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11x02 - This

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11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Fri 28 Jul - 12:38

Episode #11.2  

Writer: Benjamin Van Allen

Cast

Episode credited cast:
Gillian Anderson ... Dana Scully
John Comer ... Announcer / Clown
David Duchovny ... Fox Mulder
Mitch Pileggi ... Walter Skinner


IMDb


Last edited by jade1013 on Fri 15 Dec - 15:00; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by dreamy on Mon 14 Aug - 12:57

According to the imdb site DD isn't going to be the main character in this episode.
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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Tue 15 Aug - 4:42

Cast

Episode credited cast:
Robbie Amell ... Agent Miller
Gillian Anderson ... Dana Scully
James Babson ... Arab Thug
John Comer ... Announcer / Clown
David Duchovny ... Fox Mulder
Russell Ferrier ... PeeWee
Gabrielle Miller ... Khan's Girl
Mitch Pileggi ... Walter Skinner
Donnelly Rhodes ... Sheikh Khan
Kavan Smith ... Pierrot
Dale Wilson ... Terror


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by Duchovny on Tue 15 Aug - 5:55

THANKS
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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Fri 15 Dec - 15:00

The story of Episode 2, “This,” revolves around “An old friend reaches out to Mulder and Scully in a seemingly impossible way, revealing a chilling secret.” The episode is written and directed by Glen Morgan. From speaking with Morgan for our October X-Files cover story, we know the episode is an homage to a classic spy thriller.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 21 Dec - 13:59

The X-Files - Episode 11.02 - This - Promotional Photos & Press Release

Posted by SpoilerTV at December 20, 2017



SECRETS ARE REVEALED ON AN ALL-NEW "THE X-FILES" WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10, ON FOX

Episode Written and Directed by Glen Morgan

An old friend reaches out to Mulder and Scully in a seemingly impossible way, revealing a chilling secret in the all-new "This" episode of THE X-FILES airing Wednesday, Jan. 10 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (XF-1102) (TV-14 D, L, V)

Cast: David Duchovny as Fox Mulder; Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully; Mitch Pileggi as Walter Skinner

Guest Cast: Dean Haglund as Richard 'Ringo' Langly, Barbara Hershey as Erika Price, Andrew Roshkov as Commander Al, Dejan Loyola as Agent Colquitt

Source: FOX



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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 21 Dec - 14:12

"This" is a Bunch of Promotional Pictures

By Avi Quijada
On December 20, 2017



To continue with the slew of goodies before the premiere of The X-Files Season 11, FOX has released the promotional pictures for "This", the second episode of the season, written and directed by Glen Morgan. While some of these pictures aren't particularly "spoilery," be forewarned that there is a good amount of awesome and kickass in the thirteen pictures you'll find after the jump Wink



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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Sun 7 Jan - 19:02

‘The X-Files’ Season 11, Episode 2 Spoilers: A Lone Gunmen Member Returns

By Christian Saclao On 01/07/18 AT 8:53 PM

One of the three Lone Gunmen members returns in the next episode of “The X-Files.”

According to the synopsis for Season 11, episode 2 of the Fox series, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) get contacted by a an old friend in a seemingly impossible way, and discover a chilling secret.

That friend is Richard “Ringo” Langly (Dean Haglund), one of the Lone Gunmen who died in Season 9, but re-appeared in Season 10 in a drug-fueled dream sequence.

It’s unclear why and how Langly reach out to Mulder and Scully. But in a trailer teasing the rest of the season, Langly tells the partners, “They know that we know.”



In Season 9, Langly — along with his fellow Lone Gunmen members John Fitzgerald Byers (Bruce Harwood) and Melvin Frohike (Tom Braidwood) — sacrificed himself to stop a bio-terrorist. However, in the comic book series “The X-Files: Season 10,” it is revealed that the Lone Gunmen faked their deaths and are actually alive and well. The comic book revealed that the trio was aided by the FBI and have since been working underground, aiding the US government.

This comic book was originally presented as the continuation of the series and the official canon. But since the announcement of the show's return in 2016, the comics have been considered as non-canon.

In an interview with NEWS.com.au in 2016, Haglund revealed that the Lone Gunmen almost didn’t make it in to Season 10 because him. “They couldn’t find me because I had moved to Sydney,” the Canadian actor said. “And they didn’t know to go to my website. Finally, Bruce Harwood saw me at a convention in Connecticut and said ‘You know, ‘X-Files’ is looking for you. They’re looking for all of us. You should call Heidi in casting.’”

When asked what it’s like to return to the set of ‘The X-Files” more than a decade after the end of the show’s original run, Haglund said, “It was actually a little weird because I crossed the international date line and it was like I went back 15 years in time. It was as if nothing had changed. The grips, the crew, the camera guy, Chris [Carter] was directing and Mitch [Pileggi] was on set.”

“It was the same jokes and the same long hours and it was so weird,” Haglund continued. “And I said to Tom, this is kind of eerie. It feels like nothing has changed and we can all stay up until 5am shooting this stuff. It was the same energy.”

Are you excited for Langly’s return next episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

“The X-Files” Season 11, episode 2, titled “This,” airs on Wednesday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.



Langly (Dean Haglund) of the Lone Gunmen contacts Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) in a rather impossible way in Season 11, episode 2 of Fox’s “The X-Files.” Photo: Fox/Shane Harvey


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Tue 9 Jan - 12:36



The X-Files' Langly Resurfaces in Ep Penned By Glen Morgan — Watch Video

By Kimberly Roots / January 9 2018, 11:00 AM PST


“How do I say how I’m here without spoiling everything?” Dean Haglund asks in a newly released sneak peek at this week’s X-Files. It’s a fair question, given that his character Langly — one third of the conspiracy-happy trio The Lone Gunmen — is supposed to be dead.

But, as the blonde one points out, “Does anyone ever die in science fiction?”

The featurette offers only the barest intel about Wednesday’s episode, titled “This” (Fox, 8/7c). What we can glean: The believed-dead tech genius is somehow appearing to Mulder and Scully via cell phone, there’s danger involved in communicating with him (hence the appearance of a graveyard assassin), Skinner is still playing things coy, and even Langly himself isn’t sure if he’s alive or not.

“That’s the whole question of the episode, isn’t it?” Haglund jokes.

You’ll remember that Langly died alongside pals Frohike and Byers in the Season 9 episode, “Jump the Shark.” You’ll also remember that series creator Chris Carter told TVLine late last year that the straggly-haired hacker seen in Wednesday’s ep “may not be Langly… We’re not sure how he has manifested. We’re playing with that in a new and different way” than the series did with the Gunmen’s appearance in Mulder’s hallucination last season.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Tue 9 Jan - 14:24

'The X-Files' Episode 2: Watch the Action-Packed Opening Scene From 'This' (VIDEO)

Marisa Roffman January 09, 2018 3:30 pm


Shane Harvey/FOX
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the "This" episode of THE X-FILES airing Wednesday, Jan. 10 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are the heroes 2018 needs.

The action all goes down in Wednesday's second episode of The X-Files Season 11, titled "This." The dynamic duo are relaxing at home when they're hit with a double whammy: a call from their presumed-dead friend Langly and a trio of men looking to take them out. Mayhem ensues (which you can watch in the exclusive clip below), and, well, it's pretty bad ass.

"When I read it, it was like, 'Here we go,'" The X-Files star Mitch Pileggi (Skinner) teases. "The banter between Mulder and Scully [later in the episode] is old-school Mulder and Scully."

You don't even have to wait for the episode to air to get a taste of this heart-stopping hour. Watch the opening three-plus minutes of the newest The X-Files now!



The X-Files, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 3:22

The X-Files recap: 'This'


Robert Falconer/Fox

Kelly Connolly January 10, 2018 AT 11:43 PM EST

The X-Files

type TV Show
genre Drama, Mystery, Sci-fi
performer Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny
author Chris Carter
broadcaster Fox
seasons 11
Current Status In Season
tvpgr TV-14

We gave it an A-

Now “This” is more like it. Last week’s sloppy premiere got season 11 off to a rough start, but the state of The X-Files is looking much brighter after this Glen Morgan-penned (and directed) hour. I’m sure some fans will be frustrated by the lack of fallout from that twist at the end of “My Struggle II” — the Cigarette Smoking Man’s claim to Skinner that he medically raped Scully and is the real father, even if not biologically, of Scully and Mulder’s son — but this show has always drawn a hard line between its mythology arc and its monster-of-the-week episodes. Increasingly, that’s been for the protection of the MOTW episodes, which have evolved into self-contained, experimental tone poems that deserve better than to be dragged down by the details of a conspiracy that no longer makes sense. Of course, a story told in 10 episodes has a different rhythm than one told in 24, and this season wouldn’t feel cohesive if a few aspects of its larger arc didn’t bleed into its standalone hours — as some do here, to mostly great effect. But CSM’s claim stays tucked away for now, and that’s fine by me. Why let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch?

We find Mulder and Scully, blissfully unaware of any paternity concerns, napping on the couch in their home (Scully may call it “Agent Mulder’s residence” on an official FBI call, but to Skinner she calls it “our home.” If she hasn’t moved back in permanently, she at least seems to be heading in that direction). It’s unclear how much time has passed since the events of “My Struggle III,” which made contemporary Trump references despite picking up right after an episode that aired in February of 2016. This episode also alludes to the current political climate, meaning we’re dealing with a time jump of anything from two weeks to nearly two years. But this is a show whose pilot, which aired in September of 1993, was inexplicably set in March of 1992, and that time difference was never explained either. Welcome to the new X-Files, same as the old X-Files.

Files are strewn on the table; the TV is muted on an old Ramones concert (the San Francisco Civic Center in 1979. If you’re interested in useless trivia, that’s just around the corner from a building by the name of Fox Plaza). Mulder’s buzzing phone rouses Scully, who nudges Mulder: It’s a FaceTime from an old, long-thought-dead friend who loved The Ramones. Langly, one of Mulder’s trio of hacker friends The Lone Gunmen, seems like himself but not. He says, “I believe you knew me as Langly” and asks, “Am I dead? If I am, they know that I know.”

The pseudo-reunion is interrupted by a creak on the porch and a silhouette in the window, and Mulder and Scully spring into action. At Mulder’s signal, Scully dives under a table, Mulder shoves the couch against the door, and the music kicks up: The Ramones’ “California Sun.” Remember that these two went on the run after the original series; after that, taking down three armed home invaders is as easy as summer vacation. Scully shoots one; Mulder gets another; the third, a sinister-looking man with long white curls, flees.

And apparently it’s open season on the FBI’s most unwanted, because no sooner does Scully report the intrusion than a pair of humvees roll up to the yard. They’re under the command of a cocky young Russian, credited as Commander Al, who acts like Mulder and Scully were in the wrong for defending themselves against his men. “They were wearing body cams,” he says, “so you know how that turns out for the ones who weren’t.” Setting aside the fact that I didn’t see any body cams, the commander’s point stands: Even a tool that’s meant to uphold objective truth can be bent to fit the story of whoever holds the power. History is written by the authorities.

The soldiers come in shooting, pinning Mulder and Scully to the ground while Al retrieves Mulder’s phone. But the guys make a crucial mistake when they proceed to cuff our agents together, and with practiced badassery, Mulder and Scully fight off the man guarding them, run out the front door, and dive over the side of the front porch while still handcuffed to each other. They’ve never been cooler.

