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11x02 - This

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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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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 19:18

New X-Files Episode ‘This’ Simulates A Plausible New World Order

By Andrew Whalen @AndWhalen
01/11/18


Mulder and Scully shoot some Russian mercs in Season 11 Episode 2 "This." 20th Century Fox Television

“This,” the latest Season 11 episode of The X-Files, is not only far better than the season premiere “My Struggle III,” but also a decent enough sequel to one of the all-time great X-Files episodes, Season 5’s “Kill Switch.”

In “Kill Switch,” written by cyberpunk writers Tom Maddox and William Gibson, a malevolent AI with an orbital space laser systematically wiped out anyone capable of threatening it, but the plot took a late-episode turn into brain simulation, with Mulder narrowly avoiding a forced upload of his consciousness into a glitchy simulated reality.

So when Richard Langly, a long-dead member of the Lone Gunmen, pops up on Mulder’s phone, it may not come as a surprise to learn it’s a digital simulation, his consciousness uploaded into a supra-NSA simulated reality and bent to the will of the world’s ruling elite.

But while there’s some fun techno-speak driving “This” forward, it’s a Network -inspired encounter between Mulder and Erika Prince, who might just be the bad guy The X-Files needed after the Cigarette Smoking Man dwindled down to a deranged Mulder father-figure whose decades-long conspiracy amounts to releasing a plague in a bottle. Prince was once a member of the same Syndicate that cut a deal with the aliens (revealed to have abandoned their plan to conquer Earth because we polluted it too badly), but her own plan is opposed to the Cigarette Smoking Man’s. Her eventual goal is to populate the rest of the solar system with the world’s elite and leave the rest of us to rot, but that’s only incidental to her plot in “This.” In her boardroom conversation with Mulder, she outlines the episode’s most powerful thesis: you can’t opt out of the future.

“Life on this Earth, all human life, most animal life, is about to be crushed. Burnt to the ground. The computer simulator down the hall is necessary for our evolution of the species,” Prince tells Mulder, “this isn’t about ‘this is black, this white, this is male, this female, this is rich and this poor and this is chaos and this…”

“Control,” Mulder says, completing her thought.

It’s a simple articulation of a typical conspiracy theory mindset: all social progression, politics, class warfare is a bullshit cover for naked control, battled over among a shadowy elite, who operate in secret and make suckers of anyone participating in day-to-day democracy. It is also fantastically stupid, since it’s exactly the societal inequalities contained within those divisions that produce and reproduce every possible tier of control and dominance. What are political power, privilege and money, if not mechanisms of control?

But that’s beside the point. If anything, it’s impressive that The X-Files actually captures the conspiracist mentality accurately after “My Struggle III” and its embarrassing “fake news” speeches. Where The X-Files conspiracy finds its most chilling real-world theme is when Prince describes NSA-backed plan to scan and upload all of humanity through their mobile phones. No one gets a choice, Mulder objects.

“Sure you do. You could not use your phone,” Price says.

As a sequel to “Kill List,” “This” points out that the technologically singular will eventually become commodified, weaponized, ubiquitous. Mulder and Scully might manage to thwart Price’s shitty, simulated reality, where she and the most powerful control every mechanism of creation for themselves, but there will be another. But there’s also something larger lurking in Price’s false choice, revealed in the specifics of Langly’s digital afterlife.

“It’s like I designed heaven,” Langly tells Mulder and Scully. “I eat hot dogs and donuts all day long. No one ever dies of cancer or Alzheimer’s. And The Ramones are here!”

Sounds good so far. But Langly’s not done. “I beg of you: destroy it. We’re living a lie here. It’s a work camp. We’re digital slaves. Take our uploaded minds to develop science that the elite will use to rule your world,” he says. “We dream but we’re not allowed to have dreams, goals, nothing for ourselves.”

That sounds awful. It’s almost impossible to imagine a world where only the rich — the simulation is full of tech-aligned whizzes, including Steve Jobs and Michael Crichton — are released from the stress of disease, with access to better treatment. And what kind of dark, twisted future would imagine broad consumer choice as sufficient compensation for never-ending wage labor? Weird!

The X-Files has had some pretty creative stories over the years, but this “simulated reality” might just be the hardest to believe. It’s a scenario where individual freedom and choice is largely illusory, particularly in the face of imminent worldwide catastrophe like, say, something that could cause temperatures to rise enough that we’ll all be “burnt to the ground,” as Prince puts it. But you could always just not use your phone.

