The X-Files (2016) – Babylon, and My Struggle II

Every season of The X-Files has a low point, even shortened seasons like the limited event series that was season ten. Babylon is that low point. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad episode, it’s just not up to snuff with the rest of the stories in the season.

First airing February 15, 2016, series creator Chris Carter wrote and directed this episode that shows he still has some problems balancing the humor of the series, but at its heart tells a story about love, the power of words, belief and suggestion.

On a riff on Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) dissertation, Einstein’s Twin Paradox, she and Mulder (David Duchovny) are sought out by a pair of younger agents, Miller (Robbie Amell) and Einstein (Lauren Ambrose) a believer, and a scientist sceptic, who are hoping to find a way to communicate with an incapacitated suicide bomber before more targets are hit.

So it’s off to Texas, Scully ends up finding a scientific way to help Miller, while Mulder approaches Einstein about some ‘magic mushrooms’ that purportedly have the effect of allowing the walls of reality to be brought down, and may serve as a way to contact the dying bomber.

This, naturally, leads into a outrageous, symbol-filled trip for Mulder, that even includes The Lone Gunmen, and may lead to a huge break in the case.

There is an important message in this episode, as well as questioning of beliefs about angry gods, and while there are some funny moments, and the introduction of Miller and Einstein is a lot of fun, this one feels like a bit of a stumble.

My Struggle II was also directed by Carter. He wrote the teleplay for the season finale, based on a story he helped create alongside doctors Anne Simon and Margaret Fearon, and brought the truncated season to a close on 22 February, 2016. The opening credits tag, The Truth Is Out There is replaced with This Is The End, which means we’re going into something big here, and that we’re gonna end on a cliffhanger.

Mulder and Scully spend almost the entire episode separated as plot threads weave together into a tapestry that in this day and age looks a little too familiar, and is all the more frightening because of it.

CSM (William B. Davis) reveals to Mulder that he’s back, and alive, Reyes (Annabeth Gish) contacts Scully to confirm that her beliefs about an epidemic spreading and wiping out countless numbers of people (except for those that have had their genome augmented with what could be alien DNA) are going to die, and that she’s been blackmailed into working with ole Smokey.

Miller goes off in search of Mulder while Einstein and Scully check into Scully’s old hospital in the hopes of helping the climbing numbers of infected, and perhaps finding something close to a cure within Scully’s own bloodwork and genetic makeup.

This new mythology ties into the arc introduced in the season opener that the alien tech isn’t being used by extra-terrestrials, but a group of men, intent on control and power, CSM amongst them, or leading them? and he’s ready to rework the world as he sees it.

Mulder is on death’s door by the time Scully is united with him, and while she has a potential cure, he needs more than that now, a stem cell injection, from a relative… like their son William? but they don’t know where he is… and as the world’s infrastructure begins to collapse, as hospitals become overwhelmed, as the public rebels against those who are trying to help (and those others trying to control them), something arrives in the sky above Mulder and Scully…

What happens next? Viewers had to wait two years to find out, when The X-Files returned for season eleven, continuing their search, because the truth is out there.

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