The X-Files and the Monsters of That Week: The Entire Rest of Season Nine
And so, at last, we come to the end of the original run of The X-Files. There are a few things that are supposedly the cause of the show’s eventual decline and downfall – the first was 9/11, the second was 24, both of which meant that show that was overtly anti-government didn’t fit in a time where America was nursing one of its biggest historical wounds. Jack Bauer was the man to believe in, whereas Mulder wasn’t even in the basement anymore. These are the cultural reasons, and looking back nearly twenty years later, these reasons become less important than the third reason the show was cancelled: it was complete horseshit.
The mythology was a mess, Mulder was gone (again), Scully had the grand prize of character killers for any genre show, a baby, and Doggett was hamstrung by Special Agent Monica Reyes, a character so poorly thought-out that she drags down the whole season with her. It’s not all her fault, though, I think (with my crystal clear twenty-twenty year hindsight) that Scully and William should have gone into hiding with Mulder, leaving the way clear for Doggett and Reyes to step up as the show’s leads. It would still have been cancelled, since no one wanted to watch The X-Files without Mulder and Scully, but it might have made the season we got a little better from a story perspective.
While picking my favourite monster of the week was easy, picking the worst was exceedingly difficult. So, I’ve picked all of them. Scary Monsters, Improbable and Sunshine Days, don’t make the cut since I think they’re solid enough, and I consider Jump the Shark to be part of the mythology – but the rest? Well, let’s start this death-march.
What the fuck is this? Is it a demon episode? Is it just the fiendishly well-plotted plan of a Hannibal Lecter type? Is this a Reyes episode? Is it all of these, or is it a complete mess that tries to suggest depth in Doggett that isn’t necessary? It’s all of these. Not a great start.
The first proper Reyes episode of the season should have been Dæmonicus, but instead we have these strange dual realities that allow a serial killer to live in one world and hide in another where he hasn’t committed the crime. It’s a good idea, but there is nothing interesting going on here except that Doggett has more character in his broken body than Reyes is allowed in the whole show.
Lord of the Flies
This is the episode known for having Aaron Paul in it. That’s about as good as it gets. The most frustrating thing about these early season episodes is that they seem to suggest a metaphorical connection between William and the powerful sons in this episode and 4-D, but then do absolutely nothing with it.
Out of all the bad episodes, Hellbound is the best, as it focuses on Reyes’ more spiritual approach to the work, plus the flayed men are quite scary. The problem is that it devolves into a pretty uninspired retread of season one ideas about revenge through reincarnation.
This one is a clunker, but it would have been better if it had some connection to William. Season nine is full of seemingly ordinary people with paranormal abilities, just like William, but keeps ignoring any connection and leaving them high and dry as a result.
Written and directed by John Shiban. Need I say anymore? I refuse to.
Release could have been so good. We could have finally had an answer to who killed Doggett’s son, and whether it would have qualified as an X-File. Instead, we have a blatant Magical Negro character who also misrepresents autism and probably some other personality disorders hold the key to the case. Except he doesn’t. Or maybe he does. Wait a minute, why the fuck is Cary Ewles in this one?
Season nine is bafflingly bad, with Monsters of the Week that wouldn’t make the cut on a far worse show than The X-Files. The standards where low and the mythology episodes were even worse. It was clearly time for the show to end. For a little while, at least.
By Kevin Boyle
(header image via NerdFinite)