One of the main reasons I like Netflix here in Canada is that you can catch up on a lot of your favourite television shows from days gone by, especially those shows you’re just not willing to pay for on DVD.
If you’re like me, one of those shows is The X-Files.
From 1993 until 2002 and over the course of nine seasons and 202 episodes, The X-Files became a cultural phenomenon that, along with The Simpsons, helped secure the fledgling Fox Network as a major player in the ever-expanding cable television universe.
In the spirit of Biff Bam Pop’s “Conspiracy Week,” I recently caught up with old friends Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) over the two-hour series finale, “The Truth,” originally aired on Sunday, May 19th, 2002. Creator Chris Carter wrote the two-hour event, wrapping up the series in an exposition-heavy clip show that laid out the conspiracy behind UFOs, alien abductions and their connection to the U.S. government.
If you ever wanted to believe but were never really sure of what was going on, today’s look at “The Truth” will set your mind free.
Or burden it with a whole lot of frustrating questions.
Fair warning: set your spoiler-sensors to full from here on.
Through the plot device of a trial where Agent Mulder stands accused of murder, it’s revealed by testimony from characters throughout the show’s history that life came to Earth millions of years ago from a meteorite, possibly from Mars, making human life extraterrestrial by nature. A sentient virus hitched a ride as well , capable of transforming early man into a form of extra-terrestrial life not unlike the grey aliens described in popular culture as “Visitors.”
Seemingly killed off during the last ice age, the virus survived in black oil deposits and surfaced again in 1947 after a spaceship crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. Because of the crash, the government first learned of the alien plan to recolonize Earth. The human conspirators, known as “The Syndicate,” worked within the government to prepare humanity for colonization by kidnapping and experimenting on civilians to create an alien-human hybrid slave race.
As it turns out, Mulder’s sister Samantha was one such victim. Supposedly taken by aliens in youth, it turns out that she was given up by Mulder’s father as a complicit member of the conspiracy. Kidnapped, experimented on and cloned numerous times over the years, she was eventually raised as the sister of Agent Jeffrey Spender before dying in 1987.
As the Syndicate worked with the aliens to prepare the human race for colonization, they also tried to develop a vaccine against the alien virus to save themselves. Test subjects around the world were kidnapped after being tracked by DNA identifiers from smallpox vaccinations. Meanwhile, alien shapeshifters infected with the virus infiltrated human society to keep the plan on schedule, while renegade aliens fought against the Syndicate, ultimately killing most of the conspirators in Season 6’s “One Son.”
By the end of season seven, Scully became pregnant with what was believed to be Mulder’s baby. As she had been declared barren by doctors earlier in the series, the child was considered a miracle. Once born, baby William demonstrated psychic and telekinetic abilities. To protect the child from the shapeshifters that had also come to view the child as a miracle, Scully ultimately gave William up for adoption.
Declared guilty regardless of evidence that proved the murdered man’s body was a fake, Mulder is sentenced to die by lethal injection. Skinner and the X-Files team help Mulder to escape, and he reunites with Scully to find out the truth once and for all from a wise man in New Mexico; the man that Mulder admits sent him the information that led to the military base and the secret plans in the first place.
That wise man turns out to be the Cigarette Smoking Man, the series’ main protagonist and conspirator long thought killed in Season 7’s “Requiem.” Hiding from the aliens bent on taking over the world, the Cigarette Smoking Man revealed what Mulder discovered before he was arrested and put on trial: that the aliens will take over the planet on December 22nd, 2012 and that the only thing they fear, be they pure aliens or super-soldier hybrids, is the magnetite element left by meteors that fell to Earth eons ago, the same element that brought down the Roswell spacecraft in 1947. Hiding in a two thousand year-old Indian refuge made of the magnetite, the Cigarette Smoking Man awaits the end times, puffing his namesake vice through a tracheotomy.
As it turns out, he’s not hidden well enough. Mulder and Scully barely escape with their lives after Smoking Man’s refuge is blown to bits by a military strike. The pair are left to ponder the future in a hotel room, and wonder if there’s anything that can be done to stop what they know is coming.
Whew. Get all that?
If there’s a place where I feel Chris Carter failed when it comes to The X-Files, this is it. Eager to please the fans that had treated him so well over the course of nine seasons, Carter explained away practically every major plot point throughout “The Truth.”
Then again, in a show with a tagline like “The Truth is Out There,” you might as well deliver it during the last big hurrah.
Great or garbage? What did you think of The X-Files, its grand conspiracy and how did you want the show to end?