They’re met in the woods by Skinner, whose allegiances are still questionable but whose fetching FBI baseball cap is not. After freeing Mulder and Scully’s wrists, he gives them the lowdown on what they’re dealing with: The soldiers work for Purlieu Services, a private American security contractor headquartered in Moscow that has ascendancy over the FBI thanks to a directive from…the executive branch. You can practically hear the theme song over that last bit. Mulder and Scully draw the line at getting in Skinner’s car (he did tell them to surrender, though he claims he had no idea the soldiers were trying to kill them), so the assistant director leaves his agents in the woods with all the money he has on them. Trusting Skinner seems so obvious at this point, but it’s a time-honored tradition for Mulder and Scully to suspect him of betrayal despite more than two decades of evidence to the contrary. Their mistrust would be exhausting if the premise behind it — Mulder and Scully will still burn everyone they care about to protect each other — weren’t so central to the show. It’s “trust no one” to the extreme.

That mentality leads them now to the graves of the only three men who could ever match them for paranoia. After sacrificing themselves in season 9’s “Jump the Shark,” the Lone Gunmen were given a heroic funeral, but the X-Files season 10 comics series, executive produced by Chris Carter, suggests that the Gunmen faked their deaths and are now hiding out beneath their graves. When Skinner pointedly tells Scully, “They’re buried in Arlington,” I thought he might be hinting that this story was about to take the same turn. That doesn’t seem to be the case, but thankfully we’re not denied the fun of Mulder and Scully on a veritable date night in Arlington cracking ciphers National Treasure-style. (Next: Scully aces American history)

With an assist from Scully’s encyclopedic brain (“Who needs Google when you got Scully?”), the partners follow clues on the Gunmen’s graves to the final resting point of another, even-longer-dead ally: Deep Throat, Mulder’s first informant. (This must be a season for revealing the real names behind the monikers; turns out Deep Throat was a Ronald.) “He’s dead because the world was so dangerous and complex then,” Mulder marvels. “Who’d have thought we’d look back with nostalgia and say that was a simpler time?” So far, The X-Files’ 11th season seems concerned with how our memories can never match up to the past — wrestling, basically, with nostalgia, the driving force behind the show’s return. Mulder knows how easy it is to rewrite history; nothing is ever as we remember it.

This seems like a good time to note, then, that there’s something off with the photo of the Lone Gunmen in Mulder and Scully’s home: A fourth face looms in the background, and judging by eyebrows alone, it’s almost definitely “This Man,” a viral hoax that claimed people around the world were seeing the same creepy face in their dreams. What does this mean? Is it just a playful nod to the kind of hoax the Gunmen loved, or is it a sign to distrust our memories? (At one point, we flash to the photo after Scully assures Mulder that yes, the Gunmen are dead, and their bodies were incinerated.) It may also be a tie-in to the fourth episode of this season, written and directed by Glen Morgan’s brother Darin Morgan, which looks at the Mandela Effect. A face from that episode, actor Brian Huskey, can be spotted in the files our agents are about to search. How will we remember him in two weeks?

Fittingly, a “memory medallion” on Deep Throat’s grave gives Mulder and Scully their next lead — which they access, like the throwbacks they are, in an internet cafe. Video on the medallion directs them to look into New York’s Long Lines Building, which Snowden documents indicate was code-named Titanpointe and used as an NSA mass surveillance station. Mulder, a government conspiracy trendsetter, has had a file on the building since the ‘90s, but they’ll need Skinner’s help to access those files.

Or maybe they’ll just need a computer. As it turns out, after the X-Files were shut down in 2002, they were digitized to allow easier access by other U.S. intelligence agencies, including the Russians who just tried to kill Mulder and Scully. (And who was lobbied for jurisdiction? Then-director Mueller, who now heads an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.) Mulder bristles at the idea that his file-babies are no longer his and Scully’s alone (a secondary motif this season, maybe, tragically: Mulder losing possession of what he thought was his), but as Skinner points out in a perfect mic drop, what’s in the files “belongs to everyone. That’s the point of them.” Hasn’t it always been Mulder’s goal for the truth to be known?

How does fringe work function in the mainstream? How do the X-Files (and The X-Files) fit into 2018, when the Pentagon is openly admitting to investigating U.F.O.s? Skinner tries to get the hunt for Mulder and Scully called off, but the FBI isn’t in the best standing with the White House right now. “How do you like that?” Mulder jokes without joking. “The FBI finally found out what it’s like to be looked upon as a little spooky.” The whole Bureau is one big basement office. Which, of course, means Mulder and Scully aren’t safe in the Bureau at all. When the exception becomes policy, there’s no room for what made it exceptional.

With Skinner’s help, Mulder and Scully scan the database only to find that Langly has been erased. His fellow Gunmen, Byers and Frohike, are still in the system, including Frohike’s unfortunate “Spank Bank” folder adorned with a picture of Scully (must we?). In that file is another file, named “53rd_3rd”: another Ramones song, this one about a Green Beret who becomes a male prostitute after returning from Vietnam. The title references a corner in New York City that was once a center of gay nightlife. The San Francisco Civic Center, where the Ramones played earlier on Mulder and Scully’s TV, has historically played host to anti-war rallies and demonstrations for LGBT rights. As Mulder and Scully go underground and on the run, this episode is literally mapping hotspots where the marginalized have gathered in the past: new basement offices. (Next: Heaven is a place on Earth)

The files send Mulder and Scully to Karah Hamby, a professor of mathematics in Bethesda, which is where things take an unexpected turn for the Black Mirror: Apparently, Hamby and Langly were part of a program that uploaded their consciousnesses to a simulation they could live in after death, “San Junipero”-style. It’s a surprise that Langly was in a romantic relationship, if that’s even what this is — maybe he and Hamby had the sort of purely intellectual partnership some people still believe Mulder and Scully have, even though it’s now confirmed they use handcuffs recreationally. At the very least, they wanted “a life eternal together.” It’s also a surprise that Langly would take that deal; in his final episode, he said of his hero Joey Ramone, “He never gave in, never gave up, and never sold out. Right ‘til his last breath. And he’s not dead. Guys like that? They live forever.” Langly’s definition of living forever seemed less literal and more to do with legacy. But maybe I’m remembering him wrong.

Langly sure seems to be remembering Mulder right — he picked the best people to trust with this. When the white-haired home invader shows up and shoots Hamby, Scully kills him (finally), and Mulder and Scully take Hamby’s phone and hide out in a bar to get back in touch with what’s left of their old friend’s mind. Langly lights up at Scully’s name and tells the agents that he’s living in what might as well be his personal heaven: No one dies of cancer, The Ramones play “California Sun” every night, and the New England Patriots never win. (That makes Langly’s heaven the antithesis of the world shaped by the Smoking Man, a walking cancer who insisted in season 4 that the Patriots’ rival Buffalo Bills must never win the championship as long as he’s alive.)

But in a Brave New World-esque speech, Langly explains that this world he’s in needs to be destroyed: There’s no choice or diversity in it. “We dream, but we’re not allowed to have dreams.” He, along with other great minds who also uploaded, like Steve Jobs and Michael Crichton, is just a “digital slave” whose mind is being used to develop the science that elites like Erika Price and Mr. Y want to use to colonize space. The neon lighting on Langly also illuminates Mulder and Scully in that scuzzy bar, drawing them into the nightmare in which a person is broken down by brain chemistry alone, all science and no X-File.

The partners suffer a rowdy bus ride to New York, then con their way into Titanpointe by pretending Mulder is a “Hannibal Lecter-level psycho” whom Scully has captured and brought in for NSA questioning. (This isn’t The X-Files’ first Silence of the Lambs reference, but this is the first time it doubles as an inside joke for Gillian Anderson.) The ploy works until it doesn’t; Mulder and Scully are cornered in the stairwell, but Scully badasses her way out as Mulder stays behind to fight back.

He’s brought before Erika Price, who monologues about the coming end of humanity, and while it’s good to see some continuity with the premiere, she doesn’t really say anything new. Price admits she was trying to kill Mulder, disappointed in his response to her earlier proposal, but he’s since impressed her with his instinct for survival. It doesn’t hurt his cause that out of all 7 billion people on the planet, Mulder is the one Langly chose — though of course what Langly needs is Mulder’s instinct to never give in, never give up, and never sell out, not the sort of instinct that might compel him to upload to a computer. Which is not to say he isn’t tempted — Mulder asks Price if killing his father would be enough to get him into San Junipero 2.0, and if Scully could come with him. Even as he’s maneuvering to get in a room with the machine and hopefully destroy it, he also obviously sees its appeal.

Scully, a woman of faith for all her scientific degrees, doesn’t. As soon as Mulder gets Al to unlock the door to the computer room, he fights off the commander while Scully shuts down the machine in dramatic, glass-breaking fashion. (“Bye-bye, Ringo.”) Mulder staggers away from his long day of hand-to-hand combat, victorious (he even got his phone back) but about to pass out, and he and Scully return home and collapse on the couch in wearied heaps, because they aren’t going to literally live forever but they are, for now, alive, and maybe more alive than we’ve seen them in a long time.

And the fight goes on: All traces of Purlieu Services are erased before the FBI can open an investigation, and Langly buzzes back to life on Mulder’s phone, begging him to destroy the “backup.” He disappears; the white-haired assassin takes his place.

Open files:

  • Mulder and Scully’s dynamic in this episode is exactly as comfortable and lived in as it should be after all this time. “I’m going to open an X-File on this bran muffin.”
  • “Frohike looked 57 the day he was born.”
  • Skinner was saddled with a few clunky reminders of the current political climate in this hour, but nothing was weirder than when he got in on the game of rewriting history: Apparently in 1993, there was “barely a Russia.” What?
  • Calling him “Walter” is an amazing power move on Scully’s part.
  • “Scully you looked so adorbs just there, all curled up in a ball in the booth of a skanky bar with your fingers wrapped around the grip of an assassin’s Glock.”
  • “We gotta take a trip to IKEA.”


EW.com

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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 3:35

January 10, 2018 9:00 pm

The X-Files Recap: California Sun

By Brian Tallerico


Photo: Shane Harvey/FOX

This
Season 11 Episode 2

Editor's Rating * * * *

When Fox announced that the first and last episodes of this season of The X-Files would be the only ones written and directed by Chris Carter, the safe assumption was that the eight in the middle would be “Monster of the Week” episodes, ones that stand apart from the show’s mythology. “This,” written and directed by X-Files veteran Glen Morgan, isn’t exactly that. It’s an hour with direct ties to multiple episodes from the show’s past, including the finales of season one and nine. Yet it’s also a fresh, fast-paced hour that feels current with its commentary on international conspiracies and the theory that we’re all living in a simulation. It’s even an episode that recalls Black Mirror in the way it examines virtual consciousness and technological control of identity.

When The Lone Gunmen were sacrificed at the end of “The Truth,” the original series finale of The X-Files in 2002, many fans were disappointed by the fate of their favorite characters. In a sense, “This” brings at least one of them back to life. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are sleeping on the couch when a message comes through from the other side: “Am I dead? If I am, they know that I know.” It’s Richard Langly! Is he really still alive? What could he possibly be talking about? Before they can figure out what’s going on, assassins burst through the door and a shootout ensues. Mulder and Scully may have been quasi-retired for years, but they still have wicked fighting skills. They take out two of ‘em, but a third, grey-haired baddie escapes. And then their backup arrives.

It turns out that very powerful people were behind the dual assassination attempt, and they may have ties to the Russians. (Cue those looking for a Trump era analogy.) Mulder and Scully escape into the foggy woods — the woods are always foggy on The X-Files — and they run into Skinner. It’s interesting to see the lack of trust between Mulder/Scully and Skinner after the events of last week’s episode. It looks like it will be some time before we get answers to the questions regarding that controversial revelation about Scully and the Cigarette Smoking Man, but “My Struggle III” clearly carved a rift between our beloved trio that could resonate all season. Skinner tries to help them, giving cash and a hint about Langly being buried at Arlington. It’s time to solve a Lone Gunmen puzzle!

