Where We Left the Conspiracy...
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. --Genesis I:28
So read the artifact discovered in the season finale of The X-Files - in Navajo, no less. If God said the same thing to the black oil aliens that he reportedly said to Adam and Eve, we are in big trouble.
Or maybe not. After all, when we last saw The Conspiracy, it was dead. Sure, Cancer Man and his new ally Diana Fowley were still running around, and rogue rebel Krycek had some deadly new instruments of torture, but all those old men in suits were torched, Jeffrey Spender had been blown away, and his mother had vanished again.
Those nasty colonizing black oil critters are probably still out there, looking for a new base of operations since they had to remove their spaceship at the end of Fight the Future. But they have no human allies working on hybrids to gestate them. And who knows where that alien fetus ended up?
On The X-Files, for better or worse, conspiracies rarely stay dead for long. Sometimes even characters don't stay dead for long - witness Mulder's predictable return between the fourth and fifth seasons, Cancer Man's remarkable escape to heal after a shooting, and Skinner's miraculous recovery after dying in a hospital.
Chris Carter and company may have wiped out most of the villains to date and shifted the focus, but they wisely haven't answered the two most important questions about the alien conspiracy and its side effects. Namely: 1) Whatever happened to Samantha Mulder? And 2) Are Mulder and Scully ever going to finish falling in love?
Question number one made an unexpected return in the season finale, as Scully demanded to know what Mulder was still hoping to get out of his work on the X-Files and Mulder replied, "My sister." Despite all the suggestions about her fate from the film and "Two Fathers/One Son" episodes, we STILL don't have any conclusive answers about Samantha. So where is she?
Well, she could be dead, or she could be one of the people on the spaceship that took off in Fight the Future. Conversely, she might have been taken by the rebel aliens, just like Cassandra Spender. She might be the woman CSM raised as his daughter, though that woman could be one of the many clones - we don't even know whether the cloning project was initiated before or after the girl's abduction.
In a really perverted universe, it would turn out that Fowley was Mulder's sister - Mimi Rogers and David Duchovny have the similar enough dark-haired, high-cheekboned appearances that I could even believe it, but that's too sick even for The X-Files. In a just-slightly-less warped universe, Scully would turn out to be Samantha, but that's not only implausible...it's also no fun.
Which means that Samantha is probably out there, alive, because if she died years ago, it makes the six seasons of buildup a real bummer - sort of like watching the news for hours while firemen try to rescue someone from a well, only to find out that the person drowned hours earlier. This series can't afford a letdown of that magnitude any more than it could afford for there not to be real alien invaders.
But will we see Samantha next season? I'm betting no; they'll save her for the next movie, unless they plan to unveil some major new direction next year, and even if they do, they need something to tie the early arc in to whatever comes next. The season finale offered some tantalizing possibilities, but also some red herrings.
The more I think about it, the more I simply cannot swallow that aliens wrote the Book of Genesis in Navajo and dumped it in Africa along with the template for the human genome. Why Navajo? Why the coast of Africa? And why did Hosteen translate the words literally to Biblical equivalents, when Navajo and English contain enough differences to make that nearly impossible? Even if that could be rationalized, are Carter and company really ready to face the sort of boycott which will certainly come if they have a major character announce that extraterrestrials affected the events of the Bible?
I think not. Whatever that thing in Africa is, it's not what Mulder says - proof that our progenitors were alien. Even if our cellular forebears landed on Earth in a meteor shower, I doubt we'll learn that we share a heaven populated by an alien god. Besides, if that were true, why would Cancer Man be assembling a new cabal to hide the truth? And why in hell would Fowley be working with him?
Ahh, Diana, a woman who makes Covarrubias seem warm and approachable. It would seem the frigid huntress foully attempted to seduce Mulder in the season finale, but succeeded only in driving him insane - literally. We must know her motives soon, or all this cheap use of her sexual past is going to get extremely annoying - couldn't CSM have sent Krycek to Mulder to drive him insane, instead? Never mind, don't answer that.
