The X-Files (S11E02): “This”

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Hello from the afterlife! Two episodes into this season and The X-Files is once again blowing our minds and leaving us with a couple of new questions to hold on to for another few episodes. This past episode goes by the name “This” and, much like the title, it seems to be only a small part of a bigger picture that is still to be revealed.

Unlike last week’s episode, tying this season’s pilot to the season 10 finale, this episode seems to bring new concepts and an old dear friend: Langly is back. Or is he? After a turbulent opening to the episode, during which Mulder and Scully are not only contacted by Langly but also attacked twice by two different parties with similar goals, the duo finds itself on the run. The episode brings back elements like “I want to believe”, the X-Files themselves and Mulder and Scully, once again, trusting no one but each other. Even the mistrust towards Skinner is back and growing. All in all the episode really gives off a 90s seasons vibe – which I enjoyed a lot as it was very well written and directed (and brought along some nostalgia, let’s not lie about that).

Most of the episode we follow Mulder and Scully around and watch as they make small but important steps towards finding out more about why their old friend contacted them and whether or not he was actually buried all those years ago. As they try to work their way to the truth, Mulder and Scully quickly discover a new conspiracy involving Langly. Him reaching out to Mulder had not been part of the plan and, although they manage to get to the bottom of it (as they initially seem to believe), it quickly becomes very clear that Langly was just a small pawn in a much bigger plan. The episode leaves the main plot open so that it can be assumed that the upcoming episodes will connect to this in one way or the other.

Not only the storyline itself was interesting and, as often with The X-Files, a mirror of today’s or maybe even tomorrow’s world, it also has beautifully shown once again what the characters of Mulder and Scully truly have within each other. In many ways, yesterday’s episode was a true and honest revival of the series as we know it. This was one of those episodes where “the universal truth we all know” is truly shown rather than told (or vaguely assumed). It seems as though their partnership, as well as every kind of relationship these two characters share, will be brought back this season – or at least it was this episode. Whichever the case, the way in which it is shown is as true and innocent as it used to be in the very beginning. Things like “Who needs Google when you got Scully?” or Mulder calling Scully “adorbs” made the episode even more enjoyable than the plot itself had already made it.

However, as gracefully written and directed as this episode was, it has brought along new questions and has left last week’s questions widely unanswered. Not that this would be any kind of news with this series and let’s be honest: Don’t we love the unanswered questions and new conspiracy theories piling up as the episodes go by? I for one am enjoying this season so far (apart from a few questionable plot twists here and there). And even though, as with season 10, the main plot will most likely be held back up until the last few episodes (or at least will be barely woven in to the next few episodes), I can’t wait to see what other topics and smart (or cute) lines they have up their sleeves for us.

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