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‘The X-Files’ Review: “This”

Alejandra Zimmermann 19’ / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The second episode of season 11 of The X-Files delivers quality content. ‘This’ reminds the audience of what The X-Files is all about: Mulder (Gillian Anderson) and Scully (David Duchovny). Glen Morgan, the writer and director of episode 2, creates what will be remembered as one of the best X-Files episodes of the series.

The episode opens with The Ramones ‘California Sun’ playing in the background as a car drives down a road. It then cuts to Mulder’s house, cutting to small artifacts that fans recognize from previous episodes/movies. The camera pans to a couch, where Mulder and Scully sleep. There is a distant static sound and light comes from a phone. Suddenly, viewers hear one of the Lone Gunmen, Richard Langly’s (Dean Haglund) voice, asking the pair if he is dead (He died S9E15). The scene cuts back to the car and The Ramones and now, viewers see that the people in the car have guns. They are heading to Mulder’s house. Back at the house, Mulder and Scully finally wake up and realize that Langly is trying to talk to them via cell phone. With confusion and worry written on their faces, they are interrupted as the assailants silently break into their house.

Richard Langly makes a comeback. Photo courtesy of FOX.

Mulder and Scully share a look and in less than three seconds, are running away from rapid gunshots. Scully slides on the floor, under a table and turns the table around to use a shield (this scene ranks as one of the best Scully scenes in X-Files history). The sound of constant gunfire, their rapid and in-sync movements and The Ramones continually playing in the background is action packed and better than the first episode.

However, the action doesn’t stop here. As always, there is a secret group on the hunt for the FBI Agents. After defeating one set of assailants, Mulder and Scully get caught up with another group. This time, while being handcuffed together, they are able to not only beat people up, but escape, jump, and run towards safety. Much props to Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny for giving viewers some great action scenes. One iconic line from this scene: “We got to take a trip to IKEA.” Domestic Mulder and Scully, much?

Mulder and Scully in another graveyard.  Photo courtesy of FOX.

The episode continues with more investigation into Langly’s message. Classic Mulder and Scully mannerism reappear from cute banter (“Who needs Google when you have Scully”) to diner case dates. During one of their diner dates, they get into contact with Langly again. He explains to them that his soul is uploaded into a computer simulation. He lives among a new civilization, but it’s all really hell (sounds like an episode of Black Mirror). Langly urges them to find a way to destroy the computer stimulation he is stuck in.

Cut to more investigation and a near death encounter with the assailant from the beginning of the episode. Mulder and Scully then find their location through a hidden QR message. They embark on a bus to save the day. On that bus, Anderson’s real life children, Felix and Oscar, made a special cameo and the best part, they are there to annoy Scully. Fans even get Mulder telling Scully she “looked good” (swoon).

Mulder and Scully communicate with an old friend. Photo courtesy of FOX.

As Mulder and Scully always obey the FBI rules, they scam their way past a young FBI agent by  pretending to request access to a building. Scully fake handcuffs Mulder and she flirts her way inside a NSA building. “Sorry bro, I’m married to the bureau.” After gaining access, they head up 29 flights of stairs, until again, they meet more people trying to kill them. This time, as they are stuck on a staircase, there’s nothing to do but jump. And that is exactly what Scully does. Jumping over a flight of stairs, she escapes and saves the day. Meanwhile, Mulder is caught, handcuffed and brought to a room. The role reversal has always been a quintessential point of The X-Files and fans are happy to see it continue in this day.  

Now, while Scully is searching the building for the stimulation Langly asked her to destroy, Mulder is taken to a room where they explain about living through computer simulation system forever.  Mulder asks that if he were to get uploaded, could Scully be with him (#FOREVER). After, Mulder is, again, handcuffed but, still fights a man, (all while wearing his handcuffs). Scully, who was actually hiding during Mulder’s fight, uncuffs him and enters the room where the stimulation is running. The room with its flashing neon lights was very aesthetically pleasing.

After they destroy the stimulation, they return to clean up the mess but like a true X-Files mystery, everything is gone. Returning to a trashed house, a domestic Mulder and Scully lay on their couch again, mirroring the opening scene. That is until Langly appears on their phone screen. Three seconds later, the camera pans to phone screen: there is the man who was trying to kill them all along — queue fade to black.

Still, there remains no answer to what exactly is actually going on this season. Onto the next episode!

Episode Grade: A+

 

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