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X-Files 11.10 Review – “My Struggle: Part IV”

March 21, 2018 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
X-Files My Struggle Part IV THE X-FILES: L-R: Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in the "My Struggle IV" season finale episode of THE X-FILES airing Wednesday, March 21 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX
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X-Files 11.10 Review – “My Struggle: Part IV”  

We’ve discussed before that one of the main issues with The X-Files is that it’s gone on for long enough that Scully and Mulder remaining alive is not even believable. It’s hard to believe that Skinner still has a job, or even Kersch for that matter. It’s surprising that Mulder isn’t a published author, or at least the host of a popular whackadoo podcast. As we wind down into this season finale (that may turn out to be a series finale —- we still haven’t heard), we revisit classic characters and are reminded of how we all got here in the first place. Spoilers for The X-Files season eleven finale “My Struggle, Part IV” follow.

Tonight’s episode begins with a “previously” recap that had to go on for an almost comically long time. We didn’t just see stuff from this season—we went back through season 10 as well. If you aren’t as old as classic X-Files fans, you might not have committed names like Kersch or Reyes to memory. I never got around to learning the names of Barbara Hershey’s character, or the old dude who totally should have been played by Stephen Root. Anyway, we’re reminded of the contagion, the pandemic, the powered son of Scully and…someone, that there’s a plan to colonize space, and that not everything Joel McHale has done since “Community” is achingly terrible.

The teenager formerly known as Jackson Van De Camp is actually William Scully-Mulder (or something similar). He’s had a tough life, so tough you’d think he wouldn’t mess around with teenage girl’s minds just for kicks. But he did, back in episode five. We see both of those girls again tonight, and it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved. I particularly enjoyed that William screwed with his shrinks, just telling them what they wanted to hear. The boy knows that he hates his father, but he doesn’t even know who his father is. Most people don’t. But we do.

If you’re like me, you’ve been feeling sad all season because Mulder seems so happy to think of himself as a dad. He had a good relationship with Mulder Sr, despite a whole bunch of family weirdness. Get ready to laugh though, when Kersch appears to ask Skinner if he’s “seen the internet.” Duh, I’m pretty sure he’s seen the internet. Kersch thinks that Mulder gave up wacky info about the global contagion (Kersch is clear in saying he wants it stopped, regardless of whether it’s true). This is because Tad O’Malley deliberately mislead his audience about who the source was, which is not great behavior for someone trying to be believed, or even taken seriously. Meanwhile, Cigarette Smoking Man is still cackling like a villain and demanding that people “Find the Boy!”

Whose side is Reyes on? Does anyone even care? The guy hatching the Noah Plan is confronted by Mulder—it’s a short confrontation that ends with a straight-up murder. Yikes. We realize that shit is getting serious, and Mulder will literally stop at nothing to find his son. There are some fun chase scenes this week, even as I question that a dude Mulder’s age has that much stamina in him. More on this later. Skinner has been ordered (again) to close the X-Files. Yeah, that’ll totally happen. When Skinner finds out that Scully is looking for William, he goes along to…let’s say help. Skinner is a good guy who means well, but he’s one tiny part of a huge awful story.

A good half of this episode is Mulder chasing William and the boy lamenting his life, the constant chasing, the feeling that all this will never end. You gotta feel for the kid, though he also needs to stop bringing cute female classmates into his madness. The one girl’s supportive friend was great though. In fairness, most of the teenage boys who say they didn’t call you back because they had to ditch their phone while fleeing covert government agents is lying. But William isn’t. During these chases, there’s plenty of mention that Mulder is the one who will die. Even though I keep saying it’s unrealistic that Mulder is still alive—I certainly don’t want to see him die.

As the episode speeds toward an exciting close, Skinner directly confronts Spender and Reyes. Reyes takes one in the brain. Yikes. Skinner might be crushed under Spender’s car. But maybe not. Maybe Reyes was thrown from the car and Skinner got out of there okay. They’re pretty reticent to kill people off for good on that show. Even when they do—well, we saw Ringo Langley earlier this season. Thank goodness we don’t have to call him “Sir” too.

Mulder finally finds Scully and explains that he’s spoken to William. William knows his mom loves him, but she needs to let him go. When “Mulder” taps his head with his finger, we know it isn’t him. Remember, we’ve already seen William turn into a metamorphmagus. This leads into yet another chase where it becomes abundantly clear that William doesn’t want to be found, nor does he want to endanger anyone else. Later, we’re reminded that Spender Sr just can’t stop shooting his own sons. We know he shot Jeffrey, and he reminded us in case we forgot. This time he shoots Mulder…except that he actually shoots William, who he describes as his son. It was quite gripping—or would have been if we hadn’t already seen a half dozen or so X-Files scenes that were some variation on that one. When the real Mulder sees what Spender has done, Spender takes one to the dome. But we’ve also seen that dome literally engulfed in flames, so Spender is essentially the Jason Vorhees of this milieu.

What do we learn? Well, no word about the contagion. Like the rainforest, we’ll just assume it’s fine because no one talks about it anymore. Tad O’Malley gets the work out about the contagion, but what are the odds anyone will believe him? Mulder laments his chance at fatherhood with the ultimate Mulderism: “For so long, I believed. What am I now if I’m not a father?” Tragic, right?

But wait…because Scully is knocked up. Remember when she and Mulder got their giggity on earlier this season? Well, now they’re having a baby who didn’t begin life as a project in the governmental, extraterrestrial science fair. That means Mulder does indeed have a fair bit of stamina. My apologies. Hugs and tenderness all around. Just when we think it can get none more poetic, William’s head rises out of the water like a Sci-Fi zombie version of Apocalypse Now. Aaaand, scene!

There was plenty to enjoy about this season. We had some really fun episodes, a few scary moments, and a heap of commentary about tech run wild, government run wild, science run wild, and monsters running wild. With that in mind, it’s impressive that everyone kept their shirts on. Honestly though, now is a great place for the show to stop. We’re dangerously close to utter triteness, since far-reaching global conspiracies are kind of overdone at this point. Besides, the William storyline has wrapped about as well as anyone could have expected. Are you hoping for another season? If so, what do you think should happen? If you’re hearing me, FOX, let X-Files end while it’s still fun to watch. As for me, I’ll be back to review Season Two of Legion when it begins in two weeks!

See you’s then!

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Tonight's season finale, "My Struggle Part IV," ended in a way that could serve nicely as a series ender if need be. The mysteries of William are solved, Mulder and Scully see a way forward, and a few familiar characters show their conspiracy-laden faces. Also, there are a few straight-up murders, and things don't look good for an old fave.