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TV Waffle - THE X-FILES Episode 6: My Struggle II

The earth's population begins to be struck down by a virus.



Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)




It's no surprise that this disappointing revival season of The X-Files went out with a whimper. The season finale, My Struggle II, delivered on the worst fears of those who have long lost their faith in showrunner Chris Carter's ability to fashion a compelling story.
Seemingly taking its cue from the final act of Return of the Jedi, the episode gives us three distinct points of action during a race to save not a galaxy, but a world. With the cigarette smoking man unleashing a virus known as 'Spartan', incubated in the American populace through the smallpox vaccine, the population begin succumbing to a variety of rapidly developing ailments, including Anthrax. Those carrying alien DNA, like Scully, are resistant to the virus, and so Scully attempts to replicate her strand of bug-eye DNA with the help of Agent Einstein (whose name still irks me) to create an antidote. 
Meanwhile Mulder is attacked in his home by one of CSM's goons, resulting in a laughably over the top fight that wouldn't be out of place in a Pink Panther movie. Mulder wins the brawl and heads off to visit CSM himself, which leads to Old Smokey playing the role of the Emperor in attempting to persuade Mulder to shoot himself full of alien DNA and join the darkside to rule the planet together.
While all this is happening we see clips of the Alex Jones/David Icke substitute Tad O'Malley broadcasting from his studio, claiming mainstream media is ignoring the virus, which seems pretty unlikely given it's affecting every man, woman and child in America!
The escalation of events in this finale is overwhelming, with the virus practically coming out of nowhere, as though Carter really needed something enormous to end the season on, and plucked this story out of a biscuit tin full of scribblings he keeps under his bed. The episode features some of the clunkiest dialogue the show has ever given us, and there's barely a line in the episode that isn't designed to get across as much information as possible in the space of 42 minutes. Agent Reyes makes an appearance as a vessel of exposition, one that soils the legacy of her character and feels shoe-horned in simply because Annabeth Gish had agreed to return for an episode.
As you would expect, the finale ends on a cliffhanger, which again is lazy and uninspired - a big-ass UFO hovering over Mulder and Scully. I appreciate Carter's involvement in creating the show, but at this point I wish he'd take a ride on a spaceship himself and hand over the reins to someone with a more interesting vision for the still undetermined future of this show.

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