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 1, 2019

The X-Files 10.6, My Struggle II: This Isn’t Going to Help Defeat the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

Our hero

Summary: Scully gives a voiceover to recap what the series is all about. Instead of video clips, we get photos. To sum up: Weird stuff happened, the Syndicate may still be at work, and Scully appears to have alien DNA. There, you’re all caught up.

Scully goes to work and sees that Mulder’s been watching Tad’s show, which is airing on the Internet again. He claims that there’s been a discovery: Almost every American has alien DNA. Tad calls and summons Scully to Mulder’s house, which has been ransacked. Tad was supposed to meet Mulder there, but he’s not home. Scully confronts him about his revelation on his show, and Tad says he has a doctor who can verify that his claims are true.

After calling the police, Scully returns to the X-Files office and meets up with Skinner and Einstein. She thinks Mulder took off because he doesn’t want to hear Scully’s opinions on his belief in Tad’s revelation. Einstein thinks they should dismiss the crazy Internet conspiracy theorist, but Scully doesn’t think they can just throw out his theory. It’s possible that some entity was given the ability to tamper with humans’ DNA.

The two women go to Our Lady of Sorrows and encounter a man who’s confused and looking for help. He has a gross-looking wound on his arm but doesn’t know where it came from. Meanwhile, Mulder, who looks like he’s been beaten up, drives somewhere, ignoring a call from Skinner.

Scully draws some blood from Einstein as she tells her she found alien DNA in herself. Einstein doesn’t get why she was even looking for it. Scully tells her that the science they were taught doesn’t take them near the truth. She brings up smallpox vaccines, which could have been used to inject more than just a vaccination. If there’s even a small possibility that happened, they need to investigate.

Miller arrives and tells the women that people are starting to freak out about Tad’s revelation. He’s posted a new video with a doctor named Rubell, his supposed conspiracy verifier. Rubell says that a fast-moving virus will soon spread through the population. People like police officers and healthcare workers will be the first affected. Scully thinks it’s already happening.

She asks a nurse named Sandeep for an update on the confused guy she ran into earlier. His identity is still unknown, but he may be in the military. Scully orders a treatment, telling Sandeep that she thinks the man’s lesion came from exposure to anthrax. Miller and Einstein overhear, and Scully explains that soldiers deployed to Iraq are given doses of anthrax in the event of nuclear warfare. Now, the vaccines may be attacking their immune systems.

Einstein remains skeptical, but Scully says anthrax is just the tip of the iceberg. We may be on the verge of a global contagion. Einstein wants them to wait until her test results are back, but Scully doesn’t think they’ll matter. She goes to the chapel and calls Mulder, who ignores her call as well as he heads into South Carolina.

Miller goes to the X-Files office and watches Tad’s latest video, which confirms Scully’s theory: Other military personnel are showing signs of exposure to anthrax. Tad thinks this is the first wave in a “rolling contagion,” the result of a “far-reaching conspiracy of men.” Miller notices that Mulder has a phone-finder app, so he uses it to track Mulder’s phone to Spartanburg, South Carolina.

At the hospital, the unknown soldier’s lesion now looks 50 times grosser than before. Einstein argues that this could be the result of a faulty vaccine, not a conspiracy. Scully tells her they don’t have time to consider all the possibilities – they need to move to fight the worst-case scenario.

Einstein continues that only one class of people has been infected. If something in their DNA has been triggered, why is it happening now? Something has to be taken away from the genome to shut down a person’s body, not added to it. Scully gets a call from someone she hasn’t spoken to in so long that she doesn’t even recognize the caller’s voice. It’s someone who was there for her once before when she needed help: Reyes.

The two former colleagues meet downtown and give exposition about how Reyes left the FBI a decade ago, very suddenly. She made decisions that she’s not sure Scully will understand. Years ago, CSM – post-explosion and pre-reconstructive surgery – summoned Reyes to his hospital room. She told him he was an evil liar, but she still accepted a deal he offered. He promised to spare her life when he tampered with everyone’s DNA to kill everyone but some elite people.

