The X-Files (S10E01) “My Struggle”

 

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Review by David Paul Hellings

@HellingsOnFilm

And so it begins again. Mulder and Scully’s personal relationship ended due to his depression, a conclusion that saw Fox decamp back into the world of the recluse and Dana into the life of a surgeon’s assistant treating children without ears. Now, over a decade later, the duo are reunited by conservative TV host Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale) who believes that he has the truth regarding a man made conspiracy to control the world using alien technology.

Bringing “The X-Files” back, even in a mini-series format after so long away, was always going to be a risk. Gillian Anderson has proved herself repeatedly as a respected actress on stage and screen, while David Duchovny has never overly seemed that interested in his career, preferring basketball and singing with a little “Californication” thrown in for good measure. Expectations were high and, as shows such as “Heroes: Reborn” have proved, going back to your first love is often a mistake. Not so here.

The new mini-series kicks off with Roswell flashbacks, a resetting of the mythology, and a sense that in the modern world, alien conspiracies are the least of our worries in a time where the 1% operates without punishment in their grand goal of a one party corporate world. Mulder is easy to convince that everything he ever believed has been a smokescreen, but Scully is the reverse sceptic, now open to the possibility that the answer is not of this Earth.

In a time of Wikileaks and whistleblowers, Occupy and Anonymous, it was clear than a rebooted X-Files would have to cover these areas and the first episode confronts this head on. Does it work? The pairing of Duchovny and Anderson has been worth waiting for and both slip easily back into their characters as though reunited with a comfortable pair of shoes. Not everything can be answered in the first outing since 2002 (ignoring the two films) but this is a solid start and one that fans of the original series should be pleased with. It’s a new age since we last saw the investigative due on our television screens and much has changed, little for the better in the time of internet, surveillance and drones. How Fox and Dana proceed and what new truth they discover is about to be revealed.

“My Struggle” is well made, well played and wastes no time in reintroducing the X-world that fans knew and loved into a modern time. Mitch Pileggi as Walter Skinner is back, as is The Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), but it is, of course, Mulder and Scully that we came to see and they don’t disappoint. Anderson is better than ever, and Duchovny is as casual and engaging as always, even when being earnest. This opening episode plays well. The files are open once more.

This review originally appeared on SFFWorld at:
http://www.sffworld.com/2016/01/the-x-files-s10e01-my-struggle/

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