The X-Files

air date: 05-05-02

For fans, canceling The X-Files was perhaps the best thing Chris Carter could have done. It's actually forced his merry band of pranksters to tell stories with economy, speed, and resolution. In any other season, the revelations of the last couple of episodes would have been jerked back and forth for a few months (nay, years) until we either got too confused or stopped caring. Or both.

But now, we get to stick with what's happened and why. As awful and random as the fate of Doggett's son is, it has the sad ring of truth. Though Doggett gets to it by paranormal means, the truth really isn't that out there at all.

An anonymous informant tips Doggett off to a possible murder. Though the killer runs faster than Doggett and gets away, his cement work does not. Doggett digs through wet concrete in a wall to discover a newly dead woman, who turns out to be the latest victim in an apparent serial case.

One of the most seriously annoying characters in X-Files history, an FBI cadet, explains to Scully how the woman was killed, and later tells Doggett and Reyes where to find the killer. (They find him sniffing a severed arm on a training field, and yet do not immediately run to someone - anyone - and scream "whack job!" Not even an "he's weauhd, Scully," from Doggett.)

The cadet lives in a loft with walls papered by murder scene photos, including that of Doggett's son. They speak to him. And by speak to him, we mean to say that they cause him to quiver with internal conflict while the spooky music swells and the camera pans languidly around him, bathed in an amber light. It's almost supernatural porn.

Has anyone else noticed that the show's style has lapsed into self-parody, and every director seems more interested in making an Emmy bid than telling a story? This technique also helps to pad thirty minutes of script into forty-three minutes of episode.

It all ties together, including mafia connections and a dark secret from Assistant Director Fulmer's past. In many ways, it comes as a relief to realize that yes, he was involved in a conspiracy, but a very human one that even my mother could believe. As the series winds to a close, it acknowledges that evil sometimes dwells simply and cheaply in the hearts of men.

And thus Brad Fulmer exits the mythology and any movie hopes. Doggett's past pain finally gets closure (and in record time for this series), with no hope or need plot-wise to reopen it again. No false Samanthas here. What Doggett also gets is a kind of a happy ending. Without his knowledge, his ex-wife (played by Robert Patrick's real wife, Barbara Patrick) blesses his relationship with Reyes in a conversation with Scully. It's still against the show rules to actually communicate such things directly. Reyes serves no other purpose in this episode beyond being a token of Doggett's new life. (Literally, of course, because Doggett apparently joined the FBI and by extension Monica after his divorce.)

Such a blessing proves another clever and timely move. With only two episodes left, we have two paths for Doggett and Reyes. They can ride off happily into the sunset, leaving Mulder and Scully alone for the movie franchise, or stay with the X Files. Either option will work without forcing the issue. Not that that has ever been a consideration before.

Frankly, I'm still rooting for a Lone Gunmen movie. After Spender came back, it proves to me that anyone can.

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