An underwhelming steady stream of henchmen, a message from beyond the grave, and a nod to the first season anchor the latest episode of The X-Files.
There will be spoilers throughout.
The show brings back Langley (Dean Haglund), one of the three Lone Gunmen, in digital form to communicate with Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson). Apparently, his conscience was loaded in a virtual world upon his death not known to his closest FBI confidants.
As Mulder and Scully dig deeper as to how Langley can communicate with them through Mulder’s smartphone, Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) reveals there’s renewed interest in the X-Files from an outside party, and it has been digitized as an archive.
Mercenaries hired by Erika Price (Barbara Hershey), who’s been part of the latest shadow conspiracy, were sent to apprehend the FBI agents. Mulder and Scully adequately defend themselves against the group, but they find themselves on the run trying to keep a low profile. The virtual world Price reveals factors in the shadow government plans for humanity after their culling begins with the alien virus.
Given the events of the previous episode, the duo still distrusts Skinner, but he again ends up helping them.
While the episode does bring back Langley, sadly we’re without Byers and Frohike as the trio worked best in tandem throughout the course of the series original nine-year run. I don’t imagine we’ll see any of them again.
The episode seems to be inspired from Black Mirror with the idea of an ideal virtual world of the digitized deceased interacting with those in the real world.
I would have loved to see what Langley sees aside from his condensed random splicing of pop culture references to the deceased with Mulder and Scully. I mean he’s had over decade to take in his environment and he throws a Steve Jobs reference?
It seemed like the mercenaries were just stock foreign henchmen with thick accents while Mulder and Scully do their best Liam Neeson from Taken while taking them out.
While the episode was a step down from the season premiere, it did continue the pacing of the immediate danger the duo find themselves in, and it was nice to see another favorite character return even if it’s brief. There was also a satisfying allusion to Mulder’s first contact, Deep Throat at the end of the episode.
For what the episode was, it was a standalone in most parts, but it did tie canonically to the main plot. It did what it needed to do, but the episode could have been much more.
We’re two episodes in, and it does feel like we’re seeing the old show again that takes itself seriously than just random acts of fan service, which is a testament to creator Chris Carter and writers Brad Follmer and Benjamin Van Allen, who also wrote the previous episode. Joining them for this episode was another series vet writer and producer Glen Morgan.
Not as good as last week’s episode, “My Struggle III”. It had a quick pace and it was action-packed. “This” could have used more exposition with the world it created.