THE X-FILES “My Struggle” Review: The Truth is Back
By Pauline Perenack
It’s been thirteen years since The X-Files graced our screens, but finally, the long awaited return is here. Teased initially with a movie, and then with a 20th anniversary reunion at Comic-Con, X-Philes around the world rejoiced in early 2015 when an X-Files mini-series was announced, and better yet, the key players we hold dear would be returning. Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Walter Skinner, and Monica Reyes would all be back.
Joining them on their journey in this first episode back are several supporting characters, including Joel McHale’s Tad O’Malley, a popular conspiracy theorist web-TV show host, and Annett Mahendru’s Sveta, a possible alien abductee and person from Mulder’s past, whose information sets the mini-series in motion. There’s also the guest appearance that every X-Phile was waiting for.
However, this is only the beginning, so let’s recap what happened.
Roswell Was a Smoke Screen
Last night’s episode, “My Struggle,” starts with a voiceover recap from Mulder, bringing new viewers up to speed as to what the original series was about, as he lays down pictures of events he’s describing. He then continues on to talk about the background of UFOs in America, how only Roswell is remembered, and asks the audience, “are we truly alone?” and “are we being lied to?” His questions clearly outline the theme of the episode, and what we should expect for the rest of the hour.
And then, we cut to the familiar opening credits, and every X-Phile went a little giddy with nostalgia.
As the show returns, we open up in the High Desert in North Western New Mexico in 1947, and follow a doctor who is being brought to the middle of nowhere. As soon as he steps off the bus, and his face alights in wonder, we see what he sees – the alien crash site at Roswell. These flashbacks continue throughout the episode, and we see an injured alien, a Grey, trying to crawl away, but is gunned down by soldiers, and the doctor carrying it away to conduct tests on it.
Back in present day, we get our first glimpse of Scully. Now a doctor at Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital, she is interrupted by a nurse, who tells her a Walter Skinner is on the phone. We’re then reacquainted with Mulder, who is watching an old Jimmy Fallon/President Obama interview in which they’re discussing Roswell. Scully tells Mulder that a conspiracy theorist named Tad O’Malley has been trying to reach out. Mulder isn’t impressed with O’Malley, but agrees to meet him if Scully joins.
Our heroes are reunited in Washington, DC, and share a great scene together as Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny have definitely not lost any of their chemistry over the years. O’Malley pulls up, and requests they talk in his car. As they drive, Mulder is unsure why O’Malley wants to reopen the x-files, and quizzes O’Malley on a little known abduction case to see if he’s the real deal. Upon answering Mulder’s question, O’Malley tells the duo he’s ready to blow open the biggest conspiracy the world has ever seen.
He takes Mulder and Scully to Virginia, where he introduces them to a woman named Sveta – who just so happens to have been interviewed by Mulder years ago after her first abduction. She tells them she has implanted memories – something Scully is intimately knowledgeable of – but tells them some of the memories didn’t work, so she remembers things. Mulder suggests Scully test her for alien DNA.
Back at the hospital, Scully tests Sveta, who says she can read Scully’s mind. Sveta proves it by talking about Scully’s relationship with Mulder, and how it was killed by Mulder’s depression. Scully asks her to stop once she brings up their child. The two share a moment when Sveta realizes Scully too, had been abducted.
Mulder meanwhile, is picked up by O’Malley, who flies them to a secret warehouse, inside of which is an Alien Replicate Vehicle, which runs on Free Energy. Everyone inside tells of the need for secrecy, because the government had burned other facilities similar to this one to the ground. Mulder is fascinated by the ship, as he’s never seen one in person. Soon after, Mulder visits Sveta, and questions her about why she seemed out of sorts when they first talked. She confesses it’s because she doesn’t believe aliens took her, but rather, humans, which further fuels Mulder’s belief that the government is covering up a greater plan.
At the same time, Scully is finishing up a long day at the hospital, and is testing her own blood, but is interrupted by the appearance of O’Malley. She leaves with him, but is interrupted by a phone call from Mulder, who tells her he believes that Sveta is the key to everything. He hangs up without saying much more.
Fueled by his new discovery, Mulder meets with Skinner at the FBI headquarters to go through some of his old files. Much to the shock of both men, they find the office empty. Armed with this discovery, Mulder meets up with an old man at the National Mall, who we discover is the doctor from 1947. The man tells Mulder that he didn’t know his work would be used against humanity, but Mulder should realize Roswell was a smoke screen to what was really happening.
Having not hearing from Mulder all day, Scully drives to his house to confront him. He tells her of his new theory, and that O’Malley can help them. Unimpressed with O’Malley’s smooth talking, and Mulder’s growing enthusiasm, the two start to argue, but are interrupted by Sveta. Scully is shocked to see her and goes to leave.
Her departure is thwarted however by the appearance of O’Malley. He and Mulder convince her to stay and tell her of their plans to tell their theories of a major government conspiracy to take over America the next day on O’Malley’s show. Scully disagrees with their plan, and tells them it borders on treason. Before she leaves, she tells everyone Sveta doesn’t have any alien DNA, which essentially leaves their theory with a glaring hole.
The following day, Scully decides to watch O’Malley’s show, and sees Sveta going against O’Malley, telling reporters the conspiracist forced her to say what she did. Mulder is watching the same thing, and runs to find Sveta, believing the government has gotten to her, and finds her house empty. Soldiers storm the warehouse, and blow up the Alien Replicate Vehicle, and when Scully goes to rewatch O’Malley’s show, his entire website has been taken down. After a long day, she leaves the hospital, and Mulder is there waiting for her. She tells him they need to find Sveta because she sequenced both Sveta’s and her genomes, and they were the same. Looks like the search for the truth is back on.
The episode ends in two parts. First, we see Sveta driving, and her car shuts down in what X-Files fans know is a classic precursor to an abduction. Sure enough, an alien ship appears overhead, but instead of lifting her out of her car, it instead blows it up, with Seta in it. Secondly, we see a man on the phone, and it turns out to be none other than the Cigarette Smoking Man, who informs the person on the other end of the phone that the X-Files have been reopened.