The X-Files – This
By: Kelly Kearney
Coming off the highly anticipated premiere “The X-Files,” skips the show’s mythology for their ever-popular monster of the week platform… minus the monster. Taking a page out of the “Black Mirror,” universe, Mulder and Scully are once again in the crosshairs of Erica Price’s group of space colonizers. Along with Russian operatives, the group is dead set on preventing the two agents from saving an uploaded copy of everyone’s favorite long haired Lone Gunman, Langley. It was an action-packed hour that not only highlighted the evils of government spying but reminded fans why they love any episode penned and directed by Glen Morgan.
Going Out West Where I Belong…
We open on Mulder’s (David Duchovny) farmhouse where Scully (Gillian Anderson) seems to be making herself quite at home. The Ramones are singing, “California Sun,” on the TV and our favorite FBI duo are taking a much-needed nap. Suddenly, Mulder’s cell phone starts to go haywire and wakes Scully from her peaceful slumber. Confused, she looks at the staticky screen to see Langley (Dean Haglund) trying to contact them from beyond the grave! Scully wakes Mulder who is just as confused as she is but before they can decipher what Langley means by, “they know, I know,” Mulder spots a shadow creeping around their porch. With a nod to his partner, the two hit the floor just as a group of assassins open fire. Like FBI agents turned super heroes, Scully dives over the coffee table as Mulder shows off his best Bruce Lee moves. They manage to shoot two of the attackers, but one curly, grey haired man gets away unscathed. Immediately Scully starts bagging evidence and calls the police while Mulder hides his cell phone in the oven. He’s not about to let Langley wind up lost in some evidence locker before he can figure out why his dead friend is Facetiming him from the grave. Not even a minute after Scully calls 911, the house is surrounded by armored vehicles and the man in charge refuses to identify himself over the loud speaker. Scully calls Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) even though the two are on the outs with their former boss and he tells them to surrender! Of course, these two, “trust no one,” and are not about to lay down their weapons and casually walk outside. Mulder insists on knowing who they work for but, the man in charge (Andre Roshkov) laughs at his inquiry and a group of men storm into the farmhouse. Clad in fatigues and sporting Russian accents, they cuff Mulder and Scully and demand to know the location of the cell phone. Mulder plays coy and as the men tear apart their home, the two agents mange to escape. Mulder and Scully take off through the woods where Walter Skinner is waiting with a handcuff key and some advice. He offers them money to get out of dodge, but Mulder and Scully want to know who these people are and what they want. Walter admits they’re private contractors sent with orders from the president. They’re not supposed to kill government agents but apparently, they missed that memo because the two are in danger and they would gladly kill Walter if they knew he was helping them. Scully wonders how Langley could be alive when they both attended his funeral. Skinner doesn’t have an answer to that but reminds the red head that all three Lone Gunmen were buried in Arlington Cemetery so, they can’t be alive.
Kill Switches, Hidden Clues and the x-files
Back at the farmhouse, the Russian operatives find Mulder’s cell phone but are unable to hack it because its triggered with a kill switch. Knowing they can’t go home (they appear to be living together again) Mulder and Scully head to Arlington to look for any clues Langley might have left. Thankfully, Scully is a veritable walking Google and notices the dates on the Gunmen’s graves don’t match their birthdates. In fact, they match the death dates of three U.S. Presidents, Kennedy, Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt. Using her deduction skills, Scully figures out that the Presidents are actually directions to Deep Throat’s grave and Mulder reminisces about his friend and the start of the X-files. It’s not long before they notice a memory medallion hidden in the tombstone but, neither have a way to view its contents. Scully doesn’t see the connection since Langley couldn’t have known he’d die in an accident and subsequently be buried steps from Deep Throat. While they’re debating their options, Scully notices someone creeping through the graveyard and it isn’t a grave digger. The assassin that got away from the farmhouse tracked them down and opens fire on the agents until Mulder puts the smack down on him and body slams his head into a tombstone. The gun man is knocked out cold and Mulder and Scully escape before he comes to.
At the FBI, the two agents scan through some files while sharing a bran muffin that is so delicious, Scully admits she would still eat it if it came out of an alien’s butt. Mulder, and his bran crumby fingers, uncover some information that Langley sent him in the 90’s about Project Blarney. A NSA run, super-secret government spy building in Manhattan, that was referred to as Titanpointe, and the two think there might be a connection. To further investigate, they would need their files but, Scully reminds her partner that the x-files is closed and so is their access.