Scully and Mulder get to Arlington and find their tombstones, but they’re not quite right. The birth and death dates are off and Langly’s is even facing in the wrong direction. After solving a questionably convoluted puzzle, they come upon the tombstone of … Deep Throat! New fans of The X-Files may not remember the fantastic character played by Jerry Hardin from the first season, who was killed at the end of the season. We learn that his name was Ronald Pakula (a reference to ‘70s conspiracy movie director Alan Pakula, perhaps?) and they find a chip with a QR code in his tombstone. And then they’re attacked again! This episode is really just an alternating succession of dialogue and fight scenes, but it somehow still works.

After battling the third assassin, Mulder and Scully scan the code to find images of the Long Lines building in New York City. It’s the home of an NSA program called Titanpointe and a project code named Blarney. There really is a Long Lines Building in Manhattan and there really was an NSA surveillance program there called Titanpointe. The X-Files often grounds its conspiracy theories in reality — just think of the mileage they’ve gotten out of Roswell — and this is yet another interesting case of that happening.

After running into Skinner in a parking garage, Mulder and Scully learn that the X-Files have been put online and, of course, hacked. All of Mulder and Scully’s work is out there in the ether, probably available for purchase on the dark web by any nefarious organization who wants to know the secrets of the U.S. government. There’s a bit of commentary here on ownership of the show itself and how The X-FIles plays to fans who feel like they have a say in the way it should unfold: “What’s in them belongs to everyone. That’s the point of them.” That could be a fan complaining about the season premiere on a message board. Before things get too meta, though, Scully and Mulder are led to Karen Hamby, the woman who knows the truth about whether or not Langly is still alive.

The answer is “sorta.” Hamby explains that the message was sent from what is basically a virtual simulation of Langly. It turns out they uploaded their consciousness into a simulation that would come to life when they died (in echoes of Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, which will be a Netflix show in a few weeks). Langly put in a fail-safe in case they were lying about life in a simulation — a way to say hello from the other side. That’s when the bad guy finds them again! How does he keep doing that? Maybe this is a simulation? Is Elon Musk right?! This time, the guy is really shot.

Ultimately, they find a way to communicate with Langly, who poignantly conveys the horror of virtual heaven. He eats hot dogs and donuts all day. The Ramones play every night and never fight. The New England Patriots always lose. But it’s just too perfect. And inside this simulated valhalla, the great minds of our world like Steve Jobs and Michael Crichton have been reduced to digital slaves. Mulder and Scully need to shut it down.

The episode climaxes in the Long Lines Building. As Scully works her way to the server, Mulder has a long scene with Erika Price, the mysterious character we met last week who’s played by Barbara Hershey. Price advises Mulder to change the way he looks at the world. This is the technological evolution of mankind. After wondering if he could get uploaded with Scully — or possibly just killing time so Dana can find the server — Mulder escapes. They turn off the simulation and basically just walk out, bringing FBI agents back to find an empty office and missing computers.

If this episode has a major weakness, it’s the climax, which isn’t really there and feels too simple. It’s also kind of a depressing ending to a relatively light episode: In a macabre twist, Langly is still suffering in a simulation because they didn’t get the backup. Maybe you really can’t fight evolution, even a technological one.

Other Notes


• Mulder says “adorbs,” mimics putting his finger in his mouth to puke, and does a Hannibal Lecter impression. Let the GIF-ing begin!

• It’s hard to overstate how groundbreaking the death of Deep Throat in “The Erlenmeyer Flask” felt for fans. It helped define the tone of the series by revealing the stakes and upping the danger. Key characters could die.

• One of the files that Skinner leafed through on the computer was for Home, Pennsylvania, the setting of the controversial “Home” episode from the fourth season, co-written by Glen Morgan. It’s particularly funny that this episode would be referenced as a file that’s saved because Fox practically tried to scrub it from the show’s history for a few years.

• Naturally, the tombstones in Arlington contained some Easter eggs. The first belongs to Terry Hutcheson, an apparent nod to the visual effects producer who worked with X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz on The Man in the High Castle and many other shows. The second belongs to Maximilian Lyman, which I’m guessing refers to a crew member by the same name from season 11. The third belongs to Julie Ng, who produced a TV special called The X-Files: Re-Opened that aired before season 10. The final one, George Donald Rivers, is the toughest to uncover. Might it refer to an old episode of The Outer Limits, in which Alan Thicke played a man named Donald Rivers who uncovered government conspiracies about cloning? Given the plot of this episode, I think it could. I want to believe.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 3:45

‘The X-Files’ Review: ‘This’ Delivers a Compelling Casefile and Mulder and Scully at Their Cutest

In Season 11, Episode 2, a mysterious phone message leads to an action-filled adventure that almost makes sense.

Liz Shannon Miller
Jan 10, 2018 9:00 pm
@lizlet


“The X-Files”
Robert Falconer/FOX

[Editor’s note: Spoilers follow for “The X-Files” Season 11, Episode 2, “This.”]

Previously, on “The X-Files”…

Agents Mulder and Scully are back to investigating paranormal crimes, which they used to do with some help from a group of hackers known as the Lone Gunmen — until the Lone Gunmen nobly sacrificed themselves to save the world back in Season 9.

This Week’s Dossier

Mulder and Scully are enjoying a lazy night dozing in front of the TV when Mulder’s cell phone starts getting strange messages from the presumed-dead Langly — oh, and three armed men barge in, leading to a firefight and then the arrival of a second group of armed men who get Mulder and Scully in handcuffs, though the duo are able to escape.

Now on the run (but with an assist or two from Skinner), the partners follow breadcrumbs left behind by Langly that take them from Arlington National Cemetary to a secret NSA facility called Titanpointe, where they find a mainframe that contains great minds working as “digital slaves” (including their ol’ buddy Langly) for some sort of conspiracy. Mulder and Scully take down the computer, theoretically releasing Langly and his fellow “digital slaves” from their purgatory, but the people behind it escape and Langly appears once more on Mulder’s phone… asking him to destroy the backup.

Wait, Explain It to Me Like I’m Five

The conspiracy is doubling down on virtual consciousnesses as the next stage in human evolution, since animal life on this planet is doomed. Langly from “The Lone Gunmen” got himself stuck in a digital hell. Mulder and Scully try to free him, and it’s a lot of fun watching them solve puzzles and investigate, even if they basically fail in the end. And the Ramones played on.



Makeout Watch

Who knows what Mulder and Scully were doing on that couch before or after falling asleep, but even without confirmation of them having a physical relationship, it’s undeniable that Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny’s chemistry was operating on a whole other level this week. Not only that, but their interactions in “This” didn’t feel like more of the same platonic partnership that we’ve grown accustomed to; perhaps because we were seeing them in a more informal light, there was an easy breeziness to their scenes together (and Mulder and Scully were in nearly every scene together, which isn’t all that often the case) which made this 25-year-partnership feel more believable than it’s been in quite some time.

Also, yes, from Mulder calmly informing Scully that “you look good” to this exchange…

SCULLY: “Why do you operate so well with your hands cuffed behind your back?”
MULDER: “As if you didn’t know.”


…the entire episode was a ‘shipper’s dream.

Nostalgia Alert!

Not to get too sentimental, but the Lone Gunmen were always a treat on screen and it’s nice to see them remembered fondly, as evidenced by the prominent framed photo in Mulder’s living room (that may resemble publicity art for their fledgling spinoff).

Also triggering a nostalgia alert is the plot’s similarity to another “X-Files” episode: Season 5’s “Kill Switch,” written by William Gibson and Tom Maddox. That story was also about people seeking to upload their consciousnesses for a digital existence, though in that case doing so worked out a whole lot better for everyone involved.



But It’s Not 1993 Anymore

One of the episode’s major themes was that the world is a far more complicated place now than it was in 1993, a message hit home particularly well by Mulder standing at Deep Throat’s graveside, remembering the days when government conspiracies were an awful lot easier to track.

Skinner’s comments about how the world has changed and the head evil Russian’s musings about America played less well, just because of the jumbling together of implications involving the “executive branch” of the government. There are times when Chris Carter’s desire to keep “The X-Files” grounded in the real world feels like it serves as a disadvantage, especially given how nothing Carter and his writers come up with can beat the surreality of today’s news. If the show were to exist more in its own clean fictional universe, it might be a lot easier to parse and a lot easier to watch.

Ultra-Nerd Facts

You know, during Seasons 1-9, we had a pretty good understanding of where Mulder and Scully happened to live. Here in Season 11, that is true of Mulder — in fact, we now have his home address in Farrs Corner, Virginia (which, by the way, is a bitch of a commute to FBI headquarters in Washington, DC).

But where does Scully live? When it comes to this question, “This” is extremely confusing, because when Scully calls in the firefight she very specifically refers to their location as “Fox Mulder’s residence.” Yet later, she tells Skinner that “we can’t go to our home.” So does Scully live with Mulder under the radar? Does she have her own place, but hang out at his place often enough to think of it as her home? Seriously, would it kill them to give us a straight answer here?

Well, it’s “The X-Files.” Theoretically, we should be used to this.


THE X-FILES: L-R: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the "This" episode of THE X-FILES airing Wednesday, Jan. 10 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX

“I’m not going to ask you if you just said what I think you just said, because I know it’s what you just said.” (Most Awkward Quote)

“If you can do it through my phone, then I don’t have a choice.”
“Of course you do. You could not use your phone.”
– Mulder and Price

It’s a clever joke on the surface, but this moment — as well as so many other bits of Price’s “sales pitch” to Mulder — just didn’t make any sense. It seems like she’s trying to convince him to join her side, but then she tells him that not only can they make this happen against Mulder’s will, but even if he agrees to do it willingly, with Scully, “It won’t be her and it won’t be you.” The flow and logic of the moment are confusing, to say the least. We doubt that the point is that Price is a terrible salesperson. Instead, it simply seems like a scene that just doesn’t hold together.

“Dear Diary: Today my heart lept when Agent Scully suggested ‘spontaneous human combustion.'” (Best Quote)

“Scully, you look so adorbs just there, all curled up in a ball in the booth of a skanky bar, with your fingers wrapped around the grip of an assassin’s glock.”
– Mulder

There were a number of charming exchanges this week, not the least of which was Mulder and Scully digging with delight into bran muffins. But this specific moment represented one of the things we enjoyed most about “This” — as mentioned before, the way in which they interact feels like it’s truly evolved (and not in a weird dystopic abandoning-human-form sort of way).

Final Report

Real talk: The ending, which reveals that Langly is still trapped in some fashion and the curly-haired psycho we thought was dead is now stalking him through digital space, is hella problematic if only because it’s a narrative thread we’re not going to get back to anytime soon — maybe ever. Are we supposed to believe that Mulder and Scully will just leave their old friend in a digital hell? Should we expect the story to continue in future episodes? Unlikely.

That said, this episode is so much fun for longtime fans who just want to watch Mulder and Scully working in perfect sync to investigate the strange. With the characters largely isolated from the rest of the world, everything from their graveyard puzzle-solving to conning the NSA for access to the Titanpointe building was a perfect reminder of what elements have made the show so enduring — not to mention the fact that both Anderson and Duchovny got to showcase their inner badasses in multiple well-executed fight sequences. It could have held together better, but “This” was a welcome change of pace.

Grade: B


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 3:50

The Crazy Way The X-Files Just Brought A Dead Character Back

By Laura Hurley
9 hours ago



Warning: major spoilers ahead for the second episode of The X-Files Season 11, called "This."

The X-Files has a long history of finding unexpected ways to bring characters back from seeming deaths, ranging from the Cigarette-Smoking Man not actually dying despite being engulfed by flames to Mulder literally being buried alive and the dug up months later to be revived. Now, in Season 11, the show has found a way to bring back a character who seemed just about as dead and gone as gone could be: Ringo Langley. All three members of the Lone Gunmen seemed pretty definitively dead when they sacrificed themselves to stop a bio-weapon back in Season 9 of The X-Files, and Scully stated early in "This" that their bodies had been incinerated. Nevertheless, Langley managed to reach out to Mulder via smartphone, and the way he pulled it off was pretty crazy.