Reyes tells Scully that the conspiracy is more complex than she thinks. Oh, isn’t it always? She accused CSM of playing God, but CSM said everyone’s fates have been sealed since birth. She told him he would die alone, but he disagreed – she would be there to continue to light his cigarettes. Reyes tells Scully that because of her abduction and alien DNA, she’s one of the elite. She and Reyes are both protected from the global massacre about to take place.

Scully asks about Mulder, and Reyes says CSM loves him, so he sent someone to offer Mulder a deal. That would be the man who beat Mulder up and left his house trashed. Despite being eligible for AARP, Mulder was still able to put up a good fight against CSM’s man. Now he’s in Spartanburg to discuss the deal with CSM in person.

CSM mocks that he’s controlled Mulder before Mulder even knew he existed. Mulder tells him it’s time for CSM to stop whatever he put in motion. CSM says it’s too late. Mulder doesn’t believe him, but CSM corrects that he doesn’t want to believe. Okay, I could really do without CSM smoking through a tube in his throat.

CSM thinks Mulder will accept his deal because it will allow him to stay with Scully. Mulder makes it clear that CSM will die if he harms Scully. CSM argues that he didn’t set out to destroy the world – people did. He’s not responsible for climate change or any other alterations to nature. Neither of them could have saved mankind from destruction. CSM just sped up the timetable.

Mulder asks what the deal is. CSM says he can have “a seat at the big table.” Mulder knows he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he survived while billions died. CSM points out that the two of them and Scully could create a new world. Mulder’s already feverish, so if he doesn’t accept this deal, he’ll die along with everyone else.

Tad gives an update: Hospitals and shelters are overflowing, and the mainstream media isn’t paying enough attention to what’s happening. He claims chemtrails are releasing aluminum into the atmosphere. You had me until then, Tad. Scully reunites with Einstein, who can no longer ignore the possibility of massive contagions wiping everyone out. Scully says she was wrong about the science causing all this. Alien DNA isn’t responsible for the contagions – it’s what will save everyone.

They’re calling this the Spartan virus, a virus within a virus administered through smallpox vaccines. Scully thinks they still have time to save everyone. She just needs to use her own alien DNA to create a vaccine that will beat the Spartan virus. They just need to move fast.

Mulder’s now so sick that he’s on CSM’s floor, but he still won’t take his deal. CSM says he’ll miss Mulder, who made his life worthwhile. He pulls off part of his face, which turns out to be prosthetic. Mulder wishes Scully were there to see the monster CSM has become. Scully and Einstein look at Scully’s DNA again, but now there’s nothing alien in it.

Sandeep comes to the lab to tell Scully that the staff is getting sick, so they’re running out of time. Tad continues his updates – people are dying, but he and his crew will keep broadcasting as long as there’s hope of stopping the contagions. Scully and Einstein (who’s not sick yet) go over the science again, trying to figure out how alien DNA protects Scully from the Spartan virus. What makes Scully different? Einstein thinks the sample they studied was too small.

Miller finds Mulder at CSM’s and announces that they’re leaving. CSM warns that he has no idea what’s coming next. Einstein draws more of Scully’s blood, sure that the next examination of it will show the alien DNA again. Einstein’s getting sick now. Miller drags Mulder to his car, but Mulder thinks the younger agent should just save himself. Miller asks why Mulder didn’t accept CSM’s offer. CSM tells Miller to say goodbye for him before Mulder dies.

This time Scully’s alien DNA shows up on examination, so she’s just hours from developing a cure. Miller calls her from his car, telling her that he found Mulder but he’s not doing well. Scully promises that help is coming. Miller isn’t sure they can make it back to D.C., since there’s now a gas shortage. Scully administers her cure to Einstein so she can help pass it out to everyone else.

Tad is looking worse as he says lines of communication are starting to fall. People are starting to riot in the streets as Scully heads out to find her boyfriend. She tells everyone to go to the hospital because help is coming. Tad announces that there’s a vaccine – the ray of hope everyone needs to keep them from giving up entirely.

