**Warning: The following post includes MAJOR SPOILERS for The X-Files Season 11 finale – My Struggle IV. If you have not watched the episode and you want to remain spoiler free, then stop reading now. You’ve been warned.**
As a long-time fan of The X-Files (I’ve watched it since the beginning) I’ve been preparing myself for the end ever since this latest season started airing. But preparing myself is nothing new – I prepared myself for the end in 2002 when the show originally concluded its run and I prepared myself in 2008 when The X-Files returned as a one-off movie.
I’d like to think that in another eight to ten years I’ll be preparing myself again, when the show gets another revival. But, as it stands now, I’m not sure that next revival will come.
The X-Files has a dedicated and loyal fan base, which has helped the show get through stormy times in the past and I’d like to believe that will never change. But the realist in me knows that there’s only so much mileage in a show and I think The X-Files is pretty much out of gas – simply because it’s covered so much ground.
So, working on the basis that My Struggle IV was the last hurrah for The X-Files, I wanted to share my thoughts on the final episode. I’ve been reviewing Season 11 on a weekly basis on The Honcho-SFX blog and overall, I’ve loved this past season. However, this final episode bugged me a bit and it’s largely because not a lot happens.
One of my biggest bugbears at the start of Season 11 were all the moments when characters reeled off dialogue without actually saying anything of any value. This same thing happened again in My Struggle IV – perhaps even more so than before – with various characters talking twaddle for no reason.
Far too often characters would just spout a bunch of words that either skirted around a subject or just didn’t really go anywhere and there was simply no explanation for it. What’s the point of doing this in a season/series finale? Just say what needs to be said and then get on with it; otherwise this is just padding.
Speaking of which. Mulder spent the majority of My Struggle IV driving up and down the highway looking for William. This whole situation felt like major padding and made little sense – especially when Mulder found William so easily. Why bother suggesting William is on the run and finding him will be difficult if ultimately he’s in the first place that Mulder looks? It makes no sense.
And then there was that ending. I’m pleased that Scully survived and that both Mulder & Scully now get the opportunity to go off together and start (or rather re-start) their lives, but it just didn’t feel like a satisfying ending. It simply felt like an ending – nothing more. Where was the big, BIG finish?
I get that X-Files creator, Chris Carter is keen to write more X-Files stories in the future, but really I think he really needed to tie this era up a little better. Maybe offering a bit more of a grand finale, similar to how Season 10 ended, would have been the right way to go.
In fact, even though the events of the Season 10 finale got retconned at the beginning of Season 11, I believe the ending presented in My Struggle II was far superior to the one served up in My Struggle IV. It’s kind of a shame that the two endings weren’t switched around, giving us a little more spectacle.
Of course, there was some spectacle – largely thanks to the death scenes, which I thought were actually the highlights of the episode. Killing one character would have been fine, but in this episode pretty much everyone was killed off (except Mulder, Scully and Kersh).
Cigarette Smoking Man’s death worked fine – although, if the series does come back again I expect to see him back in tip-top shape. Do you really think he’s dead?
Skinner’s death was a little underwhelming, but acceptable. I would have preferred to see him go out in a blaze of glory, but at least he died trying to protect Mulder & Scully. That is, if he’s actually dead. As with Cigarette Smoking Man, I half expect to see Skinner again, should the series be revived.
Killing off the remnants of the shadowy conspiracy was fine and effectively cut ties with the overarching William storyline. If the show does get revived, then it can at least go in a new direction as no one will really know/care who William is. This worked for me.
And then that brings us to the death of Monica Reyes. What a pisser that was. Poor Annabeth Gish; she gets brought back for a few scenes here and there and then she gets killed off! Sure, Reyes had switched sides, but none of her (limited) storyline sat well with me and I felt like the character was dealt a bad hand. She should have got her moment of redemption… with John Doggett.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Reyes, but come on, did she deserve that death? Really? I suppose the one saving grace is the fact Reyes was trying to betray the Cigarette Smoking Man. How unfortunate then that Skinner didn’t know this before he shot her. Whoops.
Overall, the deaths helped to cement this as the grand finale. If the show does come back, I’m sure Chris Carter will find a way to revive Skinner and Co., but hopefully he’ll just let those characters rest. It’s for the best, Chris. It’s for the best.
As mentioned above, I think my biggest problem with My Struggle IV is the frustration that I wanted so much more and it just didn’t happen. Season 11 had more positives than minuses and I just wanted this final episode to match up to what had come before – especially after 25 years.
In an ideal world, Season 10 and 11 would have been mixed together to form one, 16-episode season, with a huge-ass final episode to round things off. But that didn’t happen and we got what we got.
At the end of the day, I’ve enjoyed The X-Files so much over the past 25 years that I think I’m just finding it hard to say goodbye. That said, it really is time for The X-Files to wave goodbye.
It’s been an incredible run, with some truly iconic moments and that legacy now needs to live on without the need to drag things out any further. Mulder and Scully get their happy ending – that should be enough.
So, what did you think? Were you happy with the way the show bowed out, or do you feel short-changed? Sound off in the comments and let me know your thoughts.