The X-Files, Episode 1 “My Struggle, Part 1”
Written by Chris Carter
Directed by Chris Carter
Fox Mulder narrates his lifelong obsession with UFOs. As he recounts his past, pictures showing alien spacecraft are placed on top of each other. He joined the FBI to continue his obsession and look for his missing sister, investigating paranormal science cases though a unit known as the X-Files. In 1993 he was assigned a partner, Dr. Dana Scully. In 2002 the department closed the X-Files. At this point, a picture showcasing the agents embracing catches fire, as do all the stacked photographs. Grainy footage of a UFO zipping over a city, pursued by military helicopters is shown and a triangle shaped object makes its way over a lonely mountain road. Old news footage appears as Mulder recounts the first official sightings of UFOs, Roswell, saucers over Washington, D.C., and an incident in Montana. “But now people only laugh. And only Roswell is remembered.” This is said as a UFO falls from the sky into a semi-valley near a river, collides with a mountainside, and goes careening into the ground. “But we must ask ourselves, Are they really a hoax? Are we truly alone?” An elongated hand is seen within the vehicle from the illumination in the craft. It slowly sinks, as though it’s become lifeless. “Or are we being lied to?” Cue opening, familiar/classic credits and first commercial break.
It’s utterly fantastic to see Mulder and Scully back together, and to have Skinner involved is like the cherry on top. Sadly, the story by show creator Chris Carter throws everything but the kitchen sink at viewers, drowning them in every possible conspiracy theory created, only to abruptly close things up by the end of the episode. Through Internet broadcaster Tad O’Malley, played well by Joel McHale, Mulder learns that everything he thought he believed in is wrong. This is a good way to have new viewers integrated into the series, though it does throw the middle finger out to long time fans. The first proof that O’Malley shows the former agents is Sveta, played by Annet Mahendru. Without spoiling how she plays into things, this will be familiar territory for rabid fans. Scully is once again doubting what Mulder’s selling, and she tries to send him on the straight and narrow. The ending wraps things up in traditional X-Files fashion and was unsurprising. New fans might enjoy it better than me, as it was fairly easy to predict the outcome of the two guest stars. David Duchovny seems as though he’s tired the entire episode, only coming to life when he first meets Scully and his scene with Skinner. Gillian Anderson has Scully on a nice slow burn, having to be reunited with ex-lover and dealing with the chaos of the world he inhabits. Her scene with Mahendru was great. Mitch Pileggi has just one scene, but he’s terrific in it. He’s a go-to player on this series and I’m hoping there’s more to come of him. The biggest moment comes from the final character shown and his final words. Time has not yet taken this individual, and time has not treated him well.
The good: The opening, the effects, seeing all the familiar characters again, the music of Mark Snow, excellent flashback moments, nice Obama and W. Bush appearances, good make-up effect on Sveta, and the final character.
Fun lines: “My life’s become a punchline,” “It’s good for you to get out of that little house every once in a while,” “She’s shot men with less provocation,” “Aliens couldn’t find this place,” “A man in my position finds himself contacted by interesting strangers,” “Damn thing could be dangerous,” “For God’s sake! What have you done?!”, “Then why even bring me out here?”, “You just calm the hell down, Mulder, before we both get pissed off,” “and “I do believe.”
The bad: A really predictable story and ending, too much exposition thrown out in Mulder’s house (was expecting Duchovny or McHale to be wheezing after their rapid deliveries of so much information), the scene with the “old man” came off really cliche as it tried to echo the tone of scenes with Mr. X and Deep Throat and not succeeding, and not caring two cents about what happens to Sveta — didn’t know her long enough to buy into her story.
The final line: I’ll watch the next five episodes as they air, but I want the stories to be better than this. A reunion that gave warm fuzzies, but a story that fell like a saucer to earth. Overall grade: C+