Scully gets to her car and drives on the sidewalk in an attempt to get out of the city. That only works for her until she gets to a bridge. Mulder and Miller are stuck on the same bridge, so Miller and Scully decide to get out and walk to each other. “He saved your life. Old Smoky,” Mulder says when Scully reaches him. She promises that she’ll save him, too (and Miller).

Scully whispers to Miller that Mulder is worse off than she thought – he’ll need stem cells. The best source is William, who must also be protected by Scully’s alien DNA. The problem? Scully doesn’t know where he is. Well, that’s not Scully’s only problem: Now there’s a UFO over the bridge, with its spotlight right on Scully.

Thoughts: Between the soldier’s lesion, CSM’s post-explosion state, and his half-missing face, this episode gets a 9 out of 10 on the grossness scale.

I guess we’re supposed to think all the traffic jams in D.C. are from mass panic, but really, it’s not much worse than a regular rush hour around here.

One season left! Who’s ready to wrap this thing up?

April 27, 2019

The X-Files 10.1, My Struggle: Here We Go Again

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:20 pm by Jenn

All of their conversations look like this

Summary: Mulder gives a brief recap of the entire series to date, in case people had forgotten about it in the 13 years since the last episode (or the seven years since the second movie). He tells us there are UFO sightings all the time. There’s a huge cover-up, and people think they’re a hoax, but “are we truly alone? Or are we being lied to?”

We go back in time to Roswell in 1947, when a young Army medic is taken to the desert by a man in a black suit. The doctor is stunned when he sees a giant crashed UFO. At Our Lady of Sorrows, where Scully is still working, she gets a phone call from Skinner (who’s still the assistant director – no promotion in 13 years? Ouch).

Mulder’s watching a clip of Jimmy Kimmel telling then-President Obama that if he were elected president, his first priority would be looking through confidential documents to find out if aliens exist. After talking to Skinner, Scully calls Mulder, who complains that his life has become a punchline. Skinner wants to know if Mulder’s been watching an Internet celeb named Tad O’Malley, who’s reached out to the FBI.

Mulder pulls up a clip of Tad saying that the mainstream media is lying about people’s freedoms. He has conspiracy theories that go all the way back to Roswell. Mulder doesn’t know why Scully’s getting involved in this stuff again, but Scully’s just delivering a message from Skinner. Mulder is supposed to meet with Tad, and he wants Scully to tag along.

The two former partners meet up, but Scully’s the only one who bothered to dress professionally. She tells him she worries about him and is glad he’s gotten out of the house. There’s exposition that they no longer live together. Tad arrives and invites the agents to join him for a limo ride, wanting to ensure their conversation is private. He thinks some aircraft can eavesdrop, though he won’t say who’s behind that.

In the limo, Tad tells the ex-agents that he’s not a true believer like Mulder is. Also, he calls Scully “Dana,” and I don’t think Mulder likes that. Mulder corrects that he only wants to believe; he’s never been able to find real proof of aliens. Tad reminds him that he ran the X-Files, but that chapter of the ex-agents’ lives is over. They’ve both moved on (both from the job and from each other).

Mulder thinks Tad just spouts conspiracies for the money and doesn’t actually believe anything he says. He’s “The O’Reilly Factor with a shopworn little gimmick.” Tad says Bill O’Reilly knows very little of the truth. Mulder brings up a woman named Kelly Cahill who claims she and her husband saw a UFO in Australia. They lost an hour of time, and Kelly wound up with a triangular mark on her stomach. Tad wants Mulder and Scully to help him expose the conspiracy about alien abductions. He has something – and someone – to show them.

The limo takes the group to a secluded little cottage where a woman named Sveta lives. She contacted Tad and told him to call Mulder and Scully. Sveta met Mulder as a child, when he interviewed her family after she was abducted for the first time. Over 20 years, she’s been abducted multiple times, and has the little scoop-marked scars to prove it. The aliens replaced her memories, but she still recalls some things.