As it turns out, Langley had figured out a way to make sure that he lived beyond his death way back before he was killed in Season 9. We just didn't know that he'd done it at the time. He and his secret lady love Karah Hamby each uploaded their consciousness to a digital world in which they would begin sentient simulated lives to continue their work once they perished in the real world. It was a surprisingly trusting move from a longtime member of the paranoid Lone Gunmen group, but his desire to live on with Karah motivated him to gamble on the makers of the digital world having altruistic motives. Karah explained what happened to Mulder and Scully like this:

They came to us fifteen years ago with the science and the math to prove that we could live forever. The contract states we can live out our natural lives and we could continue our work after we die... They brought us to a facility and over a two-week period they scanned and copied the salient features of our biological brain. They uploaded us into a simulation. The two minds could never exist at once. Our simulated selves would come into consciousness in that life once we died in this... He entrusted me in case he discovered that they had lied about life in the simulation, and if Richard is reaching out then they must have. We wanted a life eternal together. So we took the deal. But we theorized what to do if it was not what they had offered. How would that life know it was a simulation? There would be cheats. The stars and the moon, they wouldn't be fully realized. The background people wouldn't be fully rendered. They'd constrict the use of technology, of two-way contact to control them. But Richard being Richard hacked a way to reach out.



Unfortunately for Langley and Karah -- who was shot to death shortly after explaining the situation to Mulder and Scully -- the folks behind the simulated world had indeed misled them about what life after death entailed. After the digital Langley was able to make contact once again with the dynamic duo, he explained that those who controlled the world were using the theoretical work of the brilliant minds within the simulation to advance their own nefarious goals in the real world. He revealed that one of the mysterious group's goals was to establish space colonization, which brought Erika Price into the mix. Langley asked Mulder and Scully to destroy the digital world.

After Mulder and Scully managed to infiltrate the building that housed the servers for the digital world, Mulder was captured and taken to Price. She had a reveal of her own, as she explained to Mulder that her group was already using smartphones to map the brains of everybody who used such technology. The population as a whole was being primed to be uploaded after their deaths, which... is super dark. Luckily, Scully had avoided capture, and she ultimately was able to destroy the servers. Sadly, a message from Langley at the end indicates that there's a cache of backup servers somewhere, and the bad guys managed to clean up the evidence before Mulder and Scully could prove anything, but this was still a win for the good guys.

They do still have plenty to worry about and lots more questions to be answered, not the least of which concern the Cigarette-Smoking Man's claim that he's the father of Scully's child. Tune in to Fox on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET to catch new episodes of The X-Files, and don't forget to take a look at our midseason TV premiere guide and 2018 Netflix schedule.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 3:53

The X-Files Review: 2 Fast, 2 Furious

(Episode 11.02)

By Dom Sinacola | January 10, 2018 | 9:00pm
Photo: Robert Falconer/FOX



At Arlington National Cemetery, Mulder (David Duchovny), bent over the grave of the character we only knew 20-something years ago as Deep Throat, asks Scully (Gillian Anderson), “Everything we feared came to pass—how the hell did that happen?”

As much as this question concerns The X-Files in 2018, a show that places Mulder and Scully within the context of a world in which Donald Trump is president and Edward Snowden is a cult hero—though 45 is never referred to by name (Snowden is), only alluded to, as when Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) mentions that the FBI isn’t getting along with the Executive Branch nowadays, or talks about how “now there’s 17 US intelligence agencies” all in bed with each other while trying to wipe each other out—it’s difficult to not dig deeper metaphysically, to check in on the formative television series as a test case for the ways in which we navigate nostalgia and our expectations of reboots while simultaneously hoping for growth, for change, for something to deny that which we most fear: that what we love will only rise again as a parody of what we loved.

Ankle deep in this new, ten-episode season, it’s still difficult to tell what the case will be with The X-Files a few weeks from now. After the whiff of the Season 11 premiere, series mainstay Glen Morgan writes and directs the comparably lighter “This,” which has Mulder murder a few more people and land a good joke or two, including the deftly implied tidbit that him and Scully spice it up with handcuffs in the bedroom.

Speaking of bedrooms, Scully now apparently lives with Mulder at his Unabomber cabin, wherein she’s resigned herself to not owning a bed, a clever nod back to the series’ original run, as was the episode’s opening melange of establishing shots featuring a bowl full of sunflower seeds on top of a stack of literal “X” files. In-jokes abound, actually: Skinner informs Mulder and Scully that the X-Files have been digitized, and perusing the PDFs, we see such fan-favorite episodes as “Home, Pennsylvania”; the real name of Deep Throat, plastered on his grave, is “Ronald Pakula,” obviously named after All the President’s Men director Alan J. Pakula; Mulder chucks numerous No. 2 pencils at the wall, the image of pencils stuck to the ceiling of his basement office 20 years ago never far from one’s memory.

Neither is the perplexing mess that was Chris Carter’s work on last week’s premiere: Even in Morgan’s seemingly more capable hands, this season continues to suffer tonally. In “My Struggle III,” Carter’s directorial choices amounted to a haphazard overabundance of action set pieces that felt totally out of place in a series that once counted amongst its many accomplishments a firm dedication to tone. “This” lounges more often in moody procedural scenes, though not without an opening shoot-out (set to a Ramones song) in which Mulder and Scully John Woo their way around Mulder’s cabin, bookended by Mulder firing on a man, the force of Mulder’s bullet so masculine that it throws the nameless henchman against a wall, Mulder unfazed by the Fast and Furious physics erupting in his living room/bedroom. Afterwards, wading through the wreckage of their home, confused as to why they were visited by three hitmen, Mulder quips, “I’ll tell you what I do know: We gotta take a trip to IKEA.” Beds are quite affordable at IKEA, Mulder.

It’s clear that The X-Files 2.0 is a much bigger endeavor, that Carter and his cronies want the show to feel in 2018 as big and overwhelming as the conspiracies it once purported to investigate. This, perhaps, means more murder, more guns blazing, more car chases and more humor about Mulder and Scully boning—but scope was never part of what made The X-Files so essential.

What was so essential about The X-Files is becoming harder and harder to parse, though what hasn’t changed is the unwieldy nature of the series’ overarching plot, which appears to be more and more the focus of each episode in these truncated seasons. In “This,” to try to turn a long story into something remotely concise, Mulder and Scully receive a weird video message on Mulder’s phone from long-dead Lone Gunman Langley (Dean Haglund), a message which coincides with the aforementioned shoot-out, as well as the appearance of Russian (natch!) mercenaries, who we learn are a private security service run by Erika Price (Barbara Hershey), one of the new members of the Syndicate we met last week. Since the mercenaries and the government are too enmeshed with one another to encourage our agents to trust anyone (again, natch), Mulder and Scully go on the lam, reluctantly reaching out to Skinner to figure out why Price wants to kill them while following Langley’s post-mortem clues to determine what, exactly, is going on with the whole phone video thing. Inevitably, the two plots converge, and Mulder and Scully stage a pretty surprisingly confident heist on a secret NSA building. They’re there, of course, to destroy a sophisticated computer program that houses digital simulacra of the consciousnesses of the world’s greatest minds (including Steve Jobs and… Michael Crichton?), which means Langley, who worked with the government before his death to have his consciousness uploaded into this program, discovered that his Second Life isn’t what he was sold. As Price informs Mulder once they come face to face in that secret NSA building, only with the “minds” of such people as Langley and Michael Crichton does the human race have a chance to transcend this dying planet and firm up the technology needed to colonize outer space. In turn, Computer Langley knows he’s being used, so he reaches out to Mulder to help destroy the program in which he currently “lives.”

There’s plenty of criticism to be tossed at the whole sequence that brings Mulder and Scully to the NSA hideout—like how simple it is for them to get to the top of the building, or how effortlessly Mulder is able to dispatch multiple mercenaries, i.e., men who have trained in combat their whole adult lives—but what rings most sourly is the atonal nature of everything happening. Completely gone is the mystery of the series’ plot; gone is the sense of discovery at finally having some answers. In its place is the same complicated machinations as before, only drained of all curiosity. In attempting to make the world of The X-Files bigger, Carter and his staff have reined in all of the open-ended suspense and surprise that transformed the series police procedural tendencies into compelling, intelligent TV. There are still plenty smart ideas here, but once you understand what these characters are telling you, there’s nothing to keep you engaged.

Morgan, to his credit, achieves some stirring visuals, especially in a parking garage meeting between Mulder, Scully and Skinner, finding endless angles through which to convey a sense of paranoia and surveillance. Still, every action scene, especially the opening shoot-out, bears no sense of space or mobile logic. Scenes which should be exciting instead diarrhea blurs of exploding plaster and bullet time all over the screen, begging to be over as soon as they start.

Here’s hoping that next week gives us a Monster of the Week episode in which we can briefly forget the plodding logistics of Carter’s incessant retconning. Here’s hoping that Mulder stops indiscriminately killing people—or that at the very least Mulder comments on how cool it was to shoot a human being and have their body suddenly levitate. “Did you see that, Scully?!” Mulder could holler. “The world is different, Mulder,” Skinner tells him. Here’s hoping that proves to be a good thing for The X-Files in the end.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 4:00

The X-Files has style to burn in "This"

Zack Handlen
Yesterday 8:00pm



It’s something of a surprise that “This” tries to blend a standalone concept with serialization. For most of its run, The X-Files kept its monster of the week episodes and mythology episodes distinct from one another. It’s one of the reasons that MOTW entries retained their shine long after the mythology fell into its own ass; there are arguably just as many bad one-offs in the original show as there are installments of The Saga That Never Made Any Damn Sense, but because the worst monsters weren’t connected to or building off anything, they were that much easier to forget.


The X-Files
Season 11
"This"
B+

Episode

2

Apparently season 11 has decided to double down on its ongoing storyline, which should make you nervous even if you liked the premiere more than I did. But here’s an even bigger surprise: where “My Struggle III” was often a well-intentioned slog, “This” makes a pretty good case for itself. The plotting takes a few shortcuts that seem questionable in retrospect, but it’s a lot of fun to watch, aided by good pacing, sharp direction, and Mulder and Scully being allowed to do what they do best: investigate X-files, kick a surprising amount of ass, and banter. Oh, the banter is so very choice.

It also helps that even with the shortcuts, the story here makes basic sense. Hell, that’s one of the reasons I didn’t dislike the premiere as much as it probably deserved; sure, the show was once again attempting to retcon itself, but to be fair, there weren’t a lot of other options on the table. Recentering the mythology in the present political situation and providing a small group of charismatic villains isn’t the most imaginative move, and yes, if you squint we are once again moving around the same handful of pieces the show has been moving around since its first season—but this is a credible foundation.

“This” is where that credibility really starts to pay-off. Instead of putting our heroes back in their old office (a trick they tried last season, which was good for a nostalgia boost but still felt unearned), we find Mulder and Scully on the run from one of their many, many enemies; this time it’s Price (Barbara Hershey, who is such a smart casting choice) and her American owned, Russian-headquartered private security force. The episode goes to work establishing what it’s like to be Scully and Mulder in a post-Trump world, and the results are surprisingly credible.

Rather than coming across as a cheap play for topicality, the references to the FBI’s current lousy standing, the aforementioned Russia connections, and even Mulder’s comment about the world being a more complicated place feel like a reasonable fit, the confusion and terror of our modern world enhancing both the show’s perpetual sense of dread and its humor. A good portion of “This” is dedicated to Mulder and Scully kicking ass and being clever and resourceful and funny. That would’ve been fun to watch regardless, but the persistent sense of legitimate stakes makes it all the more entertaining.

