The X-Files: Season 9
Frankly, this season was quite a mess. Mulder was absent until the finale, and Scully was sidelined in favor of Doggett and Reyes becoming the main focus. Whether this was because Gillian Anderson requested a smaller presence, or because they were preparing to go further with the show with Doggett and Reyes as protagonists, I can’t say. But either way, it didn’t work.
There were no truly memorable standalone episodes. There were some that were decent, or at least managed to cover ground that the show hadn’t previously explored during its eight prior seasons. There was an episode in which Burt Reynolds played God, which was intriguing and strange but didn’t hold a candle to Chris Carter’s oddball episodes that came before. There was an episode that worked in The Brady Bunch, but it wasn’t very interesting and didn’t really serve a purpose (even though it was the penultimate episode).
However, the finale (though admittedly flawed) delivered in ways that you were desperately craving. There were throwbacks to the entire series, returns of some interesting guest characters, Mulder and Scully makeout sessions, Doggett and Reyes put on the backburner, a perfect end to the Cigarette Smoking Man. It gave you some some answers, without wrapping everything up completely. What more could you expect from The X-Files? Its convoluted mythology has no easy conclusion. Killing off the alien threat completely would’ve made no sense and would’ve seemed forced. The only ending that works is what they went for: Mulder and Scully know some aspects of “the truth,” but they’re still searching for the big picture.
Overall, a very flawed season which only led to the finale seeming much greater in comparison.
Having finished the current seasons of Treme and Doctor Who, and caught up on Mad Men, I have finally decided to crack down and finish The X-Files.
Let’s face it: No show can possibly make it to an eighth season and still be fresh. The X-Files had a great run — after a shaky first season, it reached levels of inspired brilliance from seasons two through five. Then, as can be expected, the writers started running out of ideas.
This season, they had to deal with David Duchovny only being around for a handful of episodes — which forced them to completely retool the show. Some of it worked (Robert Patrick is a great actor, and he brings fresh energy to the role of Agent Doggett), some of it didn’t. At this point, the most interesting aspects of the ongoing series mythology have either been wrapped up or have been retconned so many times it’s impossible to keep up.
However, the strength of the show has always been the standalone episodes, and there are some good ones here. As expected, Gillian Anderson is flawless. So, whole I’m not exactly champing at the bit to watch season nine (and it’s going to take me a while to warm up to Monica Reyes, the bland chain-smoking psychic agent that they inexplicably threw into the mix), I’m ready to see the series through to the end.