Other Fun Stuff From The X-Files Season 11 Episode 2 “This”


  • In “This,” The X-Files joins the Russia panic consuming the #Resistance. When Mulder finds out about the FBI taking orders from a Russian mercenary group, Skinner says, “Under a classified security directive… FROM THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH,” while staring straight at the camera and holding up his phone to show a Trump tweet (ok, not quite).

  • Mulder and Scully do actual detective work together in “This” (including, lol, QR codes), unlike the series premiere, which kept knocking her unconscious and dumping her in a hospital bed.

  • MULDER: “I’m going to open an x-file on this bran muffin. I got to get to the bottom of why it’s so freaking good.” SCULLY: “I don’t care if it came out of an alien’s butt. I’m going to eat this whole thing.”

  • Erika Prince’s simulated world is located in Manhattan’s secret NSA facility TITANPOINTE,  as revealed by Edward Snowden. From there the NSA surveils the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and dozens of countries, making it one of the most plausible New World Order loci in X-Files series history.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 20:00

The X-Files 11×02 Review: This

Posted by Tara Lynne On January 11, 2018



It’s been a really long time since an episode of The X-Files dangled something so darn hopeful in my face…and then snatched it away so quickly, while still delivering a really, really good episode. “This” was all that and maybe a little bit more.



When Langly appeared on Mulder’s phone, my first thought was “YES! The Lone Gunmen are back!” Of course I know they died in season 9, but the Smoking Man was supposed to have died, too…and I’d much rather have the Lone Gunmen back. Unfortunately they weren’t – or well, Byers and Frohike are completely gone, while Langly is…something else. Something that I’ll get into later, because a whole ton of other stuff happened before “This” revealed what really happened to Langly.

First, no sooner had Langly contacted Mulder than a bunch of Russians showed up and attacked him and Scully in their home. (Yes, that’s right, THEIR home, that was something that was said. I’m still not sure how or when it happened – did I miss something? – or, as a former Mulder/Scully shipper who now believes she’s too good for him, how I feel about it.)

Anyway, Mulder and Scully fought their way out of a bad situation, met up with Skinner in the woods, and eventually made it to Arlington cemetery. Yes, I realize that I’m summarizing a lot in that one sentence, but that’s really not a bad thing – it’s easy to do because “This” was fast-paced and didn’t seem to have any filler (unlike last week’s “My Struggle III” with its many driving Mr. Mulder scenes).



Next up was a trail of Langly breadcrumbs, including a ‘memory medallion’ hidden behind the cross on a gravestone and the fact that Byers and Frohike are still in the X-Files…but Langly isn’t. Oh, and by the way, all those years the X-Files were closed? They were online. Classified, of course, but a lot of people had access to them, apparently. And listen, I actually agree with Skinner – “the X-Files are too important to sit in the basement gathering dust, and what’s in them belongs to everyone, that’s the point of them”…but clearly some of the people who had access to them maybe shouldn’t have (hint hint, I’m talking about those Russians from earlier in the episode).



Despite Langly’s history having been removed from the X-Files, Mulder and Scully are able to use more Langly breadcrumbs to find an acquaintance of his, Professor Hamby. Although apparently she was more than an acquaintance; she was able to tell them what really happened to Langly – his mind was uploaded into a simulation, and when she died hers would be, too, because they had “wanted a life eternal together”. Not that any of that matters; she was killed by one of the Russians (a big guy with long curly-ish blonde hair who literally would not die; seriously, Mulder and Scully had knocked him out twice before he came back and killed Hamby). But even though Hamby was nothing more than a weird plot device, at least she played her part well, explaining the simulation situation and that if Langly was reaching out, ‘they’ must have lied about what it entailed.

Although Hamby didn’t escape (and neither did that blonde Russian dude, thankfully), obviously Mulder and Scully did. They ended up in a ‘shitty bar’ (Mulder’s words!) where Scully fell asleep in the booth with her hand wrapped around a glock, leading to Mulder calling her ADORBS when she was startled awake. Between this and his earlier teasing when she used the word ‘taint’, I was finally reminded of that Mulder/Scully banter that I love. (But don’t worry, I still think she’s too good for him).

