In the meantime, however... NEW X-FILES!!
I have been refusing to succumb to downloading it - mostly because the desktop PC is too slow and the laptop is still virus'd up - so had to wait until the Channel 5 airdate, which was thankfully only a few weeks behind the US. Although in a season with only six episodes that's, like, half a season behind. :P I have also managed to remain largely spoiler free through timely deletion of the Facebook fanpage and complete avoidance of Tumblr, which in this day and age is frankly a miracle.
So, it was on last night, which OMG SO EXCITE. Thoughts, probably rambling and mostly incoherent, under the cut...
I have not been this excited about a new series since the ill-fated Jonathan Creek Easter Special, i.e. the one which signalled Renwick's decline into complete God Complex insanity and which inevitably disappointed on every possible level. I was definitely not disappointed this time. :D
I will just bullet point because I suspect most of this will just fall randomly out of my head.
- I would actually have liked to have watched this in HD, but apparently you have to subscribe to get Channel 5 HD even though BBC and C4 are nice enough to give it to you for free as part of the Sky package. You suck, Channel 5.
- The first thing which struck me was that it looks exactly the same. I don't think I'd quite realised how iconic / recognisable Chris Carter's directing was until that opening sequence, nor even how important Mark Snow's music was to setting the tone. Within seconds you were just immediately back in the X-Files universe - albeit with somewhat better visual effects. ;)
- Mulder's little monologue/voiceover at the start was a tad cheesy (and I was irrationally annoyed that they hadn't reused the old photographs of young Fox and Samantha but had reshot with new actors/children), but I can completely understand why they had to put it in, and as far as explaining the mythology goes I suppose that's a fair way of doing it to introduce any potential new viewers. It was also a pretty good shout at summing up Mulder and Scully and their complex, intertwined lives. I also think it was sensible not to mention Doggett and Reyes, because even though their contribution towards the show was obviously important, there's not much point in bringing them into it if they're not in the show this time around.
Note: I wrote the above paragraph before I watched Channel Five's X-Files Reopened show, which revealed that in fact Monica Reyes will be in one of the episodes - as will the Lone Gunmen (Langley has not aged at all). I was far too excited about that. :P
Also I think it makes sense that the first episode was a "mythology" type episode rather than Monster of the Week, because the myth arc was as much a part of the show - love it or hate it - than the aliens/mutants/creatures. It actually really helped to set the tone of the show for our current time - as Skinner pointed out, after 9/11 - in a world which is slowly drowning in media-controlled consumerism. I think they did really well at pinpointing the current "paranoia" of modern America (and elsewhere), just as well as they did back in the day when everything was conspiracy theories about JFK, aliens and the CIA.
- It also transpires that the other "mythology" episode is the last one; they're both entitled "My Struggle", the first being Mulder's and the second being Scully's. I only know the basics of what Scully's episode will be about but even so, the differences in their individual "struggles" are tangible and entirely in keeping with the show's history. There will then be four monster-of-the-week episodes, one of which is a silly/funny one. So basically they're including every element of a full season in six episodes, which is no mean feat but also just a fantastic idea. :D I am renewedly excited to learn all of this.
- There were a few little touches which made me giggle with happiness, in particular Mulder duct-taping the webcam on his laptop (because obviously) and the establishing shot of the basement office just being the array of pencils stuck in the ceiling tiles. For a tiny little throwaway moment, those ceiling pencils have certainly stood the test of time as something recognisably "Mulder-esque" - they used it in the 2008 movie as well.
(I remember my friend and I attempting to get a pencil stuck in the ceiling of our Sixth Form common room shortly after it first happened in-show. I imagine the graphite markings are still there to this day...)
- I almost forgot to mention the credits! I was ridiculously happy that they kept the original opening credits, right down to the footage from "Squeeze" (Mulder and Scully bursting through the door with torches) and the stock paranormal weirdness. For some reason I thought they might update the opening credits like they did for seasons 8 and 9 (though obviously that was borne of necessity) and it was such a pleasant surprise that they were exactly the same as they ever were, just with slightly more digitised text. :D
It's like... the formula worked and they didn't break it. So many other shows could learn from this. Chris Carter has taken everything that made the show great and resurrected it for a shiny new decade and shiny new audiences (whether they are doddering old X-philes like me, or brand new viewers), and managed to hit every single note right down the middle. I am so grateful and so happy and so excited for the rest of the season just based on this first episode, and that's exactly how it should be. :D
Yeah... I think I hadn't actually realised how important this new season was to me until I actually saw it... or even how important the show was, in general, to my formative years of fangirling. In the final ten minutes or so before it aired I felt like a teenager again, on tenterhooks for the new season. It was a hit of nostalgia and a breath of fresh air all in one go.
- The other bit that made me feel like a teenager was the incandescent rage I experienced over the minor offence which was Scully enjoying champagne in the limousine with O'Malley. I can be as mature and intelligent about the MSR 'ship as I like, but apparently I still throw a tantrum when they show interest in other people. :P
- Also, favourite line, from O'Malley about Mulder: "Funny. They told me you were funny."
Okay, I'm sorry, the rest of this is going to be about Mulder and Scully, because I am but a weak and predicable fangirl. Dispensing with bullet points now, and apologies in advance for rambling off topic, but I've reached the point with this 'ship that I reached with Norma/Joe where most of it is inexplicable feels. :P
Seriously, I attempted to put this into some kind of logical order and every time I tried I remembered something else I wanted to say.