And I haven’t even gotten to the plot yet. In addition to being chased by various smug-and-creepy dudes, Mulder also starts getting phone messages for Langley. The episode pretty much confirms that, despite an attempted comic book retcon, the Lone Gunmen are still dead, but a copy of Langley’s consciousness was uploaded to a private server where he, along with a bunch of other dead geniuses hang out in a sterile virtual reality paradise, doing brain work for the bad guys in exchange for endless Ramones concerts and a perpetually unwinning New England Patriots. But Faux-Langley wants out, and he’s begging Mulder to destroy the system.

It’s a premise that wouldn’t be out of place on another science fiction series about the dangers of technology; hell, “copying your consciousness into a computer” is the premise of half a dozen Black Mirror episodes, and it’s arguable if “This” really does much new with the concept. The episode’s biggest flaw is that it needs to spend so much time getting us used to a new status quo that the Langley sections ultimately feel a bit short-changed. Apparently he had a love interest? And not just a girlfriend, but someone he was so committed to that a big motivation for signing on for the brain-copying project was the chance to spend forever with her?

Part of “This” feel a bit like a standalone episode edited down to fit into a mythology entry, which can be frustrating. And yet the more I think about it, the more I appreciate what it achieves. While there’s still a certain narrowness to the show’s focus (it’s about the end of the world, but it’s hard to shake the sense that there’s only, like, fifteen people in this world), the direction and setpieces were cinematic enough to make that easy to overlook. Context, coherency, and great character work all combine to offer something that feels like more than a stunt or a nostalgia hack, and while I never forgot that what I was watching was a revival, there were times when it seemed like “revival” might not be such a bad word after all.

Stray observations


  • Loved the absurd, vaguely National Treasure-esque riff when Mulder and Scully visit the Lone Gunmen graves in Arlington.
  • Another downside to this is that the Gunmen’s death is still as canon as ever, and man was that a lousy way for them to go.
  • Nice Network nod in the scene where Price and Mulder chat.
  • “Frohike looked 57 the day he was born.” -Scully
  • This episode also does a better job of playing up Skinner’s divided loyalties. It’s like being friends with someone you don’t agree with politically; there are lines you know you shouldn’t cross.
  • “Everything we feared came to pass. How the hell did that happen?” -Mulder (I mean… not everything. But thematically, it’s a good line.)
  • “Why do you operate so well with your hands cuffed behind your back?” “As if you didn’t know.” Really, the banter throughout the hour is quality stuff.
  • I can’t entirely parse the logic of the final scare—in particular, I don’t really get why Creepy Thug got his brain copied—but it’s a terrific visual, and the “It’s over! ...or is it?” conclusion has long been a hallmark of the series. (And hell, it makes a bit for just how easy it for Scully and Mulder to scam their way into Titanpointe.)
  • After you’ve finished enjoying the review, here’s a fine essay on what might come next by our own Erik Adams.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 4:06



THE X-FILES Showed Us Life After Death (Sort Of)

Posted by Kyle Anderson on January 10, 2018

The following contains spoilers for the most recent episode of The X-Files, “This.” If you haven’t seen the episode and do not wish to be spoiled, we suggest you bookmark this and come back. Otherwise, get ready for the truth, which is, as they say, out there.

After a pretty uniformly derided first episode (I definitely didn’t like it), the 11th season of The X-Files got back on track with its second episode, “This,” written and directed by Glen Morgan. It showed Mulder and Scully actually together and doing FBI work, but not getting any time to rest on their laurels with clandestine private security firms from Russia trying to get them for essentially speaking to the dead. It’s a different world in 2018–OBVIOUSLY–than it was in the ’90s, and “This” is the first episode since the return that really embraced what’s scary about now.



Back in season five, cyberpunk pioneers William Gibson and Tom Maddox co-wrote an episode entitled “Kill Switch,” which dealt with, among other things, the idea of uploading one’s consciousness to a computer mainframe. Since then, the idea of the Singularity has perpetuated and has become more and more theoretically possible as capabilities have increased. “This” supposes we’re edging ever closer to this actuality, and there’s already a horrible conspiracy at work to keep the memories of exceptional people alive even if they don’t want to be.

Ringo Langley (Dean Haglund) died in the season nine episode “Jump the Shark,” a backdoor series finale to the cancelled-too-soon spin-off The Lone Gunmen, and made a hallucinatory appearance in last season’s “Babylon. “This” showed us what happened to him after he died…kind of. Langley, it transpires, was one of the architects of the world in which these memories reside and that he made as perfect as possible…and he’s still super ready to leave.



This kind of story is in the zeitgeist these days, with series like Westworld dealing with the consciousness or not of machines, and the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special depicting a database of the memories of every being in the universe at the exact moment of their death, essentially preserving their whole entire being. Memories are all we are, essentially. Langley undoubtedly is the Langley we knew, even only appearing on Mulder’s phone, and the explanation for why a previously dead character can reappear is consistent not only in the world of The X-Files but the greater science fiction world of today.

One of the reasons “My Struggle III” didn’t work for me was the way it tried to do something earth-shattering and “super relevant” without engaging with today’s world believably. Any time it referenced the current presidential regime or the state of the world, it felt hollow and not like the show it used to be. By contrast, “This” finally brought The X-Files‘ mentality and ethos up to the present day. The FBI are under fire from the executive branch and therefore in possession of the same privileges as before. That’s something Mulder and Scully, being outre within the FBI, would have to contend with all the more. Same with a foreign, private security force.



The world is a scary place, and The X-Files should be at the forefront of stories about it. In 1993 when the show premiered, the idea of government cover-ups and possible annihilation were far-afield and fictional, but now they are in the conversation on a daily basis. “This” embraced it, and relevant scientific possibilities, in a way the show has felt ashamed to since its return. Skinner was once a valued and important ally, but now his loyalty has been compromised, and while “My Struggle III” made me roll my eyes at this idea, “This” made it seem plausible and scary.

And, not for nothing, but getting to see Mulder and Scully take out home invaders using actual training and tactical know-how is nothing short of awesome. “This” is a major step back in the right direction for the show that, as of last week, seemed painfully uncool and out of touch.

Images: Fox


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 4:22

The X-Files Season 11: 10 Things We Learned From 'This'

A Lone Gunmen returns... sort of.



After the madcap pacing of My Struggle, Part III, which served as season eleven's premiere, the return of The X-Files showed no signs of slowing down in week two. The season's second episode, entitled simply "This" and scripted by series veteran Glen Morgan (who also handled directorial duties) brought with it an opening sequence shootout, a handful of fight scenes, and the return of The Lone Gunmen.

Well, a Lone Gunman. Sort of.

Dean Haglund, aka Richard 'Ringo' Langly, has been advertised for the eleventh season of The X-Files for some time now. His hauntingly distorted image, encased within the confines of a smartphone, was glimpsed in early trailers. In This, Langly has a small but crucial role.

Of course, the big question for fans is, is Langly alive? And what of the other Gunmen?

It's a question that both is and isn't answered all at the same time. In true X-Files fashion, it's really in how you approach the subject. In fact, that's one of the underlying concepts of the This. What do we consider life? What do we consider being alive? Weaving a story about digital consciousness into the ongoing mythology of season eleven, This takes a stab at answering some bigger questions while continuing to show that even in a post-9/11 world where Donald Trump is a world leader, The X-Files remains as relevant as ever.

Now, let's take a look at 10 things we learned from this season's second episode of The X-Files, This.

10. Richard Langly Is Dead, And It Doesn't Matter


FOX

Let's cut right to the chase, shall we?

In This, the second episode of The X-Files eleventh season, Richard Langly, a.k.a. Ringo but more commonly referred to as simply Langly, is dead. His body, we learn, was cremated prior to his burial back in season nine's Jump the Shark. We know this because Walter Skinner tells us so. The Lone Gunmen are dead.

Without getting into a long discussion about this being a wasted opportunity to bring back the popular trio (as was done in the comic series), what we can say is this: The events of this episode do not completely eliminate the possibility that he is alive somewhere. And regardless, it doesn't matter.

Langly being alive or dead in physical form has no bearing on the outcome of this episode. If you believe the narrative, he died saving thousands from a weaponized, airborne variant of the Marburg virus alongside Frohike and Byers. Yet the Langly we meet in This is digital Langly. Well before his eventual death, he cut a deal with a government contractor to transfer his consciousness to a simulated world. That simulation runs within an NSA governed complex. And it is from that simulation that Langly reaches out to Fox Mulder.

The simulation, says Langly, is as if he designed the world. With the Ramones alive and playing every night, and all the hot dogs he can eat. The New England Patriots never win.

And everyone is a digital slave. Mulder, he says, must shut the simulation down.

9. Richard Langly Is Alive, And It Matters A Lot


FOX

"Am I dead? If I am, they know that I know" says the ghostly digital version of Langly early in This.

As much as it doesn't matter if Richard Langly is physically dead or not (in theory, he could be in a coma somewhere, and his digital consciousness could still be alive), the key to this episode is that he is alive. In digital form. Point being, for the episode to work you must accept that digital Langly is alive, conscious, self-aware, and aware that he is in a simulation.

He's a copy who branched off from the original at some point, but he knows who Fox Mulder is, and knew (eventually) to reach out to him.

If digital Langly isn't alive, then he likely never figures out he's a slave. It's the entire question of "what makes something alive" that drives This. Langly, we learn, had a love interest, Karen Hamby. A professor of mathematics at Semple Technical Academy in Maryland. The pair agreed to transfer themselves to digital copies in order to be together forever, well before Langly's physical death. However, Langly has figured out the world he's in is digital - the sun's warmth is missing, for one. And he knows the world's greatest minds are being enslaved after "death" there. No one else realizes they're in a simulation.

There's a bit of a Matrix vibe, only we're seeing things from the "real" world. Although the episode very subtly suggests that Mulder and Scully themselves could be in a simulation (but that's a theory for another day).

8. Modified Credits May Be An Ongoing Theme This Season


FOX

"Accuse your enemies of that which you are guilty" replaces "The truth is out there" during the opening credits of This. That's the second week in a row in which the show has served up modified credits.

Last week, in My Struggle, Part III, the iconic "I want to believe" transformed into "I want to lie" to open the show. While the series has altered the opening message from time to time in the past, season eleven marks the first time in which the credits have been altered two episodes in a row.

Past instances have included Trust No One, Believe the Lie, Deny Everything, Apology is Policy, Resist or Serve, and Nothing Important Happened Today. The show has even included taglines in languages other than English - ÉÍ 'AANÍÍGÓÓ'ÁHOOT'É, for example, Navajo for "The truth is out there." However, the alternate tagline in This is less of a slogan, and more of a common (and frequently misidentified) quote. Google the phrase and you'll get versions attributed to Lenin, Marx, and even Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. They're all pretty much variations on the same theme - accuse your enemies of your own sins.

We'll have to wait for episode three to see if this trend continues, but so far, the show is two for two.

7. The New Conspirators Have Names - And A Grand Plan


FOX

Erika Price. Mr. Y.

These are the names of the new conspirators we first met in My Struggle, Part III. Which is much better than referring to them as "Chubby Smoking Man" and "Evil Woman in Red."

They also have a grand plan, something that is expanded on in This. Not only are they planning on colonizing space (brought up in the season eleven premiere) - they plan to do it with humans who have evolved into something more. Digital human consciousness.

Do they have a plan to tackle what happens when there are no humans left, and someone needs to perform a firmware update on the simulation? Who knows.

