In what can be charitably detailed as an information dump, Spooky Fox Mulder reintroduces the concept of his obsession into extraterrestrial phenomenon. For the uninitiated, it’s a rather scant description of what made the show such a worldwide cult boom. For those of us who are already fans of the show, it feels reductive and redundant because Mulder strictly adheres to the Roswell incident and other UFO sightings. We know the show is more than just alien conspiracies.
The opening credits retain their anachronistic effects and low-definition slow-motion of Mulder and Scully entering a room. The only significant modification is that AD Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) has been upgraded to be included in the badge close-ups.
It’s an exaggerated caricature of Mulder when he is first glimpsed watching Obama on Jimmy Kimmel jokingly mentioning aliens. I doubt Mulder would invest much credence into the president lampooning his image on a late-night talk show where probing questions are usually averted.
Chris Carter’s notion for modernizing the show to the post-Snowden era is mock-pundit and conspiracy theorist Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale). Strangely, despite our appetite for disclosing government disinformation, Carter feels mummified in a time capsule. Occasionally, they’ll awkwardly name-drop Uber, 9/11 and other contemporary advancements/events.
For his part, Duchovny looks awfully decaffeinated and in need of ablutions with Mulder sneering with bitterness about Scully’s abandonment of him for the Our Lady of Sorrows hospital. It might be a logical step in Mulder’s character evolution but he is vaguely alienating (no pun intended) in this world-weary state. Meanwhile, Gillian Anderson brings poise which is a tactful counterpoint to Duchovny’s ennui.
The plotline is a rote mess with threads from previous episodes. First, a female victim claims to have been abducted. Then, she claims that her pregnancies were harvested. Finally, she claims to be telepathic. All of these science-fiction conceits were fully broached during the show’s original run. The “we’ve all been deceived” speech by Mulder is nothing newfangled for us. Same goes for the “you’re close [to the truth]” addendum by Mulder’s informants.
Pings of a pulse begins to flicker in Duchovny is blindfolded to a hangar with an extraterrestrial warship. His eyes zealously dazzle at the non-biofuel-based energy source and the zero-gravity propulsion. Suddenly, we see the whistleblower enthusiasm that Mulder once exhibited. Luckily, the next night promises a more fulfilling episode and a more wide-awake Duchovny ahead.
Rating: 2 out of 5