Midway through the first episode of the 11th season of “The X-Files,” FBI agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) clutches her head and moans, “What’s going on here?”
We can sympathize. Up until then, the episode had played like a frenetic trailer, filled with crazy action and angst. In subsequent episodes, the Chris Carter series settles down to familiar entertaining territory, but there is a danger you might turn it off before then.
The first episode deals with the ongoing conspiracy of the Earth being secretly taken over by extraterrestrials, and it tries to extricate itself from the tricky cliffhanger last season’s six-episode series left it in, setting up who’s good vs. who’s evil. It does so enough to have it be an underlying current until returning to it in the final episode of the 10-part series.
In the eight in-between episodes, “The X-Files” returns to its roots — offbeat paranormal stories and the quirky relationship between Scully and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny). In the second episode, apparently exhausted by the hectic pace of the first, the two are passed out on a sofa together when they are contacted by phone by the Lone Gunman, long since dead, warning that bad guys are on the way.
When they visit his grave, Mulder observes, “He’s dead because the world was so dangerous and complex back then. Who’d have thought we’d look back with nostalgia and say that was a simpler time?”
This season, the series, which turns 25 in September, rolls out current news images — North Korea and President Trump, among them — to remind us of those dangers. Still, it doesn’t let that overpower the basic appeal of the show.
This may be the last season of “The X-Files,” although that’s been said before. In any case, it has seemingly brought everyone back. If you can bring the dead back, the others can’t be so hard. We even learn more about Mitch Pileggi’s Walter Skinner background.
And what would the series be without the…