The X-Files

The Truth
air date: 05-19-02

After nine years, we finally have to take Chris Carter's warning to heart: Trust no one. Not even Chris Carter. If he says he's going to wrap everything up, finally giving fans a sense of closure, don't believe him.

To be fair, Carter and company do have a film franchise to keep spinning. Leaving a few things open is in their best interest. But for those of us who have stuck with The X-Files through thick and through thin, we deserve better than a re-hash of everything we already knew. And Doggett and Reyes deserved better than just being errand boys for Mulder.

"We're in the movie, too, right? Right?"
For indeed, as we should have expected, this finale was all about that guy they used to call "Spooky." Caught breaking into Mount Weather, the home of the Shadow Government, Mulder gets caught up in a death struggle with Noel Rohr, whom he manages to electrocute. Unfortunately, thirty people witness this, and Mulder ends up in the brig, awaiting a death sentence from the Marines.

Of course, being a supersoldier means never having to say you're dead, and the Marines fail to provide a body. But that doesn't stop them from putting Mulder on trial. By them we mean "they," and by "they," we mean The Conspiracy. (As of now, it has no better name.)

For forty-five minutes (or so), the episode runs through a mockery of a trial (trademark pending) in which every actor gets to run the gamut of emotions from righteous indignation to righteous outrage. Deputy Director Kersh oversees the proceedings, but clearly, there's a shadowy hand up his fundament.

Characters you never thought you'd see again show up and testify to the existence of the alien virus, aliens at Roswell, and The Syndicate. It isn't until the second witness that the prosecution points out that that's all well and good but it has nothing to do with whether or not Mulder killed Noel Rohr.

One of these aliens is not like the others...
So ridiculous is the trial that when the mutant mind-reader Gibson Praise shows up to testify on Mulder's behalf, defense attorney Skinner offers no proof of Praise's abilities beyond saying, "he's reading your minds RIGHT NOW."

(And even though he reveals one of the panel of judges to be an alien, no mistrial is called - not even the satisfaction of the alien sputtering, "b-b-but…that's preposterous!" He just glowers.)

Supposedly, Mulder could easily exonerate himself if only he would reveal what he found at Mount Weather. At least, all the hushed prison cell conversations would have us believe that. Or maybe I was distracted by the hot make-out session between Mulder and Scully.

Of course Mulder is found guilty, and sentenced to death by lethal injection, even after Scully proves that Rohr is not dead. Then it's a race to break Mulder out of military prison, with the not unexpected eleventh hour conversion of Kersh, "…doing what (he) should have done a long time ago."

So typical of fictional characters to wait until the last episode to stop being a-holes.

For those who watched The X-Files for the supernatural elements, they're sort of there, too. Many of those who have died on the show popped back up to offer Mulder encouragement and advice. One of them, Mr. X, hands Mulder the address of Marita Covarrubias, so these probably aren't figments of Spooky's imagination. If Skinner had questions about Mulder talking to the air, we didn't see him ask.

I, for one, am happy to see Mulder haunted by the ghosts of his past, if only because it means The Lone Gunmen could still be in The X-Files 2, now entering the script phase.

But as for the answers to what's been going on, well, we get nothing. Even the super-secret-surprise villain at the end seems anti-climactic. Though he sure looked like he was having more fun than he ever had in any other episode, his last-second motivation makes no sense whatsoever.

The show's final secret:
Gibson Praise is the bastard child of Scully and Frohike.

The tone of Mulder's quest seems to have shifted in time for the big screen; now that he knows all about the aliens, he's looking for God. Luckily, he's in love with a staunch Catholic.

The rest of the cast, though, isn't so fortunate. Despite carrying the season, Doggett and Reyes are left without an assignment, and quite possibly without a job. We can assume that Skinner and Kersh are in for one hell of a dressing down, since the alien juror just happens to be high up in the FBI. And though everyone talks a lot about Gibson Praise's safety, he just sort of disappears in the last half hour.

Series producer Frank Spotnitz has already gone on record saying that they had to cut stuff out, anticipating that maybe all the answers will make it back in for a DVD release. Yes, that's the way to reward nine years of viewership. Make us pay to understand it all.

The truth isn't out there; it's in Chris Carter's bank account.

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