Krycek's got Skinner's life in his hands, or on his PalmPilot, but it's not clear even Skinner knows what the younger man wants. To usurp CSM? To take Jeffrey Spender's place as heir apparent? To make a getaway with the rogue aliens before the black oil colonists come back? Or does he resent all of the above so much that he just wants to play them off one another until they give one another horrible deaths?
I'd never believe that megalomaniacal CSM could reform, but I think Krycek is a little bit nuts...and those are often the people who tend to think they're messiahs or prophets. I'd like to see not a destructive Krycek, but a Krycek who has a hidden agenda we haven't seen yet...not just selfish desire for power or safety, but something a lot more complicated, something he honestly thinks is for the good of his species or whatever. If we're not going to get his real backstory, let's get something in the future we would not have seen coming.
I'm afraid to make predictions about what Mulder or Scully will come to want at this point, but I think the last few episodes indicated clearly something which Scully has been building to all year, namely that she's not sure why she's still interested in the X-Files from a scientific standpoint. Mulder pointed out in the episode before last that she's wrong more often than she's right, despite being more methodically trained and more seemingly rational. She has a pretty good idea now who gave her cancer and why, she knows the ultimate threat humankind will face...why would she still want to figure out which suburban monsters are menacing nice subdivisions? She can't even figure out what Mulder is hoping to find, as she told him in the season finale.
If Mulder still wants to find his sister, he is smart enough to realize that there are two people who keep popping up in his life that know more than they're telling: CSM and Fowley. Yet he hasn't asked either of them directly if they know where Samantha is. Is he afraid of the answer, or is he having so much fun learning about aliens playing baseball in Roswell that he kind of doesn't want the joyride to end? I'm not sure why he, too, is still risking his life inside giant mushrooms to prove the existence of the unexpected to perpetual skeptics like Scully.
Which brings us to the most obvious reason these two keep working together on the X-Files: to keep working together. The conspiracy to keep the leads from dealing with their relationship seems to be driving the show at this point - certainly more than any questions about aliens or politics. Fowley may be in league with a man who plans world conquest, but everyone hates her far more for trying to take Mulder away from Scully.
We've gotten lots of teasing in the months since the almost-kiss in Fight the Future - Mulder passionately kissing Scully's historical echo in "Triangle," Padgett announcing to Mulder that Scully is in love in "Milagro" - but they still haven't had The Conversation or even anything which would lead up to The Conversation. There was a time when I would have bought that it's because of their jobs, but they were briefly out of work so they could have explored a relationship not contingent on their being FBI partners then. There was also a time when I thought maybe Scully had a crush on Skinner, but that certainly doesn't seem to be true now, if it ever was.
I think it's pretty apparent Scully knew exactly what Mulder meant when he told her he loved her in "Triangle." I also think it's apparent that she doesn't want to deal with it, nor does he want to repeat himself until he figures out what exactly she does want. It took me a long time to come to this conclusion - despite being a dedicated 'shipper for many shows I watch, I have always been ambivalent about Mulder and Scully getting romantically involved - but I think it's About Damn Time. The writers need to stop playing chicken because it's making the characters look vacillating and noncommittal.
We got one too many cracks about Mulder's pathetic porn collection this season, while nobody's got the guts even to make a joke about Scully's pathetic sex life. We may love them quirky, but they're starting to look completely neurotic - like people who won't know how to have a happy love life even if their dreams came true. Get them involved already and let them have to deal with all the complications that creates: it'll be much better drama than trying to sustain sexual tension which is starting to go flaccid from overexposure.
I have always liked the episodes where Scully tackled her religious upbringing, and it makes sense to me that Mulder would look to the oldest X-Files of them all - the ones in ancient mythology, the Bible, Eastern mystical texts - so I was pretty excited to see that topic raised in the season finale. It's certainly more tantalizing to me than Fowley trying to seduce Mulder. It could also be a rich source of conflict between the normally skeptical Scully and the usually open-minded Mulder. I hope they run with it.
The X-Files Reviews