Like Scully, Sveta got pregnant after a number of her abductions, but the fetuses were taken, leaving the scars. Sveta continues that she has alien DNA. Mulder asks if Scully could test that, since Sveta hasn’t gotten confirmation from a doctor. He calls her “Dana,” which makes me uncomfortable. Back to 1947! The doctor and some other soldiers follow an alien crawling away from the UFO. The Man in Black shoots it, saying it might be dangerous. The doctor is upset.

Scully takes Sveta to a lab to do tests. Sveta knows Scully’s skeptical, since she has some mind-reading abilities. She claims she’s also telekinetic, but she can’t control it, so she can’t give a demonstration. Sveta guesses that Mulder and Scully used to be a couple, and that Mulder’s been depressed. That’s what led to their breakup. Sveta also guesses that they had a child together. Scully tells her to knock it off. Sveta’s mind-reading abilities end there, as she thinks Scully doesn’t know what it’s like to be abducted. Scully gives her a look, and Sveta changes her mind.

Tad retrieves Mulder from his house via helicopter and warns that they’re about to meet with some very paranoid people. They go to what looks like an empty airplane hangar and meet Garner, a scientist, who takes Mulder to an alien aircraft. It’s up and running, and Mulder looks like a kid on Christmas morning. The technology used to make it run has been kept secret for 70 years so oil companies could keep making money. The aircraft turns invisible, thanks to ununpentium.

1947! The doctor takes the alien’s corpse, though the Man in Black says there’s no point, since it’s dead. The doctor asks why he was brought out there in the first place. In the present, Tad catches Scully drawing some of her own blood and asks if she’s testing her own DNA to see if it’s alien. She tells him about her work on children born without ears. Tad notes that the kids look alien-like, which Scully claims is a coincidence. She has no interest in going back to her past chasing aliens.

Tad asks if Scully misses the X-Files. Scully says that it was challenging and made her feel alive; the same goes for her relationship with Mulder. But it ended up being “impossible.” Tad wants to make sure Scully doesn’t feel like Mulder put her on the spot with the Sveta stuff. Also, he wanted to see her again.

Mulder goes back to Sveta’s to ask for some clarification about her pregnancies. She says she doesn’t believe the aliens took the fetuses. Her experiences have affected her whole life, and she hasn’t been able to have a normal existence. She’s afraid it’ll only get worse. She confesses that humans took the babies, though they did take her aboard ships. She was afraid they would kill her if she told the truth.

Mulder promises that Sveta can trust him, even though he used to work for the government. She guesses that he always wondered if the government was lying to him. He calls Scully, who’s in Tad’s limo again, to tell her that they’ve been misled – maybe there’s no alien conspiracy. He thinks Sveta is the key to everything.

Mulder goes to his former X-Files office, accompanied by a bearded Skinner. Even though the office supposedly hasn’t been touched since the X-Files closed, the files are gone. Mulder tells Skinner that this is “about controlling the past to control the future. It’s about fiction masquerading as fact.” He thinks Skinner owes him answers. Skinner says he doesn’t take orders from Mulder, so Mulder asks who he does take orders from.

Skinner promises that he’s looking out for Mulder like he always has. Mulder rips his “I want to believe” poster and blasts himself for chasing nothing for a decade. He guesses Skinner’s been lied to, too. Skinner says he’s thought about Mulder every day since the X-Files closed, wishing Mulder were still there to investigate weird stuff. Mulder says that surveillance and policing post-9/11 were supposed to make us feel safer, but we’re actually in more danger. Skinner tells him to do something about it.

In another clip from his Internet show, Tad complains that the government targets people with registered guns. Then he does a segment on Scully and her work with earless kids. Scully’s watching the clip when she gets the results of her bloodwork. She asks a nurse to retest some of the samples. She adds that she’s expecting – well, hoping for – a call from Mulder.