Still, we start learning more details of the plan, care of Price, who tells Mulder that "I confess, after our last encounter, I was disappointed in you." Yet her disappointment turns to admiration when she witnesses his survival instinct at work in This. And so she lets him in on her plans: "Our world is a progression of one life being replaced by another over and over. This is what's really meant by evolution."

That evolution will now progress to digital form, as "life on this earth, all human life, most animal life, is about to be crushed. Burnt to the ground." The computer simulation she is so carefully guarding will facilitate the transfer to a computerized world, eventually to be launched into the stars.

6. So Too Does Deep Throat


FOX

After more than two decades, countless conspiracies uncovered, and friends lost, Fox Mulder has learned the name of his original, shadowy informant. The man he called Deep Throat (played by Jerry Hardin) is actually Ronald Pakula. Mulder and Scully discover this as they track down a trail of breadcrumbs Langly has left for them in Arlington National Cemetary.

If you're wondering why this never came up before, it's because, as Mulder put it, "I never visited out of respect, I guess."Fair enough. Deep Throat always kept his identity hidden from Mulder, no matter how close they got. When his death came in the season one finale The Erlenmeyer Flask, it felt as if Fox Mulder had finally come of age. The show felt as if it had as well.

The look back is one of several (including the inclusion of The Lone Gunmen) glimpses of the past found in This.

Perhaps one of the most moving lines in the episode is uttered in relation to Pakula: "He's dead because the world was so dangerous and complex then. Who'd have thought we'd look back with nostalgia and say 'that was a simpler time.'"

In a nice nod to history, Pakula shares a name with Alan Pakula, director of The Pelican Brief, The Devil's Own, and All the President's Men, the latter of which told the story of the Watergate scandal, in which the real-life Deep Throat was a key figure.

5. The Show Is All Over The Current White House


FOX

Needless to say, 1013 (who produce the show) is well aware of the world we're in. Trump, Russian interference, the FBI becoming the White House's least favorite child. All of it. And once again, that plays in the background, just as it did in the season premiere.

In This, behind Erika Price is a private security firm based out of Russia. Think Blackwater, only very willing to murder FBI agents. They initiate a raid on Mulder and Scully's home (well, Mulder's home, anyway, though Scully appears to be living with him) in the opening sequence of the episode, as they work to prevent Langly from communicating with the outside world.

Cliche or not, the Russian connection works. Especially when the goon in charge, Commander Al, tells Mulder and Scully that "we would have all saved lots of money and headaches if we only knew Americans would have been just fine losing the cold war if they could only make a little money off it."

Later in the episode, free of the Russians, Mulder and Scully work to regain access to The X-Files. Skinner gets them access to the now-digitized files (another nod to the episode's theme), but can't seem to do much about the bounty on their heads. "The bureau is not in good standing to the White House these days" he says.

You don't say.

4. Mulder Is Very Much In Love With Scully


FOX

After last week's episode, Mulder's love of Dr. Scully just had to be included. After all, a good portion of the fanbase is borderline obsessive over the relationship status of FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

While the relationship took a back seat last week (and Mulder was quick to leave Scully's side while she was hospitalized), this week, a few little tells should quell the fury of the 'shipper crowd. For one, when we first come across the pair in This, they're napping side-by-side on Mulder's couch.

Then there's Mulder playfully telling Scully that she's "adorbs" later in the episode, when she's startled awake at a diner while on the run from a Russian private security firm/hit squad. Not to mention a rather suggestive handcuff joke.

And come episode's end, we're right back where we started, with Mulder and Scully settling in on the sofa, exhausted but together.

Okay, it's not a smoking gun, but for any who were really concerned, you can rest easy. Chances are, by the end of the season (which may very well be the end of the series), the pair will be back together for good.

3. The X-Files Has Adapted For Today's Serialized TV World


FOX

The X-Files was one of the first shows to kick off the current television trend of serialization. However, like fellow trendsetter Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show mixed in an ongoing story arc with standalone "Monster of the Week" episodes not connected to the mythology of the series.

In the years since The X-Files went off the air, the way in which we consume television changed. Video on Demand, DVD box sets (which came about while the show was still airing), and streaming services mean that binge watching is all the rage. Now, shows like Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones (obviously based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, giving them little choice) and others are fully serialized, with basically zero standalone episodes.

The X-Files hodgepodge approach may seem antiquated to today's younger, binge watching audience. To combat this, the show has started to weave the mythology into every episode. As a result, This isn't just a story of a simulation in which digital humans are held as slaves. Instead, it's a story of that simulation being used by a reformed Syndicate (or offshoot of them) to help colonize space.

For those who worry that it might dampen an otherwise fine MOTW outing, not to worry. It's subtle enough as to not distract from the core concept of the episode: the idea of digital consciousness and what it means to be alive. Which, come to think of it, directly connects to the theme of over-reliance on technology presented in My Struggle, Part III.

2. Snowden Has Given Chris Carter And Co. A Wealth Of Inspiration


FOX

The secret program under which the computer simulation housing Langly (and a host of others) in This is named Titanpointe in the episode, and maintained by the NSA. The building in which it is housed is the Long Lines building in Manhattan. In the episode, the facility is accessed via a field office of the FBI. NSA agents do not wear any identification when accessing the building. It's all very hush-hush. Great conspiracy fiction.

Only, it's not fiction. The Long Lines building exists, and out of it ran an NSA surveillance program code named Titanpointe. Under the program, the NSA (illegally) listened in on international calls, as the building housed a major international exchange in the PTSN (public switched telephone network). In short, international calls were routed through there. NSA employees, just like on The X-Files, did not carry identification when accessing the building.

The real-life program was exposed by a report in The Intercept, and a short documentary titled Project X. Both relied on information disclosed by Edward Snowden.

This is not the first time the newly relaunched X-Files has name-checked the NSA; they did address the agency's illicit surveillance program in season ten. However, the attention to detail in This is a welcome sight, and there could very well be more to come.

1. This Is Rich With Easter Eggs


FOX

This is an X-Files episode simply rich with Easter Eggs. Eagle-eyed fans of the series will spot a number of familiar names on tombstones in Arlington National Cemetary, not to mention a glimpse of Fox Mulder's sunflower seed habit, a nod to Melvin Frohike's lust for Dana Scully (though Spank Bank may have been Langly having fun), and much, much more.

For a series revival relying heavily on nostalgia, the potential for Easter Eggs adds a big payoff for longtime fans.

For those that missed them,

The fifth season episode "Killswitch" is referenced when Mulder's phone employs that exact defense mechanism as the Russians try to access it

Deep Throat's real name is Ronald Pakula. Pakula is the surname of director Alan J. Pakula, who directed All the President's Men, about the Watergate scandal (which featured the real-life Deep Throat)

While Langly has been erased from the actual X-Files, Frohike's name still appears; a "Spank Bank" shows up in relation to Scully, though at least part of it is information planted by Langly

Skinner goes through a number of files including one for Home, Pennsylvania

Tombstones in Arlington include Terry Hutcheson (who worked on Falling Skies, and with X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz on The Man in the High Castle), and Julie Ng, producer of The X-Files Re-Opened special.

With this batch of episodes potentially being the show's last, there's a good chance there will be lots more Easter Eggs to come, so keep your eyes peeled (we no doubt missed some as well!).

Add your thoughts on The X-Files Season 11, Episode 2 - This - below.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 4:28

The X-Files season 11 episode 2 review: This

Langly is back. But how and why? Spoilers ahead in our review of this week's episode of The X-Files...



Chris Longo
Jan 11, 2018

11.2 This

Welcome to 2018, Mulder and Scully. For the first time during The X-Files revival, an episode finally felt like it accomplished what Chris Carter and his writing buddies set out to do in the first place. They maintained that bringing the show back from the dead (or is this all just a simulation?!) wasn’t a reunion tour, but a chance to tell fresh new stories with old friends. In The X-Files season 11 episode 2, This, we got the best of both worlds and a glimpse into a startling new one.

The episode was written and directed by Glen Morgan, who’s known for delivering some of the series’ best Monster-of-The-Week episodes and more recently was the showrunner for Amazon’s creepy anthology Lore. Morgan builds on a poorly-executed premiere episode by infusing some style into the mythology Carter clearly wants to pepper throughout the early part of this season. This initially feels like a standalone, with the Ramones’ cover of Joe Jones’ California Sun the perfect background to a wild shootout in Mulder’s house (though later in the episode Scully says “We can’t go to our home” wink wink wink). Quickly, the episode becomes what Morgan described as his “X-Files does North By Northwest” and Mulder and Scully go on the run from two waves of attackers with deep ties to a major conspiracy.

You can see how the episode loosely follows Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller. Instead of an innocent Cary Grant being followed by spies from a mysterious organisation working for the government, Mulder and Scully learn their new enemies not only work for the shadowy group we met in the premiere episode, led by Mr. Y (A.C. Peterson) and Erika Price (Barbara Hershey), but also are the same group with Russian ties that digitized the X-Files. To throw Mulder and Scully off the case, they deleted two important files, one of Richard Ringo Langly, who died 15 years ago along with his pals The Lone Gunmen, and the other of Titanpointe, a real-life NSA spy hub in Manhattan.

How does this all connect? In the most Black Mirror way possible! Rather than making fun of Mulder for using a camera phone, The X-Files gets with the times by incorporating the ethical, moral, and technological dilemma that is cloning a person’s consciousness and preserving it in digital form. It’s not all that different from the rough concept of how Black Mirror has envisioned an afterlife, but here Morgan uses it as a form of digital slavery. On one hand, Langly is watching the Ramones, eating pizza and doughnuts, and weirdly having lots of digital sex I guess. But he’s also forced to use his brain, along with other deceased geniuses of our time, to progress science to serve the elite. Continuing on a plot thread from the premiere, Langly warns Mulder that the bad guys are trying to get the elite to space while the rest of the world burns.

While we have a one-dimensional Russian baddie, Hershey plays Erika Price with deliciously sinister intent, a potentially great addition to the X-Files mythology if they can stick the landing in the back half of the season. Once again The Smoking Man’s masterplan is given lip service, but we still need to get to the truth about these warring factions of the syndicate. We’re closer now to understanding what Price’s group wants, but the true intentions of CSM remain a mystery.

With Morgan behind the camera, a rekindled chemistry between the show’s leads, and action sequences that seemed to come out of 1997, This further puts The X-Files mythology back on the path to redemption. It also has something to say about government infighting and how our worst fears about our relationship to technology and tenuous grasp of the truth make this world scarier every single day. So far my favourite quote of the season is when Mulder is staring down Deep Throat’s grave: “He’s dead because the world was so complex and dangerous back then. Who would have thought we’d look back with nostalgia and say that was a simpler time.” That could be a thesis for The X-Files season 11.

Oh, and this was pretty great too:

Skinner: “The bureau is not in good standing to the White House these days.”

Mulder: ‘The FBI finally found out what it’s like to be looked upon a little spooky.”


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 10:40

The X-Files Course Corrects by Reminding Us Why We Love Mulder and Scully

Cheryl Eddy
Today 10:05am


Image: Robert Falconer/FOX

We were concerned about The X-Files’ 11th season after last week—that scene where Scully gripped her throbbing noggin and shrieked “What is going on?” was, shall we say, extremely relatable. This week, there was still plenty of mystery, but with less angst—and thank goodness, way more warmth, and humor.



Episode two, titled “This,” isn’t one of the series’ monster-of-the-week episodes; it ties directly back to last week’s premiere, “My Struggle III,” with the appearance of Barbara Hershey’s shadowy character, whose name we learn is Erika Price. Anticipating the end of life on Earth, she’s in charge of a virtual reality program—housed in a highly secure NSA building, with a well-armed, Russia-based private security company providing protection—where human minds are uploaded the moment their bodies die. One of those minds is that of vintage X-Files character Richard Langly, of the dearly-departed Lone Gunmen, and it’s he who reaches out to Mulder from the digital beyond.