Besides, they had things to do. This time Langly went on a rant about how he was in a sort of heaven or paradise along with “all the great minds that have died since they realized this place”. It was a bit confusing because in one breath he was saying they all hated it there, but throughout the rest of “This” we’re told that Langly was the only person (err, simulated mind?) who’d actually figured everything out. Regardless, at this point everything was feeling very Black Mirror, and I was really enjoying it.



The rest of “This” was quite a whirlwind. Yes, in the end Mulder escaped from Erika Price and Scully shut down the simulation’s servers, but then Erika Price also escaped from Mulder…and based on Langly contacting Mulder yet again to yell about needing to take out the backup servers, they obviously didn’t exactly succeed there, either.

(Oh, and that horrible blonde Russian guy is apparently in the simulation as well, so talk about a lose/lose.)

But despite the fact that “This” didn’t actually have the happy ending it seemed to promise (and though it certainly wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny like 10×3, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”), the episode was a great reminder of the show’s good ol’ days. Hopefully there will be more of its kind coming up this season!


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 20:06

The X-Files review: Season 11, episode 2 This

by Nick Chandler
3 hours ago
Follow @NickSChandler



After a pretty average mythology heavy premiere (trust me, average is high praise for post season 6 mythology episodes), The X-Files comes back down to something a bit more familiar. Written and directed by Glen Morgan, This is a very strong episode that ties in a lot of what we know of The X-Files and brings it into the modern-day.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Having written some of the best episodes of The X-Files, “Squeeze,” “One Breath,” “Ice,” “Home” and “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man,” Glen Morgan returns to The X-Files. His writing of Mulder and Scully in the early seasons of the show, helped shape the characters into what we now recognize.

Glen Morgan in the first shots of the episode, picks up on the sunflower seeds, the poster, the actual physical X-Files, with Mulder and Scully asleep together on the sofa. A crackled sound, a faded, shattered image from the past. A call from a face that shouldn’t be seen wakes them up, the past is coming back.

Langly (Dean Haglund) died, as Mulder and Scully both said, 16 years ago back in the season 9 episode “Jump the Shark.” However Langly it turns out had gotten involved in a secret government plan to bring all the minds of the Earth together into a computer simulation after their deaths. Then it turns out that said simulation is being used as a farm for information, to solve problems and be there when the Earth is destroyed and mankind has to take to the stars (linked to the events of last week).

And it’s up to Mulder and Scully to stop the simulation, and rescue the mind of their long dead friend. Which they then do, and then don’t. As there is a backup.

Glen Morgan it seems isn’t really interested in telling this story. It comes across as though, with select choices of dialogue, he is more interested in placing The X-Files (both the show and the actual department) in today’s world, finding out where it fits.

Skinner returns (Do we trust him? Yes? No?) with some exposition, stating that the X-Files had now been digitized in the absence of Mulder and Scully. Everyone can access them. But, the world is different now than it was back in 1994. There are security agencies attempting to undermine each other from all corners of the globe, with this weeks particular physical force coming from Russia. These agencies now have access to the files, and if need be scrub them of incriminating data.

That is a worrying development for Fox. He spent his career putting them together, and getting to the truth. Now they can be viewed by anyone (Skinner states that that was the point of the X-Files to begin with), even at the cost of being censored? Glen Morgan also subtly hints at the state of affairs between current modern-day USA and Russia, and the White House with its relationship with the “spooky” FBI (I did like that little dig from Fox).

The line at the start of the credits sometimes reads ‘The Truth Is Out There’, ‘I Want To Believe’ or ‘Trust No One’. This week it read, ‘Accuse your enemies of that which you are guilty’. After doing a little bit of digging, it seems as though this is a paraphrasing of something Joseph Goebbels once said. He was a master of propaganda, of manipulating the word into something which is to believed and then lived.

Maybe there is something that Glen Morgan wants the viewer to think about and act upon.

Where does The X-Files stand these days? It is now known that this will probably be the last ever season of the show. So where does it stand today? Is it merely a nostalgic look back into a simpler time, or is it a warning to what could happen? It’ll be interesting to see if this particular theme is picked up again this season. I hope so.

The X-Files airs new episodes every Wednesday nights on Fox. Be sure to tune in!


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 20:15

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

by Susan Leighton
3 hours ago
Follow @SusanontheLedge

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

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

Beware! ****SPOILER ALERT

Well, Are They?



