Fourteen years has passed since the end of the X-Files series (eight if you count the final movie in 2008), which left our two favorite FBI agents rowing off into the sunset, wishing for a brighter future. Cut to FOX’s 2016 revival event, which shows the pair a few years after their retirement from the alien-hunting business.
To give you the Sparknotes version: it’s not exactly what fans expected. Last night’s premiere event was a long-time coming and Philes everywhere tuned in to see what Executive Producer Chris Carter had in store for the world’s favorite paranormal-fighting duo. The one-hour special had plenty of shocking moments. Here are just a few:
1. Mulder and Scully reveal that they are no longer a couple.
The end of The X-Files: I Want to Believe in 2008 saw Mulder and Scully rowing off into a calm blue ocean, united in their decision to put the past, and the X-Files, behind them. Personally, I was satisfied with this ending. It provided some closure to the “will they or won’t they” narrative that dominated the original series and it allowed the agents to put to rest the conspiracy theories and questions that had tormented them for years. But Fox had different plans for the characters. The first episode of Season 10 (if we can call it that) kicks off with a shocking twist: the two agents have split. However, the two still seem to be on a speaking basis, which isn’t all that surprising when you discover the next detail…
2. Scully casually mentions that her and Mulder have a child together.
So, Mulder and Scully have a child together. The writers drop this detail into the script once or twice, skimming over it each time like it didn’t just violently tug at our heartstrings and make us desperately want to meet this mysterious new offspring. What would a Mulder-Scully baby look like? How would they act? Did their parents give them a nostalgia-inducing name like Samantha? Melissa? Mully? I’d be supremely disappointed if Carter did not fill us in on these details in future episodes.
3. The Smoking Man returns from the dead.
In the 2002 series finale, the “Cigarette Smoking Man,” as everyone so lovingly refers to him as, was killed by a rocket in a fiery explosion. Or, so we thought. When ads depicting the figure’s smoky silhouette aired a few months ago, fans began speculating how William B. Davis’ character would return. Last night’s episode finally gave us our answer; the Cancer Man’s appearance closed the episode, showing Davis in front of a fireplace and ominously acknowledging the return of our X-Files dream team.
4. Tad O’Malley proves himself as nuttier and more paranoid than Mulder (if you can believe it.)
Joel McHale guest starred in last night’s premiere as the strapping young conspiracy theorist Tad O’Malley, whose musings about alien plots and government meddling were, surprisingly, more intricate than Mulder’s. Rants about elite government men using alien technology and overhead drones listening on conversations even caused Mulder to do a double take. His odd flirtations with Scully and his eerie hovering in her presence didn’t help his case, either.
5. Mulder finds a disappearing spaceship.
In an effort to prove his worth as an alien expert, O’Malley leads Mulder to a bunker to show him an ARV or Alien Replica Vehicle that his team has been holding onto since Roswell. To top it off, O’Malley demonstrates the device’s technological capabilities by making it suddenly disappear. How’s that for a magic trick?
6. O’Malley admits that humans are behind the world’s biggest conspiracy, not humans.
Mulder’s entire existence has been driven by the fact that aliens are out to destroy or infiltrate the human race and the government is responsible for aiding them in this goal, at least in part. But in O’Malley’s impassioned speech to Mulder, he tells a very different story: elite government agents stole alien technology from the Roswell crash in 1947 and are planning on using it to launch widespread attacks on the country in an effort to take over the United States and elsewhere. Aliens are not the culprit, and according to O’Malley, they never have been. For a guy that battled aliens for a good portion of his life, hid away in alien spaceships, and saw friends and family members die at the hands of such creatures, Mulder jumps on this theory surprisingly fast, which makes me wonder how true it really is.
7. Tad O’Malley and Sveta disappear without a trace.
Towards the end of the episode, Sveta, the alien abductee who Mulder claims is the key to his life’s work, suddenly announces to a group of TV crews that everything she said was a lie and that O’Malley is a fraud. Confused about her sudden change of heart, Mulder rushes to her house to find it completely empty. O’Malley’s website goes down almost immediately and within moments, a group of agents have invaded O’Malley’s hangar and destroyed the ARV completely. In one final scene, Sveta’s car stops on a darkened road and is suddenly zapped by an alien spaceship. What spurred the sudden cover up? Who is responsible for this dismantling of “the truth”? Was Roswell really just a “smokescreen” for something greater? Guess we’ll have to tune in to the next episode tonight to find out.