Remember when Scully and Mulder didn’t have cell phones? Image: Shane Harvey/FOX

The plot of “This” nudges forward the doomsday vibes set forth in the season 10 finale—the events of which were revealed last week to have been a prophetic vision, rather than reality. We do know that Scully, Mulder, the Cigarette Smoking Man, Scully’s long-absent son, Skinner, Reyes, and numerous other characters are all involved in a race to either prevent or carry out the end of humanity using an alien weapon, with a select few chosen to survive. Price is the first significant new face to enter the picture, and it’s clear (especially from the breathtakingly speedy disappearing act she pulls at the end of the episode) that she’ll be a slippery adversary this season.

The hows and whys of Price’s “simulation” are sorta vague yet decidedly spooky (not to mention reminiscent of Black Mirror episodes), and as a plot device, it provides a clever way for writer-director and series veteran Glen Morgan to bring a fan-favorite character back from the dead. Also, there are some nice Skinner moments; though he’s not to be trusted after seemingly taking the CSM’s “deal” last week, he’s still willing to aid his agents when they’re in trouble, as well as serve as the conduit for some expository dialogue about how the global intelligence community has sure changed a lot since The X-Files’ heyday.


Image: Shane Harvey/FOX

However, “This” is a winner mostly because of the way it depicts the relationship between Scully and Mulder. Unlike last week’s Sturm und Drang of seizures, high-speed chases, tense phone exchanges, and “find our son” emoting, we get to see the partners working closely together in a high-stakes situation, focusing on a case rather than themselves, and making full use of the chemistry and affection that’s developed between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson over so many years. Sure, the opening scene contains a shoot-out, but before bullets start flying, the pair is flopped out on Mulder’s ugly couch, snoozing in front of the TV. Because that’s what friends/lovers/whatevers are for.

Later, they puzzle through clues and Presidential trivia left in headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, devour muffins while casually pondering how to access case files despite being on the run from assassins, and bluff their way into the top-secret facility that houses the virtual afterlife. Their interplay is more loosey-goosey, and the humor—the episode is full of cheeky quips, though Mulder gets the lion’s share (“You said taint!”)—feels refreshing and unforced. “This” offers hope that maybe Duchovny and Anderson didn’t totally hate toiling on what’s likely The X-Files’ final installment, which seemed plausible after “My Struggle III.” And more importantly, it suggests that things are looking up for season 11. Just because the characters are dreading the future doesn’t mean the audience should dread following them there.

The X-Files airs Wednesdays on Fox.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 10:45

Exclusive: X-Files writer Glen Morgan tells us about the making of 'This'



SPOILER WARNING! The X-Files Season 11, Episode 2, "This" discussed at length below!

Tara Bennett
@TaraDBennett
Jan 10, 2018

Long-time The X-Files writer, Glen Morgan, wrote and directed this week's episode, "This," which brought back (kind of) Lone Gunman Langly, and explored the afterlife via tech. In an exclusive sit down with SYFY WIRE, he explains what he was trying to do with the episode, lessons learned from Season 10, and the personal inspiration for this tale.

After the huge ratings for Season 10, did you assume that would lead to more The X-Files stories?

Glen Morgan: I didn't really think about it. I thought it would be done, so I was as surprised as anybody.

In "This," you were able to bring back Lone Gunman Langly (Dean Haglund) despite being dispatched in "Jump the Shark."

Actually, that was Vince (Gilligan).

So was this a way to correct history?

No, I'm blowing the whistle on Jim Wong like last time. I told him The Lone Gunmen are dead, and he said, "They are?"

Well, creating Langly as an avatar is a brilliant way of bringing him back into the world with the technology that helped define him. Did that come out of the story you wanted to build, or did it have to be him?
I was really trying to do my part to bring The X-Files into the realm of Black Mirror. I was looking at the simulation and thinking if one guy could live, then okay, it was Langly because he has The Ramones shirt.

Speaking of which, the punk sound and aesthetic have always been part of your storytelling. Was it hard to get a Ramones needle drop in this episode?

No, they fought and their estates fight, so it's tricky. I did a show called Intruders, and the teaser for "This" is kind of what the teaser for year two of Intruders would have been. I had The Rivieras "California Sun," which plays later in the bar, and I had that and then Darin (Morgan) pointed out that on the deluxe version of the Ramones album they have a "California Sun" instrumental. Then I thought people wouldn't know why we're playing it, so I went with the Ramones. Then my friend Tim Armstrong [Trashman in "Home Again"] who is in Rancid got upset because he always wanted to start something with a Ramones tune, but I beat him to it.

Barbara Hershey's character Erika Price from "My Struggle III" is a much bigger player in your episode. How did she come to be initially?

I thought I was introducing her because of Eric Prince and the privatization that goes through the season. But then [Chris] put her in his, and that's great because I don't have any ownership or anything [of her].

How did you get Barbara?

Well, you always have a couple of people in mind because you never know. But every Thanksgiving, I watch Hannah and Her Sisters. Every one. So then I'm directing her and all of sudden that part of your brain goes, "That's Barbara Hershey!" We texted back and forth [about the part] and she was just wonderful. A lot of her stuff, I was coming back from Seattle from seeing Rancid with my friend, and on my entire drive she was doing notes saying, "I think I should say this," which was great. She helped out a lot.

As a director, was there anything you wanted to accomplish in "This" to push yourself?

Two nights before I started I was in my room thinking I should tell Chris they should get [director] Rob Bowman or something, because with all this action, I had never done that before. But we have a great crew. Craig Wrobleski is our director of photography and made us all look good. You know last [series] I was hurt by some fans asking if we made it look retro because we are a retro show, and that really hurt because we were trying not to. So this time, I tried to frame things differently. Craig really helped us achieve a look that is the old show, but new also.

There's a mix of mythology in this episode with Erika Price woven into the story of the weel. Was there a process of handing a baton to the writers this season to help sprinkle the bigger story into individual stories?

All the mythology is Chris's. In Jim's episode, or this one, I don't remember if I had read one before doing Episode 2, but we tell each other the stories. It can change, so they are there, but it's never that advanced that it messes up what he wants to do, which we never know.

How many episodes are your hands on this season?

I wrote "This" and directed two episodes.

Did you create a writer's room for this season?

We never had a writer's room. We would laugh because things would change in production and argue, "No, we did that!" and others saying, "We did?" We just put a panel with index cards for this, this, this, and then Darin and Jim throw rocks at that writer and it gets adjusted, which is how it goes.

Going back to the core idea of this episode of having avatars keeping our consciousness alive in a cloud is fascinating, and not any crazier in conceit than what any religion thinks about the afterlife. Was that idea bouncing around in your head for awhile?

A little bit. Our mom passed away nine years ago today, and she played Wii with the kids.

Oh, so her avatar is still there in the game memory?

Yes, all of us are in there walking around. We might move on, but we're never throwing that out. So that was some of it. But you go into an episode thinking you want it to be more intense. But then on the set you see David wants to improvise. And it wasn't until we were on set that it hit me that we split them up in "Home Again," and that was wrong. So I let them monkey around and do jokes and he'd come back and say, "Don't cut them out!" We'd argue about the jokes. So when everyone was writing their stuff, I said put them together. It works.

In the world we're in now, you could say reality has caught up or surpassed the oddities explored in the show. Is it surreal?

Yeah, I said to Chris that even if they were annoyed with us last season, I think we're still a show that people would look at and ask, "What do you have to say about this?" So let's do this and try to comment. It's weird in this episode that the X-Files are sold to a private company that digitized them and the head of the F.B.I. would be Mueller. Whoa!

New episodes of The X-Files air Wednesday nights on Fox.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 12:10

THE X-FILES Review: “This”

January 11, 2018



Congratulations to “This” for being one of the most boring episodes of X-Files ever. I know they were trying to have world-altering stakes and deep, relevant political intrigue, but overall the story falls flat. The consequences aren’t actually bad enough to care whether our agents succeed or not, and only Langly’s face is worth any emotional investment. Even there, Langly isn’t really in danger, he doesn’t really have a message for the protagonists, and there’s not anything for him to do. I can’t even be happy to see his face because, come on, friends. He’s been dead for a long time and I can’t care anymore.

The X-Files used to be the stick against which I measured all others. Woe betide a show that used a plot device or genre twist that this series had done first without giving it its own spin, and this show was on for so long and so long ago that they’d done pretty much everything. Even if I were to still only use the original series as the benchmark, X-Files already did an “our consciousnesses live in the internet forever” plot. It was written by William Gibson in the ‘90s and it’s one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see (5×08 “Kill Switch,” enjoy). This show already showed itself up like twenty years ago. Even if “This” wasn’t so unfortunate as to suck in comparison to something the series has already done, people uploading themselves into computers is a fairly stock device at this point and this episode has nothing at all to add. Agents of SHIELD did it perfectly, Black Mirror has done it like twice or more–I don’t even watch all that many shows and I can tell you that most of them at least try to have some kind of moral or point of interest. Not this. I think one of the things working against this show’s revival is that science fiction has gone pretty mainstream lately, thanks in no small part to The X-Files itself. That said, “oh my god, QR codes and computers!” isn’t enough to make an episode innovative or interesting anymore. Having sci-fi markers isn’t enough, and the line between speculative fiction and reality has closed too quickly for all the old fogeys working on this show to keep up.



The conspiracies in X-Files are now almost comically passe. The thing is, the banality of evil in real life just makes all of the elaborate plotting, scheming, and secrecy seem absurd. Real evil doesn’t plot that much; they just bumble around like morons and cry when their toys break. For one thing, the current political administration is hyper-partisan and not fair game for fiction in the same way that previous administrations were. If you try to make a point that the White House is justified in distrusting the intelligence community then you are making an extreme political statement and forcing your characters to be complicit in a whole lot of politics and propaganda that’s probably not intended. It’s weird to see Mulder and Scully of all people suddenly be propped up as mouthpieces for the conservative agenda. Even the whole “Russians hired as intelligence consultants” thing is both stupidly too on-the-nose and trying too hard to be edgy. It’s like the show is trying to make a statement but doesn’t have anything to say anymore, so the messaging is all confused.

I’ll also never understand why these two numbskulls are constantly distrusting Skinner. Skinner has never betrayed them, has put his life and career in danger for them for twenty-five years, and is always on their side. Frankly, their distrust of him is annoying and just makes both Mulder and Scully read like paranoid freaks. Which is what they are. Honestly, if you rewatch the X-Files without an enamored view of Mulder he’s just a nut that they shoved in the basement and that’s fine. Accepting Doggett and Reyes into your heart also helps lend credence to the “Mulder is just a crazy person” perspective. Through all of that, Skinner has always been on their side and yet they still treat him like the enemy. I think I’d find it more satisfying if he just said “screw you both” and threw them to the bad guys at this point. Then at least they’d be out of his (cough) hair and he wouldn’t have to babysit them anymore.



And, I mean, listen: if we’re going to keep resurrecting people can’t we just forget all this other stupid stuff and bring back Alex Krycek? Of all the long dead beloved faces he’s the only one who it might be worth it to see again. Plus! If you’re going to do a stupid ham-fisted “Russians!” plotline, Krycek would be the ideal guy to bring back for that! I mean, sure, he got shot in the head on camera, but this show has expected us to believe more outlandish things than coming back from a headshot are possible.

I’m sad because this isn’t even bad enough to be mad about. It’s just boring. It’s cardboard, shredded wheat, processed cheese. There’s nothing here except a few eye rolls. It’s not even pleasant to see old familiar faces–it’s just dumb and a waste of time.



