The X-Files: ‘This’ is reality or is it not reality? That is the question…


The X-Files have always dealt with what is real and what isn’t. What is the truth?  Maybe no one really knows.

“There’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.” – Morpheus


Well, Are They?

The X-Files – Mulder and Scully with guns- Courtesy of Fox

Probably one of the biggest things about the second episode in season 11 is the opening shot of Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) sleeping on the couch together. Sure enough, after the show aired, Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree.

Are they together? What’s going on? I was too busy processing the storyline to be concerned with those questions. There were more pressing matters at hand.

The world seems peaceful for the two agents but it isn’t going to be for long. When Langly (Dean Haglund) calls Mulder from the great beyond, things start to get crazy. Yes, you heard me right.

That Langly who has been dead and buried for sixteen years. Of course, he has a cryptic message for the duo. “They know that I know.” Before they can unravel that mystery, which may have been a warning, they are attacked by three ninja assassins.

Bullets and Chaos

Scully becomes a complete action badass sliding under the kitchen table and flipping it over to act as a shield against the array of bullets. Mulder runs upstairs. Guns are blazing, it is complete chaos.

After the smoke clears, the partners manage to kill two of the three hitmen but one has escaped. While Scully phones in the crime scene and Mulder is bagging evidence such as his phone, a slew of Hummers barrel down the road.

Scully clues Mulder into what is happening. As the two agents are staring warily out at the platoon on their front lawn, Scully calls Skinner (Mitch Pileggi). Thinking that he would shelter them and provide them with answers, he stuns her by telling her to surrender.

When she communicates to Mulder what Skinner said, the troops advise them to come out. Mulder keeps asking for identification which obviously will not be forthcoming.

How Did We Get Here?

The X-Files – Graveyard – Mulder and Scully

The silent army gears up and storms Mulder’s house. As it turns out, they are Russian. Subtitles abound and we learn that Erika Price (Barbara Hershey) sent them.

Before Mulder and Scully can be carted off, a diversion is created and the pair flee into the woods where they are met by Skinner.

Skinner suggests that they come with him. Leery of his allegiances, Scully and Mulder refuse. Wanting to assist them, he gives the partners money. Now, Mulder and Scully find themselves on the lam with lots of questions that need to be answered.

They decide to go to Arlington Cemetery and check out exactly where Langly is buried. Mulder doesn’t quite believe that he is deceased. Once they get there, it would seem something is amiss.

Using the Lone Gunmen’s birthdays which oddly enough coincided with the deaths of the 32nd and 34th presidents, they determine that the 33rd president is missing. They end up in front of Deep Throat’s grave.

After 25 years, we find out his real name, Ronald Pakula. Mulder notices that something isn’t right with his headstone. The cross is different.

Mulder removes the cross to find a memory medallion. After he does that, the lone assassin that escaped appears again and tries to kill them. However, he ends up getting killed like his associates.

The World Was Different

The X-Files – Skinner – Mulder – Scully – Courtesy of Fox

Since Mulder doesn’t have his phone on him, he isn’t able to scan the medallion, so they head for a café to get food. At the café, they are fortunate enough to upload the information so that they see it is footage of the Long Line Building in New York.

Also known as Titan Point, this was an NSA surveillance building where something known as Code Blarney was happening. Mulder remembers that it was an X-File that Langly had provided information on.

At this point, they decide to contact Skinner to see what he knows. Immediately, when they all find each other again, all of them are hesitant with one another. Although they are speaking, their guns remain firmly at the ready.

Scully even tells Skinner they still need his help despite the fact that they don’t trust him. Mulder informs Skinner that they need to have access to the X-Files so that they can research the medallion.

At this point, Skinner tells the pair that a private contractor was the entity that came after them and that the X-Files aren’t closed but in fact are now fair game. Even the Russians have access to them.

Back at Skinner’s office, Mulder and Scully search for the Titan Point files which have been removed. They stumble upon a file for Karah Hamby (Sandrine Holt) who is a mathematician. They go in search of her for answers.

Part of the Matrix

They find Karah teaching at a college. After seeing the medallion, she knows that they have come for information on Langly. Hamby warns Mulder and Scully that “they are watching.” She goes into the explanation of how she and Langly wanted eternal life together so they agreed to be uploaded into a simulator.

Hamby enlightens them on the Life Assimilation project. Some of the best minds are housed in what appears to be an after-life in another synthetic reality. As she is explaining this to the pair, the blond assassin that Mulder killed in the graveyard is back again.

Before Hamby can finish her tale, he shoots her. The assassin ends up getting killed again. Much like Hugo Weaving’s character in the Matrix, this guy appears to be sent from that world to infiltrate this world to stop people from becoming aware of the simulations.

Langly contacts Mulder and Scully again. He explains to them that he is trapped in a digital hell. There are no goals, no choices and no diversity. He tells the duo to go to Titan Point and shut down the servers. Mulder and Scully take off for the Long Lines building.

Upload to the Future

The X-Files – Server – Scully – Courtesy of Fox

Using a ruse as Scully taking in a fugitive Mulder, the pair manage to get into the heart of Titan Point. While they are figuring out their plan of action, they run into the Russians again. This time, Scully escapes but Mulder is caught.

He is brought to Erika Price. She explains that after their last encounter at CSM’s house, Mr. Y had to explain the value of him to her. Looking at him coldly, she tells Mulder that the company recommended killing him.

In a very calculated way, she explains to him that uploading minds is necessary for the future. That it is a world progression for one life to replace another. She asks him again to terminate his father (CSM).

Mulder pretends like he is mulling this question over. He then asks if he and Scully can be uploaded together. Price explains that uploading occurs through your smart phone. Basically, a piece of brain is sent to the server.

The entire time Mulder is conversing with Price, Scully is getting closer to the server room. Mulder asks to see the server so that he can get closer to God.

Price relents so he is taken to the mainframe room. When he gets there, a fight ensues between him and his escort. Scully starts destroying the server. She says goodbye to Langly while she does it.

With the server offline, Mulder and Scully contact the FBI. They clear all the rooms and there is no sign of Erika Price nor her minions.

Now, back at home, Mulder and Scully get another urgent communication from Langly who urges them to destroy the backup. The last eerie message we see is the blond assassin staring creepily out of the screen of the cellphone.

The Verdict

The topic of life being simulated has actually come up as a discussion on Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson. It has also been central to the Matrix movies as well as a recent episode of Doctor Who. The idea of us not being in charge of our own destinies is appealing.

In a way, it absolves us from blame. If something doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be. The planets didn’t align.

Tonight’s show was more than that backdrop. It also raised the question about why we are obsessed with immortality and prolonging life. Is it a biological imperative or merely narcissistic?

While not technically a monster of the week show in the traditional sense, it absolutely was! The monster being technology and the abuse of it.

“This” was well written and yes, there were some groan worthy moments with Mulder using the word, “adorbs” and Scully saying, “bro.” However, this particular storyline is timeless.

The idea of us trying to play God. While it has its advantages in healing the sick, if the power doesn’t fall into the right hands it can be devastating.

If this is any indication of the caliber of the pending episodes and if this is indeed the last rodeo for the X-Files, then Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi can be very pleased with their legacy.

Next: The X-Files: Chris Carter addresses fan concerns over premiere shocker

What did you think of “This?” Are you looking forward to other episodes? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.