‘X-Files’ Recap: Mulder Is Offered All The Answers In The Lost Art Of Forehead Sweat
The X-Files is officially back. While hints of the show’s former greatness were present in the early episodes of the current season, this week’s instalment confirmed it with a funny, twisty plot that saw Scully, Mulder, and showrunner Chris Carter all at their best. Director Darin Morgan (the man behind last season’s standout ‘Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster’) returns to lead us through an episode that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, real news and fake news, this universe and a possible parallel one (shout out to Star Trek: Discovery).
When Mulder and Scully begin to have repeated parking garage run-ins with a strange, sweaty man who insists that there’s a mad-scientist-type going around erasing our collective memory of the past, they both come up with their own theories behind the phenomenon. Scully thinks there’s a scientific reason behind it while Mulder commits to a parallel universe theory but neither hypothesis explains why Mulder can’t find a copy of his favourite Twilight Zone episode (the one he remembers so clearly) and Scully has never been able to track down a packet of her favourite childhood gelatin dessert.
The agents’ sweaty new pal (or old pal, depending on which version of reality you decide to subscribe to—thank Skinner for that) says that “They” are behind the missing or altered memories. They, it turns out is Dr. Thaddeus Q. They, a scientist with an impossibly long career specializing in altering the truth and turning it into fake news or phony fake news (i.e. the truth dressed up as a conspiracy so that no one will buy it). They has been behind everything from the doctoring of our collective memories about Sinbad movies that never existed to our perception of how well-attended Donald Trump’s inauguration was. This collective misremembering is a real thing. It’s called the Mandela Effect.
But Reggie (Mr. Forehead Sweat) has an even crazier claim to make: telling Scully and Mulder (or Sculls and Foxy) that the three of them go way back—he founded the X-Files and was once their third wheel partner. Kudos to Morgan, the montage of classic X-Files episodes with Reggie pasted into them was a touch of genius (on par with the scene featuring an eight-year-old Mulder with a 57-year-old face). Not only was the truth out there, but the threesome found it in an encounter with an alien who handed Mulder a book containing all the answers (after co-opting Trump’s Mexico speech to tell the Earthlings that the rest of the universe had all agreed to build a wall to keep humans out—yeah, no hard feelings over that one).
The truth—or one version of it—comes when Scully finally manages to dig up Reggie’s file. He’s a former USPS/IRS/CIA/every other US agency with a familiar acronym employee who cracked up and was committed, which totally explains his catalogue of false memories… until Skinner recognizes him in the parking lot and throws everything right back into doubt. Is it possible we just misremembered the shaky 10th season of The X-Files? Because this show RULES.