In downtown D.C., Mulder meets up with an old man who once promised to give a confirmation if Mulder ever put the pieces together. He thinks the technology from the alien aircraft has been used in disappearances that have been misreported as alien abductions. The old man warns that the reason for this is more complicated than Mulder can know.

Mulder takes a stab at it: It’s a “conspiracy of men against humanity.” Ten years ago, the old man came to Mulder, wanting to spill his secrets. The old man – who’s the Army doctor from 1947 – says he didn’t know how his work would be used. He did experiments on the alien corpse that led to lies told to everyone in the world. Mulder wants to expose those lies, but the old man doesn’t think anyone will believe him. Mulder’s willing to be seen as a fool. The old man tells him he’s close to uncovering everything. As he leaves, he says that Roswell was a smokescreen. Mulder figured that out a while ago.

Scully goes to Mulder’s house, where he tries to tell her what he’s uncovered. She’s worried that he’s obsessed again, because he wants to believe so badly. Mulder does believe – he thinks Tad’s conspiracy theory is correct. The truth really is out there, and Tad is going to reveal it. Scully begs him to tread lightly, but Mulder says he knows what he’s doing.

Sveta reveals that she’s in the house, and Mulder again tells Scully that she’s the key to everything. Scully’s heard enough, so she leaves, but before she can drive off, Tad arrives and asks her to stay. She’s annoyed but agrees to hear what Mulder has to say. He tells the group something science-y about UFOs being attracted to America after the H-bomb, and wormholes and transducers and electrogravitic propulsion. Basically, aliens were worried about us self-destructing.

The government used technology from UFOs, then covered it up. The problem is that Mulder isn’t sure what the goal is. Tad blames corporate greed and the takeover of America, then the world. Eventually, we’ll go into a perpetual war, which will just be a distraction. Everything the government is doing right now is preparation for targeting us. Then some elites will take over and “cull, kill, and subjugate” the rest of us.

Tad thinks it’ll start on a Friday. Money will disappear; then bombs will knock out major grids. The government will tell us it’s an attack by Russia, or they’ll simulate an alien attack. Mulder says the Russians tried it in 1947. Scully says Tad can’t broadcast this theory – it’ll be seen as treason. It’s irresponsible to set off the kind of panic that would follow. Mulder and Sveta disagree, saying it’s irresponsible to keep the truth hidden. Scully informs Sveta that her test came back negative – she doesn’t have any alien DNA. Then she leaves.

Back at work the next day, Scully watches Tad’s show, in which Sveta admits that she lied about being abducted by aliens. Tad paid her to lie so he could get ratings. Mulder guesses that someone got to her. Tad says that whoever turned Sveta against him must be afraid about the truth coming close to being revealed.

As Scully gets her second results, Mulder goes to Sveta’s. The government has found Garner’s hangar, and they knock out the scientists and blow it up. After an operation, Scully tries to go back to Tad’s site, but it’s now unavailable. When she leaves work that night, she sees “don’t give up” written in the dirt on the back of her car.

Mulder arrives and tells Scully about Venus Sydrome, a global-warming scenario that will lead the planet to the brink of the Sixth Extinction. The elite will go off into space and fight the poor souls left on Earth. Scully tells Mulder that Tad’s been shut down, so they need to find Sveta and protect her. She sequenced both Sveta’s and her own entire genomes, and she now believes the conspiracy is true. Both ex-agents get messages from Skinner, and Mulder asks if Scully’s ready for whatever comes next. She says she doesn’t think they have a choice.

Sveta’s driving somewhere when her car shuts down. A green light shines through her roof, and she looks up to see a UFO. She tries to get out of the car, but she doesn’t have enough time before the UFO blows up her car. In an unknown location, FREAKING CSM, who is somehow STILL FREAKING ALIVE, FREAKING A, gets a call letting him know the X-Files division has been reopened.

Thoughts: Tad is played by Joel McHale.

Oh, good, another “key to everything.” We can’t have enough of those.

In a way, it makes sense that CSM keeps coming back from the dead. I mean, you can’t kill the Devil, right?