The X-Files (FOX, Wednesdays, 8/7C) returns with a second event series (10 episodes this time) this week, but gets off to a less than brilliant start with My Struggle III.
My Struggle III opens with a monologue by Cigarette-Smoking Man (William B. Davis) about how he’s made great people great, dealt with aliens and so forth. It’s about three minutes of megalomaniac boredom – and a great start to what is definitely a candidate for the worst episode of The X-Files ever.
The last season’s cliffhanger isn’t even addressed until after the opening credits roll. When it is, it calls to mind the season of Dallas in which Patrick Duffy’s Bobby Ewing steps out of the shower in the season premiere, relegating the previous season a dream.
Not that The X-Files would ever dream something away in such an obvious manner.
No, this is something entirely different – something that finds Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) in a hospital, unconscious, with a hyperactive brain.
Eventually, we learn that CSM has a new plan that only peripherally involves aliens – and that there’s a faction that wants him dead. This faction – Mr. Y (A.C. Peterson) and Erika Price (Barbara Hershey) – echoes the team of CSM and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish), and gives the impression that they could be equally as deadly.
Written and directed by series creator Chris Carter, My Struggle III is poorly constructed, poorly paced and barely comprehensible. It features Mulder (David Duchovny) totally not believing Scully; Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) seemingly tempted by CSM, and a car chase that is not only boring, but so badly edited that when they cut to the speedometer on more than one occasion, the needle is stuck on 0 mph (this will likely be fixed in post, but it should have been addressed before sending the ep out for review).
As a fan of the show from day one, I cannot remember an episode I disliked more (and that includes mythology episodes in which the explanation for the disappearance of Mulder’s sister changed without reason or explanation).
Fortunately, FOX has made five episodes available for critics and I can report that they range from very good to brilliant – so don’t be put off by the season premiere.
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