history that goes back 17 years, to “En Ami.” As we know, he took her to a house while she was asleep/unconscious, and CSM claims he impregnated her at the time. According to CSM, he, not Mulder, is William’s father. Elsewhere, William – now known as Jackson – is hearing distorted voices, possibly from the same visions Scully was having.

Thoughts: Price is played by Barbara Hershey.

Spender has Mulder’s phone number – do you think they’ve kept in touch over the years? They probably have a lot to talk about.

Way to keep an eye on the woman with abnormal brain activity and a risk for seizures, Skinner. Mulder’s justified in being mad.

Miller and Einstein don’t appear to know Scully, which I guess means both “My Struggle II” and “Babylon” didn’t happen. To bad I still had to recap “Babylon.”