Cue Skinner to the rescue. Mulder and Scully track Walter down in the FBI parking garage and the encounter is anything but friendly. All three draw their guns and Skinner wonders how they got to this point. Scully reminds him that he seems to be working for the people who’ve tried to kill them and now they can’t go home. The agents need his help, but Skinner tells them that this group isn’t the only deadly faction their dealing with. It’s a whole new world and from ISIS to Erika Price’s (Barbara Hershey) contractors, they’re all looking for a way off this failing planet and will kill each other and anyone in between to be the sole survivors. If they think the answer to stopping these groups is in their files, he offers to let them take a peak.
Uploading your conscious for eternal life
Walter takes Mulder and Scully to his office to access their files via his computer. After the division was closed in 2002, Director Mueller ordered all the information to be logged into the computer and managed by a private company in case they were ever needed. The company in charge, named Purlieu, is same group sent to kill them and now the pieces of this puzzle are starting to come together. While Walter is on the phone, Mulder and Scully scan the files and uncover a few surprising things that they keep from the distracted eyes of Skinner. First, there is no sign of Langley in any of their files, he’s been completely bleached like he never existed. Secondly, Byers (Bruce Hardwood) and Frohicke (Tom Braidwood) are still there but no information about project Blarney or Titanpointe can be found. Mulder clicks onto Frohicke’s files and finds a folder with Scully’s emoji’d face titled, “spank bank.” He clicks and discovers it’s not a file of sexy Scully photos but some information ab0ut a Prof. Hamby (Sandrine Holt) with an attached note to contact her if Langley winds up dead.
In Bethesda, Prof. Karah Hamby isn’t shocked to see Mulder and Scully and assumes Langley sent them. She tells them a story about how the two fell in love and were approached by Purlieu, with a way to live forever. The plan was to upload their consciousnesses and create a virtual copy that would result in an eternity together. Even though Langley saw this as techie heaven, he did create an out, if the Matrix after-life wasn’t all it was promised to be. Hamby explains that there is a way to contact Langley by freaking a phone (hacking tool) and as she jots down the formula for Mulder, the grey-haired graveyard assassin shows up and shoots Karah dead! Scully returns fire and finally takes out the killer with a single bullet. Mulder grabs the formula and hides it before they call the police because the bodies are evidence, the formula isn’t.
At a skeevy bar, Mulder plugs in the formula and waits for it to locate Langley while Scully naps in the booth. Gripping the dead assassin’s gun, Scully is, “adorbs,” according to Mulder and these two are as flirty as ever! Before his partner can roll her eyes at the compliment, Langley appears on the phone’s screen and gives the agents some intel on how his man-made afterlife is going. Uploading yourself to the internet sounds like a heaven. It’s filled with junk food, Ramones’ concerts, free sex, and the New England Patriots always lose. Anyone would think it was divine but, Langley assures them it’s not. Purlieu uploaded every great mind from Steve Jobs to Michael Crichton and all of them are brain slaves being mined for their knowledge. Purlieu is using them to build a space colony for the surviving human race and its torture. Langley asks Mulder to go to Titanpointe, destroy the servers and rescue them all from this never-ending Hell.
Using her brains and charm, Scully manages to dupe Titanpointe’s guard into letting them through security. She whips out her badge and tells the guard a story about Mulder being a, “Hannibal Lector level psycho,” and wanted by the NSA. The story worked and the two, walk right through door no questions asked. After hiking up 27 floors, Mulder gets caught by Price’s Russian goons as Scully hurdles the railing and takes off down the staircase. Apparently, the hit on Mulder is off now that Erika thinks he’s useful. When the two, meet face to face, Price admits that Mulder was a nuisance when he failed to lead her to CSM. The fact that Langley was the only person to ever crack Purlieu’s upload service just to contact Mulder of all people, delights and fascinates her. She tries convincing him that her work is to ensure the survival of the human race and Mulder plays along, pretending to be interested in uploading himself and Scully. Somehow, he sweet talks Erika into letting him see the servers, giving Scully enough time to find him and the server room. When she does the two agents tag team, take down the guards leaving Scully free to turn off the servers. Langley is finally free… or is he? When the FBI learns about Purlieu, they storm Titanpointe but there’s no trace of the servers or the company anywhere. The entire building has been wiped clean!
After a long day with a disappointing end, Mulder and Scully head back to their bullet ridden home. The two are exhausted and hit the couch to resume their nap. The Ramones are playing on the tube and Langley flashes back to life saying, “destroy the back up!” Within an instant the uploaded Gunman is replaced by the grey-haired assassin sent to kill them. The plan failed, and Erika Price is still mining knowledge for her human space colony.