Season 11, Episode 2 (S11E02)
The X-Files airs on FOX on Wednesdays at 8PM



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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 18:40

The X-Files 11×02 Review: “This”

Katey Stoetzel
January 11, 2018


Shane Harvey/FOX

“This” feels much more like The X-Files. Written by X-Files alum Glen Morgan, this week’s episode is both parts monster-of-the-week and mythology. While I’d much prefer to have episodes that are solely MOTW instead of continuing this drawn out conspiracy arc, neither one gets in the way of the other and the episode even manages to add a little something extra to the mythology side of things.

Scully and Mulder receive a message from an old friend, Richard Langly (Dean Haglund), one of the Lone Gunmen who died during the original run of the series. Except it’s not exactly him. When he was still alive, Langly and an old girlfriend of his took part in an experiment to extend human life by uploading their minds into a computer simulation. Heaven, Langly says. Some of the details of this are slightly lost on me, but all that matters is that it’s Langly’s computer-simulated mind that reaches out to Mulder through his phone. Apparently, Langly’s the only one to have realized he’s in a simulation (for reasons they don’t really say) and he wants Scully and Mulder to destroy the simulation. Why? Well, that’s where the mythology arc comes in.

The simulation is run by the Russians, but a familiar face is in charge of the operation: Erica Price. We met Erica last week with Mr. Y when the two former Syndicate members asked Mulder to kill the Cigarette Smoking Man. During that conversation, Price and Mr. Y also mentioned that they were planning some space exploration that would eventually lead to everyone leaving Earth. Colonizing space, I believe Erica said. This computer simulation is the way they want to do it. Enter Langly.

The idea that we can upload our minds into a computer as a way to achieve immortality is interesting, and I like the way it’s handled in this episode. It’s also a nice way to bring a dead character back without actually raising them from the dead. Langly’s still Langly, but the death of all of the Lone Gunmen still hurts. But this new conspiracy by Price and Mr. Y is just another example of what makes The X-Files so good. The idea that every time we use a cellphone, the government is uploading part of our brain is a remnant of Big Brother-era paranoia that X-Files takes to a whole new level. Not only is the government listening in on our calls, but they’re taking a part of us with them, too. Combining these big, conspiratorial ideas with the mundane grounds the show.

There are some logic jumps in this episode, however. I don’t buy Mulder and Scully not trusting Skinner. Maybe it’s just the way the scene in the parking garage played out, but I don’t think Mulder and Scully had enough evidence against Skinner to draw their weapons on him. And if Mulder and Scully are supposed to be on the run, the sense of urgency that should have been present, isn’t. After a shootout at Mulder’s house and subsequent escape into the woods, the two can just walk into an FBI building and gain access to an FBI computer, stopping for muffins along the way? The hush-hush from Skinner made it seem like the government was after Mulder and Scully, when really it was private contractors. Still, the order came from the executive branch. Odd.

Regardless, “This” is so much better than last week’s premiere. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are even more on point as Mulder and Scully that I had flashbacks to seasons two and three. Along with the conspiracy side of things, call backs to early seasons, and just an all around sense of fun, The X-Files is back.

Stray Thoughts:

  • “We’re going to IKEA.”

  • “Scully, you looked so adorbs.”

  • “And the New England Patriots are here, and they never, ever win.” Langly’s right. That is heaven.

  • “What’s after 28? 30.”

  • The humor was classic X-Files. Mulder’s disgusted face after that one agent hit on Scully, quickly followed by a Hannibal expression. Mulder and Scully asleep on the couch at the beginning of the episode and at the end.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 18:45

7 Ways 'The X-Files' Returned to Its Roots in 'This'

Thursday, January 11, 2018

TylerVendetti
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV



Let's address the alien in the room: The X-Files season 11 premiere was rough. In "My Struggle III," a theme that the series is desperately trying to get fans to love, Scully and Mulder tackled (or should I say, stumbled through) the impending alien DNA invasion arc, which ended in the pair's convenient decision to wait for their son William to find them rather than the other way around. Passivity has never been this duo's strong suit, so their inaction in the season 11 premiere seemed frustratingly out-of-character. Thankfully, though, season 11, episode 2 of The X-Files did not "struggle" with this problem. The second episode of the season, titled "This," playfully incorporates all of the elements that once made this show one of FOX's best as we follow Mulder and Scully on a hunt for a group of mysterious attackers.

1) Mulder and Scully Work Together to Fend off Foreign Enemies

Within the first five minutes of this week's episode, I felt transported back into the Golden Age of '90s TV, when Mulder and Scully dominated primetime with their inspiring teamwork and gut-busting moves. The episode opens on Mulder and Scully's peaceful morning nap being interrupted by a FaceTime call from Langly, one presumed-to-be-dead member of The Lone Gunmen. Before he has a chance to explain his cryptic message ("if I am [dead]...then they know that I know"), a creak on the porch catches Mulder and Scully's attention, and the pair rush to defend themselves against unnamed Russian assailants before we even have a chance to process it all.

2) The Lone Gunmen Are Back

The Lone Gunmen were a huge part of the original X-Files series, so much so that they even earned themselves a (short-lived) spinoff series. So, while we may not see them in the flesh in this episode, the very mention of their name is enough to get my X-Files fan senses tingling.

3) 'The Truth Is out There' Is a Deep-Running Theme

After the unexpected Russian attack, Mulder and Scully are faced with another group of unnamed attackers, who roll up to their house in vans and immediately start berating them for killing their friends. One line of dialogue stands out. After Mulder attests "We defended ourselves!" one of the men outside yells: "They were wearing body cams, so ... you know how that turns out for the ones who weren't!" Not only does this draw a clear connection to the issues of today, but it also resurrects a theme that was central to the show during its original run: the idea that the truth is out there, and it's constantly being manipulated by those in power for their own purposes.

4) 'Trust No One' Also Returns in This Episode

"The truth is out there" is not the only original X-Files mantra to make an appearance in this episode. Last week's scuffle between Mulder and Skinner ("You smell like smoke!") has once again caused a riff between the two characters, which we see when Mulder and Scully run into the forest and find Skinner waiting for them. Mulder and Scully's hesitance to believe Skinner's claims about Langly ("We buried him in Arlington!") and their refusal to go along with him remind us that, in the end, Mulder and Scully can trust no one -- just each other.

5) Mulder and Scully Need to See the X-Files (the Original Documents)

Suspicious of Skinner's assertion that the Lone Gunmen were buried in Arlington, Mulder and Scully visit the grave site to investigate, following a set of clues on Langly's grave that lead them to a mysterious golden medallion with a QR code attached to none other than Deep Throat's tombstone. When scanned, the QR code reveals an image of an NSA building that Mulder once had an X-Files case on. Meaning? In order to solve this wild goose chase maybe-not-dead Langly has sent them on, they need to access their original X-Files documents. But in true X-Files fashion, the pair learns from Skinner that the X-Files (now digitized) have been hacked.

6) Government Conspiracy Theories Abound

While any trace of Langly has been removed from the digital X-Files, Frohike's file leads to a picture of a mathmetician and a message: if they scrub me, go to her. The agents track the math professor down and question her about the medallion and the note. Her response? The same service keeping track of the digital X-Files approached her and the Lone Gunmen decades before with evidence that, through science, they had found a way to make humans live forever: they can be immortalized in a simulated universe. If Langly is reaching out, she says, it's because something is wrong in this new universe, and he wants to alert her and everyone else.

7) The Dark, Unresolved Cliff-Hanger Ending

After conning their way into the Titanpointe branch of the NSA building, Mulder and Scully fight their way into shutting down the simulated universe to save Langly and all of the other brilliant souls trapped in this government-controlled digital world. The mission appears to be successful ... that is, until the end, when it's revealed that there was a backup network and Langly is still trapped. This is a classic trick in the X-Files: the agents appear to correctly identify or solve a problem, only to have the "truth" be revealed in the final few seconds, usually without their knowledge.

Will Langly and the other Lone Gunmen be forever trapped in this digital universe? Will Scully and Mulder encounter more twisted technological X-Files going forward? Will Black Mirror and The X-Files ever have a crossover episode (this one certainly felt close)? Let us know what you think in the comments! 

The X-Files airs on Wednesdays at 8/7c on FOX. Want more news? Like BuddyTV's Facebook page!

(Image courtesy of FOX)


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 19:08

The X-Files’ Surprise Character Return Explained

By Zak Wojnar 3 hours ago



Warning: SPOILERS ahead for The X-Files season 11, episode 2

The long-awaited eleventh season of The X-Files is off to a strong start, with its provocative first episode, “My Struggle III,” offering a shocking revelation that drove fans into a fevered frenzy. Episode 2, “This,” is a surreal dive into cyberpunk themes, Russian conspiracies, and the long-awaited return of a certain fan-favorite character.

The episode opens with Mulder and Scully sleeping on the couch, ostensibly watching television, when Mulder’s phone is suddenly hacked, with an image of Richard “Ringo” Langley taking over his screen and asking for help. Yes, that Ringo Langley, of The Lone Gunmen! Is he alive? After all, the character was killed off, along with fellow Gunmen John Fitzgerald Byers and Melvin Frohike, in the season 9 episode, “Jump The Shark,” which closed the book on the characters via a dramatic heroic sacrifice. Their ghosts even returned in the grand finale to offer advice to Mulder… And it’s definitely not a dream, like their cameo in season 10.

“It’s Like I Designed Heaven… And I’m Begging You, Destroy It”



As “This” goes on and the conspiracy is unraveled, the truth of Langley’s return is revealed. He didn’t survive. His brain was uploaded onto a server owned by the mysterious plutocrat Erika Price (Barbara Hershey). According to the digital copy of Langley, her malevolent company is using people’s own cell phones to covertly steal their identities and create online, digital copies. However, Langley himself was a volunteer. According to his (previously unknown) friend, Karah Hamby, she and Langley volunteered. According to her, they had their brains scanned 15 years ago, presumably right before his death. Upon his passing in the real world, his simulated mind sprang to life in a computer-generated simulation.

Unfortunately, it was not the paradise to continue their work to benefit mankind that they were promised. While the digital afterlife looks like a paradise (Langley describes eating hot dogs every day, seeing The Ramones rock out every night, and cheering as the New England Patriots lose every single game they play), it’s actually a work camp for geniuses. Creative geniuses like Marvin Minsky, Steve Jobs, and Michael Crichton are all there, but none of them know who they are. Only Erika Price and the wealthy elite (the reformed Syndicate) will be able to prosper from their research, and their endgame is to leave the planet and hide on other worlds, leaving Earth at the mercy of The Smoking Man and alien colonists.

The one thing they hadn’t planned for was Langley. He managed to see through the facade of the simulation and got his message out to Mulder and Scully, who found the servers at 33 Thomas St in New York City; in real life, the location is rumored to be the site of a secret NSA surveillance hub, code-named Titanpointe. After beating up some bad guys and being tempted by Price herself, Mulder and Scully destroy the servers and kill the enslaved minds of Langley and all the rest.

“Destroy The Backup!”



Mulder and Scully bring in an FBI team to arrest Price and secure the illegal research at Titanpointe, but – naturally – she’s not there and everything is gone, as if it had never been there. The two agents return to Mulder’s remote house and collapse on the couch, where they had started the episode. After just a second, however, Mulder’s phone is hijacked by Langley yet again, who exasperatedly exclaims, “Mulder! They know that we know! Destroy the backup!” His image then disappears from the phone and is replaced by that of one of the Russian private military contractors, who cuts the transmission.

Like all the greatest X-Files cases, Mulder and Scully are right back where they started with more questions than answers. Langley is still enslaved along with countless other minds. Will Ringo ever be granted his final rest? Does that creepy, platinum-haired Russian have some kind of superpowers? He was shot twice and had his head smashed against a tombstone, but still keeps on going! Hopefully, The X-Files will return to this story line before the end of the season and offer some closure for fans of The Lone Gunmen.


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