Not even Harris’ brilliant topical humor and Matthew Dow Smith can save this series from the grips of a predictable, stale narrative.
At this point, a takeover of the United States government by an ancient entity seems disturbingly possible—not that Mulder and Scully are going to let it happen.
First Read Reactions
- I know Scully is a dedicated medical professional, but when dead people start coming back to life all around you, it’s time to get the hell out of there.
- Director Skinner: A master of screwing you over while simultaneously attempting to help.
- I don’t care how much you “want to believe,” Mulder. When the eyes of the dude you’re talking to start glowing and he forces you to see into his mind, it’s time to get the hell out of there.
- Why are people still surprised that this Ben-Brahim fellow might be up to something bad?
When I was younger (much younger), I used to get mad at the people who said that the stand-alone X-Files episodes were better than the ones steeped in the show’s mythology. Sure, I thought that Tooms and The Flukeman were all types of cool, but what I really wanted to see was the story of Mulder and Scully unraveling the franchise’s overarching mystery.
Now, as I’ve grown old and bitter, I have become exactly what I hated…and I think I understand why.
While I appreciate Joe Harris’ attention to the X-Files’ grand conspiracy, there are only so many ways to show that a shadowy organization of extraterrestrial origin has compromised our government (and yes, elder gods do count as being extraterrestrial). It’s been done so much with this franchise that every story beat feels two steps behind our expectations. It also (in my opinion) constrains Harris’ storytelling and remarkable dialogue skills to a tale that just isn’t that interesting with these particular characters anymore.
I’d much rather see Harris take on threats of a more personal nature and Matthew Dow Smith draw cool new monsters (instead of random background characters with glowing eyes)—although I must admit that the way Harris ties the narrative in with our current governmental dumpster fire is absolutely brilliant and hilarious. It’s also a painful reminder of just how good this series could be if the narrative wasn’t being hogtied by a predictable and convoluted plotline.
Perhaps Harris/Smith will reach into that “hole in the sky” and pull out a fantastic conclusion, but I’m not holding my breath for it.