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

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

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

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

Bullets and Chaos


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

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

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

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

How Did We Get Here?



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The World Was Different



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

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

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

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

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

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

Part of the Matrix


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

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

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

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

Upload to the Future



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Verdict


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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Thu 11 Jan - 20:22

The X-Files Season 11 Episode 2 Review – ‘This’

January 11, 2018 by Matt Rodgers

Matt Rodgers reviews the second episode of The X-Files season 11…

After last week’s polarising season premiere of The X-Files, an episode that while clunky, was at the higher end of the Chris Carter installment spectrum, Mulder and Scully are well and truly back to their best in this Glen Morgan written and directed hour-long.



Known for penning some of the classic monster-of-the-week episodes of The X-Files, notably season 1’s ‘Squeeze’ and ‘Tooms’, as well as one of the better season 10 offerings, ‘Home Again’, Morgan puts away his penchant for the creature-feature with ‘This’, an episode that veers from home-invasion, to Sherlock Holmes, right through to social commentary on technology privacy laws, all permeated by some never-better chemistry from Anderson and Duchovny.

Straight away viewers may be perturbed by the shift in tone away from that divisive Cigarette Smoking Man twist, as we’re presented with Mulder and Scully asleep on the sofa in front of the television. Such differing episode styles was commonplace over the course of 20-odd episodes, but now, in this truncated future X-Files format, it does feeling a little jarring.

Not to worry though, because once the iconic opening credits have rolled, you’re completely aligned with the fact that this will be different from the premiere’s comparatively po-faced approach.



Here we find a completely different Mulder and Scully dynamic, one that makes you think there hasn’t been a writers meeting to discuss how they’ll sync the duo’s development. Last week we had Scully taking a leap of faith, embracing anarchy, yet this week she’s playing X-Files quote bingo and constantly prompting Mulder with echoes from the past – “Mulder, that’s evidence”.

However, it’s a forgivable inconsistency when ‘This’ finds Duchovny and Anderson at the peak of their powers. Both are afforded some wonderful lines, and comedy Mulder was always great when at his most immature. So playful silliness such as “you said taint” and “we gotta take a trip to IKEA” hit the mark amongst a genuinely gripping adventure. Anderson also gets the chance to shine; her reaction to discovering that an old friend had an inappropriately named file with her avatar on it is priceless.

The story takes in a home invasion, a cemetery based game of whodunit, and a finale set in one of those dimly lit, secret government establishments that The X-Files has always done so well.



Fans will be pleased at the reappearance of Lone Gunman, Langly (Dean Haglund), who’s at the heart of the story, one that does what this run has thus far been very good at; establishing the show as a product of the world we live in, even if it is a little-on-the-nose at times. Mulder and Scully finding out that The X-Files are now digitised is particularly cute.

The episode culminates in a conversation between Mulder and Erika Price (Barbara Hershey), the CSM’s ‘big-bad’ nemesis who was introduced last week, and shows up to offer Fox another Faustian pact. Sadly it’s a little formulaic and anti-climactic, as is the seen-it-all-before resolution of what is otherwise a terrific episode of television.

Matt Rodgers


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Fri 12 Jan - 6:55

The X-Files: 5 Questions Answered About "This"

In an X-Files post-mortem, writer-director Glen Morgan answers our burning questions from "This."



Chris Longo
Jan 12, 2018

A few weeks before The X-Files season 11 writers’ room was open for business, I had the opportunity to sit down with X-Files executive producer Glen Morgan on the set of his Amazon anthology Lore. The self-described historian explained that often the root of his ideas for X-Files episodes back in the day came from science newsletters and magazines. Morgan and his writing partner James Wong would then turn those nuggets into some of the scariest stuff on television at the time.

Though Morgan was coy about the specifics during the interview in his Lore office, he dropped a few hints. Mulder and Scully would go on the run, an ode to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic North by Northwest. Morgan and I discussed our fondness for Black Mirror, to which he bashfully said he didn’t think he could live up to. Those inspirations led Morgan to season 11’s “This,” which combined a contemporary sci-fi concept with real-life projects like the NSA’s Titanpointe building in New York to create a digital afterlife that might be just as scary as any of the monsters he’s made bump in the night.

Morgan, who wrote and directed “This,” took some time to answer our burning questions on the episode. And, like all of us, he still just wants to know what is going on with William.

