Some thoughts on the conclusion of Fox’s The X-Files revival, including but not limited to: the Spartan virus, shady cabals, were-monsters, climate change, trash spirits, and Ford Explorers.
Sophie Gilbert: During the first episode of The X-Files’s mini-revival, I found myself saying “gahhhh” rather more than I’d expected (and I’d expected a fair amount). Like: when it was proposed that the military-industrial complex had weaponized alien technology and was using it to conduct experiments on humans. At the suggestion that a Glenn Beck/Alex Jones-esque online peddler of conspiracy theories called Tad O’Malley (played by Joel McHale) was actually a fearless truth-teller and investigative journalist. At the words “false flag” being used in such close proximity to “9/11.” When Mulder actually said out loud that the New World Order’s ultimate goal was using our online bank accounts to steal all our money. (What would they do with that money if all the people in the world were dead? Play very, very, very high-stakes games of poker among themselves?)
Understanding that Fox Mulder—the fiendishly handsome, winningly skeptical, extraordinarily loyal partner to the single greatest female television role model of the 1990s—is basically a disheveled, sweaty wackadoo who plausibly spends large parts of his day uploading YouTube videos regarding snake people and the melting point of steel was a trifle disappointing. But way worse was realizing that he had been these things all along. The X-Files debuted during a time before everyone and their mother had access to the deepest recesses of the online conspiracy-theory cesspool. Viewers hadn’t seen their aunts posting links to realworldtruth.net about the doctors decrying the “shameful” HPV vaccine, or suffered through years of “mind-blowing” videos about Obama being a pawn of the Antichrist and the Iraq War being a plot conjured up over cocktails by George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth, Liza Minnelli, and the Pope.