I already knew that they had "broken up" (for what of a better expression) for this season, after the 2008 movie showed us they were living together in (mostly) harmonious cohabitation, and I have to admit to being a bit nervous. But actually, I think Chris Carter has done this in a really clever and believable way. Sveta (the abductee girl) delivered the history of this to us by means of "psychically" gaining the information from Scully, which was a safe way of dealing with it, and she informed us that the reason they broke up was because Mulder was diagnosed with "endogenous" depression (by Scully, in fact).
I googled it later and it's the type of depression which is influenced by your genetics, rather than being "reactive". And actually, yeah. That this was not ascertained a lot sooner is perhaps the biggest surprise here, because the signs were there from the beginning, not just in Mulder himself but his parents, both of whom were living with lies of varying severity. It was like a massive facepalm moment: "Of course he was".
It may well be the case that for those first few years, Mulder was buoyed by the hunt for Samantha and "the truth", then latterly by the X-Files themselves, and then of course by Scully and everything that came after - particularly when she became embroiled herself in that mess of secret government shenanigans and he felt partway responsible for everything that happened to her - and let's face it, Scully has gone through a lot during her working relationship with Mulder, and somehow managed to stay sane throughout it all. (Seriously, she is and always has been my hero; between the badassery and the emotional strength of iron, I could definitely have picked worse role models. :P) It makes a lot of sense that once they were free of all that, attempting to live a so-called "normal life", that the cracks would start to show in Mulder's already-fragile mental health. When there's nothing chasing you, and nothing for you to chase, all you're left with is your own demons.
I think I mentioned on here before, during one of my rewatches, that the thing with Mulder and Scully is that it's not a simple 'ship. They share this connection which is stronger than friendship, and deeper than love: two souls thrown together into a turmoil of foggy conspiracies, where trust is a precious commodity and lives are frequently in the balance. You can't share experiences like that without it changing you on a deeply molecular level (possibly literally), and I have always said that Chris Carter wrote their relationship with an inherent understanding of where they came from, even if he didn't quite anticipate where they ended up. (Even to this day he likes to maintain that the circumstances around the conception of William was "ambiguous", despite the years of fan theory in the intervening period. :P) Yes, there was an element of paying fan service, but after seven years of dedication we deserved a little recognition. NoRomo's can complain about shippers ruining the show until they're blue in the face, but IMHO they're wrong and always have been wrong, and to deny the obvious chemistry is not only doing the leads a massive disservice, but ignoring everything about basic human emotion.
And here's the thing: even when the UST became RST, it was done in a very ambiguous way, off-screen, all smoke and mirrors and unanswered questions as to the whens and whys. As it rightly should have been. There's a point in season 5 where both characters silently acknowledged that these feelings were not going away, that it was impossible to fight the inevitable, yet it remained unspoken. So it makes sense that their "break-up" was done in the same way, with the audience being given enough clues to fill in the blanks without it being spelled out for us.
I loved Scully's acknowledgement that it was one of the most challenging periods/relationships of her entire life; in fact, I loved that we only got her side of it rather than Mulder's, inasmuch as her view is probably somewhat more balanced. I can totally see how this came about: once the Happily Ever After effect has worn off, you're left with two very different people who have shared unspeakable experiences and who know each other better than themselves; one of whom has always demonstrated a degree of latent insanity, and the other of whom has been holding things together for most of her adult life whilst dealing with trauma and heartbreak of her own. It makes a terrifying amount of sense that at some point over the past eight years, Scully took a long hard look at her life and went, "You know what, Mulder? I am so done with your shit."
Of course it's not that simple, and nor will it ever be. For Mulder it's like losing a limb, a part of his soul, the other half of his heart... and of course Scully can never completely step back because she cares too much about the well-being of this massive idiot she's spent a vast portion of her life with. They will always need each other and that connection will never break, so they call it "still friends" because that's the only definition that makes sense to everyone else.
I begin to wonder, after this diagnosis for Mulder, if he refused treatment: if he thought that meds would cloud his judgement. This is a man who has made paranoia an art form, paranoia which actually led to frightening truths when it proved correct - of course he wouldn't want to lose that. And Scully, level-headed doctor that she is, for whom medicine is the answer, would be infinitely frustrated by that, after twenty years of watching Mulder go slowly and quietly insane; of course she would want him to get help, to maybe turn back into that ridiculous dork she fell in love with.
I'm not going to lie: that sequence where Mulder was trying to convince Scully he wasn't crazy, all up in her personal space like always, was heart-stoppingly amazing. She was so obviously conflicted about it, wanting to believe (heh) but concerned for his mental state at the same time. After all these years, they still have the ability to reduce me to a flailing mess of feels. It would seem to be the case that over the course of the next five episodes their relationship will get back on track in some sense - I mean, they're re-opening the X-Files, which was the safe cocoon within which their feelings slowly and inevitably blossomed in the first place - and if a scene where they're not-together had my heart racing, I dread to think what will happen when they're not-not-together again. I suspect it may actually kill me.
But wow, what a way to go. ;)
I'd like to say there won't be any more posts like this, but we all know I'd be lying. Thank God there's only six episodes because there would not be enough hours in my life to recap a full season!
At one point this was going to be even longer, because I discovered to my infinite joy that Inside the X have already put up the first two episode transcripts, and on reading the script for the first episode I had a lot more I wanted to say... but I think this'll do, considering it's taken me a week to get around to it. ;)
I shall now post this, and begin to formulate a Life Update. I also (still) have a metric crapton of embroidery pics to post, especially as I restarted it yesterday.