Den of Geek: Did you originally envision the episode as a standalone? At what point did you decide it would incorporate major puzzle pieces in this season’s mythology?

Glen Morgan: I figured it would be a half and half that would bridge from the first mythology episode into the more stand alone episodes to follow. Chris placed Barbara's character into “My Struggle III” after we pitched each other our stories and gave "This" a stronger mythology feel.

Having the Ramones blasting in the background of the cold open shootout was awesome. Was there any significance behind that music selection other than Langly’s love of classic rock?

The Ramones are the greatest creation in the history of Human life on Earth. Starting the episode with Dee Dee's "1-2-3-4" declared that "This" means business.

The Lone Gunmen were pretty close to each other. Did Byers and Frohike also make it to the cloud?

IMHO, Frohike should've been assassinated by CSM at the end of "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man." Only Langly made it to the simulation because he had seen The Ramones and thus was rewarded.

The concept of cloning and uploading a person’s consciousness is very Black Mirror-esque. Was that part of the inspiration?

I admire Black Mirror a great deal and its insights into our present and future relationship with technology is an inspiration. I had followed the theory of computer simulation for some time. It would take a season of TV do to the discussion justice.

The intelligence community has changed big time since the show left the air and it's been fun seeing the show poke at that. Where does the FBI stand right now in The X-Files? With executive orders out, would they have even been able to do anything if Erika Price and those servers were still in the building?

To answer this question would assure my assassination by dark forces within our government and I have to find out if William is really Smoking Man's kid.


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Fri 12 Jan - 17:12

The X-Files S11E02 Review: This – It’s fun to get back to the heart of The X-Files

Posted on January 12, 2018 by Salome G

This week’s episode of The X-Files came with an episode description that “an old friend” reaches out to Mulder. There are any number of possibilities for whom that old friend could be, but if you were like me, you suspected it might be a Lone Gunman. Yes, I know they’re dead.

But this is The X-Files, so that could be just “dead.” The Lone Gunmen, a trio of conspiracy theory enthusiasts who frequently assisted Mulder and Scully with cases, died in the season 9 episode “Jump the Shark” after they sealed themselves off with a terrorist carrying the deadly Marbury virus. However, their deaths were retconned in a comic book adaptation of season 10, so who knows whether their deaths stuck or not.

Whatever their mortality status, Langly, one of the Gunmen, reaches out to a napping Mulder and Scully. They are remarkably nonplussed to be hearing from a dead man. In fact, Langly seems more excited than they are, and also, a little confused, as he’s asking if he’s dead. He also says that if he is, then “they know that I know.”



Mulder and Scully get little time to contemplate that, as they’re attacked by a trio of gunmen (but not THE Gunmen). They kill two, but the third gets away. The credits are skipped, but we do get the tagline, which again this week is changed. There’s no “I WANT TO BELIEVE” this week, just “ACCUSE YOUR ENEMIES OF THAT WHICH YOU ARE GUILTY.” It kind of reminds me of Toronto Star producer and editor Tanis Fowler‘s favorite alternate tagline, “DECEIVE INVEIGLE OBFUSCATE.”

Scully calls in the incident and like, five minutes later, tactical vehicles roll up in Mulder’s rather secluded backyard. Yeah, this is the American government–they don’t work that fast. The people in the vehicles don’t get out and the only one speaking has an accent that is suspiciously…let’s say “Russian-y” for an American agent.

That’s because he isn’t one, no duh. He’s an employee of Purlieu Services, an American contracting company that’s based in Moscow. COLLUSION.

Scully phones Skinner, whom they haven’t spoken to for a few weeks, after that revelation from the CSM. He advises them to surrender–wait, what? What is happening?!

It’s not entirely clear just now, but Boris–sorry, fella, didn’t catch your name–wants Mulder’s phone. While he’s distracted by that and Langly’s message coming through again, Mulder and Scully escape. They meet up with Skinner, who’s being squirrelly about what exactly is going on. He does give them money and he seems extra emphatic that he and Scully saw Langly being buried at Arlington. At Arlington. They were at Arlington.



So Mulder and Scully go to Arlington. They find the Gunmen’s graves, but the details on them are incorrect, leading the agents to believe that it’s a “breadcrumb.” The puzzle points them toward the grave of Ronald Pakula. Who? Longtime fans will know him better as Deep Throat, a first season character who provided Mulder with information before his death at the end of the season.

