The X-Files: Season 11, Episode 1 – “My Struggle III”

Guest Writer: Nicholas Monitto

©Fox Network

As the title implies, the premiere episode continues the so-called “myth-arc” last seen in the first and final episodes two years ago. After a brief “Previously…” highlighting those, we go to a flashback with voice-over by the Cigarette-Smoking Man. He waxes poetically about his place in the shadows of history. The footage includes sites like Dallas in November 1963 and the set of a supposedly-faked moon landing.

There is a flashback to the bridge from the previous finale, then Agent Scully suffers a seizure and ends up in the hospital. Her neurologist describes her as having “abnormal” brain activity. When one of her scans is shown on a screen, Asst. Director Skinner says the flashing in one area is spelling Morse code for “FIND HIM”. Scully awakens and tells Mulder to find the CSM. Describing flashbacks that have accompanied the seizures, she mentions the “Spartan Virus” and says CSM is in Spartanburg, SC.

Jeffrey Spender is attacked by a man who “wants the boy”. He leaves a message for Agent Mulder that they are looking for his & Scully’s son William; a jump cut shows CSM and Monica Reyes listening through a live tap on Mulder’s phone. Mulder is tailed around the DC area by Spender’s attacker, managing to ditch the guy before following him to SC.

©Fox Network

Mulder bursts in a house and surprises… Mr. Y and Erika Price, two members of The Syndicate. They claim that CSM betrayed the old alliance with the aliens, and they can help Mulder to fight him. Meanwhile, Skinner is ambushed in his car by Reyes, gets the jump on her, then sees CSM casually climb in the passenger seat. From his own perspective, CSM frames himself as the hero who did the best he could until now.

Spender tells Scully of the attack. She pressures him until he reveals “Van de Kamp” as the family who adopted William. She leaves the hospital, but has more seizures while driving and crashes in traffic. Agents Einstein & Miller see the accident and return her to the hospital. That night, she is targeted by Spender’s attacker, but Mulder returns in time to step in and kill him. Scully is certain the man wasn’t sent by CSM, and claims she is getting the visions from William.

©Fox Network

Skinner & Mulder argue in the hallway, with Skinner seeming to hold back as he urges Mulder to ‘let it go’. Jumping back to the conversation in his car, CSM claims to have an antidote for the coming virus, and will use it to force Scully to choose between William and Mulder. CSM says they have “a history going back 17 years”, and we see the two of them (much younger) go on a trip with uncomfortable overtones. Bowing to Skinner’s pressure, CSM says that he drugged and impregnated Scully with alien DNA.

The episode ends with the brief, blurry image of a young man who seems to be in pain and hearing voices.

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A FEW THOUGHTS:
– The opening credits seem unchanged from their past format. The tag at the end reads “I WANT TO BELIEVE”, then the “BE” and “VE” quickly disappear.
– Having not watched the previous season since it was new, two years ago, I was fuzzy for details. I remembered the final scene on the bridge with Scully looking up at (presumably) a UFO. I wondered how we went from that (and Mulder being deathly ill at the time) to the start here. An interview with creator Chris Carter explained that those details were from a future vision.
– In the voice-over we find out CSM’s name is Carl Gerhard Busch.
– Before we learn who Mr. Y and Price were, I thought the scene with them was a sort of joke, since the old man smoking in a chair and woman standing were posed in the same way as CSM and Reyes earlier. And I have a weird feeling that the house exterior is one I have seen in other things.
– As CSM is leading to the huge surprise about Scully & William, the show reuses footage from the Season Seven episode “En Ami”. Carter claimed that he had the basis of William’s parentage planned back then.
– I give this episode an A-. It made a good extension on the Myth-Arc storyline, with a few fun turns. The name reveal was a little gem in a largely rerun walk through CSM’s past. Depending on how much of a wall is kept between this arc and the “Monster of the Week” stories to come, it may be a long and tense wait for the last details to finally drop.

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Nick Monitto has been a sci-fi geek for a few decades now, having watched the original “X-Files” in its day. His first public cosplay was Fox Mulder, though it may not be good to reveal all the details.

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