Given the recent (totally awesome!) news that the X-Files will be back, however briefly, I feel the urge to re-iterate my old idea (previously discussed here in a time travel post) given that there’s a possibility for change! When a show’s over, it’s usually over, there’s no going back, and the story is done, at least officially. We’ll get six more (squeeee!) episodes to find out where Mulder and Scully (and Skinner? omigod pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease! Was Skinner still alive?) are at. As I recall, the Smoking Man won’t matter because he got blowed up real good. Am I remembering that correctly? I think I am. Anyhow, the show’s resurrected, and maybe, just maybe, there will be some actual clarification of what the heck was going on there.
Let me start by saying that I got hooked into the X-Files by my then-boyfriend, but the show lasted longer than our relationship (thankfully). Not all the shows were great, like any series, but it was the dynamic between Mulder and Scully that helped keep me coming back every week. Even though their individual worldviews skewed 180 degrees, they still respected each other. I didn’t Learn Important Things like I did with Star Trek because it was all metaphysical mumbo jumbo and evil aliens and government conspiracies (ok, that last one could be a thing) but their dedication to finding the truth, whatever it might be, was important.
As the show progressed, the conspiracy was shown to be bigger, and also more pointless, than anyone could have guessed. I suppose these are spoilers, but it’s been 13 years, so (stop reading if you’ve never watched the show, and intend to). From what I remember, the entire conspiracy was to set the stage for an alien takeover, while the government collaborators (and I use that in a ‘Nazi collaborator’ kind of way) would be able to avoid being dominated like the little people. This now seems a trifle lame. An alien race that can take over the earth really requires decades of prep time and help from humans who are helping because they’re afraid of the aliens? If the aliens are so scary, why do they need help? And if they need help, why are the humans so afraid of them? Anyhow, we didn’t really get to that weirdness until later in the series, and it felt a little like maybe there hadn’t been a whole lot of thought put into the why of the thing, just the how. Still better than Lost though.
My thinking about what was going on developed a few seasons in, but the ‘evidence’ I had started from the first season. An old man shows up on a university campus, predicts various occurrences, and kills, or tries to kill, a few different people. Eventually, Mulder figures out that the old man is a time traveller from the future trying to correct his earlier actions to make things right. The man (Jason) succeeds in killing almost his entire former circle, including his younger self (only one body is found after a struggle between the old and young Jasons and the building they’re in is demolished by fire), missing only his old girlfriend. The old man tells Mulder that he and his younger friends created something (a compound or a machine, I can’t remember) that made time travel possible, thereby making “a world without history.” Jason used his own technology to stop it in its tracks—his own version of going back in time to kill Hitler, although in his scenario, he’s Hitler.
It is revealed in the course of the story that Scully had written a paper on time travel, and this got me thinking, in later seasons, that maybe the Smoking Man, rather than possibly being Mulder’s father, was actually Mulder, back from the future to fix things he’d done wrong. Jason’s girlfriend survived the murder party and the implication at the end of the episode is that she continued their work. It would have explained the cryptic nature of the Smoking Man’s communication with Mulder, his seeming affection for Scully without being creepy (and it definitely could have tipped into creepy), and the disdain of Mulder’s mother for the Smoking Man (a mother’s disappointment). I could easily see Mulder thinking this might be the way to fix things, in his older years, and the best bad guys are the ones who do the wrong things for the right reasons (see: Magneto). Mulder was never one to really think things through to their logical conclusion. It could happen.
My hope is that Chris Carter has had some time to reconsider the we’re-in-this-just-to-save-our-own-asses scenario and is going to take these upcoming six episodes to create something worthy of the fans and the mythology. I mean, I’ll watch either way. I want to believe.