Examining his grave reveals a medallion with a QR code. When the code is scanned, it produces a video of 33 Thomas Street, the “Long Lines building,” a Manhattan skyscraper that used to be an AT&T facility, but since Edward Snowden’s revelations, is believed to be the likely home of TITANPOINTE, an NSA facility. (Note: Just like many plot details on the show–Roswell, Tunguska, etc.–this is real, not just an invention of the series.) They end up in a shootout with the gunman who escaped Mulder’s house, leaving him shot and slumped against Pakula’s grave.

Mulder actually has an x-file on the building, since it’s been the subject of conspiracy theories for decades. The only problem is, the x-files are closed. Oh, wait–no, they aren’t. They’ve been digitized for government use, meaning they’ve been put on the internet for anyone to hack. They comb through the files, which include one concerning a case in Home, Pennsylvania. OPEN IT UP. Anyway, missing are any of Langly’s contributions, although they do find a hidden note to go see Karen Hamby, a professor, if Langly’s work is axed.

She explains that Langly was part of a program that promised to upload participants’ consciousnesses into a simulation. Langly, however, built in a fail-safe–a way to communicate–if the afterlife turned out to be not as promised. While she’s explaining how to get in touch with Langley again, that gunman shows up AGAIN and shoots her. How is he not dead?! Look, this show already has a Terminator and it’s not this clown. Anyway, they shoot him again and hopefully he stays down this time.



They contact Langly’s consciousness, who tells them that ooh, heaven is not a place on earth. While everything seems perfect, ultimately they’re all just slaves, their consciousnesses being put to work for the 1%.

So Mulder and Scully con their way into the Long Lines building, using a flimsy premise that, in part, involves Scully calling someone “bro.” Mulder is captured by Boris and crew, who take him to Erica Price (Barbara Hershey), the woman he met last week when he was looking for the CSM. She explains that this is the future–upload your consciousness and get out while the gettin’s good. Mulder is like, can I be uploaded with Scully?

While he’s relaxing with Erica, Scully is skulking around the building, finding the servers for the afterlife program. She finds them and destroys them, but unfortunately, does not take out the backups. And when the FBI returns to the building, nothing’s there.

So, Mulder and Scully are left holding dust and Langly is still trapped in the simulation. The remaining gunman is also dead, finally, but we only know that because he’s in there with Langly. Score one for the bad guys.

8/10 – While the climax in the Long Lines building is kind of weak, it’s fun to get back to the heart of The X-Files: Mulder and Scully out there solving mysteries. The links to the Russia are especially timely and so is the idea of uploading your consciousness, especially with the new season of Black Mirror. All in all, a pretty good episode. And hey, next week, we get a proper MOTW. 


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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by Duchovny on Sat 13 Jan - 7:09

thanks
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Re: 11x02 - This

Post by jade1013 on Mon 15 Jan - 12:40



X-Files’ Strength Lies in Mulder and Scully Working Together — Even When the Plot is Meh

'X-Files' 11x02 "This"

By Mel Perez - January 15, 2018

This latest episode of The X-Files begins with a cute scene between Mulder and Scully. They’re sleeping side by side on the couch in Mulder’s house. Interestingly, Scully will later refer to it as ‘our home’ to Skinner. Has she moved in? I live for these little moments of domesticity between them.


Fox

A mysterious video message from Richard Langly, one of the Lone Gunmen, wakes them. Langly made an appearance last season in Mulder’s drug-induced hallucination but otherwise is very much dead. “Am I dead?” Ghost Langley asks because he hasn’t gotten that message yet. “If I am, they know that I know.” He has that right-on-time intel because they’re soon attacked by three armed men. Scully dives under a table, firing at the three men storming through the door, while Mulder pushes the couch at them and runs upstairs. They take out two of the men. The third one, a strange looking older man, flees. It’s nice to see Mulder and Scully kicking ass.

Just when they’ve dispatched the gunmen, another team rolls up led by a man credited as Commander Al. This time they have too many people for Mulder and Scully to take on, though they do try. After taking Mulder and Scully down, they ransack the place looking for Mulder’s phone. One of my favorite things about this episode is that it showcases how well Mulder and Scully function as a team. Handcuffed together, pinned to the ground, and surrounded by men with guns, they still manage to fight their way up and out of the door, jump over the porch and run into the woods. Let me say again that they did all of this while handcuffed together.

In the woods, they run into Skinner. It’s evident in the interactions between the three that the ramifications of the last episode are still playing out. There’s a distrust of Skinner’s loyalties. They can get information from him but they won’t go with him. In Skinner’s defense, he did run out in the middle of the night to meet them. Skinner tells them that the group that attacked them is called Purlieu Services, an American security contractor headquartered in Moscow. Thanks to the new administration, this group of Russians has ascendancy over the FBI. They can’t go back to FBI headquarters, instead, they visit Langly’s grave in Arlington Cemetery hoping to find some kind of clue to what’s going on. They find one. Incorrect birthdays lead them to the grave Deep Throat, Mulder’s old confidential source, where they find a memory medallion.


Fox

In cemeteries, cafes, and bars Mulder and Scully attempt to solve the mystery of Langly’s death and afterlife. The memory medallion leads them to New York’s Long Lines Building aka Titanpointe, an NSA surveillance station. To find out more about it, they need the X-Files but they can’t just waltz into their office. They need Skinner. “We need your help, Walter,” Scully tells him. “Even if we don’t trust you.” Really, Scully? Through Skinner, they learn that the X-Files have been digitized. Good because it allows them to access the files remotely. Bad because it was done by Purlieu Services who are now aware of all of their casework and also want them dead. They had bits and pieces of the puzzle but it wasn’t until Langly contacted them again that they truly understood what was happening.


Fox

After last week’s episode, a break from the ponderous mythology of this show is refreshing. The ongoing conspiracy is a small thread that runs throughout an episode that mainly focuses on the world of artificial intelligence. This topic was previously covered in the season 5 episode “Kill Switch,” written by notable cyberpunk authors William Gibson and Tom Maddox. Unlike that episode, in which a rogue AI begins killing people, “This” focuses on how we can achieve a kind of immortality through artificial intelligence. You won’t necessarily live on but a version of you who thinks the same as you and has all of your memories can live on after death as data on a server.

Langly’s thought processes were copied and uploaded into a simulation he helped create. He did it to live forever with a surprise significant other, Karah Hamby, a professor of mathematics in Bethesda, who pops up only to be quickly killed off by the strange old man who Scully finally kills. On the surface, the simulation seems perfect, filled with favorite foods and endless concerts, but below that are inconsistencies that point out the falseness of their reality. There’s also an insidious layer to the simulation. It wasn’t made just for a select few to be happy. The people in charge have been taking advantage of the minds they have there. Using their intelligence to create science that will help the elite survive what’s to come. Langley tells them the location of the servers the simulation is housed — Titanpointe. He wants them to destroy it. Mulder and Scully take the bus, of all things, to New York where it’s located. 

At Titanpointe we see the return of Barbara Hershey’s Erika Price as the one in charge of the simulation. Through her, we find out that a mind can be uploaded through a phone. Consent is unnecessary. They’ve been using their technology to capture some of the best minds in the world. All of that knowledge and expertise in the hands of a shadowy government agency. It can’t be good.

While Mulder has a philosophical discussion with Price about the nature of her project and the end of humanity, Scully makes her way to the server room, knocking out guards when necessary. This is a welcome change after watching her be a mostly passive participant in the events of the last episode. Mulder convinces Price that he’s on her side. Before he can do what she wants though (kill his father), he wants to see the server room. Once there, he fights Commander Al while Scully turns off the server. They won, right? It seems that way at first. They take Al back to the FBI bureau and return with agents to arrest Price and take over the servers. Only she and the servers are gone. In the end, they are left with Mulder’s messy house and a few more answers than they had before. They end the episode as they began it — on the couch with another call from Langly.

The strength of this episode lies in relationship between Mulder and Scully. With little resources, they were able to solve the case (with a little help from Skinner). Speaking of Skinner, the ‘we don’t trust him’ plotline is played out and I wish it would pack its bag and walk its way out of this season.  The quick and often funny banter between them was another bonus. I enjoyed these moments more than the case which while interesting, the subject matter was handled better in “Kill Switch.” The episode also comments on the current political situation with mentions of the FBI’s unfavorable standing with the administration and Russian private security officers running around saying Americans would have been fine losing the Cold War if they could have made money off of it. All and all, “This” was an improvement over the premiere.


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